Where can we find Catlomino?

The regions of South Spain, the Mediterranean coast and the Spanish islands present a huge diversity.

While areas like Jerez have been at the avant garde of wine production in Spain, being the first region to develop an industry centered in exporting wine, others, like Almansa or the Balearic islands, are home of medium and small wineries and do not enjoy the same recognition either in Spain or abroad. The main feature they share is the influence of the sea, whether it is the Mediterranean sea or the Atlantic ocean, and a hotter climate with a lesser diurnal range than in the central regions of Spain.



Castilla La Mancha

✤ Valencia


 Balearic Island

Canary Island

The land of the wine cathedrals

Andalusia is a vast region with a extension bigger than Japan and a population roughly the same size as Portugal. Several wine regions can be found here, with its own distinctive styles and signature grapes, however, if you order a wine from Andalusia in Madrid in 2022, your options are likely to be limited to the Jerez Denomination of Origin or the Montilla Moriles Denomination of Origin.

As it happened with Porto, these two regions share a history linked to the Atlantic wine trade and English businessmen. Names like Osborne, Sandeman or Williams & Humbert are still those of some of the oldest and most important wineries of all Spain. By far, most of the wine exported outside of Andalusia comes from these two regions.

Jerez/Sherry: This fortified wine is more defined by its winemaking style than by its terroir or its location, however it could not exist if it wasn’t by the conditions met at the Sherry triangle. Even the place where the winemaking process takes place can give the wine a different character, something recognised by the Denomination of Origin differentiating among the wines produced in Sanlucar de Barrameda and in Jerez or El Puerto de Santa María, the other 2 cities of this triangle. The main grape used is Palomino, which produces a wine with low acidity and without strong varietal flavours and aromas. Those wines undergo a process of biological ageing or oxidative ageing in a winemaking process known as solera system, gaining different characteristics. The main dry styles are Fino, Oloroso and Amontillado while the main sweet styles are Cream, Pale Cream and Pedro Ximenez, made from sundried Pedro Ximenez grapes. When fino is produced in Sanlucar de Barrameda it bears the denomination Manzanilla in account of its saline notes due to the proximity to the Ocean.

Montilla Moriles: This region located further inland, south of the city of Cordoba, has adopted the same solera system used in Jerez for wine production as well as the name for the different styles of fortified wines. The varieties used are also the same: Palomino for most of the wines and Pedro Ximenez and Muscat of Alexandria for the Pedro Ximenez wine, the most luscious style produced either in Montilla Moriles or Jerez. The soils of Montilla Moriles are poor on nutrients and not very fertile and climate is hotter than in Jerez, Cordoba being famous for registering the hottest temperatures of Spain in summer, during the growing season. Canopy management is paramount in order to protect the grapes from the sun.



Welcome to Jerez! My name is Catlomino, like the main grape used for Sherry wines. It gives a neutral wine with not strong varietal aromas and flavours that can age for years in different barrels called the Solera system, gaining complex flavours of almonds and/or hazelnut.

Those barrels are stored in large and cool buldings called “Wine Cathedrals”. Everyday I go inside and make sure that no mouse is hiding among the barrels. I also enjoy to lay in the andalusian sun, to protect the drying Pedro Ximenez grapes. When there is too hot, I go back inside the wine cathedral and enjoy a power nap on the top of a barrel, with an eye always open.

In the picture, I’m wearing is one of the traditional andalusian dresses and I’m pouring a glass of Oloroso using  a tool called venencia that allow us to take the wine directly from one of the barrels, to taste its evolution.

La Mancha: the world’s wine breadbasket

Although located inland, Castilla La Mancha regions share a strong relationship with its counterparts in Valencia, Murcia and Andalusia. Jumilla is a Denomination of Origin shared both by Castilla La Mancha and Murcia, Manchuela can be considered as an extension of the Denomination of Origin Requena-Utiel, just at the other side of the border, Almansa is heavily influenced by the Mediterranean winds that flows through the Almansa corridor connecting the centre of Spain with the Mediterranean coast and La Mancha, the biggest production region of Spain by volume, is where most of the alcohol used for fortification in Jerez and Montilla Moriles is distilled.

The only main region that has a more central Spain character is Mentrida, located south of the Gredos Mountains and one of the most interesting wine regions of Spain in the early XXI century. 

✾ La Mancha: This vast region is where the majority of the grapes produced in Spain come from. The most planted variety is Airén, due to its resistance to droughts and extreme heat. In spite of that, it’s not easy to find wines made 100% from Airen, as its production is mostly used for producing Brandy of Jerez or blended with other white varieties to create some inexpensive high-volume wines usually labeled simply white wine. Other important grapes planted here are Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon for reds and Sauvignon blanc and Verdejo for whites. Some wineries aiming for lesser yields and superior quality decide not to release their wines under this Denomination of Origin and use instead the Geographical Indication Vino de la Tierra de Castilla

Manchuela: East of La Mancha, in the Jucar river Basin, this Denomination of Origin lays just beside the Denomination of Origin Requena Utiel, in Valencia. The main variety in both regions is the grape Bobal, a red variety with medium high acidity and medium tannins able to produce refreshing and fruity wines. Most producers aim to enhance primary flavours and the characteristics of its terroir, minimizing the use of wood or opting for gentle toasts. Sustainability is also an important feature in this area and there are increasingly more wineries that have an organic certification.

