Home > Spanish wine, wine recommendations, wine stores > Spanish Wine Recommendations, Part 2 – Wines under $50

Spanish Wine Recommendations, Part 2 – Wines under $50

Here we are again, talking about Spanish wines recommendations. My previous post was dedicated to the wines under $20, and now we are moving up and will look at what few extra dollars can buy you. And I actually mean it – despite the fact that our prices can go to the $50, there are still plenty of amazing Spanish wines at the lower end of the price range, mostly under $30.

Another interesting note is that in this price category transition we will mostly see all the new producer names – this will not be so much the case when we will jump the $50 limit, but – you will have to wait until we get there. I also want to remind you of the same basic concepts we discussed last time –  1) this list is mostly based on my experience with particular producers throughout the years; 2) I’m recommending producers and some specific wines, but not the vintages – with these producers, you stand an excellent chance of been happy no matter what the vintage rating was; 3) The list will include mostly red wines – there are really very few Spanish white wines in that price category which I have the long-term experience with and feel comfortable to recommend.

Ahh, before I will forget – note that absolute majority wines in this list (with the exception of the first white wine), will age extremely well. If you will age these wines, you might want to pay some attention to the vintage charts, but you will be fine even without it.

And the last (I promise!) generic note. Rioja wines are a very big part of my love of Spanish wines. When it comes to Rioja, I’m somewhat conservative, and I might be missing on some of the modern experimental concoctions. By “conservative” I also mean that there are some producers I trust completely, which means that I will gladly drink any wines from those producers, whatever I can acquire or be offered to drink. There are only 3 producers like that – La Rioja Alta, La Compañía Vinícola del Norte de España (CVNE) and R. López de Heredia. While it is only 3 producers, all started in the late 1800s (if you are interested in a bit of a history, here is one of my older posts on the subject), each of the producers offers multiple lines of wines – 4 or 5 different lines. The reason I bring it up? While I’m familiar with many of their wines, I obviously didn’t taste each and every one of them. But – and this is why I wanted to mention them before we get to the exact recommendations – if you see the name of any one of these 3 producers on the bottle – go for it. There are a few reasons for such a blunt recommendation. First, a lot of their wines are produced only in a good years – for instance, you would never see a Gran Reserva from La Rioja Alta from the average vintage. Another good thing is that generally these producers release their wines when they are ready to drink, which is not based on the minimum aging requirements, so you will always stand a good chance to enjoy their wines once they get in your glass.

Finally, done with introductions – let’s talk wine now.

White Wines:

NV Segura Viudas Reserva Heredad – one of my favorite Sparkling wines, has medium body with a good weight for the Sparkling wine, and lots of complexity on the palate. As an added bonus, beautiful bottle makes it a nice conversation piece. Around $22.

R. López de Heredia – as I already mentioned, one of my absolute favorites. Here are two white wines from López de Heredia:

R. López de Heredia Viña Gravonia Rioja – an interestingly complex white wine. Around $25.
R. López de Heredia Viña Tondonia Blanco Reserva Rioja – usually has very nice age on it by the time of the release. Combination of incredible complexity and freshness. Around $40 (I put is at $35 initially, but it seems that $40 is more realistic).

Red Wines:

Tempranillo and Tempranillo-based:

Rioja:

Multiple wines under CVNE brand:
CVNE Viña Real Reserva Rioja – usually bright with a good fruit presence. Around $25
CVNE Viña Real Gran Reserva Rioja – usually has more powerful structure compare to the regular Reserva. Around $35
CVNE Cune Reserva Rioja – similar to Viña Real Reserva in style. Actually, in price as well – around $25
CVNE Imperial Reserva Rioja – in the old days, this wine was specifically created for the England markets to compete with Claret. Good structure and complexity. Around $40

R. López de Heredia Viña Tondonia Reserva Rioja – very complex, earthy, usually more restrained than the others in the similar category. Around $40
R. López de Heredia Viña Bosconia Reserva Rioja – nice and classic. Around $32

La Rioja Alta Viña Ardanza Reserva Rioja – bright and dangerous – once you open a bottle, you can’t stop. Around $30
La Rioja Alta Viña Arana Reserva Rioja – a bit more restrained than the Viña Ardanza, but typically round and polished. Around $30
La Rioja Alta Viña Alberdi Reserva Rioja – Most structured out of 3 Reservas. Typically 100% Tempranillo. Around $25

Ribera del Duero:

I’m sure there are many worthy wines from Ribera del Duero in this price range – but I don’t have lots of consistent experiences there, hence only two recommendations:

Bodegas Alejandro Fernandez Tinto Pesquera Crianza Ribera Del Duero – soft and approachable, very round Tempranillo rendering with herbal undertones. Generally under $30.

Bodegas Emilio Moro Malleolus Ribera Del Duero – this is an “introductory” wine from the magnificent Malleolus wines. A beautiful expression of Tempranillo, full of fragrant power. Around $45.

