Spain makes some of the best wine in the world. From superstar regions like Rioja and Ribera del Duero to legendary producers like Vega Sicilia and Pingus, Spanish wine has no shortage of fanfare. Exploring Spanish wine is a fun and rewarding pursuit, but be warned: fine wine and a tight budget can be a dangerous mix! Rockstar regions and icon producers are great, but your wallet will go a lot further by moving a little off the beaten track and exploring some of Spain’s hidden gems.
3 bargain Spanish wine regions to explore
Big names like Toro, Priorat, Rueda and Cava are popular with many wine lovers. There is good value to be had in these regions, of course, but it can sometimes be difficult to spot a bargain. With so many wines produced here, and producers all too aware of the caché held by these regional distinctions, you may find yourself paying a little over the odds. At the very least, it can be difficult to find a bargain.
The good news is that Spain is huge, and there are lots of other fantastic wine regions here whose wines are undervalued on the market. With these wines you’re virtually guaranteed to find a great quality/price ratio, and reap the added benefits of trying something new and expanding your palate!
The DO of Calatayud lies south of the river Ebro, in the general vicinity of bigger names like Rioja and Ribera del Duero. Garnacha, Tempranillo and Cariñena are widely planted here. The wines are generally inexpensive and everyday, but there are premium wines and they are seriously worth seeking out. A high-end Calatayud wine will offer a superb quality/price ratio when compared with a similarly priced wine from one of the more celebrated local regions.
- Try Honoro Vera Garnacha to get a sense of entry-level Calatayud. This is a powerful and full-bodied young wine that should please most palates.
- Splash out with Atteca Armas 2014, a blockbuster wine from old-vine Garnacha. Those that underestimate the potential of this grape at the high end should seriously taste this for themselves; after 18 months in French oak, this is elegant and fruity and has the potential for considerable cellar ageing.
The Yecla DO is part of the Levante region on Spain’s Mediterranean coast, to the south of Catalunya. The history of wine here dates back to the Phoenicians, yet the region remains relatively unknown, even when compared to its humble neighbour Jumilla. Like Jumilla, the Monastrell grape is dominant here. Monastrell is often blended with international grape varieties and vinified using carbonic maceration, which contribute to a very accessible fruit-driven style of wine.
- For a keenly priced and highly enjoyable Monastrell-led blend, try Solanera 2013. There are buckets of generous fruit here, providing excellent value for money.
Established as a DO in 2002, Montsant is located in the Tarragona region of Spain. The region is a favourite of wine magazines and critics, as it offers superb quality and makes for a more affordable alternative to Spain’s leading fine wine regions.
- A great starting point is Mas Donis Red 2012, a soft and medium-bodied blend of Garnacha and Syrah. This is a steal at this price, and hints at the quality to be had in the region.
- Moving up a little in price, Can Blau 2013 is a blend of Cariñena, Syrah and Garnacha. Fuller in body and more complex than the previous wine, Can Blau is the sort of wine you could buy by the case, guilt free in the knowledge that a wine of comparable quality from another region would cost you twice as much!
What other hidden wine regions of Spain do you like? Share your favourites with your fellow wine lovers below!