Apr 30 2024

6 Spanish Wines to Fall in Love With

David Williams highlights the regions that currently excite him and presents 6 wines that he has felt in love with

There are, I reckon, two reasons why Spain has become such an attractive proposition for independent wine merchants in UK over the past couple of decades – and these two factors are very much connected.

The first is the emergence of fine wines in all sorts of hitherto overlooked or underused places; the second is the re-discovery in those places of a seemingly inexhaustible supply of undervalued grape varieties. Put those developments together – and then throw in the generational wave of talented and driven viñateros who have overseen them – and you have one of the world’s most progressive winemaking cultures, with a incredible diversity.

These wines are designed to illustrate this brave new world, taking the form of a virtual vinous tour of some my favourite Spanish regions and wines.

From Catalonia to Ribera del Duero

I’ve started in the northeast, in Catalonia, with a prime example of Xarel·lo, one of the Cava trinity of grape varieties, but now being used to incisive effect in Penedès in superb still and pet nat, ancestral method fizz. It is Vins El Cep Nat XRL-LO, A lovely vibrant, with citric and white notes and hints of pastry.

A skip down the Mediterranean coast takes us to Valencia, and a juicy amphora-red from the local Mando grape in the form of Celler del Roure Safrà 2021, a low-alcohol, moderate fruity red wine with mellow acidity.

 Next, we are heading across to Andalucia and a prime example of the new wave of unfortified white wines made in Sherry country. It is Sotovelo Palomino 2022, a white wine with notes of almond, citrus and yeast. Dry and saline palate with a mineral background.

Then it’s up to the northwest and a textbook youthful unoaked mencía red from Bierzo in the form of Vinos Valtuille Pago Valdoneje 2023, with a fresh nose where we can find red fruit, smoke and licorice and also a mineral background. In mouth, it feels structured, fruity and balanced.

And I finish with two powerful but balanced, high-altitude reds from Spain’s two most famous red grape varieties: Tempranillo (aka Tinta Fino) from the high-plain vineyards of Ribera del Duero. This is the home of Rippa Dorii Crianza, with balanced fruit and wood, and nuances of berries, vanilla, nutmeg and toffee.

The final stop is in the hills of Calatayud in Aragón. Let me introduce you to Cuevas de Arom Altas Parcelas Garnacha 2021. The nose is complex with currant, white pepper, thyme and minera aromas. It feels fresh in the mouth with medium body and gooseberry flavors and mineral notes.