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Spain

Spain has many claims to fame when it comes to wine: Europe's highest vineyards, the world's best-selling sparkling wine in Cava and, in Sherry, a venerable fortified wine enjoying a well-earned renaissance.  It is the home of Rioja and Ribera del Duero, world-renowned wine regions, and Spain is planted with a greater area of vines than any other country in the world.  Yet these names and statistics only hint at a viniculture both traditional and dynamic, where native and international grapes are treated in the most modern of ways to capture their essence.  Spanish wine is now achieving variety, excellence and style.

Spain has many claims to fame when it comes to wine: Europe's highest vineyards, the world's best-selling sparkling wine in Cava and, in Sherry, a venerable fortified wine enjoying a well-earned renaissance.  It is the home of Rioja and Ribera del Duero, world-renowned wine regions, and Spain is planted with a greater area of... read more.

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History

The vine arrived in Spain on the ships of the Phoenicians long before it took root in the soil of France.  The Greeks made wine on the Mediterranean coast and the Romans intensified the process to quench the thirst of its legions.  The Moors brought the knowledge of distillation, which aided the export of sherry, but cultivated grapes mainly as food.  Spanish viticulture prospered for a short time in the nineteenth century when the phylloxera plague fanned out across Europe, but the root-eating insect managed to cross the Pyrenees and wrought havoc here as well.  Only recently, with the fall of Franco and entry to the EU, has Spain begun to realise its enormous potential.

The Classification System

Spain, remarkably, has devised a system of classification that is actively seeking to rival the French in complexity.  The Denominación de Origen (DO) is the standard classification of a quality wine, but there are two higher and three lower levels in use.  All have been designed for the benefit of the consumer and once understood are an invaluable guide to the wine.

Climate and Topography

Spain is very varied in its climate and topography, having a great diversity of warm and cool, wet and dry, and high- and low-altitude vineyards.  This allows a vast range of styles to be produced for local and, increasingly, international enjoyment.

The Wines of Today

Outside of Rioja, which has long enjoyed a fine reputation and an export market to match, Spain only recently awoke to its own vast potential.  Realisation began with the fall of Franco's government and the country's integration back into Europe.  Ideas and expertise were encouraged in the 1980s and helped to develop ambition and excellence.  Increased investment and regulation of standards are ensuring that Spain is consistently producing a suite of world class wines.  Even Sherry, so maligned and unfashionable, has recaptured the qualities that once made it so popular.  Spain is a country to explore for the old and the new.

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  1. Albariño Bernon Bodegas Aquitania, Rias Baixas

    Albariño Bernon Bodegas Aquitania, Rias Baixas, 2017 75cl

    Pale yellow in colour, this citrus fresh wine has delicious green apple flavours and white flower aromas. Soft and rounded on the palate with a light lemon zest notes.

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    £11.70
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    £14.65
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    £9.75
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    £12.21
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  2. Basa Blanco Telmo Rodríguez, Rueda

    Basa Blanco Telmo Rodríguez, Rueda, 2017 75cl

    Made by relentlessly innovative Spanish winemaker Telmo Rodriguez, who fights the corner for local varieties Viura and Verdejo. The succulent result is packed with crisp, clean flavours of yellow plums and white peaches.

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    £9.18
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    £10.50
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    £7.65
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    £8.75
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  3. El Transistor Blanco, Ruedo

    El Transistor Blanco, Ruedo, 2012 75cl

    This is a 100% Verdejo which is picked entirely old vines. The grapes are hand picked and aged in a number of casks of different types and sizes. The result is a wonderfully complex and interesting wine.

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    £16.74
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    £18.98
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    £13.95
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    £15.82
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  4. Pleno Blanco, Navarra

    Pleno Blanco, Navarra, 2017 75cl

    Bright straw yellow in colour and fruity aroma this wine has a smooth, fresh, dry and well-balanced finish.

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    £6.48
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    £6.95
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    £5.40
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    £5.79
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  5. Xastra Godello, Bierzo

    Xastra Godello, Bierzo, 2016 75cl

    A beautiful fresh, dry, and ever so slightly floral wine with superb clarity of apple and pear fruit flavours. 

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    £9.54
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    £10.90
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    £7.95
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    £9.08
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  6. Bagordi Blanco, Rioja

    Bagordi Blanco, Rioja, 2017 75cl

    Tropical aromas with hints of citrus and some pineapple notes carry through to a clean palate with a creamy finish.

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    £8.58
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    £9.95
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    £7.15
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    £8.29
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  7. Rioja Vega, Crianza

    Rioja Vega Tempranillo Blanco, Edicion Limitada, 2016 75cl

    Bright, complex and expressive aromas eith intense notes of tropical fruits and white flowers over delicate hints of herbs. The palate has an unctuous and sweet silky texture from the ageing on its fine lees in French oak barrels. A complex wine will keep well for many years to come.

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    £11.94
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    £13.99
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    £9.95
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    £11.66
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  8. Tobelos Barrel-Fermented White, Rioja

    Tobelos Barrel-Fermented Blanco, Rioja, 2014 75cl

    This excellent barrel fermented white Rioja has a yellow, green colour. The nose is intense with lots of clean ripe citrus fruit and pleasant toasty oak and smoked notes. The palate is dry and light with balanced fruit and wood assemblage which leaves a lingering refreshing taste of toasty ripe fruit notes and citrus hints.

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    £14.46
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    £16.34
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    £12.05
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    £13.62
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  9. Cellar Cal Pla Crianza, Porrera

    Cellar Cal Pla Crianza, Porrera, 2015 75cl

    Another stunning red from Joan Sangenis. Packed with opulent damson fruits with hints of nutmeg and cinnamon that are harmonised by silky tannins. This superior red has a very long, persistent finish. A great wine for the price and it will not disappoint.

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    £15.66
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    £17.95
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    £13.05
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    £14.96
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  10. Prios Maximus Roble, Ribera del Duero

    Prios Maximus Roble, Ribera del Duero, 2016 75cl

    This is a wonderful Crianza, round and warming with succulent mature red fruit flavours showing hints of coco and violets.

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    £10.92
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    £12.55
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    £9.10
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    £10.46
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  11. Bagordi Joven Red, Rioja

    Bagordi Joven, 2016 75cl

    A pronounced nose of intense redcurrant fruit is joined on the palate by summer berries and soft spice. 

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    £7.44
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    £8.70
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    £6.20
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    £7.25
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  12. Monte Araya, Vendimia Seleccionada

    Monte Araya, Vendimia Seleccionada, 2016 75cl

    As Rioja goes this is very light and approachable style. It has a ripe cherry fruit character which combines well with savoury notes to create a wine that has good depth and a silky finish. This is a great example of medium bodied complexity.

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    £8.39
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    £9.65
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    £6.99
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    £8.04
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