Spain is such a fun region for wine, since there's so much of it, the prices are great for the quality that you're getting, and it's possible to get delicious wines in every category you could want. Even the rosés are wonderful, often with a slight orange tint. I've often given people the advice to just pick up a half dozen Spanish wines under $15 and they'll end up with a selection that will work for parties, dinner, or whatever.
I've done something similar here, grouping together a bunch of bottles that have come in over the past few months.
Let's kick things off with a Cava. I've sung the praises of these wines many times, and along with Prosecco it's a great option for keeping a few bottles around the house at all times.
NV Jaume Serra Cristalino Cava Brut
50% Macabeo, 35% Parellada, 15% Xarel-lo
$10, 11.5% abv
This sparkler has a lovely crisp green apple nose, with strong tart flavors that follow. Medium size bubbles and a pleasant fiz. It's not out of balance, but you're going to want to pair this with fatty or oily foods, like prosciutto and olives. In other words, perfect for appetizers. Also, this label is a bit amusing because of the big disclaimer that it's not Cristal. Even though the packaging looks nothing alike, I figure if you think you've gotten a sweet deal by knocking $190 off the price, you might as well be happy in your ignorance.
The following four wines are from Bodegas Montecillo, a 150-year old winery that's currently owned by Osborne.
2009 Montecillo Verdemar Albariño
$14, 12.5% abv.
Tropical fruits, light and crisp, medium body and lots of fruit. If you're a little burned out on Sauvignon Blanc, I think Albariño is a good substitute. This one is begging for shellfish.
2007 Montecillo Crianza
$12, 13.5% abv.
These three wines provide a great opportunity to try the same grape, same region, through three different styles. Crianza wines are the youngest and least expensive. This one had a dominant profile of stewed fruit and prunes, with low tannins and a quick finish. Definitely what I'd call a Tuesday night wine, the kind that you open up with a burger or pizza.
2003 Montecillo Reserva
$18, 13.5% abv.
Rich black plum, spice, leather, touch of chocolate. Raspberry flavors and a tart, quick finish. Certainly more sophisticated, and it paired well with a grilled steak.
2001 Montecillo Gran Reserva
$25, 13% abv.
Very similar to the above, even smoother and lighter. Melts in your mouth. This one is a real steal at $25, and while I don't know how much longer it's going to improve, at ten years it is perfectly aged and balanced. I sat and thought about this one for hours of slow sipping.
2009 Martin Codax Albariño
$12, 13% abv.
I've written in detail about this wine before, and there's a nice back story behind the name. This is lemony and fruity with plenty of tart acidity. Hints of jasmine and herbs. As with the other Albariño listed, I would highly recommend this with shellfish.
2006 Campo Viejo Reserva
85% Tempranillo, 10% Graciano, 5% Mazuelo (Carignane)
$14, 13.5% abv.
A good inexpensive Rioja. Aromas of cherry with a touch of vanilla. It has mild tannins, a light body, and a smooth finish. Consider something like this for a BBQ, where it will go well with smoked pork and other goodies.
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There you have it, a slate of seven solid Spanish wines. All affordable, all tasty, and all meant to be enjoyed with food. Give them a try if you're looking to break out of the Chardonnay-Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot rut. No offense to those delicious grapes, but there's a lot of great options out there that deserve some attention.
Note: These wines were received as samples.