Almansa: Southeast of Castilla La Mancha, in a narrow pass between Central Spain and the Mediterranean sea, the region of Almansa is drier than its counterparts in Alicante or Valencia and experience a higher diurnal range. Around 70% of the bottles of wine produced in this small region are from Bodegas Piqueras. This family winery bought several hectares of old vines in the 80’s and 90’s, when most winegrowers were uprooting their vines for more profitable crops, preserving one of the defining features of this region. The main grape varieties in Almansa are Monastrell and Alicante Bouschet and some of the best examples of the latter that can be found in Spain are produced here.

Méntrida: Located south of the Sierra de Gredos mountains, this small region is particularly renowned by its wines from Grenache. Its altitude is lower than the aforementioned regions and weather is warmer with a high diurnal range and extreme temperature variations between winter and summer. The winery Dominio de Valdepusa, owned by the Marques de Griño group of wineries, has recently put this region on the map due to the quality achieved in its wines. This lead other producers to focus on quality and transformed this region into one of the most vibrant and innovative of Spain in the early XXI century.


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Valencia: the Bobal Republic

Located along the Mediterranean sea in a coastal plain, the wines from this region are the pure essence of the Mediterranean.  The influence of the sea allows for a longer ripening period for the grapes and lower diurnal ranges than in the Central Spain regions.

The main varieties planted here are Bobal and Mourvedre, known in Spain as Monastrell, for reds, and Muscat for whites. In the Requena-Utiel area some wineries are allowed to produce wines under the Denomination of Origin Cava. The main regions are:

Utiel-Requena: Located further inland, on the border with Castilla La Mancha, this region is located between the Serrania de Cuenca mountains and the Cabriel river valley. The most important grape variety is Bobal, made in a style similar to neighboring Manchuela, followed by Tempranillo. Rains falls usually in spring and autumn but not during the summer months, usually very dry. This helps the grapes to ripen as they receive more hours of sun but can also be a threat as in recent years it has augmented the frequency and duration of droughts due to climate change. The southeastern part of this region is also allowed to produce sparkling wine under the Denomination of Origin Cava.

Alicante: This region close to the coast is the southermost Denomination of Origin of Valencia. The main grape here is Mourvedre (Monastrell), producing wines with less acidity and more alcohol compared with the wines from Monastrell from neighboring Jumilla, in Murcia, this is due to its lower altitude and its location closer to the Mediterranean sea. Other important grapes are Muscat, used for the production of off-dry white wines in an easy to drink style very popular among spanish consumers, and Chardonnay.

✾ Valencia: Valencia is the biggest denomination of origin of all three and its most representative grape is an autochthonous white variety called Merseguera. Its late-ripening cycle and its resistance to drought makes of this variety an ideal choice for the Valencian weather, with long summers and a lack of precipitations during the growing season. Wines from Merseguera tend to have high alcohol levels and can be used for the production of off-dry or medium-sweet styles of wine. For reds, the most important grape variety is Bobal, resulting in wines with less acidity and higher alcohol content compared with the ones made in Requena-Utiel and Manchuela.

Murcia: Where Monastrell is king

The smallest of all the spanish mediterranean regions, its most important wine regions are located further inland, in the mountains at the border with Castilla La Mancha.

Here, altitude has an important cooling effect, resulting in a climate less warm than in Denominations of Origin located further north but in the coast, like Alicante or Valencia. One of the main Denominations of Origin, Jumilla, even extends to neighboring Albacete.

The most important grape is Mourvedre, called also Monastrell in Spanish. The most relevant wine regions are:

✾ Jumilla: This Denomination of Origin extends from the Murcian plains to the slopes of the Betic system and more than half of the vines planted are from the Mourvedre variety. The vineyards located in the fertile plain soils offer higher yields and less concentrated fruit flavours while those located in the mountains or at the western side of them are more fresh and acidic. For a wine to be labeled Monastrell in this region, at least 80% of the blend must be from this variety while the rest come usually from Syrah or Mourvedre. A blend called GSM (Grenache-Syrah-Mourvedre) is usually found in this area, with Grenache sometimes replaced by Alicante Bouschet, known in Spain as Garnacha Tintorera, hence keeping the same acronym.

✾ Yecla: This smaller region surrounded by the Denominations of Origin Jumilla and Almansa.