Toro:

I probably should’ve mentioned Toro in the previous post. This is the third Tempranillo-based region in Spain, after Rioja and Ribera del Duero. Tempranillo is known here under the name of “Ink of Toro”, and typically has the most powerful expression compare to any other wines. I don’t have a consistent experience with any of the Toro wines in “under $20” range, but there is one I can recommend here:

Teso La Monja Almirez Toro – dark and dense, very powerful wine. Around $25

Garnacha and Garnacha-based (yep, a.k.a Grenache):

Again, I have a limited experience with the Garnacha wines in this price range, unfortunately. I’m sure there should be some excellent Garnacha wines from Priorat, but most of the Priorat wines I know of are in the next price range up. Therefore, just two recommendations from the same producer  – Alto Moncayo:

Bodegas Alto Moncayo Veraton Campo de Borja – fruit forward, with excellent balance. Around $25
Bodegas Alto Moncayo Alto Moncayo Grenache Campo de Borja– shows more power than Veraton, but still has an excellent balance. Around $40

Monastrell and Monastrell-based (a.k.a. Mourvedre)

Again, not the whole lot to present to you here – but this wine is typically big and delicious:

Bodegas Juan Gil Clio D.O. Jumilla – 70% Monastrell, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon. Bodegas Juan Gil produces a lot of wines in a lot of different regions in Spain. However, I’m only including one wine here, which I happened to like more often than not. Bright, fresh and lip smacking. Around $40

And that concludes our list. If you had any of these wines, I would be curious to know what do you think of them. In any case, stay tuned for the part 3, as it will include a lot of drool-worthy wines.

To be continued…

  1. March 30, 2015 at 11:06 am

    Very thorough list. I will keep for future reference in case I come across any of these wines. I would love to try your 3 fav producers.

    • talkavino
      March 30, 2015 at 3:37 pm

      All the wines which I included in the list should be widely available, so if you want to try them, it shouldn’t be a problem.

      • March 30, 2015 at 7:57 pm

        Probably through ordering online; however, you over estimate the Dallas wine scene when it comes to Spanish wines in retail stores.

        • talkavino
          March 30, 2015 at 8:03 pm

          oops, you are absolutely right – had the New York area in mind. Then yes, you will have to go online, you are right. If you can use WTSO, they have some good deals on Spanish wines from time to time… Also PJ Wines in New York has one of the best inventories of Spanish wines in the country, and they sell online…

        • March 30, 2015 at 8:12 pm

          Perfect. Thank you. I will keep both as resources.

        • talkavino
          March 30, 2015 at 8:14 pm

          in this series (Spanish wines) there will be “where to buy” post 🙂

        • March 30, 2015 at 8:17 pm

          Perfect! Thank you!

  2. March 30, 2015 at 6:08 pm

    Very much agree with you on the quality level of La Rioja Alta wines. Never have I been disappointed by any of their wines. Tried many of their new vintages at ProWein and enjoyed them all – Vina Ardanza and Gran Reserva 890 particularly stood out. Wonderful Riojas.

    I haven’t tried any wines from CVNE nor R. Lopez de Heredia but I will remember their names for the next time I buy Spanish wine.
    I actually think that it was you who recommended me some years ago to try the wines from La Rioja Alta and now I’m very much looking forward to try CVNE and R. Lopez. Cheers and thanks for the recommendations!

    • talkavino
      March 30, 2015 at 7:55 pm

      Glad you enjoy La Rioja Alta, Julian – they make truly spectacular wines. Lopez de Heredia is unique and different, their white wines are stunning – make sure to try them. They also make a Rosé which is even more unique 🙂 for CVNE, make sure to try the Imperial line – I wrote about those wines many times in the past – they are quite spectacular. And wait until the Part 3, there will be some good suggestions there as well 🙂

  3. March 30, 2015 at 7:10 pm

    My new favorite wine is the Heredia Vina Tondonia,Rioja I opened my bottle last week after storing for over a year. It was wonderful. Where do you get yours for $35 my local wine merchant is charging $65 I want to get a few more bottle and try some others from the same winery.

  4. March 31, 2015 at 12:44 am

    Like this. My best friend if from Spain and loves her wine. Every Christmas I try to find her a Spanish wine. It’s not always easy 🙂

    • talkavino
      March 31, 2015 at 5:17 am

      Thanks, glad you like it! I know, finding the right wines is not easy – there will be also a post in this series where I will be talking about where and how you can buy Spanish wines.

  5. MtheCurious
    March 31, 2015 at 5:32 am

    Really like the list and will see what can be found in Europe (would expect better availability and selection due to proximity) for me to sample. Particularly interested in the Bodegas Alto Moncayo.

    I would however like to add that their is a lot of interesting (and excellent value) sparkling wine coming out of Spain. For me some of the real great ones are Rimarts (especially like the Gran Reserva and the Uvae), Cellers Carol Valles as well as Llagrima D’or.

    • talkavino
      March 31, 2015 at 5:39 am

      Thank you very much for the comment! I completely agree with you – over the years I’ve had some excellent Cava wines. For this list, however, I’m only including the wines I personally have a long and consistent experience with,, so by all means it is limited. Yes, you should do better in Europe when it comes to the Spanish wines – availability in US is limited…

  6. April 2, 2015 at 8:50 am

    I’ve had the bubbles and a lower end Juan Gil, both enjoyable. I find most Spanish wines to be a bargain at any price point. Almost always more for you money.

    • talkavino
      April 2, 2015 at 8:54 am

      Completely agree. Worth splurging on as you get more. Next time we get together I will get you acquainted with my beloved Riojas.

      • April 2, 2015 at 9:30 am

        Crazy about wines from Rioja and Ribera. Someday I’ll make it there…

  1. April 5, 2015 at 7:28 am
  2. April 13, 2015 at 8:10 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s