Sam Wylie-Harris rounds up some top-notch styles and best buys from the biggest vineyard in the world. Salud!
A playground for winemakers and pleasure-seekers, when it comes to vino, Spain’s got the lot.
It’s one of our best loved holiday destinations and Spanish wines are quite the oenophile’s odyssey too, with reds young and old, trendy whites, fruity rose, splendid sherry and crisp cava – a must-have summer fizz for the fridge.
With significant investment in vineyards, improved winemaking facilities, increased quality and diverse geography – from an Atlantic coastline to a Mediterranean influence – not to mention mountain air topped with endless sunshine, the wide spectrum of exciting styles (across all price points) makes Spain an easy sell in the wine aisles.
So what are you waiting for? Get your Spanish fix with these eight best buys – pronto!
1. Co-op Irresistible Cava Brut, Catalonia, Spain, £7.25, Co-op stores
This super reliable Co-op own label cava, in partnership with Castillo Pereladaor, stands out from the crowd, with pristine citrus fruits and a flourish of freshness. Made in the traditional method and aged for more than 15 months lending a subtle creamy texture, it’s the perfect pour with tapas and party nibbles.
2. Waitrose Vina Taboexa Albarino 2018, Rias Baixas, Spain, £8.79, Waitrose
Beyond the bustle of Barcelona, the windswept Atlantic coast and Galicia’s Rias Baixas is a showcase for albarino (if you like pinot grigio, you’ll love this), one of the country’s most prized white grapes. With telltale floral and perfumed notes, juicy peachy and appley flavours, a hint of lemon blossom and fresh acidity on the finish, this is a natural with shellfish and seafood.
3. Mar de Frades Albarino 2019, DO Rias Baixas, Spain, £18.95, GreatWine.co.uk
Combining a lovely floral expression with wild flowers on the nose and a brilliant, minerally, saline note, this A-list Albarino really shows off the know-how of one of the region’s top winemakers and ‘self confessed Alabarino geek’. With a wonderful purity and soft texture, flavours of mango and peach are beautifully balanced, with roundness from six months lees ageing and a really lovely silky, salty finish.
4. Verdejo Ramon Bilbao 2019, Rueda, Spain, £11.95, GreatWine.co.uk
Spain’s other white grape, verdejo from Rueda (north west of Madrid) enjoys a continental climate with hot summers and cold winters – and makes dry, bright whites with lively citrusy notes, aromatic freshness and tropical, green character. From one of the country’s most innovative producers, here we have all that super floral freshness with aromatic herbs, hints of jasmine and citrus, flavours of ripe pear and peach topped with lemony acidity.
5. Cune Rioja Rosado 2018, Spain, £8.50, Co-op stores
An eye-catching salmon pink and just the type of rose to make you dream of the Mediterranean sunshine and your own cabana on a long stretch of beach, this is a generous, fruity style that’s beautifully balanced. Expect inviting aromas of peach, apricot and red berries, followed by similar flavours mingling with floral and spicy notes, supported by fresh acidity and fabulous, fruit-driven finish.
6. Bodegas Hidalgo La Gitana En Rama Manzanilla 2020, Spain, £15.95, Tanners
A jewel from Jerez, this bone-dry manzanilla from top producer Hidalgo offers fantastic value in the sherry stakes – and just like the lady on the label and flamenco music, it plucks beautifully on the heart strings and taste buds. Serve ice-cold in a large wine glass to relish the salty, nutty, yeasty, savoury deliciousness and fresh, tangy finish. Enjoy with a plate of roasted almonds for an unforgettable sherry experience.
7. Wm Morrison Priorat 2016, Spain, £8 (was £10), Morrisons
Highly rated and one of the most exciting wine regions, Priorat (south-west of Barcelona) is famed for its big, warming reds. This typical blend of garnacha, carignan, merlot and cabernet sauvignon offers all the modern depth, yet freshness you’d expect from this sun-baked land and Priorat’s distinctive slate soils – llicorella. Dense, blackberry fruit and dark cherries overlaid by dark chocolate, liquorice and light spice with ripe tannins and a stony minerality in the background – a top drop.
8. Vina Alberdi Reserva 2015, La Rioja Alta SA, Spain, £22.10, Armit Wines
Rioja Alta – a Spanish star and cited as a benchmark for traditionally produced Rioja – have been around since the 19th century. And while special bottlings such as their 890 and 904 gran reservas are the Rolls-Royce of Rioja, their Alberdi is a great value choice with wonderful depth as well as finesse. Fleshy and fruity, lifted flavours of raspberries, wild strawberries and red fruits abound, along with accents of exotic sweet spice, textbook vanilla, cedar and caramel from five years of ageing, finishing with velvety smooth tannins and glorious, long, silky finish.