Best Spanish Wine under 10 Euros – 2015 Ranking

This is the sixth year that this ranking has taken place. We are pleased to publish the long awaited results. I am sure many of you will rush straight into the list, but please spare a few minutes to read these lines saying thank you. Thank you to the A La Volé team: Alvaro, Manuel, Nacho, Goyo who were the perfect hosts for our jurors in the amazing city of Segovia, north of Madrid. Thanks as well to Venta Magullo who provided the venue for the wine tasting and where we had a beautiful meal after the tasting took place.

This year again we are incredibly proud of these results - which we owe to many. We are specially proud as the average quality from all wines submitted was very high. More importantly we believe the jurors managed to understand and “get” the the majority of the wines they tasted and rated. 

It is amazing to read year on year at the time of compiling the results the comments from the tasting sheets diligently filled by the jurors - they exhale a raft of expertise, experience, curiosity and true passion and love for wine.

Right, let’s go straight into this year’s results:  

In 10th position a wine from a winery that is a newcomer to this competition. Over the last few years this producer has gone through an internal revolution focused on searching the authenticity from the local village wine, getting it to express all its terroir.  

We are still scratching our head as to why this winery has left the Ribeira Sacra D.O, but this hasn’t been detrimental to the quality of its wine, and on the contrary in this first year outside of the D.O., the wine Pradio 2014, a fresh, vibrant and mineral Mencía makes its entry in 10th position.
In 9th position the naughtiest funniest Grenache made by Orlando Lumbreras Viñador. A vineyard in Gredos, abandoned and restored with love and patience over three years. With the rock-style happiness brought by the granite soils, and the aromas that only nature expresses when in equilibrium. A red wine that will leave great memories: Los besos que te robé 2014. (loosely translates as “Those kisses I stole from you”)

In the 8th position, Arcán 2014 a dream from the family-run Adega Pombal A Lanzada. Their oenologist is the star Dominique Roujou de Boubee,  who has managed to extract the salty and mineral flavors out of this albariño vineyard based in Noalla. It is a flavorsome, mineral and very coastal. The perfect company if you are looking for that atlantic breeze on your table.

In 7th position a dream comes true. After many years in the wait, a sparkling wine makes it all the way to the top ten. Over the years we always had a small set of sparking wines that were submitted to the competition, but they were always shadowed by more intense wines. 

This is no longer the case. This year the elegance brought by Privat Reserva 2013 from Alta Alella earns a place in the ranking, achieving an almost unanimous view from the jurors. Mediterranean terroir , good catalan winemaking and a bit of champagne style. A sparking wine that should form part of every cellar.

In the 6th position a classic in the ranking every year. Its balance and delicacy takes overs jurors year on year.  Tilenus Vendimia 2014 is a mencía wine from the Bierzo region: full of fruit, free from oak and any other interferences. Perfect for these times when one looks for immediate pleasure.  
Half way through the table, in 5th position came Chass 2014 another example of mischief coming from the Gredos region made by RuBoR Viticultores. The grapes are chasselas doré found and looked after by the Cebreros sherpa known as Rubén Díaz Alonso. A very unusual vinification that highlights the honey aromas coming from a slow, natural open fermentation. It makes one wonder if acidity -which is so scarce in wines from these parts of the world- may be overrated. A wine to drink and drink (and then drink some more).

In 4th position things are starting to heat up. This wine brings us back to Galicia, specifically to the area that has the historical right to be in any conversation about Spanish wine: Ribeiro. Manuel Formigo consistently performs an encouraging labor recovering and dignifying small honest village wines. The fruits of his labor have taken the jurors by storm, and have been recognised in the ranking this year. This fantastic white wine is Finca Teira 2014 , it could become the best pairing if you are thinking of having sea bream over one of your Christmas meals.
We are getting close to the podium, with another great piece of news in 3rd position as we have another Sherry right up there in the ranking. Once again the unassuming muscatel grape variety. It is hard to imagine a world without those sweet muscatel wines like this. This wine is Moscatel Micaela made by Bodegas Barón. This Moscatel Micaela calls for long sweet post-meal moments amongst people that like each other. It is profound, aromatic and with a never ending finish.

