ONE of the last bottles of wine that I opened in 2013 was a
Spanish white wine from a region that I have never visited. It came
from the Ribeiro district in north-west Spain, and was, for me, one
of the outstanding wines of the year. It was the 7 Cupos 2011
(Laithwaites, £12.49). It made a wonderful accompaniment to my
For too long, the vinous reputation of Spain has rested almost
entirely on Rioja, Sherry, and Cava. More recently, there has been
increased exposure for the red wines of Ribera del Duero and
Priorat, and the whites from Rueda and Rías Baixas, but in all
there are no fewer than 69 denominaciónes de origen, as
well as regional wines, and 14 individual classified vineyard
estates, or pagos.
No fewer than 35 different regions were represented in the
annual Wines from Spain Awards 2013. Reading the list of winners,
it would seem that D. Byrne, of Clitheroe (www.dbyrne-finewines.
co.uk) is the best place to go to if you want a selection of
outstanding Spanish wines, closely followed by Noel Young, in
Cambridge (www.nywines.co.uk). Many of the multiples, however, were
listed as being among the stockists.
In the field of sparkling wines, the accolade for the "Best
Value Cava" went to Waitrose in partnership with NV Brut from
Castillo Perelada (£8.99); and, for lovers of something sweet and
low in alcohol, there is the Mía Moscato from Freixenet, just 7%
The awards for the Best White Wines, under £10 and over £10, not
surprisingly went to wines made from the Albariño grape Rías
Baixas: the under-£10 to Viña Ludy 2012 from Bodegas La Val
(Morrisons £7.99); and the over-£10 to the Wine Society's
Exhibition 2012 from Pazo de Señorans (£12.95).
It is not widely realised that Spain consumes more rosé wine
than white, but Spanish rosés have not caught on with the British
consumer. Four rosado wines were awarded - three of them stocked by
Byrne's, but none by high-street names.
Among the red wines we find the biggest diversity of regions and
prices. Laithwaite's Spanish buyer has found such gems as the
Yecla, Gran Calera 2011, a blend of Monastrell (the Mourvèdre of
southern France) and Syrah (£7.99), and the Altos de Rioja Altos R
Rioja 2010 (£23). Majestic is well represented with the Marqués de
la Concordia Hacienda Zorita Tempranillo 2010, from Castilla-León
(£7.99); the Vintage Matsu "El Recio" 2010, from Toro (£15.99); and
the Emilio Moro Ribera del Duero 2010 (£15.99). Ocado has one
representative, the Viñas del Vero Secastilla Garnacha 2008, from
Somontano, in the shadow of the Pyrenees (£21.30). Selected as the
outstanding red wine at any price was the Cillar de Silos Torresilo
2009, again from Ribera del Duero, and available from Berry Bros.
& Rudd and Oddbins for £35.
Finally, Waitrose had awards for two of its sherries, both from
the Emilio Lustau bodega: the Solera Jerezana Dry Amontillado, and
Palo Cortado, both selling for £9.75.
It takes a competition like this to truly show the range of
wines that Spain now produces. They are well worth exploring.