When it comes to Spanish grape varieties, many wine lovers know albariño and verdejo for whites, and the cava trio of xarel-lo, parellada and macabeo, and tempranillo and garnacha for reds. But the country grows more than 400 varieties, many of which are indigenous to Spain. Here are a few to look out for. White grapes Airén The most widely planted white-wine grape in Spain, Airén is a workhorse, found mostly in the Valdepeñas and La Mancha regions where it is drunk as a table wine and used as a base for Spanish brandy. It is popular with growers as it has high yields, is low maintenance and is resistant to drought and disease. Wines made solely from airén are surprisingly refreshing and pleasantly dry with crisp lemon, grapefruit and green apple flavours and a hint of rose petal on the nose. They are delicious with simple Cantonese dishes such as steamed broccoli with oyster sauce. In the Canary Islands, the grape is known as burra blanca , or “white donkey”. Godello From the Galician regions of Valdeorras, Bierzo and Monterrei, in northwest Spain, this is a rare grape that has great personality with crushed white gravel minerality and flavours of zesty citrus peel, pink grapefruit and puckery green plum and quince. It is slightly salty on the palateand goes well with dishes containing fresh coriander, such as the classic Cantonese dish of steamed fish with ginger, spring onion and coriander. Red grapes Bobal A curiosity of a grape despite its wide plantings in Spain, where it is second only to tempranillo, Bobal’s ideal home is in the southeast regions of Valencia, Murcia and Utiel-Requena. With its dense colour and high acidity, bobal has been used as a blending grape to supplement more popular varieties. Its thick skins are high in anthocyanins, which give the grapes an intense colour and tannic structure. Bobal wine has lovely dense, slightly chewy tannins with hints of dark chocolate, dried blackberries and pomegranate. Despite the wine’s intensely dark colour, the tannins are not too astringent, being on the mellow side with a touch of black tea and licorice on the finish. Mencía This grape has the tart cherry aromas of pinot noir and the intensity of syrah: ripe pomegranate, semi-dried blackberry and hints of dried licorice root. It is full bodied with syrah-like medium-high tannins and acidity. Found in the northwest of Spain – in Bierzo, Valdeorras and Ribeira Sacra – it was almost lostbecause winemakers thought it was related to finicky cabernet franc. DNA testing found it was genetically more similar to a Portuguese grape called jaen. Garnacha tintorera (aka Alicante bouschet) This is the only red grape whose pulp is purple – all other red wine grapes have white pulp; it is the skinthat gives the wines their colour. It is most commonly found in the landlocked Aragon region of northern Spain, whose sunny, hot, dry climategives the grape its jammy, berry flavours (blackberries, blueberries and black cherries). With a bit of oak, it can gain lovely mellow tones of baked cinnamon and cardamom spice and a hint of smoke, and lashings of cocoa powder and vanilla.