In 2nd position another result to be proud of: the silent proof that it is possible to have verdejo, a white Rueda wine that is not true to the sad stereotypes of high volume low quality wines (this one doesn't have the Rueda DO, mind you).  This wine is simply delicious. The perfect white wine to surprise, amuse and seduce by being different and not conforming to stereotype. It is called Cucú (cantaba la rana) 2014, and it is a real pleasure. (“Cucú, cantaba la rana” is the old nursery rhyme - “Cuckoo, a frog was singing”).

And finally in 1st position and this year’s winner: another Sherry wine, a region that through its intensity has gained its place in the ranking and seems to be here to stay. A very traditional amontillado sherry, of a long tradition out of Poe. This wine attracts even those that forgot - or never knew- that these delicious oak aged wines in large barrels ever existed. Salty, complex, sharp, with a never ending finish… with a piece of matured sheep cheese is sinful: Amontillado Callejuela.

This concludes this 2015 ranking. We would like to thank you to those that have made it possible, one way or the other, but specially to those that make wine with a passion and will, as without them, none of this would have ever taken place.

Winegossip from Spain will be publishing individual entries for each of the wines with more detailed descriptions of those wines as well as detailed tasting notes over the next few weeks.



1. Amontillado Callejuela - Sherry
2. Cucú (Cantaba la Rana) 2014 - White Verdejo
3. Moscatel Micaela - Bodegas Barón - Sherry Muscatel
4. Finca Teira 2014 - Manuel Formigo - White Ribeiro
5. Chass 2014 - Rubor Viticultores - White Gredos
6. Tilenus Vendimia 2014 - Red Bierzo Mencía
7. Privat Reserva 2013 - Alta Alella - Cava
8. Arcán 2014 - Adega Pombal - White Albariño - Rías Baixas
9. Los besos que te robé 2014 - Orlando Lumbreras Viñador - Red Grenache - Gredos
10. Pradío 2014 - Pradío - Red Mencía - Ribeira Sacra

A note on transparency

In case anyone has any doubts about this ranking and how it is conducted a few points in the spirit of transparency:

1) Our jurors (22 tasters) have determined that these wines and not others from the many submitted made it to the top ten following a strict blind tasting.

2) Many of those jurors are wine producers, and in some cases, some of their wines were submitted to the competition and may have been present in the blind tasting. Although not all of them detected their own wines during the blind tasting, if their scores involved their own wine were were automatically discarded. So, in short, it was other people’ s ratings that achieved the results when it comes to wines where the producers may have been part of the tasting panel.

3) Amongst those wines that have been submitted or that have made it to the ranking wines, there are people that are friends of this blog’s author. We have collaborated in the past and we will very likely continue to collaborate in the future.

4) I never believed - rightly or wrongly - that given the above should become an impediment for those to either submit their wines and / or to be a juror at the same time. 

5) Lastly, given that no one makes a penny out of this competition - in fact it costs a few quite a bit of their own money - this should be seen as the clearest sign of transparency. I would still like to reiterate that this competition and ranking has no other agenda than to run a clean, transparent and not for profit ranking, with the only goal to help those that enjoy the pleasure of enjoying a good bottle of wine for a reasonable price (under 10 Euros).

Some may want to read whatever they wish into all of this, but I can assure you there isn't anything else to this.


Best Spanish Wine under 10 Euros – 2014 Ranking

The world of Spanish wine has kept us busy, and sometimes even life gets in the way of writing about good wine. Our apologies to our loyal readers for the lack of blog entries over the past 12 months.

Mariano Fisac has ran again the successful “Best Spanish wine under 10 Euros” competition. This year it had a slightly different formatwhile all producers were invited to submit any wine that met the requirement, a panel of experts also submitted bottles based on their own personal tastes

A total of 50 wines were submitted via both routes to a blind tasting panel of experty s, bloggers, and consumers which ranked all wines. Bottles and labels were disguised in true blind tasting fashion.

This year the panel used a slightly unusual criteria: for each and any of the wines, they were asked :

“How much would you pay for a bottle of this wine?”

The final ranking is therefore looking at which wine gives the best value for money. The greater the [positive] difference between the actual retail price and the price the panellists were willing to pay, the better. The ranking was then drawn by adding the differences between the price the panel was willing to pay and their actual retail price, and wines were ranked from top to bottom. 

