Spanish white wines have flown under the radar for many years, overshadowed by their rivals in France, Italy and the new world. While most wine lovers will recognise chablis as a classy French dry white, or be aware that New Zealand sauvignon blanc is a refreshing wine of reliably high quality, not many would be able to point to a great Spanish white.
And the names of some Spanish white grapes, such as godello or viura, remain relatively unfamiliar. Indeed, it is the big red wines from Rioja or Ribera del Duero, mostly made from the tempranillo grape, or the sherries of the south, that we most associate with Spain.
But all that is changing, with increasing recognition in our restaurant wine lists and supermarket shelves of the joys of zesty, saline, albarino from Galicia in northwest Spain, which can definitely appeal to those sauvignon blanc lovers. Whites are also now staking their own claim to fame in mighty rioja – and their full-bodied, slightly oaky style will please lovers of apricot-flavoured and buttery chardonnays.
White rioja sales to the UK increased by 19 per cent last year over 2019. And there are a host of exciting and different regional white wines to investigate, full of unexpected pleasures. So, here are our best Spanish whites for 2021: explore and enjoy!
How we tested
These wines are highly food-friendly and suitable for almost any occasion, particularly drunk lightly chilled for summer. They were tasted with a wide variety of foods, ranging from simple midweek meals to dinner parties, and we made sure to include wines to suit different budgets.
The best Spanish white wines for 2021 are:
- Best overall – Alemany I Corrió principia mathematica 2019: £21.61, Hometipple.com
- Best bargain – Hacienda López de Haro rioja blanco 2020: £8.99, Majestic.co.uk
- Best for dinner parties – Rioja Vega tempranillo blanco reserva 2015: £44.99, Houseoftownend.com
- Best for vegetable dishes – Don Quintin Ortega blanco rioja 2019: £16.95, Jeroboams.co.uk
- Best for pairing with oysters – Mar de Frades finca valiñas 2015/16: £25.90, Vinvm.co.uk
- Best for an aperitif – Paco & Lola albariño 2020: £14, Sainsburys.co.uk
- Best all-rounder – Maruxa Godello valdeorras 2020: £10.95, Thewinesociety.com
- Best for spicy Asian dishes – Viñas Del Vero Somontano gewürztraminer 2019: £12.99, Oxfordwine.co.uk
- Best for simpler fish dishes – Auzells Costers del Segre 2020, 13%: £11.50, Thewinesociety.com
- Best wine for desserts – Bodegas Ximénez Spínola exceptional harvest 2019: £22.79, Hometipple.com