Summer wines can be a great lesson in style and that’s why we have asked 20 sommeliers based on different locations across Spain to recommend us their favorite wines in August. Each Friday, starting today, we will add five new suggestions.
In order for the list to be as affordable as possible, we have asked them to choose wines with a price cap of €12 per bottle. Each of our 20 experts give the reasons behind their choice and in some cases, they offer tips to get the best out of them.
There have been no coincidences, so the bottles featured are the sommeliers’ first choice of wine. Sherry seems to be a running passion for many —it is a category that is clearly gaining ground but sherry is also one of the first wines that comes to mind in terms of value for money. One particular sherry producer seems to be an absolute favorite with three wines from its portfolio making it to our sommeliers’ list. A vermouth has also sneaked in!
Many of the wines picked by the sommeliers are made in tiny amounts but we have tried to find retailers that store them.
We will be delighted to hear from you, dear readers. Please send us your feedback and tell us what you are drinking this summer, either on the comments section at the bottom of this page or on our social media. Please add the hashtag #SummerWines
Valdespino (Grupo Estévez), DO Manzanilla de Sanlúcar de Barrameda
Nico Montaner, owner of Taberna Maitea, in Barcelona. I must confess that I love finos and manzanillas and not only in the summer… I drink them all year round! Few wines allow me to close my eyes and travel, but a single sip of manzanilla transports me to a place where the sun shines on the albariza soils, the smells of the Guadalquivir river in Sanlúcar, the sea, the seaweed…
Palomino Fino grapes from the Miraflores vineyard are cleverly vinified and aged by master Eduardo Ojeda and result in a world-class wine. This manzanilla is not very old and has a subtle, delicate aroma and shows its character when we put it in the mouth. Saline, fresh and food-friendly: shrimps, king prawns oysters, Iberico ham, cecina (cured pork cuts), kokotxas (hake’s cheeks), seafood rice and even rabbit and snails!
A couple of tips: if you have the chance to store away this wine, do it. You will love the way it evolves. If you are lucky to find the en rama (unfiltered) version, don’t doubt it: smile and bask in the moment —you will have before your eyes one of the world’s top wines at supermarket prices.
Alta Alella. DO Alella
Agustí Peris, sommelier at Asador Etxebarri (1 Michelin star) in Atxondo (Bizkaia). The first thing that Agustín said when we asked him to recommend a wine for the summer was that the price limit made him a little uncomfortable and, in a certain way, robbed him of of his freedom to choose. The former sommelier at El Bulli in the early days of international recognition of the restaurant has now found his place working alongside grill master Bittor Arginzóniz in the picturesque Atxondo valley and seems to have other priorities when it comes to choosing the contents of his glass.
Why did he choose this white made mostly from Pansa Blanca (Xarel.lo)? “Its density and freshness endow it with a great structure. We can safely say that it is a very handy wine to share at the table”, says Agustí.
Vinyes Singulars, Vino sin Indicación Geográfica
David Villalón, Angelita Madrid in Madrid. My recommendation is Elemental 2015, a sparkling wine made by Vinyes Singulars in Penedès following the ancestral method. It comes from the oldest family vineyards — Tiras del Enano (Xarel.lo) and La Plana (Macabeu) planted organically in the 1950s. No SO² is added and it is made in a totally artisanal way.
This wine is a great choice for summer because it is fresh, intense, with small bubbles and very drinkable. Perfect for leisurely long gatherings and to drink at all time.
Check the producer's website for a list of shops where this wine is available or contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
AT Roca. Clàssic Penedès
Lucas Payá, wine consultant in Washington DC. During the summer months we must pay attention to wine serving temperatures. In hot days, you can’t beat a lovely fruity wine —low in tannins— served at around 16ºC; likewise, there is nothing more unpleasant that a similar wine over 20ºC. Having said that, wines served on an ice bucket are a sure bet if we want to avoid having to check the temperature of our glasses all the time. Be aware though that wines served too cold will lose their expression and merely numb our senses.
I recommend Clàssic Penedès AT Roca Rosat Reserva 2014, which comes from the heart of Cava country, and is a great choice for the holidays. With salmon colour, it is a traditional blend made organically following the traditional method. It displays fine bubbles, moderate alcohol and a good degree of complexity coming from the 20 months it has spent on its lees.
Best served at 6º-8ºC (ice bucket filled with 1/3 ice and plenty of cold water) in a white wine glass (to appreciate its red fruit aromas) and paired with refreshing summer dishes. Delicious.
Find this wine for €11.40 in Enterwine.
