Castilla y León wine region

Castilla y León
The autonomous region of Castilla y León occupies much of north central Spain and is home to a number of important Spanish winemaking regions.  This is the northern part of Spain’s central plateau and is essentially a high plain surrounded by mountains with the Duero river running east to west through it.  It has a harsh continental climate, with baking hot summers and bitterly cold winters when most of the limited rain falls.  Altitude and clear skies mean nights are cool even in summer.  Much of the land is too poor and arid even for vines; the wine regions are mostly strung out along the river.
 
The largest and most famous is Ribera del Duero, home to some of Spain’s most revered reds made largely or entirely from Tempranillo.  Tempranillo also dominates further downstream in Toro, near the Portuguese border, although there is a little Garnacha here as well.  Between the two lies Rueda which, along with Rías Baixas, is Spain’s leading white white region.  Its refreshing whites are made mostly from the local grape Verdejo, supported by Viura and Sauvignon Blanc.
 
North of the region’s capital Valladolid, Cigales has traditionally specialised in rosado (rosé), although some exciting Tempranillo-based reds are now being made.  In the far northwest on the border with Galicia, where the climate is less extreme, fast-rising Bierzo produces fragrant and characterful reds from the Mencía grape.
 
In the far south, on the border with Castilla La Mancha and Madrid, the Sierra de Gredos range combines granite soils with high altitude, and has been building a reputation for unusually elegant old-vine red Garnacha and white Albillo.  It’s being hailed as “the new Priorat”, even though it doesn’t yet have its own DO.

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