We hope you find some interesting wines among our picks. Our aim is to reflect Spain’s geographic diversity —we encourage holiday makers and visitors to our country to discover new varieties and exciting producers.
Full-bodied reds are not on this list. Instead, we have focused on fresh, balanced styles that are appropriate for the season. Look for competitively priced wines from Monday to Friday and some special suggestions for the weekend. This piece will be updated on a weekly basis, so stay tuned or follow us on social media to discover our daily new wine.
We’d be delighted to know what you’re drinking. You’re welcome to share your best sips on the comments box below or on our social media channels. And remember to send your best #SWLsummer shots. We will publish a final recap with the photos of our Top Spanish Wine Lovers to start September with a smile.
Llopart Original 1887 Brut Nature Gran Reserva 2008 (Cava). “Original” must be understood here as initial, since this Cava replicates the Llopart family’s first blend documented in the 19th century. It is made from the three indigenous grapes traditionally used to make Cava in Catalonia: Parellada grown at high altitude, Macabeo and Xarel.lo, each of them coming from different plots planted between 1954 and 1969. Aged for 60 months, this is arguably Llopart’s most distinctive Cava and a good choice for sparkling wine enthusiasts. Complex nose with petrol, aniseed and toasted aromas followed by a crisp, citrus palate. This is a well-defined, elegant Cava with grapefruit notes on the finish.
La Dama 2011 Tinto, Domaines Lupier (Navarra). This is a particularly outstanding vintage within the painstaking and precise work done by this Garnacha producer. Based in the village of San Martín de Unx (Navarra), the are is known for its very old vineyards grown mainly on chalk-limestone soils. In my opinion this is one of those wines that can move you (or at least make quite an impression). It displays delicate aromatic herbs (lavender), blueberries and crisp plum aromas followed by a well-defined palate showing tension and bright acidity with an extremely juicy mid-palate —the signature of great Garnacha. A high-quality, distinctive red —it’s worth every penny.
Find this wine at Gourmet Hunters (€34.90).
Alceño Monastrell Twelve 2012 Tinto, Bodegas Alceño (Jumilla). This wine reminds us that Jumilla can offer great value and that a well-made Monastrell can taste delicious. With 15% Syrah in the blend, the Monastrell grapes are sourced from old, low-yield vines (1.5 kilos per plant) grown at 600 to 900 metres on limestone soils. The wine ages in 300-litre casks, half French, half American oak. Bright seasoned fruit and spicy aromas; medium-bodied, fruit-driven, savoury palate. The oak is hardly noticeable and the wine is fresh and really easy to drink. The same winery also produces a minty, gentle and tasty Roble 2014 aged for four months and costs around €6.
Find Alceño Monastrell Twelve 2012 at Decántalo (€10.50).
Gotes Blanques 2014 Blanco, Clos del Portal (Priorat). You may not think of Priorat when it comes to white wines, even less if you look for value, but this Garnacha Blanca from La Morera de Montsant, one of the highest villages in this Catalan appellation, is delicious. White and salad fruit aromas are followed by an unexpected zesty, lively palate. It’s perfect for summer or any other time of the year when you just feel like drinking something fresh and tasty.
Find this wine at Gourmet Hunters (€13.35).
Luna Beberide 2014 Tinto (Bierzo). I encourage wine lovers to drink more Bierzo wines as a way to preserve its precious heritage of old vineyards. Although we’ve seen quite a few high-priced reds produced in this northwestern area over the past few years, many young Mencia wines are capable of showing the region’s distinctive character at unbelievable prices. This Luna Beberide is a great example of the combination of floral (violet) and fruit-driven aromas (blackberry, forest fruit) with characteristic earthy notes. Fresh and luscious, there’s some bitterness on the finish that will probably go unnoticed if paired with food. The bonus is you can taste terroir below €5.
Muga Fermentado en Barrica 2014 Blanco (Rioja). A reasonably-priced, classic barrel-fermented Rioja, Muga’s white always stands as a good choice for white lovers, specially since oak is increasingly subtle. A sponsor of the Spanish sailing Copa del Rey championship this summer, it’s mostly made from Viura (with some Malvasía in the blend is some vintages) grown in the Oja-Tirón Valley, on the slopes of the Obarenes mountains. It offers plenty of white and citrus fruit (grapefuit) on the nose and palate, with bright acidity and enough depth to match a wide range of summer dishes.
Clarete de Luna 2014 Rosado, César Príncipe (Cigales). Despite a trend towards very pale rosés, I find this deep raspberry-coloured wine quite attractive. A blend of 80% Tempranillo and 20% white grapes (Albillo and Verdejo), it has fermented with natural yeasts and has some weight. Don’t be confused by its fragrant herbs and rose petals aromas; its richness and unctuous texture could make a great pairing with meat. It’s got backbone and freshness making it a versatile choice to accompany many types of dishes.
