WineHandpicked by IWSC

Award-winning Spanish red wine from outside Rioja

Rioja is famous for its intense reds, but Spain has plenty more to offer red-wine lovers. These eight award-winning Spanish red wines from the IWSC 2022 all come from outside the region

Words by IWSC judges

man carries red wine grapes at spanish vineyard harvest
Handpicked by IWSC

For those seeking out the best Spanish red wines, some will begin and end their search with a bottle of Rioja. But Spain has so much more to offer red-wine lovers, whether it’s a noble, ageworthy example from nearby Ribera del Duero, a full-bodied beast from Priorat in Catalonia, or a fruit-driven red from Galicia, made with the excellent Mencía grape.

In fact, look across Spain and you’ll find an enviable selection of styles, from subtle, fruity reds all the way to big, tannic versions. Tempranillo, the main red grape grown in Rioja, is also used elsewhere in the country, but under various synonyms, including Cencibel, Tinta de Nava, Tinta Roriz, Aragones, and Tinta del País.

One of the top wines this year hails from Castilla y Leon. The 100% Malbec from Bodegas Clunia impressed with its ‘intensely powerful, fruity palate subtly balanced with layers of vanilla and caramel,’ and was awarded 95/100 and a Gold medal. Moving west to Galicia, a 100% Mencía wine from Bodegas Regina also scored a Gold medal, and wowed with its ‘ribbons of earth, florals and sweet spice.’

Vineyard in Ribiera del sacra, spain
Ribeira Sacra in northwest Spain

Now veering east, Vallformosa, Cultivare Sumoll-Samsó 2018 from Penedès scored 91/100 and drew the judges’ praise for its ‘blueberry and black cherry flavours lead in this concentrated wine with balsamic, spicy notes.’

The judges in question included Master of Wine and co-owner of Neighbourhood Wine Mick O’Connell, wine buyer at Berkmann Wine Cellars Gerard Barnes, and wine writer, broadcaster and Club Oenologique columnist David Kermode.

Spain has a host of treats for red-wine drinkers, and if you venture beyond Rioja, you’ll be impressed with the diversity on offer. We’re proud to present the pick of Spanish reds outside Rioja, as chosen by this year’s IWSC judges.

priorat vineyard with red grapes being harvested
Harvest in action in Priorat, northern Spain


We run a tightly structured, rigorous wine tasting process. That means that each wine sample is pre-poured into numbered glasses and assessed blindly by the judges. Most importantly, our IWSC wine judges are experts in their field, who work across all sectors of the wine industry. For evidence, see our full list of judges.


Only the best wines sampled receive a Gold or Silver award. For example, to win Gold, wines have to score between 95 and 100 points. Meanwhile, Silver wines range from 90 to 94 points. Click here to read more on our scoring system.


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