Spain-Beyond Rioja


The majority of Spanish red wine found in the supermarkets tends to come from this world famous region. This is understandable as it is a wine that most people are familiar with and retailers have no trouble shifting-it tends to “sell itself”.

However quality can vary and it is sometimes worth looking at other less well known (and very often less expensive) wine producing areas in Spain for added value.

One factor that can have an influence on the final price  of a wine is the cost of the land from which it is produced. Land prices in the less well known viticultural areas tend to be cheaper but a skilful producer using identical grape varieties can make a wine of comparable quality but with far lower overheads-this is then reflected in the price of the finished product.In France for example the average price per hectare of vineyard land is 136,400 euros but in Champagne that same hectare of land would set you back 1.2 million!

Here are four red wines from lesser known regions of Spain that are well worth seeking out as an alternative to Rioja.All retail for £6.50 or less (it is January after all).

El Pasico Old Vine Monastrell/Shiraz- Jumilla 13.5%

This wine hails from the Jumilla region about 100 miles west of Alicante in the south east of the country.
A blend of 90% Monastrell (known as Mourvedre in France and a key component in Chateauneuf-du-Pape) and 10% Shiraz this wine is spicy with rich dark cherry and plum flavours.Won Gold at Decanter World Wine Awards in 2013.Possibly the best value red available in Sainsburys today and should have a place in everyone’s wine rack-£6.50 Sainsburys.
Bodegas Paninza Carinena Gran Reserva 2008- Carinena 13.5%
A blend of 50% Tempranillo (the grape from which most Rioja is made-means “early ripener”),40% Garnacha and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. Aged 2 years in barrel and a further 3 in bottle before release. Coming from the relatively obscure region of Carinena south of Zaragoza a classic example of quality without the price tag-a similar wine from Rioja would cost twice the price. Sainsburys £6.
Asda Extra Special Old Vines Garnacha 2014-13%
Some of the vines in Spain are extremely old producing very concentrated juice.Traditional Spanish winemakers have resisted the temptation to rip up these indigenous vines in favour of more potentially commercially viable international varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The Garnacha vines used in the production of this wine are 60 to 80 years old. A great value juicy glugger.Like the 2008 Gran Reserva above it hails from Carinena in the Aragon district of Spain. Silver medal at the International Wine Challenge. Asda £5
 Minarete Ribera del Duero 2014-13.5%
Ribera del Duero is a relatively new wine region in Spain given official status as recently as 1982  and the wines are usually quite pricey due to a lot of investment in state of the art wineries. The region is located on the Spain/Portugal border where the River Douro in Portugal becomes the Duero in Spain.
This is 100% Tempranillo, is rich and concentrated and is worth £10 of anyones money.
Aldi-how do they do it? £5.99

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