Home > Spanish wine, wine, wine recommendations > Spanish Wine Recommendations, Part 1 – Wines under $20

Spanish Wine Recommendations, Part 1 – Wines under $20

List, list, list – who doesn’t like to make lists? Especially the lists of your favorites, where you basically regurgitate something familiar, and you can happily stumble on each and every entry, basking in the happy memories for a moment or three. Yep. That’s the wine list I’m talking about, people. Nope, not the restaurant wine list (that one more often than not is only a source of frustration) – the list of your favorite wines it is.

A short while ago, I was asked by one of the readers for some Spanish wine recommendations. Spanish wines as a group are probably my most favorite, so I happily engaged in the e-mail conversations. After few e-mail exchanges, I got the idea – how about I would simply create a list – a list of Spanish wines I would gladly recommend? Yep, I liked the idea, hence the post which I’m presenting to you.

Before we start, let me clarify a few things. First, I will split this list into the 3 parts – wines under $20, wines from $20 to $50, and the last one will be from $50 onward, with no limitations – no, Spanish wines can’t really compete with Petrus or DRC, but there are some wines there which would clearly require an expense account or lots and lots of passion. Another important note is that I will bring to your attention particular wines from the particular wineries – but for the most cases, without specifying the particular vintages – I tried absolute majority of recommended wines throughout the years, and wines had been always consistent, hence they are on the list. Ahh, and one more thing – I will not be trying to make balanced recommendation – the wines will be heavily skewed towards the reds – sorry about it. Okay, let’s get to it.

While I promised to focus on the reds, I have a few perennial favorites among Spanish whites which I have to mention.

White  Wines:

Bodegas La Cana Albariño – the wine is more round than a typical Albariño, with lesser acidity, but it is nevertheless delicious. Typically around $15.

Botani Moscatel Seco DO Sierras de Malaga – incredible aromatics followed by the dry, perfectly balanced body. One of my favorite summer wines. Around $16

Bodegas Angel Rodriguez Martinsancho Verdejo Rueda – might be the best Verdejo in Spain from a small artisan producer. Wonderfully complex. Around $16

Red Wines:

Let’s start with Rioja. Believe it or not, but good Rioja is hard to find in this price category, so here are few names which I know are consistent:

Bodegas LAN Rioja – one of the best values in Rioja, typically at $12 or less. Consistent, round, balanced. Not going to blow your mind – but not going to disappoint either. A perfect party wine too – often available in magnums.

CVNE Vina Real Rioja Crianza – outstanding introductory level Rioja from one of the best Rioja producers. Once you try it, you wouldn’t want to drink anything else. Typically around $15.

Grupo Olarra Bodegas Ondarre Reserva Rioja – soft and round, with nice brightness and acidity. A great introduction into the Rioja wines. Around $15.

Continuing with Tempranillo, here are a few more recommendations:

Bodegas Emilio Moro Ribera del Duero DO – Ribera del Duero is a source of powerful, clean 100% Tempranillo wines – but there are practically none available for under $20. Emilio Moro is a happy exception at around $18. Layered wine with broad shoulders. Great introduction into the Ribera del Duero region.

Viña Mayor Reserva Ribera del Duero DO – another excellent Tempranillo rendition from Ribera del Duero – dark, concentrated and polished. Can be found under $20.

Bodegas Ochoa Tempranillo Crianza Navarra – Tempranillo is the most planted red grape in Spain, so of course the wines are made everywhere. This wine is an excellent rendition of Tempranillo – round, polished, with nice fruit and traditional tobacco notes. Around $16.

Bodegas Volver Volver Red Wine DO La Mancha – another Tempranillo rendition, this one simply bursting with raw power. Powerful, brooding, very muscular wine – which is a great pleasure to drink at the same time. Around $16.

Here comes another darling of the Spanish red wine grapes – Garnacha, a.k.a. Grenache in the rest of the world.

Bodegas Borsao Tres Picos Garnacha DO Campo de Borja – one of the best red wines you can buy overall for $12. Simple and delicious.

Alvaro Palacios Camins del Priorat, Priorat DOCa – okay, this is a Garnacha blend, but considering that this wine comes from Priorat, one of the most exclusive winemaking regions in Spain, you should hardly complain. An excellent introduction into the region – dialed back red fruit and mineral complexity. Around $15.

And the last from the best known traditional Spanish varietals – Monastrell, a.k.a. Mourevdre in the rest of the world.

Bodegas Luzón Luzón Red Wine, DO Jumilla – simple, fruity, approachable, and nicely balanced. Almost an exception in this list at about $10.

