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The Gold standard: representative Spanish reds from north to south

‘A great wine is like a great love,’ says Decanter World Wine Awards joint Regional Chair for Spain, Pedro Ballesteros Torres MW, of the feeling he gets when discovering a Gold-medal worthy wine at the competition.

Ballesteros Torres explains the DWWA judges are looking for typical wine quality markers such as balance, concentration and finish, but there’s a heightened reaction to the standout wines in a blind-tasted flight: surprise, joy and curiosity.


Scroll down to see our selection of Gold-winning Spanish reds from DWWA 2022


Spain saw a record number of wines evaluated at the 2022 competition, with an unprecedented number of Gold medals awarded. And it wasn’t just well-known regions such as Rioja, Priorat or Ribera del Duero receiving these top scores. From Txakoli de Bizkaia to Lanzarote, 26 wine-growing regions are represented in Spain’s Gold medal chart, with top-quality red wines at the forefront.

‘For me as a professional in this sector, what excites me about judging at DWWA is that it’s a wonderful opportunity to taste a wide array of wines from my country, at all levels of quality, without being influenced by the label,’ adds Ballesteros Torres. ‘Looking at what is there, it helps me a lot to make up my mind on the present state of the fine wine industry in Spain.’

International in scope with regionality at its core, DWWA results are a trusted source for objective wine recommendations, with Gold medal winners representing a top quality standard.

Below discover a selection of Spain’s exemplary reds to try, from north to south, with more to discover at awards.decanter.com

The Gold standard: representative Spanish reds from north to south

Ribeira Sacra

Don Bernardino, Melanio 2017

95 Gold
US$90 Edgewater, WineWorks
100% Mencía
A nose of resplendent red plum and raspberry aromatics. Blue floral notes round out both nose and palate, a lively vibrancy to the texture. The finish carries a touch of iron and earth, balancing the savoury fruit weight. Long, refined finish. Alcohol 14.5%

Valdeorras

Teresa López Fidalgo, O Cabalín 2019

95 Gold
adegaocabalin.com
80% Mencía with 20% Garnacha Tintorera.
Beautifully expressive and complex peppery red fruit, a spicy-earthy nose, some floral, caramel and toffee notes in the background. Marvellous texture, with silky and round tannins. Fresh, concentrated and gastronomic. Alc 13%

Bierzo

Cantariña, 2 Viña de los Pinos 2018

96 Gold
£19.30 Vinissimus†
90% Mencía, 10% Doña Blanca, Palomino, Garnacha Tintorera.
Astonishing aromas of anise, menthol, cut herbs and rubbed sage. Juicy layers with fine tannins, mouthwatering acidity, notes of black tea, juniper berry, cassis and an earthy, stony edge. A benchmark for natural wine lovers. Alc 14%

Toro

Numanthia, Termanthia 2015

96 Gold
£225 (2014) Clos19, Jeroboams
100% Tinta de Toro (Tempranillo)
Beautiful nose with some character coming from the wood but also ripe fruit and jam. Full-bodied, great structure and complexity, with silky soft tannins, intense sweet plum fruit and lively acidity. Poised, intense and very long. Alc 15%

Cigales

César Príncipe 2018

95 Gold
£29.50 Christopher Keiller
100% Tempranillo
Sage, marjoram and dark red fruit nose, spikes of ripe plum and blackcurrant. Dense, powerfully ripe and tannic with cooked blackberry and mulberry. Integrated alcohol, moreish and well-made, auguring well for a long future. Alc 14.5%

Ribera del Duero

Bodegas Peñafiel, Miros de Ribera Reserva 2017

96 Gold
£36.50 Decántalo†
100% Tinto Fino (Tempranillo)
Powerful but poised aromas of vanilla spice, ripe black cherries and coconut, touches of baking spices and violets. Lots going on, with nuance and complexity at every turn. Round and inviting, with a good structure, brisk acidity and well-integrated tannins.  Lovely potential. Alc 15%

Rioja

Marqués de Riscal, XR Reserva 2017

96 Gold
£33.99 Harrogate Wines
95% Tempranillo and 5% Graciano
Beautiful nose, with strawberries and black pepper, hints of flowers and toast in the background. Delicate and elegant palate, but also with a great structure and volume. Both delicate and powerful, a wonderful and quite irresistible wine. Alc 14.5%

Navarra

Inurrieta, Laderas 2019

96 Gold
£23.95 Ultracomida
100% Graciano
Intense vanilla ice cream, black fruit compote, blueberry and toasty oak aromatics. Full-bodied with juicy concentration and crisp, savoury acidity. Nice depth and ripe, round tannins, layers of fruit and a finish that lingers. A pleasure to drink now but with lots more to come. Alc 14.5%

Somontano

Viñas del Vero, Blecua 2015

96 Gold
£90 Gonzalez Byass UK
60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Syrah, 11% Merlot and 3% Garnacha
Intense sun-warmed blackcurrant, herbal and coffee aromas. Real poise here, with smooth and silky tannins, concentrated cassis, wild mint, savoury earthiness and a touch of gaminess. Depth and interest, lovely to drink now. Alc 14%

Priorat

Familia Torres, Perpetual 2019

96 Gold
POA Fells
Blend of 85% Cariñena and 15% Garnacha
Classic tell-tale Priorat aromas of graphite, black fruits, spicy oak, liquorice and earth. It has polish, class, length of flavour, x-factor and river bed minerality aplenty. Long, full and bursting with quality. Alc 14%

Montsant

Clos Mesorah 2017

95 Gold
£68.50 Kedem Europe, The Grapevine
Blend of 55% Cariñena, 25% Garnacha, 20% Syrah
Redcurrant and cranberry aromas, flowers, bay leaf and cedary oak. Soft, fresh, vibrant and rich with a velvety texture. A subtle, terroir-driven and multilayered style, complex and elegant. Alc 14.5%

Terra Alta

Casa Mariol, Selecció Garnatxa Negra 2020

95 Gold
£23.99 9 Elms Wines
100% Garnacha
Perfumes of ripe cherry, herbs, plums, violets, blueberries, baked plums and dark chocolate flow onto the palate. Full-bodied with firm tannins, lovely texture and an incredibly long and fresh finish. Understated, sapid style, good ageing potential. Alc 14%

Dominio de Valdepusa

Marqués de Griñón, Graciano, Toledo 2019

95 Gold
£30 Vino Fandango
100% Graciano
Complex fennel, ripe red fruit, leather, wood spice and black fruit aromatics. No lack of power, filling the mouth with toasty oak and a lingering, peppery finish. Still youthful with firm tannins and a long life ahead. Alc 14.5%

Jumilla

Ego Bodegas, Goru 38 Barrels 2020

96 Gold
£20 Cellier, The General Wine Co, The Northern Wine & Beer Co, Worsley Fine Wines
85% Monastrell, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon
Black cherry, blackcurrant, dusty cinnamon spice. Great verve and drive, notes of blackcurrant leaf, and dark cherries, rounded tannins with lively acidity – big, structured and carries its alcohol well. Alc 14.5%

Cádiz

Finca Moncloa, Edición Limitada Tintilla de Rota 2018

95 Gold
£50 Rise & Vine
100% Tintilla de Rota
An appealing herbaceous, dark chocolate, warm plum and strawberry bouquet. Oak from start to finish, savoury black fruits, food-friendly tannins, terrific juiciness and a lovely blueberry character. Finishes long. Outstanding. Alc 14.5%


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