Spanish red wines…

The variety of Spanish red wines is as overwhelming as the quality to price ratio – aka: Bang For The Buck. Regardless of the price, Spanish reds simply overdeliver.

Combine that variety and relative affordability with the fact that Spain has more acres under vine than any other country and the opportunities for confusion and complexity multiply exponentially. Prepare to be impressed!

Bodegas Victorianas is one of 7 distinctly different Spanish wineries in Grupo Faustino which is based in Oyón in north eastern Spain. The wines from Vina Losar are among the most affordable.

From La Mancha, Vina Losar Tempranillo (585554) $8.99 is a light red full of fresh cherry notes with lingering notes of tomato and wet leather.

Served with soft white cheeses, it opens up and shows some plum and vanilla flavours.

The Castaño family have always been considered pioneers in Yecla, a small town in the north of the province of Murcia.

Ramón Castaño Santa experimented with the grape variety Monastrell to both create straight wines and blend it with other varieties.

A blend of 80 per cent Monastrell, 10 per cent Cabernet Sauvignon and 10 per cent Syrah, from 20-30 year old vines, Familia Castaño Dominio Espinal Seleccion 2015 (378190) $9.79 leads with ripe blackberry fruit, with raspberries, blackcurrants, herbs and pepper adding interest. Amazing value!

Juan Torres Casals was born in 1865, the second generation of Bodegas Torres. Driven by a vision for the future, he registered the Coronas brand on February 7th, 1907 creating a wine that would make history in Spain.

From Catalunya in north-eastern Spain, Coronas Tempranillo (29728) $15.99 is a proprietary blend of mainly Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Is there also a splash of Merlot? A dash of Syrah? This is a seriously elegant red wine flaunting aromas of wild blueberries and blackberries and cloves with toasty oak notes. The flavours echo the aromas perfectly.

South of Catalunya, the Tarragona region in north-east Spain started producing wine in the Middle Ages, when vines were introduced by monks who had migrated from the Burgundy region of France and Germany’s Rhine Valley. Declared its own appellation in 2001, Tarragona’s Montsant is known for rich red wines made from Garnacha.

The 2011 Baronia del Montsant Flor de Englora Garnatxa (667667) $16.99 is made from grapes from 35-year-old vines. It has ripe plum, strawberry and cranberry aromas that signal the wine’s dusky, jammy flavours of sun scorched cranberry, pomegranate and wild strawberries.

Loactaed smack dab in the heart of Spain, La Mancha has over 190,000 ha planted to vines, and is the largest continuous vine-growing area in the world. The grapes for Volver Single Vineyard Tempranillo are sourced from Finca Los Juncares, an old Tempranillo vineyard planted in some of the poorest soils in Spain.

Aromas of leathery cherry-berry fruits are the subtle opening notes of Volver 2015 Single Vineyard Tempranillo (433425) $27.99. Sweet cherry, vanilla oak light caramel flavours slide into a peppery, spicy finish shot through with ripe plums and dark chocolate.

The most famous Spanish red wines come from the regions of La Rioja and Ribera del Duero. La Rioja is in northern Spain, south-west of the Basque Country, below the Cantabrian Mountains, where vineyards make up the Ebro valley.

As well as making the inexpensive Vina Losar, Grupo Faustino makes a full range of white and red wines under various labels, including premium Riojas. Under Spanish wine regulations ‘Gran Reserva’ red wines must be aged for a minimum of two years in oak and three years in the bottle.

It is not uncommon for premium Spanish red wines to be released more than 10 years after the vintage. These wines have usually shed some of their spicy tannins and become remarkably ‘soft’ on the tongue.

Aged to silky perfection, Faustino I Gran Reserva Rioja 2005 (140184) $41.99 intrigues the nose with floral, berry and earthy aromas. Prune, black cherry, dried tomato, sage and basil flavors finish with toasted almond, coconut, tree-bark and lingering notes of leather and liquorice.

Reach WineWise by emailing or track him down at one of the three JAK’s Stores in Campbell River.