Tío Pepe en Rama, González Byass (Jerez). For some time now, González Byass has been bottling a special selection of Tío Pepe (60 casks this time) coming from its old soleras Constancia and Pepe Rebollo. The wine is bottled en rama, that is after very little filtering so that the yeast character (the flor) is far more evident than in the regular Tío Pepe. The wine is a real bargain if you take into account the intensity it displays; this is a deep, long, distinctive wine offering plenty of almonds and briny notes. If you’ve never matched your food with sherry you should definitely try this Fino with Iberico ham, gazpacho, shellfish or other tapas. Mouth-watering, isn’t it?
Gramona Argent 2010 Gran Reserva Brut (Cava). This may well be the perfect cava for any special occasion, even more if you’re in a romantic mood. Behind the sober, seamless packaging there is Chardonnay, a foreign grape in Penedès treated by expert hands in aging Cava for extended periods. After 35 months with its lees, this fine vintage is reflected in the glass displaying fennel and grilled bread aromas. On the palate, it combines the richness of lemon preserve and toasty notes with well-defined acidity. It finishes with a pleasant bitter note that cleanses the palate.
Les Crestes 2013 Tinto, Celler Mas Doix (Priorat). We highly recommend this entry-level red from Catalonia’s rugged Priorat region. Despite their outstanding work with ancient Carignan vines in the village of Poboleda, Celler Mas Doix has chosen to use juicy and tasty Garnacha grapes (the blend also includes 10% Carignan and 10% Syrah) to highlight red fruit without losing the zesty acidic edge which is present in most of their wines. Who said Priorat wines cannot be enjoyed in the summer?
Find this wine at Gourmet Hunters (€14.55).
Dominio de Tares Godello 2014 Blanco (Bierzo). Valdeorras is not the only region in Spain where Godello is produced. Take for instance this great value white from Bierzo. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel vats but, before it has been completed, the wine goes into 225 and 500–litre oak barrels where it is aged for about six months. Wood notes are very subtle and just add some weight on the palate; instead, white fruit (pear, flat peach) and Godello’s distinctive unctuosity dominate along with some bright acidity that is very much welcomed during the summer season.
Find this wine at Bodeboca (€12.90).
Milú 2014 Tinto, Quinta Milú (Ribera del Duero). Ribera can also be enjoyed in the warm summer months —at least wines in the style of this red. It is the entry-level label of a brave new project based in the village of La Aguilera (Burgos), an area boasting a relatively high amount of old vines. Made as a semi-carbonic maceration, there’s plenty of fruit and a youthful character backed up by just five months of barrel aging, thus wood goes almost unnoticed. The result is a fresh wine with plenty of delicious ripe fruit and scrubland notes. A wine to just drink and enjoy. Terrific value.
Maruja Manzanilla, Juan Piñero (Manzanilla Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Jerez). Juan Piñero is a family winery located in Sanlúcar that inherited the old solera (overall storage in different levels or criaderas) of the Maruja brand which currently totals up 3,500 oak butts. The wine is released with over five years under a layer of yeast known as flor, so expect a solid and consistent palate together with distinctive briny, iodine and almond notes. If you consider that its red wine equivalent would be a Gran Reserva, this manzanilla is an amazing bargain.
7 Fuentes 2013 Tinto, Suertes del Marqués (Valle de la Orotava). This delightful red is an excellent gateway to discover Canary Island wines and one of its most outstanding producers. Listán Negro is the main grape, sourced from numerous small plots planted at altitudes between 400 to 600 metres and grown on distinctive volcanic soils. A fragrant red with original Atlantic forest, wild fruits and ash aromas, it is soft and light on the palate, yet full of mineral flavour. Great stuff with plenty of character at a surprisingly affordable price.
Colet Navazos Extra Brut 2010 (Penedès). This wine was born from the partnership between Catalonia’s Penedès Colet and cult négociant Equipo Navazos, the team who has launched many traditional wines form Andalucía featuring a style or stage of aging which rarely used to reach consumers. What happens when Sherry meets a Xarel.lo-based sparkling wine that has been aged on lees for at least 30 months? Something a bit oxidative in style with almond aromas, depth on the palate, lively acidity and an amazing saline finish. This wine is both a gentle gateway to the world of Sherry, a low-alcohol choice for Sherry lovers and specially a lovely rarity for sparkling wine fans.
Abadía Retuerta Le Domaine Blanco de Guarda 2014 (VT Castilla y León). Working beyond the boundaries of an appellation can have some advantages and Abadía Retuerta has made the most of them. Take this white, for instance. It is an atypical blend in Spain with 60% Sauvignon Blanc left on the vine to almost overripe levels, 25-30% Verdejo and Godello. Aged for around five months in used barrels, it offers plenty of finesse with smoky and citrus (grapefruit) aromas and floral nuances when young. Crisp acidity helps to define flavours. Around 15,000 bottles made.
