Spain may be the second largest exporter of wine worldwide by volume, but in terms of turnover it has always struggled. According to Statista, while it exported only 600,000 hectolitres less than Italy in 2020 (20.8m hl vs 20.2m hl), the difference in revenue was £3.1bn.
This is played out on supermarket shelves, where Spain’s wines tend to occupy the inexpensive to mid-range price points. However, this does mean that shoppers can find excellent value for money across the range. Supermarket own-labels are often produced by household names including the likes of Bodegas Muga and Emilio Lustau.
At lower price points, however, producers are less likely to experiment, sticking to what they know will sell. Consequently, grape varieties, at supermarket level, are kept to a dominant few. For indigenous varieties, quality whites often consist of Albariño, Godello, Verdejo and Viura, with most produced in a fresh, youthful style. For reds, Spain is synonymous with Tempranillo, with regions outside the traditional areas continuing to grow it in order to capitalise on its popularity. However, Garnacha, Mencía, Monastrell, Cariñena and Bobal (actually the second most- planted red variety in Spain) are making headway.
In future it will be interesting to see if recent changes to the regulations surrounding Cava production, put in place to help premiumisation of the category, will filter down to supermarket level, as Cava (especially vintage) continues to be seen generally as a low-priced option.
Last but no means least there is Sherry, which has recently seen an increase in sales, across both dry and sweet styles. It is here where undoubtedly the biggest bargains in the wine world can be found, with most supermarket own-labels coming from the same pool of reliable producers.
High Street Spain: great choices under £20
Wines are grouped by style and shown in score order, in descending order