Bodegas Carchelo Carchelo “C” Red Wine, DO Jumilla – a blend of Monastrell, Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon. After my first encounter with this wine I coined the term “dangerous wine” (or at least I think this was the wine) – what makes this wine dangerous is the fact that after the very first sip you can’t stop until the bottle is empty. Perfect balance of fruit and power. Around $15.

Torres Atrium Merlot, Penedes – as a fun fact, did you know that Torres is the biggest wine producer in Spain? Well, this might not be a fair recommendation, but still. I had this wine only once, but it was extremely memorable. The recommendation might be not fair as I’m not sure you can get it in the store – in Connecticut, it reserved for the restaurants only. I had it in Florida in a restaurant for $26, and if you will be able to buy it in the store, it would be around $12. If you can find it anywhere – go for it, as the wine is simply stunning, with or without taking the price into account.

Before we part, one more note. Outside of well-known grape varieties, such as Tempranillo, Garnacha and Monastrell, don’t be afraid to take the risk with lesser known Spanish varietals in the under $20 range. Look for the white wines made from Godello, or the reds made from Mencia, Bobal, Trepat and the others – there is a good chance you will not be disappointed.

And we are done! I was not trying to give you a comprehensive list – theses are all my favorites, you can just print this post and go to your local wine store, if you feel inclined, and then we can compare notes. The next post will cover wines in the $20 – $50 range – there are lots of treats there, my mouth starts watering as soon as I start thinking about those.

To be continued…

  1. March 24, 2015 at 6:49 pm

    Great recommendations, I am really loving Spanish wine after opening the bottle of 2001 Rioja Vina Tondonia, it was such an excellent wine, I wished I had another bottle to serve the other night. I love that these are under $20 making it perfect when I need to buy multiple bottles for a party or gathering.

    • talkavino
      March 25, 2015 at 1:57 am

      Glad you like it Suzanne!

  2. March 24, 2015 at 8:17 pm

    Great post- I definitely need to share this with my husband!

    • talkavino
      March 25, 2015 at 1:58 am

      Thank you Danielle! What are your and your husband favorite Spanish wines?

  3. March 24, 2015 at 9:19 pm

    Anatoli, love the recommendations. Love, love, love Spanish wines. I’m doing a Priorat visit in September. Winemakers very engaging and welcoming. Can’t wait.

    • talkavino
      March 25, 2015 at 1:59 am

      Thanks, Bill! Priorat sounds like a great fun! Hope to see some posts after your visit.

  4. March 25, 2015 at 7:12 am

    Great list–I love to see wines I’m already familiar with mixed with ones I need to keep an eye out for!

    • talkavino
      March 25, 2015 at 7:54 am

      Glad you like the list! If you will try the wines you are not familiar with, let me know how you will like them!

  5. March 25, 2015 at 11:53 pm

    Anatoli, I hope to be able to find one or two of these in our part of the world too… I’ll keep an eye out for them! 🙂 Love a good Spanish red!

    • talkavino
      March 26, 2015 at 8:53 am

      I think this should be possible. These wines are produced in the significant quantities, and, I would hope, should be well distributed internationally.

  6. March 30, 2015 at 8:22 am

    Lovely list! I really need to go back through your posts and start making my summer list. 🙂

    • talkavino
      March 30, 2015 at 10:34 am

      Sounds good! Summer is coming no matter what! 🙂

  7. April 29, 2015 at 11:31 am

    Hi Anatoli. Great article. Just wanted to let you know we re-blogged it this morning . . . https://shamisgourmet.wordpress.com/2015/04/29/wine-wednesday-a-great-article-on-inexpensive-spanish-wine/


    • talkavino
      April 29, 2015 at 1:30 pm

      Shami, thank you very much, appreciate it!

  8. January 22, 2019 at 11:37 am

    Bodegas Borsao Tres Picos Garnacha is very drinkable, as you state, and seems to be widely available (and price stable!).

    • January 22, 2019 at 9:53 pm

      Agreed. It is simple and consistent wine.

  9. January 22, 2019 at 1:54 pm

    What do you think of Freixenet Cordon Negro Cava Brut? When we are ask to bring mimosa ingredients for brunch, I often pick it up. It’s dry (so I enjoy it on it’s own) but low in price at $10-$14 a bottle, so it’s not a travesty if someone adds orange juice to it. I was first attracted to it because of the black bottle and gold letters; it stood out on the shelves.

    • January 22, 2019 at 9:54 pm

      It is drinkable., and perfect for mimosa. Not the wine I would want to celebrate my anniversary with, but as a daily glass, it is just perfect.

  1. March 30, 2015 at 10:33 am
  2. April 5, 2015 at 7:28 am
  3. April 13, 2015 at 8:10 am
  4. April 29, 2015 at 11:13 am
  5. May 19, 2015 at 1:07 am

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