Bodegas Diezmo Nuevo. Moguer (Huelva)
Xanty Elías, owner of Acanthum (1 Michelin star) in Huelva. The chef and owner of Acánthum, who was awarded one Michelin star in 2015, is a great champion of his region’s products, not only in his dishes but also in the cellar of his restaurant in Huelva, in Spain’s southwest.
His choice comes from an estate founded in 1770, known at the time as Bodegas Sáenz. It was the first producer to register a vermouth brand in Spain.
“I have picked Melquiades Sáenz for its history and because vermouth is back in fashion. You cannot go wrong having a bottle in your cellar. It can be served with ice, which is great for summer because you can drink it chilled. Even if that dilutes it a little, it doesn’t lose persistence.
I like to pair it with with a good platter of Iberico salami and baby onions pickled with citrus fruit. I like to serve it with a chunky piece of ice, orange rind and lime. It is best to serve it cold so the ice doesn’t melt too quickly. If the flavor feels powerful, you can always add a touch of soda”.
Find this vermouth for €10.90 on Vinos Dulces.
Colonias de Galeón. VdT Sierra Norte de Sevilla
Rafa Bellido, owner of La Mojigata in Seville. The president of the Sommelier Federations of Andalucía and Seville picks a local wine which is little-known —and rarely found— outside the region. It is made by Colonias de Galeón in Cazalla de la Sierra, which is part of Sierra Norte Natural Park in Seville. This region used to export wine to the American colonies right up to the 17th century.
“The name is brilliant - it is 100% Seville”, explains Bellido. “The word Petimetre comes from the French petit maître and in Spanish it means someone who cares a great deal about his poise and following fashions. It is an organic Chardonnay which is aged on its lees. Served cold but not frozen, it is ideal to enjoy for lunch in the summer of anytime with friends. The best thing about it is that no excuse is needed to open a bottle!”
Find this wine for €8.95 on the producer's website.
Can Serra del Exibis Viticultors. DO Pla de Bages
Isabelle Brunet, sommelier at Monvínic in Barcelona. This wine is the result of the joint efforts of restaurateur Pep Aligue and Joan Soler, former winemaker at Abadal and current president of the DO Pla de Bages, who combines his work here with consultancies for several producers. Exibis is their entry-level wine and is a blend of old, high altitude Cabernet vines and local varieties Sumoll and Mandó.
Its greatest virtue is that it is juicy and very easy to drink —it’s a vin de soif to drink generously; Parisians call it a “glouglou” wine. I love the fresh red fruit and spicy notes you find in it; the fruit is ripe but without being excessive and it is ample and generous on the palate. Best served at around 15ºC in good company and paired with mature red meat.
Find this wine for €9.80 on Vinissimus.
Valdespino (Grupo Estévez). DO Jerez-Sherry
Aratz Mendieta, sommelier at El Cenador de Amós in Villaverde de Pontones, (Cantabria). Aside from my weakness for sherry wines, this amontillado fully meets expectations in terms of what to expect from an aperitif wine at this time of the year when we leisurely stretch these pre-lunch moments.
This amontillado has no added alcohol; it is a fino which has lost its layer of flor after 10 years with eight years of oxidative ageing. This prolonged resting gives the wine finesse and silkiness making it very easy to drink. In my opinion, it is best enjoyed slightly below the usual serving temperature -around 13ºC is perfect to pair with some Santoña anchovies.
Bodegas Gregorio Martínez. DOCa Rioja
Juan Ayerbe, owner of online wine store El Sumiller. I can think of manzanillas, cavas, whites and rosés but I feel like recommending a very fresh red. It has the soul of a white wine and is perfect for this time of the year given its expressiveness, light body, fine tannins and volume.
It is made from 100% Mazuelo vines grown on ferric clay and sandy soils at 700m of altitude and facing north. Indigenous yeasts are used during the whole bunch fermentation; no sulphur is added and it spends seven months ageing in used French oak barrels. It is a fresh, Atlantic-style Rioja and it represents excellent value for money.
Given that it is zesty and light bodied, it goes well with light summer dishes such as paella, pasta with vegetables and meat, legumes, fish stews, monkfish, cod, tuna, octopus, white meats and a wide array of different types of cheese. A very easy-to-drink wine which is perfect for warm days.
Best served between 15ºC and 18ºC. Even if the temperature goes up the alcohol is not noticeable and stays fresh.
Sota els Àngels. DO Empordà
Pedro Ruiz Belda, owner of Tiza y Flor in Alicante. Although he doesn’t hide his passion for sherry, the owner of this wine store with some really interesting and unusual tastings outside of Spain’s largest cities recommends us a natural red from northern Catalonia.
“It’s a pretty addictive wine and it is just great for the summer. The screw cap helps to drink a whole bottle easily! Flow is a blend of Carignan and Picapoll made by Sota Els Àngels, a producer who works organically and biodynamically. This is a natural wine indeed, but it is clean, without those stable notes you find sometimes in this style of wines.
