Spanish Red Wines
The two most famous Spanish red regions are Rioja and Ribera del Duero - and in both of these the wines are dominated by Tempranillo.
This is where the character of Spanish reds is founded: strawberry-scented Tempranillo, traditionally aged in American oak barrels, which impart a vanilla sweetness (though increasingly now bodegas are employing more French oak barrels, or a mix).
We try and find interesting reds beyond Rioja, for example listing wines from Toro, Bierzo and Catalonia. What are the other qualities which make Spanish reds interesting and exciting?
First is the heritage of old vines. As in the south of France, Spain retains large plantings of very old vines, especially the red varieties, Tempranillo, Monastrell (Mourvèdre), Garnacha (Grenache) and Carignan. These deliver concentrated, high quality juice - great raw material.
Second, and less well-known to us here, there is an exciting regionalism. One might be aware of the Catalan or Basque spirit of independence, but on wine labels from Galicia and Valencia too one sees words which are not Castilian Spanish. That regionalism is expressed in the preservation and celebration of local grape varieties, many unique to Spain.
Finally, the reds can offer amazing value. Unsurprisingly the domestic wine market has collapsed since 2008, and we encounter many estates very keen to work us, and open to gentle negotiation.
Organic / Biodynamic
Bodegas Borsao is a big co-operative, marketing wines from over 600 growers whose land...
RegionCampo de Borja
"Restrained aromas, quite elegant in red-berry fruit with a delicate spicy touch....
RegionRibera Del Duero
This unoaked, organic red is so bright, juicy and winning, strawberryflavoured but not in the...