Spotlight on Spain: 8 top drops to kick-start your summer fiesta

24th Apr 19 | Lifestyle

The Spanish wine scene is hotting up. Sam Wylie-Harris selects the best bottles to try now.

Spanish vineyard landscape

The Spanish countryside is as beautiful as its wines, and along with endless holiday experiences by the sea, Spain’s vino is a voyage of discovery.

This diverse wine producing country boasts the most vineyard acreage in the world, and if you like to flip-flop between refreshingly bright whites and seriously tasty top-notch reds, there couldn’t be a better time to seek out some Spanish stars.

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With a myriad of styles, across a range of price points, to tempt both the adventurous and cautious, we’ve plucked eight wines to mirror Spain’s vibrant culture and landscape…

Whites

1. ‘La Bien Pinta’ Rueda 2017, Spain (£5.99, Lidl)

La Bien Pinta Rueda, Spain
(Lidl/PA)

A vibrant verdejo from Rueda, northwest of Madrid, the label translates to ‘well painted’ – and this lovely wine shows a sauvignon-like character with its herbaceous aromas, backing its flavours of green apple, honeydew, grapefruit pith and hints of fennel with a palate-cleansing crescendo of a finish.

2. Marks & Spencer Raso de la Cruz Blanco 2017, Spain (£6, M&S stores)

M&S Raso de la Cruz Blanco, Spain
(Marks & Spencer/PA)

Unoaked, this is a lively, vivacious blend of viura (Rioja’s historic white grape) and a splash of chardonnay. With zippy, citrusy acidity amid the ripe apricot and wild thyme, it ends with juicy acidity and a splash of lemon verbena. Brilliant with prawns with garlic butter.

3. Albanta Albariño 2018, Rias Baixas, Spain (£7.99, Aldi)

Albanta Albarino, Rias Baixas, Spain
(Aldi/PA)

Albariño is Spain’s trendy white grape, which pairs exceptionally well with grilled seafood. The cooler-than-average damp climate in ‘green’ Galicia (in the northwest) blesses the whites with high acidity and a saline quality. Showing all the hallmarks of quality albariño, with flavours of peaches, apricots and almonds, lemon zest closes the crisp, clean finish.

4. Murrieta Blanco Reserva Capellania 2014, Rioja, Spain (£21.90, Hedonism.co.uk)

Murrieta Blanco Reserva Capellania, Spain
(Marqués de Murrieta/PA)

Viura at its very best and a firm favourite with the critics (this famed estate received the highest score in Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate for its iconic label Marqués de Murrieta Castillo Ygay white), this has all the positive characters of a wine with 15 months in French oak. With a creamy texture and layers of complexity, there’s exquisite ripe pear, quince, vanilla, white pepper and a succulent richness. Simply gorgeous, and a great alternative to a white Burgundy.

5. El Viaje de Ramon Bilbao Rioja Reserva 2014, Spain (£7 for 50cl, Co-op stores)

El Viaje de Ramon Bilbao Rioja Reserva, Spain
(Co-op/PA)

If one of you likes white and the other red, or you don’t want to make an expensive mistake, this new 50cl format (half bottle) from one of the fastest growing Rioja brands is a great buy. A tempranillo temptress in a savoury style, with aromas of ‘hierbas’ bushy herbs and vanilla spice alongside a rich core of plums, liquorice and wild thyme, and a hint of cranberry comes into play on the finish.

6. Torres Coronas Tempranillo 2018, Catalunya, Spain (£9.99, Waitrose)

Torres Coronas Tempranillo, Catalunya, Spain
(Torres/PA)

Beyond the leading regions of Ribera del Duero, Rioja and Priorat, historic wineries on the outskirts of Barcelona have far more to offer wine lovers than cracking good cavas. Predominantly tempranillo with a top up of cabernet sauvignon, this impressively smooth red has plenty of flesh on its bones, with expressive wild berry aromas and intense forest fruits mingling with herbs, spice and vegetal notes on the plush finish.

7. Tesoro de Rosario Monastrell Shiraz 2017, Bullas, Spain (£10.99, Laithwaite’s)

Tesoro de Rosario Monastrell Shiraz, Bullas, Spain
(Laithwaite’s/PA)

A Spanish fruit bomb from Bullas, north-west of Murcia in the southeastern, sun-seeker’s strip of Spain, this red really packs a punch with its deliciously rich layers of black cherry, racy raspberry, and spicy sweet berry fruits framed by wild herbs. Old vine monastrell is topped with shiraz, which amplifies the herby, gutsy, spice-infused finish.

8. Bodegas Palacios Remondo, La Montesa Crianza 2015, Rioja, Spain (£17.95, Berry Bros & Rudd)

Bodegas Palacios Remondo, La Montesa Crianza, Rioja, Spain
(Berry Bros & Rudd/PA)

Opulent from the word go, this enticingly smooth and seductive red offers a deliciously fruity centre of sweet red and black berry fruit dipped in cassis. Supported by light tannins, it feels fresh and juicy and is so eminently drinkable – don’t be surprised if it’s gone in a flash. Made from 90% garnacha, planted at high altitude, there’s a unique freshness to the wine that keeps you coming back for more.

Selection of Spanish corks
(SWH/PA)

© Press Association 2019

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