Castilla y León has gained prominence among the grape and wine-growing regions in Spain.
Ten Denominaciones de Origin or DO's (apellations d'origine) and four areas producing vinos de la tierra map out the wine-producing areas in the region.
The most important wine-growing areas in the market for quality wine are found along the río Duero (Duero river).
Over 400 quality wine-making bodegas (wine cellars / distilleries) are home to the Denominaciones de Origin or DO's (appellations d'origine) such as Ribera del Duero, Cigales, Rueda, Toro, Bierzo, Arlanza, Arribes, Tierras de León, Tierra del vino de Zamora and Valles de Benavente and are protected by the regulating council in each area.
The some 200 bodegas (wine cellars) which account for the areas producing vinos de la tierra are practically spread out all over the region and are situated in places of great historic and cultural value.
Vineyards spattered with bodegas (wine cellars or distilleries) showing the architecture of the people are a true sign of the wine tradition in Castilla y León.
Of Castilla y Leon's nine DO wine zones, all but one surround rivers which ultimately flow into the Duero, and it is no co-incidence that the region's most respected wine districts (Toro, Rueda and of course Ribera del Duero) are those located right in the Duero Valley.
The exception here is Bierzo, in the far-northwest of the region, where both the climate and the wines are more closely aligned with those of neighboring Galicia.
Red wines rule in Castilla y Leon, and of the red-wine grapes, Tempranillo (known here by various synonyms including Tinta del Pais, Tinto de Toro and Tinto Fino) is unquestionably the king.
It is the grape behind all of the region's finest wines except Bierzo, which makes good use of Mencia. Castilla y Leon's white wines – far fewer in number than the reds, but only marginally less prestigious – are made mostly from Verdejo and Viura.
The international success of key Spanish producers in Castilla y Leon has done much to raise the region's profile.
Vega Sicilia, Numanthia-Termes, Campo Eliseo and Bodega Palacios Remondo, among others, have spearheaded modernization in the region and brought renewed interest to its wines.
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