We have looked at our notes from the latest tastings we have attended to compile a list of wines to drink throughout 2020 without breaking the bank. All of them retail under €15 in Spain and many can be purchased for less than €10. Some are more widely available than others, but all of them can be bought online and are highly enjoyable, perfect to suit the tastes of all sorts of consumers. To have an even better experience with these wines, serve them in good quality glassware at the right temperature. Your guests will love you!
Wines are listed in ascending price. Yolanda Ortiz de Arri’s suggestions are indicated with her initials.
Cult González Byass winemaker Antonio Flores always starts his tastings of the exclusive, rare Finos Palmas with Tío Pepe, the house’s most popular and widely available Fino. In each saca or drawing, this best-selling wine must be a reflection of the style of the 20,000 casks that form its solera. Dry, pungent, yeasty and creamy on the finish, it tastes great at any time. The price is a steal considering it has been aged for an average of four years. The perfect sip to brighten up a difficult day. Don’t forget to stock up on Tío Pepe or your favourite Fino in your fridge!
This is one of the best vintages, if not the best of this Crianza, the entry-level red of long-standing producer La Rioja Alta, S.A. in their Torre de Oña estate in Rioja Alavesa. On this fresh vintage, the style is more fruit-driven and really savoury, balanced and very pleasant to drink. Beyond its affordable price, this red is suitable for almost any occasion.
Like most wines made by brothers Ponce in Manchuela (Castilla La Mancha), this rosé is a steal. The wine was developed by Javier, the younger brother, by blending indigenous Bobal grapes with around 15% of white Albilla. Aged for six months in 600-litre oak barrels, Las Cañadas can stand on equal terms with far more expensive, sophisticated rosés. We love the floral aromas (rose petals) and the sapid, mineral finish. Whether you like rosés or not, we encourage you to try this delicious wine which is likely to develop beautifully with time. 10,000 bottles have been produced.
Find this wine for €7.95 at Vinissimus.
Mencía should be a go-to choice in terms of Spanish varieties. Distinctively fruit-driven, it is easy to drink and can be paired with many different foods. This one, by talented producer Raúl Pérez in Bierzo, is a safe, inexpensive buy (the good news is that Pérez is building new facilities to increase production). 2017 was a complicated early vintage marked by severe frost which resulted in concentrated grapes. The generous, fully ripe fruit is balanced by the herbal, fresh character resulting from whole bunch fermentation. The wine has remarkable persistence, rather unusual at this price point, and the name has a lovely story behind. Ultreia, which means “Let’s go further” in Latin, was the spirited salute exchanged among pilgrims in the Camino de Santiago (Saint Jacques in French).
Don’t mistake this with classic Rioja. Glorioso was one of the first affordable fruit-driven reds in the appellation to be aged entirely in French oak after the company hired Michel Rolland as consultant in the late 1980s and 1990s. A wine to look for in good vintages, 2015 was particularly outstanding at Bodegas Palacio. Crunchy red fruit on the nose with minty and peppery aromas and a fresh, enjoyable palate wrapped up with soft tannins. A real crowd-pleaser that is widely available: 300,000 bottles have been produced, 40% sold abroad.
How different can Moscatel be when it is fermented with its skins as an orange wine! This style softens its distinctive aromatics, which can sometimes get too intrusive, and s serves as a good introduction to well-made natural wines. The wine is part of a revamped range after Vinessens purchased Rafa Bernabé’s venture in Alicante. Tragolargo is a blend of Moscatel planted in La Mata Natural Park in Torrevieja and Malvasía from Puerto de la Harina vineyard inland in Villena -both areas have sandy soils. After 30 days in contact with its skins, Moscatel grapes are fermented in stainless steel tanks and Malvasía in concrete. The variety is clearly noticeable with white flowers, stone fruit and orange zest aromas but in wilder way. Those unfamiliar with the style may find it more approachable if enjoyed with food given the usually tannic, slightly bitter finish of orange wines. Lovely label.
Around 10 € at Vinos Petra de la Fuensanta in Granada or Vinoteca Boutique and Anyway Wines in Málaga
A red which regularly ranks among the best values from Jumilla, the name refers to the time spent in oak (TW stands for twelve months). But what we liked best is the sapid, mineral notes that reflect the stony, limestone hills where grapes are sourced from and it fully ripe, well-defined expression. This is really well made and mirrors the area’s terroir (no make-up here). 30,000 bottles have been produced.