“It is just what you expect from a wine to enjoy with nice weather: it is fresh, round, supple with fine tannins and lots of fruit. I like to cool it down in the fridge and then let it rest at room temperature for ten minutes; I think it is best served at 10ºC-12ºC. Another great thing about it is that you can drink it on its own or with food; it’s very versatile”.
Find this wine for €10.80 on Gourmet Hunters.
Bodegas Albamar. DO Rias Baixas
Marcos Docasal, sommelier at restaurant Nito in Viveiro (Lugo). The wine I have chosen is a single varietal Albariño from DO Rías Baixas, in the Salnés subzone. Owned by Xurxo Alba and his family, Albamar is a small winery producing around 55,000 bottles. The grapes in this wine come from vineyards planted on sandy soils located on the mouth of the river Umia, an area which used to be sea not that long ago. These vines breathe the Atlantic winds, something you notice in the wine.
This 2015 vintage fermented with native yeasts and remained with its lees for around five months in stainless steel tanks. In my opinion, it is a wonderful expression of the area, with freshness, zesty acidity and saline notes. I love to drink it in the summer with steamed mussels, oysters, razor clams…
There is no need to chill it too much —the producers themselves recommend to serve it at around 12ºC.
GatzaraVins. DO Conca de Barberà
Jonathan García, sommelier and owner of Cork Wine Bar in Bilbao. Located in Barberà de la Conca and surrounded by an area of great natural beauty, Gatzara was born in 2007 thanks to the dynamism and passion of three friends from Montblanc.
This red wine is made from Trepat (85%) and Tempranillo (25%). I’ve deliberately picked a red because we tend to think of whites or rosés as typical summer wines for their vivacity and fresh notes. In this case however, I want to emphasize red wines like this which perfectly adapt to this time of the year.
On the nose, Una Mica de Gatzara displays slightly zesty wild fruit notes, followed by mint and lemon verbena. Fresh and expressive, with plenty of fruit and good persistence on the palate.
In terms of pairing, I would drink it with simply cooked fish like sea bass and wild sea bream or rice with vegetables and seafood.
Find this wine for €8.80 on Vinissimus.
Bodega Goianea. DO Arabako Txakolina
Alaitz Galán, sommelier at Arbidel (1 Michelin star) in Ribadesella (Asturias). Txakoli is one of those drinks to share with friends and family, particularly in the summer when people get together for a barbecue and share special moments.
It is made by Goianea, a winery which is the sum of three individuals and three different ways to understand txakoli, the local varieties it is made from and the area: priest Juan José Tellaetxe, restaurateur José Cruz Guinea and farmer Jose María Gotxi. The three of them are also winegrowers and got together to revitalize their area, near Amurrio, 30km south of Bilbao. They work with two local grape varieties: Hondarrabi Zuri and Hondarrabi Zuri Zerratie (Petit Courbu).
I like to serve this txakoli chilled down to around 6ºC and pair it with grilled fish like a nice sea bream.
Callejuela, D.O. Manzanilla – Sanlúcar de Barrameda
Silvia García Guijarro, sommelier at Kabuki Wellington (1 Michelin star) in Madrid. This manzanilla is pretty special; it comes from a single vineyard located next to Viña Callejuela’s bodega, run by the Blanco brothers in Sanlúcar de Barrameda, in the Sherry Triangle. With the help of Ramiro Ibáñez, one of the most dynamic winemaker in the world of sherry, they decided to bottle their superb 2012 sobretabla (a young wine that has completed fermentation and has been fortified) separately.
The wine is called 1/11 because there were 11 casks from that vintage; each year one cask will be emptied to be bottled. Although the 2/11 is already on the market, the 1/11 —drawn from cask number eight— is particularly special for its singularity and freshness. I also value the fact that there are brave producers out there who are happy to search new ways to find different products to offer to new clients.
I recommend to serve it around 7ºC-8ºC and pair it with all kinds of summer foods: gazpacho, grilled or fried fish or a dish of grilled red Denia prawns.
This saca is sold out. Find the 2/11 saca for €18.85 on Monvínic.
Valdespino (Grupo Estévez). DO Jerez-Sherry
Belén Salvador, sommelier at Lavinia Restaurant (Madrid). My summer wine is fino Inocente from Bodegas Valdespino. It is made from Palomino grapes grown in the Macharnudo vineyard and is aged under flor for over eight years. This wine is extraordinary value if you bear in mind that it retails in Spain at less than €10; to top it all, it has managed to maintain its origins in one of the region’s historic vineyards.
