On a recent trip to Madrid, I was fortunate enough to get the chance to try some of the wines being produced in the under-appreciated vineyards of Spain.
Last year Spain produced over 37 million hectolitres of wine, making them the third largest wine producer in the world. Spain is also home to the largest vineyard acreage in the world. But it’s not only quantity that the Spaniards do well; the quality of the wine produced here is also arguably the best in the world and is certainly the most exciting wine scene operating today.
What makes the Spanish wine industry so interesting is the abundance of choice on offer. Whatever your taste, or budget, there is an incredible wine available to tantalise your taste buds.
On my trip I endeavoured to sample the best of what the country had to offer. It was a quest that I would highly recommend. Armed with a guidebook under one arm, a phrase book under the other, and the number of my health insurance provider in my wallet (in case of over-indulging), I set off to pamper my pallet.
With that in mind I bring you the three best wines that I had the good fortune to try, that you can pick up at home, broken down by price.
The sheer scale of Spain’s wine production has allowed them to be able to produce some of the finest budget wines available today. Since returning to the UK, I have found many of these fantastic tipples now being sold in supermarkets, the finest of which has to be the 2013 Tapa Roja Old Vines Monastrell. Winner of last year’s International Wine challenge, this chunky red wine hails from Spain’s South-eastern Yecla region and has a juicy flavour which is perfect for pairing with steak. I have seen bottles of this now being sold in British supermarkets for less than £5, a bargain!
On my trip I was astonished at the range of choice available. The everyday wines were truly exceptional, but a celebratory dinner pushed my group and I to splash out and try a few of the slightly more expensive reds on offer, the best of which would have to be the 2004 Rioja Reserva ‘Cune’ from Compania Vinicola del Norte de Espana. Recently ranked the best wine available today, this red boasts a deep yet fresh flavour and can be found in stores for under £20.
My baggage allowance was not sufficient for all of the souvenirs I had collected during my trip, and stopped me from picking up a special bottle of the finest, and priciest, wine I tried during my stay. The 2004 Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva comes from the Bodegas Marques de Murrieta. Established in the mid-19th century, this winery located in Spain’s Rioja region, is famous for producing some of the finest wines in the country. Their Castillo Ygay 2004 offers a spicy, red and black berry aroma which is best matched with a Sunday roast.
Each of these options represents the best wines coming out of Spain today. Whatever your taste, budget or occasion, the vineyards of Spain have something to satisfy your needs.
Although some studies have revealed that drinking wine (particularly red wine), can be good for you due to the antioxidants, it is still important to always practice “safe drinking” i.e. try to refrain from exceeding the maximum units of alcohol a day (three to four units for men and two to three units for women). If you’re unsure of how to track your alcohol consumption then fear not – there are apps on the market which can help you to calculate units and moderate your drinking. Being a safe drinker in 2015 is easier now than ever before!
On that note, I’m going to sign off with the traditional Spanish toast; Salud y amor y tiempo para disfrutarlo!