Find this wine for €10.50 at Decántalo.
Despite being known for its Garnacha Blanca, Terra Alta, the southernmost appellation in Catalonia, has been producing many interesting, good value reds for some time now. As you may have already imagined, red Garnacha is the dominant grape in Terra Alta but this wine also includes small amounts of Syrah (20%) and Morenillo (10%), an interesting indigenous grape which is in the process being recovered by most quality-oriented producers in the area. This is a distinctly Mediterranean red with a generous nose displaying spicy red fruit and scrubland and a relatively light, delightful palate.
Find this wine for €10.50 at Vinissimus.
It is often said that a producer of great wines never disappoints with his basic wine. This is the case of Candea Blanco, the entry-level wine of José Luis Mateo, the winegrower and producer who champions quality terroir wines in this area of torrid summers and cool winters on the border with Portugal. Produced in co-fermentation with young Treixadura, Dona Blanca and Verdello grapes planted in clay soils, it remains with its lees for one year in stainless steel tanks. Good volume and sharp texture combined with a marked acidity in the palate. It displays a rare elegance in wines of this price. Y.O.A.
Good Albariño usually improves with some extra bottle ageing. It’s easy to see in the young Pazo Señorans released last year which is approaching its optimum drinking window. White fruit, fennel and lemon zest aromas followed by a consistent palate with ripe fruit offset by acidity. Providing you have good wine storage conditions, we recommend you buy a magnum bottle of this vintage and keep it for two to five years. We really enjoyed a 2016 magnum a few weeks ago. In fact, all the wines made at Pazo Señorans benefit from cellaring.
The new trend in Ribera del Duero is to look for vineyards at higher elevations. In order to craft an easy-to-drink, fresh, fruit-driven red, Resalte selects grapes grown on the moorland which are later aged in 500-litre barrels for 12 months. This is not a standard Ribera, but it is a lively and enjoyable red. Drink generously. The 2017 vintage to be released in February now comes in Burgundy-shaped bottles. It will be available soon at the winery’s online store for €11.80.
Less widely planted than Garnacha, Albillo Real is the white variety of Sierra de Gredos. Rather neutral in terms of aroma, it can be consistent on the palate, has the ability to age well and is usually sold at affordable prices. Las Moradas de San Martín has been working with this variety for some time in this emerging wine region near Madrid. The wine blends grapes picked at different times (early and fully ripe) to produce this fresh white with beeswax, white fruit and petrol aromas. The palate is round with sweet fruit that reinforces the gentle, pleasant style.
Find this wine for €12.40 at Lavinia.
Pepe and Paco Blanco are two growers who work their own 28 hectares of vineyards in the Sherry region. With the help of consultant and producer Ramiro Ibáñez, the brothers began to explore different styles to express the terroir and the qualities of Palomino Fino. As a result, La Choza was born. A white wine from pago Macharnudo, considered to be the grand cru of Jerez, it fermented and aged for seven months under a veil of flor in manzanilla butts. It is made in the same way as La Hacienda de Doña Francisca (pago Callejuela) and Las Mercedes (pago Añina) but the differences between the three wines are evident in both the nose and the palate. La Choza displays apple and minerals aromas with some complexity. On the palate, it is the most structured and full-bodied of the three, revealing that it comes from a vineyard inland with pure albariza soils like Macharnudo. Y.O.A.
Find this wine for €13,50 at Licores Corredera.
Indigenous grapes lead the way in the Spanish wine scene these days so Syrah may not sound very fashionable, but there are some peppery notes in this red that remind us of the much fresher style of wines produced in the Rhône. The Atlantic influence in Tierra Estella, the northern subarea of DO Navarra where grapes are sourced from, is a great help in this sense. Lively, with black pepper and red plum aromas and flavours, this is a relatively persistent, seamless wine.
Graciano may be a bit wild in Rioja, but it is emerging as an invaluable source of freshness when grown in latitudes further south. Dehesa de Luna in La Roda (Albacete, southeast Spain) has smartly shifted from international grapes to long-cycle varieties like Graciano. This seamless wine displays well-defined red fruit and scrubland aromas followed by a juicy palate with lively acidity. It proves that fresh wines can also be made in warm wine regions.
Find this wine for €15 at the winery’s online store.