Far from the coast and protected from the Atlantic winds by the Sierra de Cantabria and the Pyrenees mountain ranges, this part of Spain provides favorable conditions for red wine grapes. Spain´s most famous iconic region is included here: Rioja, and so is Navarre and also Aragon (a less-known region that has consolidated a strong reputation for quality wines in recent times, first with wines from Somontano DO, then with fantastic Garnacha wines from Campo de Borja, Calatayud and Cariñena Dos.
La Rioja and Navarre played a fundamental role in the XIX century when the phylloxera plague destroyed the French vineyard. The dry, continental climate, local vines, and hard work of local winemakers that partnered with French negociants and wineries, played a fundamental role in the success story of this region. Prosperity arrived thanks to wine and Europe could drink red wine thanks to a large degree to these lands. More difficult times arrived later, but the seeds planted were strong and vigorous.
In Spain, Rioja is synonymous of wine. The denomination of origin spreads along 54.000 hectares around three different Communities (La Rioja, Basque Country, and Navarre).
The wines of Rioja are the most famous of Spain and its long tradition supports their fame. Rioja wine tours are amongst the most popular in the country, and there are good reasons for this: it is not only about its wines, but the landscapes, excellent food, and good connections with top cities like Bilbao or San Sebastian.
Navarre is one of the most famous Denominaciones de Origen in Spain. There are many wineries that produce wine belonging to the Navarra DO, but also wines that are part of the Rioja DO.