The quality level of Spanish wines has improved dramatically over the last ten or twenty years. A relatively undemanding domestic market had failed to inspire winemakers to raise their game, but the influence of export customers, the growth of trade and the advances in global winemaking technology have rekindled the passions of Spanish growers across the country.
We have extended our range of Spanish wines beyond Rioja, which itself still needs careful selection, to upwards of ten different regions. You will find good, honest lines for everyday hoovering, through a fascinating middle market and on to a couple of grander examples for celebrations.
What Wines of Interest enjoys most about Spanish wines is their vital point of difference compared to rafts of identikit Chardonnays and Cabernet Sauvignons from the new world. It may seem purist but we do not buy "international" styles from Spain (or Italy either, come to that), despite some excellent examples being produced there. What, we ask ourselves, is the point of that when the most interesting and original Spanish wines are those made largely from indigenous varieties?
We carry a wide range of Riojas, from modern, young, unoaked versions full of bouncy fruit and vibrancy, through to splendidly rich and complex Reservas and Gran Reservas (or equivalent). However, there is plenty of exciting Spanish wines to seek out from the less well-known regions. Places like Campo de Borja make a wide variety of wines from crisp dry whites based on Macabeo through to gently oaked white Rioja look-alikes; juicy roses from Garnacha and Tempranillo to great value glugging reds to chunky, meaty reds of style and sophistication. Again Garnacha and Tempranillo dominate with the occasional addition of other varieties such as Syrah & Cabernet Sauvignon.
Amongst the best Spanish white wines are the offerings of Galicia, a region in northern Spain with a coastline renowned for its seafood. Here Albarino is the variety to look for; it’s perfect with fish combining a ripeness with a crisp, dry style. Think Chablis with an extra note of ripeness. Keep a look out for Godello and Treixadura as well for dew-fresh whites of style with a real point of difference, also from Galicia. The other area of note for Spanish white wines is Rueda where the varieties Viura (another name for Macabeo) and Verdejo are widely planted. They produce crisp dry whites with fragrance and good acidity.
If you are one of the many people we see each week who are bored by the painting-by-numbers wines of the monotonous supermarket selection, these will provide that vital originality to reawaken your enthusiasm. We reckon we could double our Spanish wine range easily since there is a such a wide variety available and we are never short of contenders for our range. So often the difficulty is knowing what to leave out rather than what to include!