In the national wine showcase there are good and affordable wines. To facilitate the search we have proposed to the renowned sommeliers Fernando Cuenllas and Pilar Oltra and the chef -with the soul of sommelier- Carlos Casillas to select the best references that are now on the market for less than 16 euros.

Whether monovarietals or coupages, of one or another DO, of well-known wineries or not so much ... Here are a dozen brands that we can enjoy without breaking the pocket.

From left. on the right: A Pedreira, Blanc de Pissarres, Matas Altas and Viña Ulises.

Fernando Cuenllas (Cuenllas)

It is the third generation at the head of that institution that is Cuenllas, super premium grocery and wine temple of Ferraz Street that was born as a butter shop in 1939 and that since last year also has a wine bar of the same name in Las Salesas, with about 800 wine references. Cultivated like few others, Fernando Cuenllas could well be a Renaissance man and a student of the world of wine who does not stop: he is involved in OSA, right now the most desired restaurant in the capital with a great gastronomic and wine bet.

In the chapter of whites, Fernando proposes Blanc de Pissarres, from Costers del Priorat (15.90 euros). "An old red vineyard with a few plants of white, white grenache, Macabeo that were used to give freshness to the wines are the basis of this white, cold, tense, wild and long," he says. Sharing the limelight is white A Pedreira, from Bodegas Fulcro (15.95 euros): "A manual Albariño, with tension, minerality and a fantastic texture, even to store".

Among the reds, the Madrid sommelier bets on Matas Altas, from Bodegas Cerrón (15.60 euros). "What Carlos and company are doing in Fuente-Álamo, Albacete (DO Jumilla) is an unparalleled feat, monastrell wines of marked Mediterranean character with a fluidity at the level of any wine from much cooler areas. They are here to stay."

It closes its proposal with Viña Ulises, by Gutiérrez de la Vega (15.70 euros). "We continue through the Mediterranean, where Violeta, without making noise, elaborates a sort of Château Rayas á la Marina Alta, fresh, perfumed, full of notes of Mediterranean mountain, sweet ...", he concludes.

From left. on the right: Bitoku, Flor de Xarel·lo d'Espiells, Sindicat La Figuera and Ultreia Saint Jacques.

Pilar Oltra (Vinology)

Granddaughter and daughter of winegrowers, the Argentine sommelier (based in Spain since 2002) Pilar Oltra grew up among vines, in Mendoza, one of the great wine regions of the South American country. After years of training (two years of Master of Wine and Level 3 of WSET) and more than a decade as a consultant in France and Spain, in 2010 she founded Vinology, a reference in the organization of events related to wine. In its eagerness to promote its culture, in 2022, it inaugurated the first physical space of Vinology, a wine bar that has just released a very gastro menu.

Among the whites, he opts for a varietal of the D.O. Penedés: Flor de Xarel·lo d'Espiells (11.25 euros), a project belonging to the family that owns Juvé & Camps. "It is made exclusively from flower must, the most delicate and perfumed. It is an organic xarel·lo from a manual selection of the vineyards of Espiells. Its aromatic expression is intense, fresh and has varietal notes of fennel and Mediterranean herbs, which are very refreshing, which makes it perfect for summer, "says Oltra.

Also in white key Bitoku 2021, from Adega do Demo, made with the varieties treixadura and loureira (15.95 euros) under the umbrella of the DO Ribeiro. "Laura Rodríguez and Carlos Lorenzo sign the flagship wine of this winery in Alongos. Its name means 'virtues' in Japanese and refers to the seven virtues of Bushido; virtues that are, to a large extent, necessary in the path that the vintner follows, from the vineyard to the obtaining of the wine", details the creator of Vinology. "It highlights the white fruit, pear, herbaceous, fennel, floral and aniseed touches, and is ideal to accompany fish and seafood."

Among the reds, he opts for Ultreia Saint Jacques, a Mencía del Bierzo from the hands of Raúl Pérez, one of the great national winegrowers and winemakers. Its name "refers to the pilgrims who pass through the vineyard on the way to Santiago de Compostela. It is a personal tribute by Raúl Pérez to this land and, probably, the wine with which he most identifies. Soft and extremely elegant, it demonstrates the full potential of the variety with which it is made and presents a touch of wood very well integrated. Limited production (only 2,000 bottles) it is a true signature wine at a very competitive price (13.40 euros).

Oltra closes its selection with Sindicat La Figuera, from the D.O. Montsant (10.60 euros). This Garnacha Tinta "was born from the collaboration of René Barbier Jr. with six winegrowers from the small cooperative in the village of La Figuera, with the idea of giving value to Grenache vineyards from 30 to 80 years old and recovering the traditional winemaking in the area, without going through wood," says Pilar. The red wine of the 2021 vintage is fragrant and seductive on the nose, with an explosion of juicy red fruits in the mouth and a fluid and fresh step", he concludes.

From left. on the right: Comisuras, El Soplón de Albillo Real, Los Arroyuelos and Vereda de las Tórdigas.

Carlos Casillas (Barro)

Our trio of experts closes the multidisciplinary Carlos Casillas, chef and owner of Barro, a restaurant in Ávila with 1,000 wine references and an important commitment to the local, something very present in the selection of wines he has made for METRÓPOLI.

Despite his youth, Casillas has a varied professional background behind him: he went through La Tasquita de Frente, Miramar de Paco Pérez and Ambivium; He joined Bullipedia with Ferrán Centelles with whom he worked in the research and writing of volume VII on the History of Wine and is a lover of gastronomy and sommelier.

Let's go with his proposal of whites. Comisuras, of Huellas del Tiétar (DOP Cebreros, Ávila), "a project located in the Sierra del Tiétar, on the south face of the land of Grados, where there are usually fewer vineyards and fewer wineries," explains Casillas. "It is a wine that mixes several white varieties, including a clone of the Verdejo variety that is in the Sierra de Gredos that is very fresh" (13.90 euros).

Another white of the area, El Soplón de Albillo Real, from Bodega Finca Fuentegalana, whose essence is this native variety of Cebreros (13 euros). "This grape that has been in Ávila since the sixteenth century and has great historical importance as a result of the precious wines that were consumed at that time and that the kings drank. Thewine has survived in a style of wines that have a certain body, a certain structure, volume in the mouth and, although despite their low acidity, they are beginning to be made with a lighter style".

Also from Ávila are the reds proposed by Carlos. Los Arroyuelos, from Bodega las Pedreras, project by Bárbara Requejo in Villanueva de Ávila, one of the highest villages in the Cebreros PDO. "It shows the delicacy of a Grenache that looks north. A very gastronomic wine at an unlikely price, with one of the best value for money that can be found" (between 14 and 16 euros).

To close, Vereda de las Tórdigas, by Rico Nuevo (14.90 euros). "We are facing a young project that shows that another life in the village is possible. Juanan Martín, born in Madrid, seeks roots with this tribute to his town, Burgohondo, with his grandmother's vineyards. A fragrant reference that maintains the tension of granite soils of degrees", he concludes.

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