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Please Help...Spanish Wine

I am looking to try some new Spanish Reds. I have had a few great ones already (Clio,Alto Moncayo,Erial) but want to find more. I cant afford the really big boys like Contador and Pingus, but want to find cutting edge stuff $75 and under. All varietals welcome but red only please.

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  1. I don't think I have ever tried any seriously expensive Spanish reds before. I seem to be able to find plenty of mencia for around $10-$15, though. The brand I had was Cuatro Pasos. Another good cheapie was a monastrell made by Castano (Yecla region) for a single digit amount. Marques de Caceres has a $12 bottle of Rioja that can be found anywhere, and it's really solid. I have a bottle of Callejo (a Ribera del Duero) that I bought on accident (didn't bother to look at the receipt until I got home, oops). I'm not sure how much I like that region compared to Rioja, though, given what I've tried at restaurants and tastings. At this point I'm just trying to find grapes that I like, and I'm always going to start cheap when I'm doing that if it's possible.

    1. Spanish wines offer some excellent values, and $75 will take you far,

      Muga's Prado Enea can be had for around $50-$60 last time I checked. Their 96 vintage was by the best wine I've ever experienced at that price point. Their current release is very nice too, if I recall.

      1. If you are ready to go for the more traditional reds, then I believe that $75 can snag you some very good stuff from Lopez de Heredia, especially the Bosconia and/or Tondonia bottlings. The Gran Reserva may be out of reach with your budget, but the Reservas are also quite a joy to drink especially when aged.

        Another good traditional producerr is La Rioja Alta. There are still some 1995's of the 904 bottlings that are available for less than $75 (iirc in NYC area merchant).

        3 Replies
        1. re: RCC

          Couldn't agree more on the Heredia. One of my absolute favorite red wines: nuanced, elegant, acidic, great with food, like a fine Burgundy, delicious. We were in Haro at the winery a few weeks ago and had a heavenly tour. Also visited La Rioja Alta, among others; yum yum.

          1. re: Shooley

            Great stuff, those Heredias and La Rioja Alta. Imho, their traditional-made Rioja's are a definite cut or 3 above the rest.

            We were at Haro early last year and were tasting the '87s at Heredia. What were they tasting at Heredia and LRA when you were there?

            Can't wait to go back to Rioja!

            1. re: RCC

              Silly me, I did not take notes. But we tasted some of their very old white Rioja (a couple of vintages from the 8o's and early 90's), which if you haven't had them are an experience, and we had some late 80's and 90's Vina Tondonia as well as Bosconia. I, too, an partial to the traditional style of winemaking. Everywhere we went in Spain (we were on a wine and food jaunt, for sure) we tasted through amazing line-ups. I even got a three-hour visit at Vega Sicilia (and next door, at Alion), where we tasted through all the wines they have available (Alion and Unico, a red from Toro and their newer Hungarian whites: one dry and one dessert: 6 puttanyos). At the end of that visit, they actually gave us the entire bottle of Unico to take with us to our lamb asador lunch. We had our wine guardian angel with us that day, for sure, and on the entire trip.

        2. So many great Spanish wines; I would just go into your favorite wine store and ask the staff for the recommendations.

          Seek out anything from importers Jorge Ordonez, Eric Solomon and Rare Wine Co. to name a few.

          Suggestions:

          Tinto Pesquera
          Mas Doix
          Les Terrases & Descendientes de Jose Palacios
          Pago de los Capellanes
          Clos Martinet
          Alion
          Capcanes

          Generally speaking, most of these are bigger reds in line with the wines you mentioned in your post.

          3 Replies
          1. re: vinosnob

            Thanks for the list. I know about tonto pesqurea buy have only had the less expensive condado de haza which I loved. Have you tried the pesquera? Also I hear the alion is fabalous.

            1. re: NoshLibation

              The pesquera is stellar; more structure and complexity than the CdH. I love them both.

              You'll dig the Alion, trust me. Premier Cru has the '04 at a pre-sale price of $75.

            2. re: vinosnob

              Second for Clos Martinet!!! Man...that was an eye-opening experience. It might be pushing the 75 dollar price limit though.
              I also like, but am not as enthusiastic about the Les Terrases. It's good, but it doesn't have the complexity or the power of the Clos Martinet.

            3. My personal favorite is Alion Ribera del Duero, but it is proably pushing the upper limits of your budget range. Still worth it. Remeriz de Ganuza Rioja is also worth seeking out. Muga's "Torre Muga" Rioja is also one to give a shot.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Brad Ballinger

                Brad nailed one of my very favorites with the Remirez de Ganuza. My first one, I think a '98, was one of those profound experiences where the wine just made an indelible impact on me. The Alion is another terrific wine as are several others on this list.

                I've also enjoyed San Vicente; Flor de Pingus, Finca Dofi, some Txakolina (white) still trying to get my hands on some red or rose, Numanthia

              2. From Rioja:
                Roda I (modern)
                any and all Lopez de Heredia (old world styled)

                From Toro:
                Numanthia

                From Priorat:
                Rotllan Torra Tirant
                Finca Dofi

                1. Second the Lopez de Heredia

                  Try the priorats of Vall Llach. They offer three different bottlings, all under $75.

                  1. Just returned from 10 days in Spain and had a chance to enjoy a variety of wines in the middle of this range in various cities. We really enjoyed:

                    Vall Llach Embrouix
                    Numanthia Termes
                    Alion
                    Las Terrases

                    Another favorite is Hacienda Monasterio which I believe has the same owner as Pingus.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: GenevaSteve

                      Can you comment on the Vall Llach Embrouix?
                      I got a bottle from a friend who knows I'm a Priorat fan. It has a whopping %15.1 alcohol. Wow.
                      Just wondering what your impression was and what it was paired with.

                      1. re: Aaron

                        I enjoyed the Embrouix. It's definitely on the rich/full side. Reminded me of California Zinfandel in terms of the size and fruit, but I didn't notice any "heat" from the alcohol. Pretty balanced for a wine with that much alcohol. I had it paired with a beef dish with mushrooms and some fairly intense flavors, and it worked well. Also worked well with duck and pork dishes that others had.

                        We had it at a great little restaurant in Granada, just below the Alhambra. Makes me smile just thinking about it.

                    2. Ombra Montsant is the big Spanish winner in my house lately, not exactly the high end stuff you seem to be asking about, but a lot more subtlety than you would expect from the $10-15 price tag. There is also a Mas Donis Montsant that is very good, but the Ombra is my favorite.

                      Both are Eric Solomon wines, I don't think he has done me wrong yet. Jorge Ordonez is also good but not as consistent, in my experience.

                      I had a really stellar Ribera at a tasting recently, but sadly I am blanking on the name right now. Red label, limited production, all for export. It was in the $40-50 range, and I'm buying less special occasion wine these days. If I remember the name, I'll chime in.