No matter what some D.O.s may have been thumping on in press releases, the reality is that the 2013 vintage wasn’t the best for some Spanish wine regions, and the ranking does reflect that somehow. There are some real gems in here, so go out and fetch a bottle or two. 

In tenth place, a new entrant. It reflects a growing trend in the world of Spanish wine. This is a wine made by the Envínate group who are committed in their revolutionary work of finding terroirs that can be expressed in an environmentally-friendly way, wines that are also fresh and easy drinking. The grape variety is Garnacha Tintorera (Alicante BouschetCarignan Jeune), which has in the past been less regarded and relegated to mass production in the La Mancha region, or merely used to add colour to wines. This producer gets the best out of it with care and respect, giving a fresh, genuine, tasty wine with a great potential for food pairing. It is called Albahara 2013

In ninth place a daring and radical Rioja. With a personality that didn’t leave any panel member indifferent. We wouldn’t call it a modern Rioja, though. Despite its volume and intensity, brings out the tradition of village wine, thirst quenching but loyal to its geographical origins and terroir. All grapes are organically grown and islargely Tempranillo based with a tiny bit of Viura. The whole package is rounded by a fresh and amusing label design and bottle presentation. This wine is ideal for aunexpected present. Named Malaspiedras (literally, bad stones)is produced by Bodegas Compañón Arrieta en Lanciego, Rioja Alavesa. Bring a bottle of two of this to a dinner party and you will grab everyone’s attention. 

In eighth place, an albariño shows up for the first timeThe albariño grape, when used honestly and without further manipulation, always outperforms rivals in blind tasting events due its intensity, terroir and freshness. 
There is not much that hasn’t been said about Bodegas Zárate already, as it is one of the big names in quality Rias Baixas wines. Their bigger brothers, Zarate’s grand cuvées such as “El Palomar” or our favourite “Tras da Viñaare well known and spoken about globally. But Zarate lives to its reputation too with this submission: their exceptionally good basic wine. It will start to give its best from next year onwards. We recommend you stock up on Zárate 2013, as we suspect this wine won’t last for long on shelves. 

In seventh place, another new entrant. Jesús M. Recueroof a long lineage of local winemakers. He is the songrandson & great grand-son of a winemaker. He works out of the remote area of Sierra de Gatabidding his time. He has been working at restoring soils and vines in Villamiel in the middle of Extremadura, that sleeping giant regionThe vineyard is pepper-potted by olive trees, heather and rockrose plants, which flow through the wine. It is called Antier and is a blend of old vine grapestinta fina (Tempranillo)piñuelo (Grenache) y rufeta (he believes is a variety of Grenache), all vinified right in the vineyard. It has a Mediterranean soul to it, but also reminds you of some of the great wines from south Portugal. great find

In sixth place, we kept on being surprised in this rankingThis little gem coming out of a tiny town in Férez (Albacete). Organic Bobal and monastrell grapes. There were just about 6 barrels made, full of fruit flavours. The wine is Lacerta 2012 , produced by Bodegas Lazotheir exclusive distributor is Ezequiel Sánchez Mateosthe terroir-hunter that can be found in Reserva y CataIt is a massive find with an excellent value for money. 

In fifth place another newcomer. We are not aware of the reasons why the D.O. Rias Baixas rejected this exceptional Albariño so it doesn’t carry its D.O. seal. We would want to hope that the fact has done so well in our ranking would be noticed by those in charge of that decision. 

For the rest of us, this Dena wine is a clear example of the most mineral albariñoversión, the Meaño cru over granite soilsHalf of it spent 5 months in oak barrels, the rest of it aged in inox tanks. The blend results in a vibrant wine full of character that took the panel’s heart. The wine is called Pescuda 2013 and is made by the Moldesfamily, which we have seen in the ranking other years with the other wine Finca APedreiraIf you manage to get hold of any of it, grab it quickly as there is very limited produce. 