Balearic Islands: The heart of the Mediterranean

Located in the middle of the Mediterranean sea, all the denominations of origin of this wine region are located in Mallorca, the main island of the archipelago. Viticulture was introduced by the romans, being one of the first Spanish regions to produce wine the 1st century BC.

Climate is clearly Mediterranean, with a strong maritime influence due to its insularity. Although some native varieties never recovered from the Phylloxera plague, the island production still revolves around autochthonous varieties. The most important ones are Callet and Manto Negre, both used for the production of red wines. The main wine production regions are:

Pla i Levant: This Denomination of Origin located between the central plains and the northeastern part of the island is characterized by its low altitude (100 meters on average) and the red or white colour of its soils, depending whether iron oxide or clay is present in them. Summers are dry and long and rainfall occurs mostly in autumn, sometimes in the form of violent storms. The main grape varieties of this region are Callet and Manto Negro for red wines and Prensal Blanc for whites. 

✾Binissalem: Located in the centre of the island of Mallorca, around the town of Binissalem, this small region is characterized by poor soils, leading to lower yields. As it happens also in Pla i Levant, most wines are a blend of the local varieties Callet and Manto Negro. Manto Negro wines are usually high in alcohol but less expressive while Callet wines have difficulties to reach 12,5% of alcohol and possess very distinctive aromas. For this reason, both varieties combine perfectly.

Canary Islands: A land of wine and fire

Located in the Atlantic Ocean, just in front of the African coast, the Canary Islands lay south of the parallel 30º north. However, due to the cooling influences of the Canary current and the trade winds all islands, with the exception of Fuerteventura, are able to produce wines. Vines were brought by the Spanish in the Middle Ages after its conquest of the archipelago.

The Canary Island played an important role in the spreading of viticulture to the New World and the varieties Criolla in Argentina, País in Chile and Misión in Mexico, that were predominant in those areas during the colonial period, are descendants of the canarian variety Listán Negro. The Transatlantic trade boosted wine production on the islands, as it was the last stop for vessels before departing for the Americas and wine was one of the most profitable cargo. Due to its volcanic terrains, the Canary Islands were, together with Chile, some of the few places spared by the Phylloxera plague. The Cuban independence initiated a period of  decline for the wine industry on the island, that only recovered with the growing influx of tourist in the second half of the 20th Century.  Most of the


The main wine producing regions are:

✾ La Palma: Being located further west, most vessels stopped at this island before crossing the Atlantic. Considered the most mountainous of the archipelago, vines can be found anywhere between 200 and 1,500 meters of altitude. One of the specialities of the island is the so called “Vino de Tea” or Tea wine. Elaborated from the black portuguese variety Tinta Negra Mole, also widely planted in Madeira, it is aged in Canary pine tree barrels.  This Tea barrels give the wine a distinctive style. Other important varieties planted are Albillo for whites and Listán Negro for reds.

La Gomera: Vines on this island, one of the smallest of the archipelago, are planted in terrace on the steep volcanic slopes. Here, the signature grape is the Forastera (foreigner) white variety. The majority of vines are planted in the north and northeastern regions of the island, in two areas called “medianas bajas” and “medianas altas”.

El Hierro: The smaller and southwestern of all Canary islands, it was one of the first to be conquered. It received the nickname “the meridian island” as the Ferro Meridian passed through the westermost part of the island. It was the reference of any sailor for centuries, until the use of the Greenwich meridian prevailed. Vines are also planted mainly in terraces like in nearby La Gomera, and the main varieties planted are the white grapes Vijariego Blanco and Palomino (known locally as Listán Blanco. These two varieties are often blended together. For red, the most relevant grape is Listán Negro. 

Tacoronte-Acentejo: The island of Tenerife is the biggest of the archipelago and host also the highest peak of Spain, the Teide volcano, with 3,715 meters of altitude. It’s the only island divided in several denominations of origin. The most important is Tacoronte-Acentejo, accounting for around 40% of the wine produced on the island. Vines are planted in terraces on steep slopes with a northern aspect. Listan Negro is, by far the most important grape variety, accounting for almost 60% of the vines planted. The focus of this region on exports set it apart from other wine regions in the archipelago. Most producers have succesfully introduced international varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot that are nowadays planted alongside local varieties like Tinta Negra Mole or the aforementioned Listán Negro.

Lanzarote: One of the most iconic wine regions of the Canary islands is Lanzarote. Its vines planted in Zocos, wide circular holes dug on the volcanic black soils of the islands, have become a symbol of viticulture in the archipelago. These holes protect them from the strong trade winds and also help to retain humidity, like the morning dew, acting like an inverted cone. The number of vines per hectare in those plantations is lower, with only around 300 compared with at least the 2,500 vines that are usually planted in a conventional vineyard. The main grape variety is Malvasia, a white variety from Greece. Called also Malmsey in the past by the English, the Malmsey wines from the Canary Islands were popular in England and even authors like Shakespeare mentioned them. Its demand eventually declined due to increasing competition from Porto and Madeira wines.