The revolution of quality wine, of wine that recovers its character printed by the vineyard and its soil, not by the additions and manipulations in wineries that had become industrial and massive, advances in the world of Spanish wine. But, except for those caps called Vega Sicilia or L'Ermita, our relaunched wines are usually considerably cheaper than those from countries that do not carry that -bad- fame of wine at 1 euro.
Frequently, and always within those prices that internationally would be considered cheap, Spanish wines exceed those of similar price from elsewhere. Sometimes, not only do they exceed them: there are Spanish bottles, for example, between 10 and 20 euros, which reach the qualification of "great", memorable ... Of real gifts, come on. If they came from countries with more tradition and antecedents in the history of great wines, bottles of comparable quality to these would cost double, triple or much more. The -too many- years of fame for cheap and undistinguished serve at least to help the current buyer of Spanish wines.
Here are some suggestions in that category. (Prices, you know, may vary slightly from trade to trade.)
From left. on the right: Telmo Rodríguez Gago 2018, Barbadillo Arboledilla Poniente Manzanilla En Rama, Pepe Mendoza Casa Agrícola Moscatel-Macabeo-Meseguera 2022 and Viña Real Crianza 2019.
Pepe Mendoza Agricultural House Moscatel-Macabeo-Meseguera 2022. DO Alicante, 13 euros.
This great winegrower and winemaker from Alicante is a champion of wines that reflect his soil, but in this white he has not hesitated to combine the Muscat of the Navy with the Macabeo and the meseguera, which give liveliness and seriousness to the sweet character of the Muscat. Mediterranean -fennel, jasmine, lemon- but very fresh. Remembering that throughout Spain you can produce whites, reds and rosés very different but very interesting.
Barbadillo Grove Poniente Manzanilla In Branch. DO Jerez and Manzanilla de Sanlúcar, 14 euros.
The largest winery in Sanlúcar has its boots exposed to the humid winds of the Atlantic, which make its aging cooler. This wine in branch, saline, with classic notes of esparto, has presence in the mouth and is very serious. A great generous of Sanlúcar.
Finca Sandoval Aurora 2021. DO Manchuela, 19 euros.
The ownership and team of this wine estate that brought La Manchuela out of anonymity changed in 2019, and the new winemaker, the Valencian Javier Revert, has taken advantage of the old white grape strains that grow mixed with those of red bobal in his vineyards to make the first white of the house: another version of those whites from the southeast, In this case delicate, round, with notes of almond, apricot and white flowers. Made with marisancho, albilla de Manchuela, tortosina, trepadell and macabeo. No chardonnay...
Palacios Remondo Finca La Montesa 2019. DOC Rioja, 17 euros.
Álvaro Palacios has not only made memorable wines in Priorat or, together with his nephew Ricardo, in El Bierzo, he has also relaunched the family winery in Alfaro, that Rioja Baja (today, Oriental) previously despised because it was a land of Grenache. This Spanish caste, which has made the south of the French Rhône great, was despised here, and Álvaro, maintaining his father's work, led its reconquest. La Montesa is the most affordable of its great grenaches: ruby red, perennial red fruits, floral aromas, very fine tannins of the limestone soils. No oak soup. It goes well even with blue fish.
From left. on the right: Tentenublo Xérico 2018, Frontonio Microcósmico Macabeo 2021, Celler del Roure Vermell 2020 and Artazu Pasos de San Martín 2018.
Astobiza 2021. DO Arabako Txakolina, 11 euros.
Poorly known in relation to the Chacolís of Vizcaya and Guetaria, that of Álava conquers interest with the Astobiza property, advised by Ana Martín. It carries 90% ondarrabi zuri and 10% ondarrabi zuri zerratia (you can also call them courbu blanc and petit courbu). The current chacolí has changed a lot, with more maturity along with its acidity, more body, and many citrus and white fruit. The chacolí has changed, yes.
A Pie de Tierra Fuerza Bruta 2020. DO Vinos de Madrid, 16 euros.
One of the last properties that have appeared in the renaissance of Gredos, A Pie de Tierra obtains this pale Grenache wine, fresh, delicate, full of red fruits from vines at medium height, not at the top of the mountains. Fermented without destemming, without foreign yeasts, from granite soils, it is the very expression of lightness.
Finca Valpiedra Cantos de Valpiedra 2018. DOC Rioja, 10.50 euros.
It is the base wine of this estate of the Martínez Bujanda family, a meander of 80 hectares of the Ebro that gives its references the liveliness of the boulders. Admirably vinified by Lauren Rosillo, this 100% tempranillo combines minerality, classic Rioja fruitiness, and not an iota of the dreaded "oak soup" at an unbeatable price.
Artazu Pasos de San Martín 2018. DO Navarra, 18 euros.
Juan Carlos López de Lacalle not only makes great wines in Rioja Alavesa (today without denomination of origin), but also in the Montaña Baja of Navarra, where this Garnacha on limestone soils in San Martín de Unx, elegant and fruity, is a pure wine of pleasure. Another Grenache, 50 years ago reviled, and world-class.
