The enormous choice of different styles of wine available from Spain makes it one of the most interesting wine-producing countries to explore. Exciting things are happening as new areas begin to emerge with red and white wines of real quality. Until recently, Spain's international reputation was built on the success of Rioja, Penedes, Ribera del Duero and Navarra. Today, however, there are a whole host of new regions that are offering a wide range of wines, generally made from indigenous grape varieties. In the northern regions, Rías Baixas, Toro, Rueda and Cigales are now showing their true colours, whilst the north-eastern zones of Tarragona and Conca de Barbera reveal how cool-climate viticulture can result in some terrific, pure and fruit-driven 'classical' varietals.
From the southern part of Spain, excellent and affordable red wines are coming from Valencia, Alicante, Toledo-Alméria and Valdepeñas. Spain is the country with the largest surface area under vine - about 1.5 million hectares and, with over 50 Denominaciones de Origen in its portfolio, there is enormous potential for further development in years to come. Over the past ten years, the application of efficient, modern viticultural methods in the vineyards and new equipment and techniques in the wineries and cellars, has ensured that Spanish wines have seen a quantum leap in quality.