High Gothic architecture, sunkissed beaches, and museums as far as the eye can see. Many romantic images come to mind when thinking of Spain, up to and including wine.
Spain is among the best-known Old World wine producers in the world. Alongside France and Italy, this country has long since established an identity as a cultural and gastronomical marvel.
La Rioja is well-known as a pit stop on the average wine drinker’s journey, but what about smaller regions like Valencia?
Do you want to try authentic Spanish wine grown by today’s best wineries? Keep reading to learn about the wines of Valencia, Spain’s fascinating wine history, and which Valencian wines you should consider trying.
A Brief History of Spanish Wines
Wine grape production in Spain is astonishingly ancient. While many of the regions we know and love today wouldn’t start emerging until the 1400s, winemakers have been planting vineyards throughout the country since the Roman Empire.
Even during the earliest days of wine production, Spain was known for producing high-quality vintages. It’s believed that Pliny The Elder, a famed Roman philosopher, was a fan of wine from the Tarragona region.
When Spain was under Moorish rule, wine production saw a few hitches due to Islamic law generally preventing the consumption of alcohol.
Despite explicit laws forbidding wine sales, wine continued to be crafted and exported to neighboring countries.
To date, Spain has over 4,000 companies that oversee wine production such as winemaking, importing, and exporting.
What is the Most Popular Wine in Spain?
The most popular wine in Spain is both a type and a varietal. Rioja Gran Reserva refers to the famed Rioja region, widely considered to be the most characteristic representation of Spanish wine.
Gran Reserva is a term that refers to aging wine for two years in oak barrels, then three years in the bottle. Most Rioja Gran Reserva bottles are made with Tempranillo, Garnacha, and Mazuelo grapes.
Wine Regions of Valencia, Spain
Valencia is a quaint little port city that’s considered a sleeper hit among experienced wine drinkers. Often overshadowed by La Rioja and Catalunya, Valencia is a treat to uncover.
This city is further divided into several wine regions, many of which received the distinction nearly a century ago. Below are a few of the wine regions of Valencia.
Spanish DOs are regulatory systems that function as an origin. Utiel-Requena is a huge wine region located close to Valencia City, boasting nearly sixty wineries to its name.
Utiel-Requena is well-known for committing to the Bobal wine grape, a dark-skinned variety that’s usually put in red blends. Even better, Bobal is native to this region! If you’re a fan of rosés, Utiel-Requena also sees a high volume of Bobal-based rosé.
Now for wine regions that specialize in white grape varieties! Alto Turia is located north of Valencia, providing high altitudes for their carefully tended vineyards.
Expect to see a high volume of Merseguera grown here, a Spanish white grape variety that isn’t particularly well-known outside of Europe.
This tiny wine region has been growing top-notch wines for a few thousand years. If that wasn’t impressive enough, this region produces a hefty balance of red and white grape varieties.
Expect to see Monastrell, Macabeo, Petit Verdot, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon grown here.
This wine region was established in 1932, carving out a name for itself by specializing in dessert wines. This area’s strength lies in its surprisingly diverse climate, offering both high altitude and close proximity to the ocean.
Bordering Alicante is another small wine region by the name of Clarino. Tempranillo and Monastrell dominate wine production here.
Wineries in Valencia, Spain
Spanish wineries are romantic images straight out of a picture book. If you don’t have the money or the means to take a trip to Spain yourself, trying one of these brilliant wine bottles out is the next best thing.
The wineries we chose for this list are based on the most characteristic aspects of Spanish wine, such as robust reds, a propensity for oak aging, and unique approaches to wine.
For example, sherry is a fortified wine first created in Andalusia, Spain! You may also be familiar with sangria, a summer drink made with ingredients such as red wine, sparkling water, and fruit.
You can try some of these recipes yourself by becoming acquainted with the below wineries and their gorgeous portfolios (which we’ll explore even more in the next section).
Widely considered to be the lead winery in Valencia, this family-owned business was established way back in 1927. They tap into several wine regions to produce their portfolio, ranging from Utiel-Requena to Alicante.
Many wine tourists put Murviedro Bodega on their pit stop to visit their underground urban winery, a sight that has to be seen to be believed.
The Murviedro brand is split into several sections including the titular Murviedro, Cepas Viejas, Los Monteros, and Estrella.
Their portfolio is expansive, spanning several red wines, whites, and rosés. Over half of the portfolio is also made with vegan winemaking methods, which means no animal-based products such as egg whites.
This small winery is devoted wholeheartedly to organic winemaking methods to preserve the land.
