In partnership with ARAEX GrandsSpanish wine expert Pedro Ballesteros Torres MW shares his advice on what to put in your cellar and when to drink...
In partnership with ARAEX Grands
What you need in your Spanish wine cellar – a guide
Bearing in mind present day’s diversity and quality in the country , it’d be easy providing recommendations for a large cellar to be filled with just Spanish wine.
It’s much harder to advice on a short list representing the country while providing different opportunities to open a bottle.
The selection below is intended to be eclectic and functional, but if is far from being comprehensive.
For each category, several dozen names will deliver what is expected, just have your wine seller advising you.
Classic Spain, to keep as long as you wish
- Rioja Gran Reserva, aged for several years in American oak
- Modern Rioja “autor” style, not having any particular ageing indication, many times referring to a single vineyard
- Top Ribera del Duero, often indicating Reserva, from the best brands
- Priorat, particularly “vi de finca”
- Palo cortado Sherry
- Old amontillado from Montilla
- Fondillón from Alicante
Deep Spain, powerful and round, to drink or mid-term ageing
- Cava de Paraje Calificado CPC
- Red Bierzo
- Aged Toro
- Garnacha from Central Spain: Gredos, Manchuela, Méntrida
- Old-vine Garnacha from Navarra, Campo de Borja and Calatayud
- Monastrell reds from Alicante and Jumilla
The renewed Spain, original and refined wines, with a sense of place, to drink in less than 5 years time
- Top Albariño from Rias Baixas
- Great Ribeiro blends
- Malvasía volcánica from Lanzarote
- Fino en rama from Jerez
- Godello from Galicia and Bierzo
- Bobal from Requena, only top brands
- Red Galician wines, only autochthonous grape varieties
- White and red wines from Tenerife, only autochthonous varieties
Joyful Spain, fresh and fruity wines to drink within the year
- Rueda, Verdejo or Sauvignon Blanc. Avoid the cheaper stuff
- Txakoli, all 3 appellations
- Rosé from Navarra
- Carbonic maceration reds from Rioja (“cosecheros”)
- PX from Montilla-Moriles
- Off-dry to sweet muscat from Navarra and Alicante
- Sweet garnatxa from Catalonia
Expert tips for building your collection, from our previous guide
Insider tip #1
Try lesser wines from the most prestigious estates – they often provide unbeatable value.
Insider tip #2
Insider tip #3
Spain’s dry climate is ideal for organic and biodynamic viticulture. Many top wineries do not indicate that they are organic on the labels, but you should find it on the winery website.
Insider tip #4
Spanish wine is good value for money, but avoid anything sold as a bargain. Heavily discounted wines tend to be mediocre.