From left. on the right: Finca Sandoval Aurora 2021, Casa Castillo La Vereda 2020, A Pie de Tierra Fuerza Bruta 2020 and Palacios Remondo Finca La Montesa 2019.
Celler del Roure Vermell 2020. DO Valencia, 9.50 euros.
Pablo Calatayud is one of the repitchers of the Alforins, in the mountains of southern Valencia. In addition, it has inherited a historic winery where wines are made and aged in large buried clay jars. This red base, with 70% alicante bouschet, 25% mandó and 5% bows, is all red and fresh fruits of the Mediterranean, without any heaviness. Let's rediscover our Mediterranean!
Telmo Rodríguez Gago 2018. DO Toro, 20 euros.
The Riojan Telmo Rodríguez, together with Pablo Eguzkiza, strives to maintain freshness and fruit in his wines from all over Spain, including the warm region of Toro. In 2018 the vintage was rather fresh, and the result is excellent with this wine loaded with black fruit (blueberries), and with a good aging potential,
Viña Real Crianza 2019. DOC Rioja, 9.50 euros.
It is extraordinary to be able to find a crianza from one of the great classic wineries of Rioja, CVNE, for this price. And it is a tempranillo (90%, with other grapes) raised in a traditional way, still tannic because it is young, but very tasty, full of black fruit, blueberries and blackberries, made for a good roast. And no, the oak is not its main protagonist.
The Araucaria Gaia 2019. DO Valle de la Orotava, 20 euros.
Without the need for aging in wood, based on vijariego with some black and Castilian listán, this red reflects its origin in volcanic soils without heaviness but with a lot of fruitiness, with a mineral touch and another menthol. A different Canarian red, of great freshness.
From left. on the right: La Araucaria Gaia 2019, Finca Valpiedra Cantos de Valpiedra 2018, Venus La Universal Dido Blanc 2020 and Astobiza 2021.
Casa Castillo La Vereda 2020. DO Jumilla, 18.50 euros.
José María Vicente, main producer of great jumillas with his legendary Pie Franco, elaborates from a monastrell vineyard of more than 30 years, more than 700 meters, this wine that is all red and black fruit and very friendly, without edges. Quite the opposite of those old ideas about Jumilla and its grapes.
Tentenublo Xérico 2018. DOC Rioja, 17 euros.
Roberto Oliván's winery has been one of the great recent revelations of Rioja Alavesa, with its wines from the slopes of Viñaspre, of great purity. We are facing a tempranillo with 15% viura (Macabeo) that lightens it, although it has real aging potential. More red fruits than black: original in a rioja.
Canopy Malpaso 2021. DO Méntrida, 16.50 euros.
Canopy, the project of Belarmino Fernández and Alfonso Chacón, is one of the stars among the saviors of Gredos' Grenache (including the scarce white grenache), but they also stand out with the syrah, which at altitude and on sandy soils produces an explosion of black olives, smoked bacon and blackberries that would make many Rhones pale. One of the greatest Spanish syrahs.
Winery VidAs 100 Montañas Albarín Negro 2018. DO Cangas, 20 euros.
A few years ago it was said that Asturias and Cantabria did not produce wine. It is already known that this was not the case. This wine from Cangas del Narcea, from black albarín (alfrocheiro preto in Portugal, bruñal in Arribes del Duero), is a discovery, chocolatey and full of black fruits.
From left. On the right: El Escocés Volante es lo que hay 2019, Valdespino Amontillado Tío Diego S.A., Bodega VidAs 100 Montañas Albarín Negro 2018 and Canopy Malpaso 2021.
The flying Scotsman is what there is 2019. DO Calatayud, 16 euros.
Norrel Robertson MW is the "flying Scotsman", one of the great rediscoverers of Grenache in Spain for more than 20 years. This wine without aging in barrels but only in cement is pure Mediterranean fruit, round and tasty, but with a good potential for development in the bottle.
Venus La Universal Dido Blanc 2020. DO Montsant, 18 euros.
René Barbier and Sara Pérez demonstrated in La Universal that the wines of Montsant could be as great as those of neighboring Priorat. This white white of white Grenache, Macabeo and Xarel·lo, is a magnificent combination of white fruits and minerality of calcareous soils. Another Mediterranean white that claims that style.
Valdespino Amontillado Tio Diego S.A. DO Jerez and Manzanilla de Sanlúcar, 20 euros.
From the legendary payment of Macharnudo Alto, this generous wine from Valdespino is aged for many years, first with biological aging under veil and then oxidative. Very fine and nuanced, saline, with notes of nuts: incredible price for a great generous.
Microcosmic Frontonium Maccabee 2021. VT Valdejalón, 13.50 euros.
Fernando Mora, one of our youngest Masters of Wine, is producing tremendous red wines from old Grenache vines in this corner of Aragon. Much cheaper is its white Macabeo, very floral and saline, without aging in wood, of great sincerity. A bargain, no doubt.
THANKS TO THE ENOTECA LAVINIA
José Ortega y Gasset 16 (Madrid). Phone: 91 426 06 04. / CC Moraleja Green. Avenida de Europa, 13 (Alcobendas, Madrid). Phone: 91 490 10 36.
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