In fourth place, probably not a surprise to anyone that has been following XurxoAlba and the wines that he keeps on crafting year on year. Xurxo Alba was the winer in 2012 with his now cult status Albamar 2011. Panel members may have changed, but his wines never leave anyone indifferent. The waves, algae, sea aromas are so distinct. If you want to show someone how a certain area expresses itself through an albariño grapeAlbamar 2013 is a fine exampleAnd it is very good wine too!

 As we approach the critical podium area, something unexpected in third place. It is a wine that comes from the efforts and love for an area by a priest, a hotelier and a farmer. Through respect and integrated viticulture they have brought up this Txacolia few notches above the rest. This is far from your average thin Txacoli, it is full of minerality, tension and flavour. It has great potential for food pairing and opens a new door for wines of Atlantic character. This is Txacolí Uno 2013 produced byGoianea.

In second place, one of the usual suspects year on year. This year has deservingly achieved its highest position in the ranking. A single-vineyard wine, of delicate and Burgundian character despite each vintage’s own peculiarities. This 2013 is a delicate poem of balsamic and distinction. Not recommended for those loving concentration and tannins. Despite not having had any oak-barrel aging, keeps and evolves very well in bottle, so don’t be afraid of getting a whole box and enjoy it as it ages with you.  The wine is Viña Regueiral 2013.

And finally, there can only be one. In first place which makes it the overall winner for the 2014 Ranking, the wine that left the panel speechless. 

It is a Moscatel, but its most complex, balanced and sensual variety. It is made in Chiclana (Cadiz) and had managed at last to place Andalusian wines where they deserve in the ranking. A ridiculously low price for this great sweet wine given everything it has to offer (a wine of this quality would be priced five times more if it was made in Germany or Hungary). A well deserving winner for the 2014 Ranking: Collantes Moscatel Oro "Los Cuartillos".

Lastly, we would like to say thank you to all that in one shape of form have made the ranking possiblespecially to many producers whose wines have almost made it to the list bar a few decimal points. We frown upon other rankings where gold awards are dished by the hundreds, which we believe kind of removes the value in having a ranking in the first place. 

Our approach to highlight the best of the best only allows for 10 wines to make it to the list, which makes others unfortunate “collateral damages”. We do know and regret that otherwise fantastic wines haven’t made it to the list, and we would like to encourage those that didn’t make it to keep up the good work.

Winegossip of Spain will be publishing individual entries for each and any of the wines with more detailed descriptions of those wines as well as detailed tasting notes over the next few weeks.



Top Ten Spanish Wines 2013

Here we are, once again, presenting the top ten Spanish wines under 10 euros, chosen in a blind tasting by a panel of oenologists, wine producers, wine distributors, wine journalists, bloggers and wine aficionados.

Everyone in the panel had to rank all wines without knowledge of what they were drinking. All labels were removed and all bottles disguised. None of the producers who sent the samples paid to be part of the ranking. No panel members were paid, and if they happen to blind taste their “own” wines during the ranking (as oenologist/producers), those specific scores were taken out.