Palacio Quemado La Zarcita 2013 Tinto, Viñas de Alange (Ribera del Guadiana). A lovely find offering great value, La Zarcita is a lively, fruit-driven wine from Extremadura, a region in southwestern Spain traditionally associated with big, heavy red wines. In this case, the blend of indigenous grapes, some of them shared with neigh-bouring Portugal, is the work of the talented Envínate team, providing a fresh imaginative approach to winegrowing and winemaking. This red is packed with fruit and the oak is barely noticeable but it manages to have enough weight on the palate –proof that drinking well on a daily basis need not be expensive. The 2014 vintage, which will be released next September, follows this lively style.
Find this wine at Enterwine (€7.30).
Louro 2014 Blanco, Rafael Palacios (Valdeorras). Made by Rafael Palacios, one of Spain’s leading white wine producers, Louro offers outstanding value. Fermented in foudre and aged for a short time in oak barrels, it displays a touch of wood which adds some depth and consistency and widens the choice of food pairings –white meat included. A small percentage of Treixadura (8%) in the blend brings sweetness to the blend, along with some hay notes and a fine lees-like character. The wine has good acidity as is usually the case with Palacio’s whites so it can be paired with shellfish, Oriental and slightly spiced dishes.
Dido 2013 Tinto, Venus La Universal (Montsant). A classic wine from Catalonia, this is the entry-level red of Priorat couple Sara Pérez (Mas Martinet) and René Barbier Jr. (Clos Mogador), who also produce wine in Montsant, an appellation bordering Priorat. Garnacha has progressively gained more weight in the blend to account for up to 75% of the blend —the rest being a choral mix of Syrah, Carignan, Cabernet and Merlot. A single-vineyard wine grown on granitic soils, fermentation and aging is done in various types of vessels such as concrete, amphora and wood. 2013 was a cool vintage, thus the wine is packed with flowers, red fruits and Mediterranean herbs aromas. Fruit, juiciness and balance dominate the palate. A delicious red wine.
Gran Caus 2014 Rosado, Can Ràfols dels Caus (Penedès). Those willing to move away from the trend of pale coloured rosés will welcome this single-varietal Merlot made by Can Ràfols dels Caus, a pioneering producer based in the Garraf mountains, within Catalonia’s Penedès appellation. Grapes are sourced from three different organically-grown plots and fermentation is undertaken with natural yeasts. The wine offers candy, herbs and ripe fruit aromas that combine with a full-bodied palate, candied citrus notes and noticeable bitterness. A good choice to bring a touch of sophistication to your BBQ party this summer.
Find this wine at Gourmet Hunters (€12.75).
Guímaro 2014 Tinto (Ribeira Sacra). Adegas Guímaro is among the new wave of producers behind the revival of this breathtaking, rugged wine region in Galicia with a style of fruit-driven, fresh, aromatic reds which have little in common with the unpleasant green tannins that used to abound in the past. These new reds are delicious to drink all year round but are particularly pleasant in the summer. This one offers great value and pairs perfectly with fish, rice dishes and barbecues. The fresh and fragrant 2013 vintage is worth looking for too.
Údico 2014, Tentenublo Wines (Arabako Txakolina). Despite the small size of his Tentenublo Wines venture, restless producer Roberto Oliván seems to be emerging as Rioja’s new enfant terrible. The proof is the work he has done at nearby Arabako Txakolina, Basque Txakoli’s southernmost appellation. Údico is a selection of low-yielding plots under 3,000 kilos per hectare whose grapes are fermented in chestnut casks without stirring the lees. A vibrant, serious, long white, it displays tension on the palate as well as apple, citrus fruit and talcum powder aromas. Not cheap but highly singular. As is the case with most of his wines, the label is made by graphic designers Calcco from Logroño.
Find this wine at El Sumiller (€19.90).
La Rosa 2007, Finca Sandoval (Manchuela). This is arguably the lesser known wine made by food and wine journalist Víctor de la Serna at his winery in Manchuela, one of the appellations in Castilla-La Mancha’s vast plateau in south central Spain. In fact it is the only vintage released so far, since La Rosa is intended to be made only in outstanding years. 2007 was very good indeed. The proof is in the glass —the wine shows finesse, great balance and harmony: red fruit, spicy notes, well-defined palate with silky texture and persistence. It is a blend of Syrah with some Garnacha Tintorera (Alicante Bouschet) adding a lively touch. Really interesting, specially taking into account that delicacy is not usually found in the wines from this area.
Find this wine at Decántalo (€28.85).
