Regional Varieties: Albariño Aligoté Amigne Arneis Chasselas Colombard Cortese Fiano Grechetto Grenache Blanc Malvasia Istriana Marsanne Muscadelle Muscat of Alexandria Ortega Palomino Parellada Petite Arvine Prosecco Rieslaner Roussanne Savagnin Scheurebe Seyval Blanc Tocai Friulano Torrontés Vermentino Welschriesling
For its influence in the wine world, Spanish wine grape Airén would generally deserve only a small mention in our "regional varieties" division. After all, it is only found in Spain. But a technicality qualifies it to join the major varieties section: it is the world's most planted white wine grape! This, however, needs some qualification. At 706,000 acres of planted surface, the wine beats out its competitors, although it lacks such high standing in terms of number of vines planted.
Airén's high standing is only of slight importance, as most of the wines made from it are unacclaimed. The large numbers of plantings are also in rapid decline as the world wine market shifts interest to red wine. Airén is a tough grape; the true best use is probably in Spanish brandy. Originating sometime in the 17th century, Airén has a long history of production in all kinds of alcoholic beverages.
As far as wine goes, though, fine Airén wines are hard to come by. It is allowed in the DOs Alicante, Bullas, Jumilla, and Vinos de Madrid, but is not usually included in them. Airén is mainly used in the wines of La Mancha and Valdepeñas. The city of Madrid has many plantings, most of them for table wines.