I recently posted a Spanish wine Q&A, which did, indeed, cover a lot of information about the country’s wine region. Alas, when writing such posts, there are always a few details that get left behind, and it is those few details that one must be ready for when studying for the WSET Level 3 exam. So, I’m going to do a full wine region overview here.
INTRODUCTION TO SPAIN:
If you look at the map above, Spain can be divided into three climactic zones: 1) In the North (look at Rias Baixas and even Toro), the country is influenced by the Atlantic weather system—i.e., it has a moderate maritime climate. So vineyard risks here are all about the rainfall and associated issues. 2) To the East (move your eyes toward Priorat), the weather is a warm Mediterranean climate. Thus, there are less seasonal severities. Most vineyards are located where they can receive cooling influences from either the ocean or altitude. 3) In the very center, the Meseta Central is a large plateau that defines the center of Spain (take a look at La Mancha above). This plateau is cut off from any maritime influence by mountains. Thus, the climate here is hot continental and the largest issue is drought. Grape growers within the hot, arid center of Spain tend to utilize low-density bush-trained systems to capitalize on the water available and shading grapes from the heat-o-the-sun.