France may have the most prestigious reputation in winemaking, but the Spanish have been in the business a lot longer than their European neighbors. In fact, the roots of Spain’s winemaking run so deep that no one really knows who introduced the grapevine to the Iberian Peninsula.
With thousands of years of experience, it is no surprise that Spain produces some of the finest wine on the planet. Not only that, but new fertile lands have been discovered and brought to life by a new generation of winemakers in recent years.
Dominio de Pingus
Spain’s winemaking traditions stretch back over 3,000 years, but some of the best wine coming out of the country right now is from the very modern Dominio de Pingus. Run by the Danish-born Peter Sisseck, the winery has produced some astonishing vintages since its inception in the early 1990s. With just a tiny patch of land to grow on, yields have always been very low. Naturally, that means these wines are some of the most expensive in the country with the average price of a bottle sitting at $900.
The vineyards at Dominio de Pingus / ©CarlosGonzalezArmesto
Agustí Torelló Mata
Cava has always played third-fiddle behind Champagne and Prosecco in Europe’s sparkling wine ranks, but Agustí Torelló has been one of the producers responsible for its growing prestige. It was originally founded in the 1950s with the sole purpose of proving Spain can produce great sparkling wine.
Founder Agustí Torelló was convinced that the under-utilized lands of Penedés – just south of Barcelona – were perfect for growing the appropriate varieties. Today, Penedés is a thriving region for cava and the winemakers at Agustí Torelló choose from a number of different vineyards in order to get the perfect blend.
Marqués de Murrieta
Marqués de Murrieta is the oldest winemaking family in Spain’s most famous red wine region: Rioja. The winery has concentrated exclusively on the production of premium Reserva and Gran Reserva wines for over 150 years. Situated in the middle of the stunning Ygay Esate, its excellence is borne from a combination of strong historical traditions and the innovative modern techniques introduced by owner V. Dalmau Cebrián-Sagarriga.
Teso La Monja
The Eguren family are arguably one of the most successful winemakers in the industry. Few have been able to successfully produce so many world-class wines. Many of the family’s greatest hits have hailed from the Toro region, where they originally settled two decades ago.
The launch of premium wines eventually lead to the sale of these lucrative vineyards to the Moet Hennessy group, but the Eguren family still oversee the latest project, Teso La Monja. This project was launched with the objective of producing the most expensive Spanish bottle. With a limited production of 900 bottles, each bottle of Teso La Monja Toro sells for well in excess of $1,000.
Descendientes de J Palacios
Legendary winemaker Alvaro Palacios knows potential when he sees it, but even he needed encouragement from his nephew, Ricardo Perez, when he spotted huge potential in the unknown region of Bierzo. Perez convinced Palacios to take a shot on a small patch of land in 1999, and the pair have since gone onto put Bierzo on the map with a long list of highly coveted wines. The most exclusive is the La Faraona, which is grown on just an acre of land and yields a single barrel each year. A good year usually sells for over $600 a bottle.