Avoiding harmful chemicals by strategically planting herbs to ward away pests, they eventually earned a certification as a Protected Designation Of Origin Wines.
The commitment on display to preserving the terroir and climate of the land is commendable and shows up clearly in their bold, complex wines.
Bodegas Faelo splits its attention between native grape varieties like Monastrell as well as foreign grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.
Alongside wine production, they offer wine tourism and participate in local festivals.
Ladrón De Lunas
This winery started out as an old estate established in the 1900s, and later transformed into a winery after a series of intensive renovations.
Ladrón De Lunas now stands out as a must-see winery for anyone eager to learn more about the Valencia region.
Their portfolio includes a full range of reds, whites, and rosés, with a significant portion grown in Utiel-Requena.
Best Wines of Valencia, Spain
The wines we’ve chosen for our Valencia, Spain list lean toward wine grapes that are popular in this region, not just Spain as a whole. We want to give you the most characteristic experience possible, after all!
Below are wines of Valencia we highly recommend you add to your wine rack this year, both for their incredible quality and to support today’s hardworking wineries.
Murviedro Bodega Histórica La Casa De La Seda Bobal
Try out a beloved Spanish grape in Murviedro Bodega Histórica’s 2019 vintage. Fans of Malbec and Merlot will fall instantly in love with the traditionally spiced, fruity Bobal grape.
This bottle is aromatic and floral, boasting an impressively silky mouthfeel and blackcurrant flavor notes that will go well with a hearty dinner.
We recommend decanting this bottle for thirty minutes to let the wine breathe and experience its full intensity.
Bodegas Faelo Vino La Dama
Another characteristic red wine grape of Spain is Monastrell. This blend is composed of Cabernet Sauvignon and Monastrell to create a delectably balanced result.
Simultaneously sweet and earthy, this wine bottle has flavors of dark fruit, vanilla, and cinnamon. Consider saving this bottle for a charcuterie or as a gentler dessert wine (especially if you want to steer clear of more sugary varieties like Moscato).
MG Wines Borrasca
To reiterate, Monastrell is seriously popular in Valencia. It’s also a rarer red grape variety you’ll be hard pressed to find outside the region compared to Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon.
This bottle is a celebration of aged flavor notes, combining earthy wood with balsamic and minerals. If you want to see just how complex flavor notes can get, keep this bottle on hand the next time you crave a steak.
Ladrón De Lunas Miñaxoia
If you’re a fan of collecting wine labels, this bottle is a must-buy. Boasting a black and gray octopus holding gold grapes, the illustration is as compelling as the wine itself.
This white wine is the Godello variety, lesser-known outside of Godella in Valencia and favoured for its intense floral notes. Save this bottle for a hot day and consider chilling it before sipping.
L´Alba de Faelo
We just have to shout out this lovely packaging illustration, too. With blue and gold stippling contrasting the berry red of the wine, this bottle grabs your attention from the get-go.
This fragrant rosé is 100% Syrah, boasting an herbal aroma and sweet, yet tart notes of strawberries and raspberries.
Las Virtudes Bodega Templanza
If you want to see Valencia’s take on a classic Pinot Noir rosé, Las Virtudes has a bottle bursting with a Mediterranean flair. Floral on the nose and berry flavor notes, this bottle is both classic and a touch subtle.
Bodegas Hispano Suizas ‘Bassus’ Pinot Noir
Last but not least, we have one more wine from the Utiel-Requena region on this list. This critically acclaimed vintage has regularly topped many favorites lists for its layered flavor notes and perfumed bouquet.
Expect to enjoy notes of jammy fruit supported by spiced and oak aftertastes. This wine would go great in a spiced sangria or on its own.
Why Should I Drink Wine From Valencia, Spain?
Valencia, Spain is a stunning example of why Spanish wines are enjoyed worldwide. With a commitment to local wine grapes and a deep appreciation for preserving the environment, just one purchase of Valencian wines can change the way you look at the industry forever.
Spanish wine as a whole favors still red wines, oak aging, and getting playful with wine recipes.
Valencia is a port city that’s sometimes overshadowed by larger wine regions but retains a personality all its own.
This city is divided into several regions such as Utiel-Requena and Yecla, many of which are starting to see higher volumes of tourism thanks to word-of-mouth.
The Bobal grape originated in Utiel-Requena and is commonly used alongside Spanish staples like Tempranillo and Monastrell. Next time you want to step outside of your go-to origins, the wines of Valencia will turn you into a Spanish wine fan overnight.
If you’re curious to learn more about Old World wine regions, check out our piece on Bordeaux!