Wine is a funny thing. People will pay a lot for certain wines based upon the reputation of the wine. But given the sheer number of different wines, there are, only a very small percentage overall carry the status to command high prices, which means that a lot of wine is actually underpriced.
If you see your wine as a status symbol, you may buy only the finest Bordeaux and Burgundies. But if you think outside the (wooden) box, many wine regions offer some real gems at a fraction of the price of the top-notch French vintages.
Spain is one such region, offering unrivalled value for money for the savvy consumer. If you are willing to pay £10 or more for a bottle the quality can be astounding.
Spain is lucky enough to have low yielding vines which produce grapes packed full of flavour. The lack of rainfall means vines tend to be planted as bush vines spaced apart so many have reached a ripe old age resulting in lower yields and more intense flavours.
Spain’s vineyards are mostly at high altitude, so the grapes ripen slowly retaining colour and acidity in the final wines. Spain also boasts a wealth of indigenous grape varieties such as Tempranillo, Garnacha, Graciano, Godello, Verdejo and Viura to name but a few.
These are all major pluses for the country when it comes to producing quality wines.
Online wine retailer Rude Wines are big fans of Spanish wine and have 30 different Spanish wines available, as well as many from just next door in Portugal.
All of Rude’s wines come with free delivery for purchases of 12 bottles or more.
These are a few of our favourite Spanish wines at the more premium end of the scale and the slightly higher prices mean they are sure to impress, but still at a fraction of the cost of the finest Bordeaux and Burgundies.
A beautiful blend of Garnacha and Carignan, L’Expresio de Priorat, 2017, Priorat (£23.50) is not a typical Priorat in that it doesn’t need years of ageing before it’s ready to drink. This smooth, full-bodied, organic Priorat from the 2017 vintage has bold juicy notes of blueberry and cherry and its firm structure would match beef, lamb and mushroom dishes.
A wine made to vegan principles, Bodegas Navajas Gran Reserva 2010 (£19.99) is a balanced blend of Tempranillo, Mazuelo and Graciano grapes. Twenty-four months of ageing in oak barrels have added spicy vanilla notes and a further thirty-six months in bottle before release have allowed the wine to soften and mellow. This would be perfect with strong-flavoured game dishes and hearty lentil stews.
Wines such as Vega Sicilia from the Ribera Del Duero region have gained a cult following in recent times, pushing up prices in the region. But this Finca Villacreces Pruno 2016, Ribera del Duero (on offer at £15.99, normally £17.99) in the same vein represents excellent value for money with its great structure and juicy flavours of bramble, red fruits and vanilla. This heady blend of hand-picked organic Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes come from vineyards near the Duero river, or Douro river as it is known in Portugal where big, bold wines are made.
If you’re looking for the perfect wine to have with some quality seafood, look no further than Alba Martin Albarino 2017, Rias Baixas (£15.99). Its heady aroma of freshly mown grass and peaches, with citrus flavours and a slightly salty tang, will add zest to any fish dishes. The wine comes from vineyards on the banks of the Tamega river and not far from the Atlantic Ocean meaning grapes ripen relatively slowly and retain fresh acidity and aromas which are evident in the final wine.
Making this wine using grapes from 15-year-old Verdejo vines ensures Duquesa do Valladolid Verdejo 2017, Rueda (£9.99) is full of intense floral aromas and citrus flavours. If you’re a fan of lively Sauvignon Blanc wines, you’re bound to love this wine from the Rueda region of Northern Spain. Grapes are harvested in the evening to retain freshness and the wine is aged on its lees (yeast sediment) to give an extra depth of flavour to the wine.
Sherry is probably one of the most underrated and underpriced wines in the world. The amount of work that goes into producing Sherry is in no way reflected in the price you pay for it. The best Sherries are made from grapes from a single vineyard and Valdespino Inocente Single Vineyard Fino Sherry (£15.49) comes from one of the oldest and rarest family-owned bodegas in Jerez. The wine spends 8-10 years in the Solera system, the series of barrels that are used to produce Sherry. Serve chilled with toasted almonds and aged Manchego for the perfect pre-dinner aperitif.