Our objective was clear: to find and promote wines with an excellent price-quality relationship. Wines that are within reach of the expert consumer that is looking for something new to try, as well as to the general public looking for a good bottle.
The Ranking
In No. 10 is a wine that marks the return of the fruity and lingering taste to the Ribera del Duero region. I won't bother introducing Germán R. Blanco at this point, as he needs no introductions. The wine speaks by itself and as they say in Burgundy, you can always recognize the best producers through their basic wines. The wine is Quinta Milú 2012, Ribera del Duero.
In No 9. , as all followers of this of this young competition will attest by now, Spain's most popular variety of grape is always present in our top ten. A grape that, far from being the preserve of cheap ordinary plonk, has shown in recent years that in the right hands it can produce some really sublime wines. Of course, we are talking about the Grenache grape variety. This wine comes from Calatayud and is called Misticos 2011
In No 8 is a wine that already finds itself among the classic contenders in this list and is always among the big players. This  is no doubt down to its high quality, drinkability and above all its ability to show the true character of the Ribeira Sacra in each and every glass. This is one of the mainstays of the national scene, and a variety that has a bright future in Spanish wine. This is a real, undiluted Mencia: Viña Regueiral 2012.
No 7 was a big surprise. As this was selected in blind tasting by a panel, I know that I should not talk about personal experiences, but I feel I really must highlight a visit to this producer given how enriching I found the experience, and for the sheer excitement I got from hearing and seeing his work. The man is Alberto Nanclares, an authentic wine maker with a touch of hippie about him, who settled in Rias Baixas to make some truly memorable whites. His entry level wine, Tempus Vivendi 2012, is a precise, sharp and very tasty Albarino.
In No 6 is a wine that was meant to make into the top ten. Xurxo Alba’s Albarinos are among the very best Spanish whites of 2011. Despite being Albarinos, the wines held until their second year to show their very best, and no taster could fail to note the salinity, earthiness and algae that make this wine so authentic and characteristic. Last year’s wine was the winner in 2012 list, this year we are talking about Albamar 2012.
In No. 5, in the very middle of the league, I am pleased that it has found its place the variety that put 20th century Spanish wines firmly in the world scene. We are of naturally talking about Rioja. The Spanish wine scene owes so much to Rioja, and as in the D.O. regulator would say when you find one as authentic as this, its always going to be a hit. The charming oenologist David Sampedro has managed to extract from the 2008 vintage all the classicism, finesse and complexity of a Rioja reserva: one wine that expresses this perfectly is the Marques de Closa 2008.
In No. 4 is German R. Blanco again. This time we travel from the Ribera del Duero region to the outer limits of El Bierzo region. Due to boundary lines and the use of the veteran Cabernet Sauvignon vines it can not claim the Bierzo DO though.. This wine, warrior-like and wild, shows us just how well the Mencia grape, when combined with the historical Burdeaux variety, can work. Without losing any of their identity, the two varieties come together to show just what the high and poor lands of the northwest can offer. A wine that keeps growing in the bottle and gives you so much to talk about: Altos de San Esteban 2010.
In No. 3 we move from the Bierzo region to find a Mencia wine that returns to the list once again and has even managed to climb a few places since last time (it was 10th last year). This is another winery that I have had the pleasure of following over the last few years and have been able to observe the exponential growth in the quality of its fantastic wines. The influence of Raul Perez is still highly visible in here, but as with all the projects that he is involved with, Pablo Frias’ talent, knowledge and expertise begins to show up in wines like this Tilenus Roble 2010.
In No. 2, an artisan made wine, virtually unknown that is both highly promising and incredibly exciting, gatecrashes the list once again to claim one of the top spots. The Moldes family is back with its 2012 vintage, even finer than last year, more vibrant and more explosive than ever. The packaging has also been given a simple but beautiful face lift. This poorest of vineyards - old, full of sand and pebbles, treated with loving care but with minimal interference - has lots of great things to say, like this Finca A Pedreira 2012. If this wine keeps on improving at this rate, it will soon be making history.
The winner is one of those wines that vindicates in us the organiser spent all these hours in front of the keyboard, and even longer time in front of a wine glass. David Sampedro and Bruno Murciano revive and bring dignity back to the local unknown Bobal grape and demonstrate that some truly fine things can be done with it, such as this wine with its groundbreaking presentation, intimate nose and unsettling, fresh and silky taste. This is a wine that is thirst quenching, refreshing and enjoyable, but at the same time never fails to show off its origins and tipicity, showing off clearly about the land from where it came from. The winner this year is La Malkerida Bobal 2012.
Dear friends, that is just about it. I hope you get to try all these wines in your local bars or at the dinner table. They won’t disappoint.

So, finally, the Ranking of Best Spanish Wines under 10 Euros for 2013 is...

1. La Malkerida Bobal 2012, Bobal, Utiel-Requena
2. Finca A Pedreira 2012, Albarino, Rias Baixas
3. Tilenus Roble 2012, Mencia, Bierzo
4. Altos de San Esteban 2010, Cabernet Sauvignon and Mencia, V.T. Castilla y Leon
5. Marqués de Closa 2008, Reserva, Tempranillo, Mazuelo and Graciano, Rioja
6. Albamar 2012, Albarino, Rias Baixas
7. Tempus Vivendi 2012, Albarino, Rias Baixas
8. Viña Regueiral 2012, Mencia, Ribeira Sacra
9. Místicos 2011, Grenache, Calatayud
10. Quinta Milu 2012, Tinta Fina, Ribera del Duero