It is the perfect aperitif drink to have with tapas, fish, seafood, marinades and, of course, Iberico ham. I particularly like it with marinated sardines, ponzu sauce and seaweed butter.
Bodegas Gerardo Méndez, DO Rías Baixas.
Luis García de La Navarra, sommelier and owner of Vinoteca García de La Navarra (Madrid). I have chosen Do Ferreiro for many reasons, but specially because it is very clean on the nose — its herbaceous, eucalyptus notes transport you to the forests of Galicia. It is soft and fresh on the palate, with vivid acidity and mouthcoating texture. The bitter notes and very light salty finish invite you to drink more. Although it was a difficult vintage in the area, the Méndez family managed to get the best out of it.
Bodegas Itsasmendi, DO Bizkaiko Txakolina.
Ismael Álvarez, sommelier at Nerua (1 Michelin star) in Bilbao. Itsasmendi has always championed research and the search of new avenues to increase wine culture awareness in Bizkaia, in the Basque Country. It has achieved tremendous results and it is one the producers who proudly promotes the wines of Bizkaiko Txakolina around the world.
One of its most interesting projects is Eklipse, a red txakoli with 65% Pinot Noir and 35% Hondarrabi Beltza, Bizkaia’s local red variety, sourced from vineyards in Muskiz and Gorliz, very close to the sea.
This 2014 vintage shows the finesse that this wine is gradually acquiring with the years. It displays fresh aromas with very fine and delicate fruit notes. Aging is done in various types of oak casks ranging from 225 liters to 600 and even 2000 liters and extends over eight to 11 months until they are all blended.
It is a good summer wine. Don’t be afraid to serve it at a lower temperature than the standard reds; 13ºC is perfect on a hot day. It pairs well with grilled fish such as red bream or turbot.
Find this wine for €12.50 on the producer’s website.
Bodegas Vilaplana, VT Norte de Granada.
Mónica Quirós, sommelier at restaurant El Claustro in Granada. This intriguingly named wine (Ten days in March) comes from a vineyard in Caniles, a hamlet in the town of Baza (Granada) and is a blend of Macabeo, Moscatel and Jaén Blanco.
It is a perfect summer wine because it is fresh and has moderate alcohol (12%). It also displays balanced acidity and very special aromas, with no trace of wood. It is made by Bodegas Vilaplana, a small producer who only makes three wines so all their love and efforts are focused on quality.
This wine is best served cold, between 6ºC and 8ºC. A wonderful summer pairing is sturgeon stew, farmed locally in the village of Riofrío, with potato cream and caviar.
Find this wine for €8.25 on Granada Vinos.
Limited Series by Winelotseries, Valle de Bibei, DO Ribeira Sacra.
Dani Corman, owner of Essencia Wine Bar in San Sebastián. Mahana white is the third wine in the Winelotseries Limited Series. The 1332 bottles of this vintage have a striking personality. It displays Godello’s austere character with subtle beeswax and boxwood aromas on the nose, paired with the lively fruity notes of Albariño and the floral nuances of the Doña Blanca variety.
The palate features Godello’s trademark unctuosity and volume, with freshness and depth on the finish. It is ready to be enjoyed right now but it will improve with some bottle time.
It is such a versatile wine that there are many pairing options. If I had to choose just one dish, I would go for a plate of fishhook-caught fried squid.
Find this wine for €12 at Winelotseries.
Sara i René Viticultors, DOQ Priorat.
Roger Viusà, sommelier and owner of Plaça del Vi 7 in Girona. I’ve had many occasions to chat with Sara and René, a wonderful couple of wine-makers, but if I had to choose a phrase from them which has particularly marked me, it would be this one: "Yes, we want to produce natural wines too but they should be borne out of reflection; we don’t want to spoil the efforts of our ancestors.” Hence this great white captures the Mediterranean sun, the heat, the volume, the light and the power of the llicorella soils which shamelessly expresses Priorat's strong character.
A deep yellow with orange tinges, this white wine reflects the region’s intense sunshine. On the palate it feels warm and velvety; a broad, mouth-filling wine displaying peppery notes together with toasted almonds and salty flavours. It somehow epitomizes what a warm, Mediterranean white should offer including some finely-understood ‘rancio’ nods and the sun reverberation on llicorella soils. Terroir prevails.
With a price tag of €40-50, this wine goes way over our suggested price, but we decided to make an exception and include it in our list. In fact, it is a rather ex-cepcional wine -it can only be found in selected restaurants across Spain like Vi-usa’s Plaça del Vi in Girona, Monvínic in Barcelona or Diverxo and Taberna Laredo in Madrid. Only 700 bottles were made in the 2011; the 2013 vintage has just been released.