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Regions

Comprehensive description of all European growing areas, their grape varieties, traditions and legal rules with maps.

Description to Castilla y León

The autonomous community (Spanish: Castilla y León) with its capital Valladolid is located in the north-west of Spain. With a land area of 94,218 km², it is slightly larger than neighbouring Portugal. Together with Madrid and Castile-La Mancha, it forms the region of Castile, whose name goes back to the medieval kingdom of the same name. Castile-León is divided into nine provinces. The western part with the provinces of León, Salamanca and Zamora forms the historical landscape of León. The provinces of Ávila, Burgos, Palencia, Segovia, Soria and Valladolid make up the Castile region. Castile-León borders the Spanish regions of Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria and the Basque Country to the north (from west to east).

History

The region is also known as the "land of castles". It was once the border region between the Christian and Moorish worlds, which is why many border fortresses were built here. It forms the heartland of Spain, as the Reconquista, the reunification of Spain under Christian rule in the Middle Ages, was largely driven from here. In 1492 (the year of Christopher Columbus' discovery of America ), the Moors were expelled and Valladolid became the capital instead of Burgos. It remained so until 1561, when King Philip II (1527-1598) chose Madrid in New Castile (Castilla-La Mancha) as the new capital. In the extremely eventful 16th century, viticulture flourished due to the needs of the Spanish royal court and the conquered provinces in the New World.

Kastilien-León - zahlreiche Burgen, Schlösser und Festungen

Soil & climate

The high plateau is crossed by numerous rivers. The most important is the Duero, which is around 900 kilometres long and flows into the Atlantic at Porto. Its most important tributaries are Águeda, Esla, Pisuerga, Torme, Valderaduey and Yeltes. The altitudes of the individual areas differ geologically. The southern areas, such as Toro and Rueda, have gravelly soils with a high iron content, while Rueda is characterised by nutrient-poor clay soils. The best sites in the best-known area of Ribera del Duero have highly calcareous, nutrient-poor soils. Due to the different soil structures, Castile-Leon is often divided into two areas: the Duero basin and the mountainous hinterland. The continental climate is generally characterised by hot, dry summers and long, cold winters, but is shaped by different influences. In the areas closer to the Atlantic in the north-west, such as Bierzo, there is more rainfall.

Vineyards & grape varieties

The vineyards cover around 72,000 hectares and lie between 450 and 1,000 metres above sea level. Predominantly red wines are produced. The most important red wine varieties are Mencía, Garnacha Tinta, Tinto del País (Tempranillo), Bruñal (Alfrocheiro), Prieto Picudo, Juan García, Merlot, Malbec (Cot), Cabernet Sauvignon, Viura (Macabeo) and Palomino. The most important white wine varieties are Verdejo, Albariño (Alvarinho), Godello, Albillo Mayor, Malvasia and Sauvignon Blanc.

Wine-growing areas

There are nine DO areas, four VCIG areas and one Vino de Pago area (quality wines) and, with Castilla y León, an IGP area (regional wines) covering the entire region:

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