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Great Value Tips from Overlooked Spain

Spain rules the roost today with an impressive red and equally delightful white - both under £6.

Since Spain has more land under vine than anywhere else, it is perhaps surprising that so much attention is directed onto just three areas (Rioja, Ribera and Priorat).

Indeed, Spain has more than 60 Denominación de Origen designated areas and that offers plenty of scope for talented, often young, winemakers to make a name for themselves quickly.

Since many of those areas are also home to great value wines, no one will be surprised that it is to two such areas that today’s Top Tips feature heads.

The prices of both this time’s selections start with a “5” – one of them courtesy of a 30%+ discount – yet both are a joy to drink.

So, see what you think.

Again, pictures and hyperlinks are provided where possible to guide you towards the correct wine.

Bang on form and singing

Although verdejo wines are prone to fading earlier than many varieties, this latest vintage version is on top form right now.

Smooth and aromatic, 2021 Extra Special Rueda (Currently £5 – instead of £5.50 – at Asda) displays textured apple and greengage flavours embellished by lemon acidity and given contrast by traces of sage and nutty richness.

That assessment provides further testimony that Spain’s Rueda region really is prime verdejo country.

Great price, classy wine

Take full advantage, I would urge you, of the generous discount on this three-grape blend (garnacha, tempranillo and graciano) from Spain’s Navarra region.

Left to breathe, 2015 Castillo de Olite Navarra (£5.99 – instead of £8.99 until 12 July – at Waitrose) rewards you with soft but intense, ripe bramble and blueberry flavours accompanied by invigorating acidic flourish.

Also firmly in evidence are well-judged oak components that smooth the wine and introduce vanilla and chocolate influences.

OTHER NEWS

Tesco have a 25% off multi-buy promotion running until today and details appear on their website here.  As is usual now for this retailer, this only applies to Clubcard holders and seems to be on “selected items”.

My next post (on Thursday) contains details of promotions at major supermarkets and discloses my current choices for Friday Night Specials and for Sunday Best options – join me then.

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10 Responses

  1. Morning Brian. That Extra Special Rueda from Asda I’ve always had a bottle in stock for some time now. A real unsung hero because it is as you describe a very drinkable drop but it’s always been so cheap for the quality. If this current vintage is even better than previous it’s a real go-to for drinking any time but especially well in the summer months, well chilled. Going back to last week and your Aldi offerings I took a bottle of their Carcassonne rose at around £5.49 that I enjoyed very much, light, dry and fresh and very French. Cheers for now.

  2. You wondered whether the latest vintage of Extra Special Rueda outperforms previous ones and I think that it does but – as I suggest – in the post, I feel that this variety does fade early so I may be comparing this one with memories of previous vintages as they approached the end of their lives. I am delighted that you also enjoyed the Carcassonne rosé as I approached it without high expectations and was surprised and impressed by how good it proved to be. Glad it is not just me that rates it.

  3. Hi Brian, we popped over to our local Asda the other night, and was very pleased to see the Rueda you recommend on their shelves. Picked up a couple of bottles for a tenner, was very impressed, especially at that price..

    My first real experience of Spanish whites was almost 25 years ago when someone I’m sure you’re aware of, Telmo Rodriguez, who at the time was a completely new name to me, launched a new range for M&S, (white label bottle with blue print). From memory it received a fair amount of positive views in the British press, and featured 2 separate Rueda wines, both verdejo and sauvignon blanc. I later learnt this was unusual because apparently there’s not much sauvignon produced there, as it’s very similar in taste to the verdejo, (think I’ve got that right).

    Since then I’ve learnt to appreciate other Spanish white delights, particularly Albarino and Godello from the Galicia area, (was in Sainsbury’s this morning, and was pleasantly surprised to see they currently stock 4 of the former and one of the latter), which must be a lot more than other supermarkets.

    Look forward to your next post.

  4. Hi Brian, re the Castillo de Olite Navarra, at the offer price of £5.99 it is great value. It should be opened a day before drinking to get the best from it.
    Aldi still have Toro Loco at £3.99, again good value every day red. Cheers, dave.

  5. Hi Steve ….. Yes it is good to see Godello in particular gaining traction here as it has been an underappreciated variety for ages. As you suggest, Albarino is much more widely recognised here now – helped, I guess, because relatively few poor versions seem to be encountered. I am glad that you were an early adopter of Spanish whites because it is only recently that they have begun to receive the accolades in the UK they deserve. I hope that the Rueda you bought also merits the accolades I have given it.

  6. Thanks for the update Dave. I had not seen that the Toro Loco was back in stores so I am sure that others will be relishing its arrival too. You are also right that Castillo de Olite needs time to open up. It is rare indeed that allowing that extra time for almost any red wine, fails to pay off handsomely.

    1. Hi all,
      My ‘sommelière’ wife (joke) happened to say she needed a quick trip to our distant Waitrose Tuesday last so went along too and bagged up the last remaining dusty stock of the tipped discounted Olite. On the various views had a quick sip on opening and then after a double aeration and standing out in the Carafe – chalk & Comte cheese was the difference – thanks again & keep recommending !
      Enjoyable & interesting tour yesterday at our local Yorkshire Heart Vineyard.

  7. Couldn’t agree more Dave regarding Aldi’s Red Toro Loco, great wine for that price. Their Rose Toro Loco, is also, I think quite superb, (at £4-49). Unlike most Spanish Rose’s, which are normally a quite deep red in colour, this is a light shade of pink, and for me, looks and more importantly tastes, like it could have come from Provence, highly recommended.

  8. Unless it is very old, there are not many wines that do not repay a little access to air so I am pleased to hear about more first hand experiences of the point. The clever chalk and cheese line is particularly apt given the nutty and slightly grainy similarities exhibited by both comte cheese and many Italian reds.
    As for Yorkshire Heart, it’s great to see the experimentation there with less well-known grapes alongside the classic ones. Over time, I have a feeling that England may become the go-to place for quality Ortega and possibly Bacchus.

  9. I have not tried that rosé so thanks for the “heads up”; I will seek some out. Despite the odd exception I mentioned a week or so back, my crude rule of thumb (the paler the rosé the more subscribers here are likely to enjoy it) does seem to hold good.

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