Fransola 2013, Miguel Torres (Penedès). Despite including a small amount of Parellada in the blend, Sauvignon Blanc is the dominant variety in this refreshing, fruit-driven and vibrant wine. Torres has successfully been growing this international grape for many years in one of Penedès' highest estates —unsurprisingly, Fransola is a very solid white within Torres’ extended portfolio. Following an increasing trend in many Spanish wines, oak is losing its previously dominant role; only a small part of Fransola is fermented and aged in barrel. This 2013 displays fresh asparagus, grass and passion fruit aromas followed by a zesty and unctuous palate. A well-made, text-book Sauvignon Blanc.
Gorrondona 2014 Tinto, Bentalde (Bizkaiko Txakolina). White Txakoli from Bizkaia has made a name for itself over the last few years but its red version is largely unknown. Gorrondona stands out in this style and is a good example of the locally indigenous grape Hondarrabi Beltza (beltza means black in Basque and holds a parent-offspring relationship with Cabernet Franc). The wine displays a rustic almost wild character but it really leaves an impression, so it is a good choice for adventurous palates. Atlantic forest, wild berries and pepper aromas are present with a resin, maceration-like character, yet it is juicy.
Reto 2014 Blanco, Bodegas y Viñedos Ponce (Manchuela). Why not spend some time this summer looking for new producers and/or grape varieties? Behind this intriguing wine made with the indigenous Albilla white grape in Spain’s southern plateau is a young, brave producer working hard to change the image of Castilla-La Mancha wines and to highlight the potential of neglected varieties like red Bobal. This white is a rarity, but it displays outstanding character, crisp acidity and minerality (chalk) at a very affordable price, far from the usual fruit-driven approach. Good cellaring potential.
L’Hereu 2012 Brut Espumoso, Raventós i Blanc. Since this respected producer abandoned the DO Cava, L’Hereu aging times have been increased to 18 months. A mix of indigenous grapes Xarel.lo, Parellada and Macabeo accounting for 40% of the blend, this wine is a good introduction to Spain’s quality sparkling wines. Aniseed, apple and toasted bread aromas are followed by a fresh, fruity, easy-to-drink palate. It works very well as an aperitif or paired with light dishes of the summer season —bubbles are a great and easy way to turn a meal into a small celebration.
Castillo de Belarfonso 2013 Tinto, Bodegas Canopy (Méntrida). The 2014 vintage will be released soon but this fresh 2013 drinks nicely right now. A light, fresh, clean wine with ripe red fruit, it is tasty and lively as expected from a good Garnacha from the Gredos region, yet with a mineral edge that will appeal to aficionados looking for something deeper. Not common to find 65 to 70 year-old vines grown on sandy-granite soils at this price. Worthy of note is the label showing a blow-up castle as a parody of the serious, pompous French châteaux —fun and good value in one bottle. I wouldn’t think twice about bringing this wine to your coolest parties this summer.
Capitel 2013 Blanco, Ossian Vides y Vinos (VT Castilla y León). This is the top wine from white specialist Ossian whose vineyards fall within the boundaries of the Rueda appellation in northwestern Spain but prefers to release its whole range as VT Castilla y Léon. No doubt the expression of pre-phylloxeric vines grown in the village of Nieva in Segovia will shine at any special occasion. This 2013 is also a great choice to store in the cellar –in fact it still feels rather young. There are complex toasted and petrol aromas on the nose followed by a full-bodied palate with high acidity, a marked saline character and persistence. A single-vineyard wine coming from sandy soils with some schist areas, vines are organically grown and fermentation is done with indigenous yeasts. The wine is aged in barrels for 10 months —definitely worth its price.
Palo Cortado VORS, Bodegas Tradición (Jerez). This is one of the jewels of this singular sherry producer, who specializes exclusively in aging and storing old wines. Classified as VORS (Very Old Rare Sherry) it means the wines’ average age is over 30 years. Palo Cortado is a special type of sherry, somewhere in between Amontillados’ aromatic finesse and Olorosos’ full-bodied style. The wine is really complex and elegant with syrup, almonds, dried apricots and salty aromas. As is the case with old sherry, intensity and persistence levels are almost otherworldly, making it an affordable luxury.
Cisma 2012 Tinto, Bodegas Pujanza (Rioja). A wine expected to be released in October, it comes from a vineyard with less than a hectare planted in 1925 on clay soils at 600 metres of altitude in the village of Laguardia (Rioja Alavesa). It is almost a secret wine within Carlos San Pedro’s portfolio, the founder and owner of Bodegas Pujanza. It is one of the most striking reds I have tasted this year —I know the price is high, but given that today is my birthday, it will be my treat. I was fascinated by its depth, sense of place and the way it changed in the glass. It displays a hypnotic nose with red meat (roastbeef), kirsch, blackberries and dried flower aromas. Deep and multi-layered, yet it has an intriguing aerial character with earthy, almost rustic, notes that make it a real, authentic wine that will improve with time. Far from ordinary. Roughly 1,000 bottles have been produced; retail price around €130-140.