Have you been drinking Spanish wine recently? If so you are not alone, sales of Spanish wine continue to grow and the reason is fairly simple — quality versus price, writes Leslie Williams.
A number of years ago the Spanish wine section seemed a rather boring place to explore as all the available wines here seemed to be made with Tempranillo and Garnacha with hardly any interesting white wines of note.
Well all that changed just over a decade ago when regional Spain began to flex its muscles and we were introduced to all manner of new flavours. Tempranillo and Garnacha are still the dominant grapes but as well as Rioja and Pénédes (eg, Torres) we now have great value versions coming from old vines in every corner of the country each of which has its own character.
Obscure regions like Somontano in the Pyrenean foothills or the varied regions of Catalan such as Monsant and Priorat, Tarragona and Costers del Segre, all produce fruit driven great value wines. Moving south the full fruited Monastrell wines of Alicante, Valencia, Jumilla and Yecla are all worth trying. Also in the South East you will find Bobal-based red wines, particularly from Utiel-Requena with whites made from the floral Merseguera grape (try the wines of Bodegas Mustiguillo).
The vast plains of La Mancha used to be awash with light simple Airen for making brandy but this grape is now in decline and you will find high end producers trying to make great Cabernet-Merlot wines at altitude (eg, Vallegarcia) and others producing concentrated wines from pockets of old vines like Cariñena and Alicante Bouschet.
Castilla Y Leon produces large quantities of good value easy drinking VDT (vino de la tierra — a little like France’s IGP) and also up here you will find smaller DOC regions such as Cigales (see Museum Real below) and newly fashionable Toro.
Finally look to Galicia for textured complex whites — Godello and Albariño in particular.
On Friday next I will be in Galway hosting an Albariño dinner in RAW with a menu that includes sushi, sashimi, duck breasts and other goodies. For the diary: October 20 — A taste of Spain at RAW, Radisson Blu Galway featuring five courses matched with Albariño wines from Rias Baixas introduced by Leslie Willliams. Limited spaces so pre-book on 091-538300.
Pazo de Villarei, Albarino, Val do Salnés, Spain— €13.99 (was €17.49) Paso a Paso Organico Blanco Verdejo,La Mancha, Spain — €14.99 Paso a Paso Organico Tinto Tempranillo,La Mancha, Spain — €14.99
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