Marqués de Riscal Gran Reserva
Take for instance this blend of Tempranillo, Graciano and Mazuelo made from grapes that are more than thirty years old, with the wine being aged in American oak. With its complex aromas it ages well – the 1945 vintage is said to be one of Spain’s finest ever. One of the first bodegas to employ the Bourdeaux method, the Rioja estate also stands out for its Frank O. Gehry-designed silver and pink City of Wine building.
Compañía de Vinos Telmo Rodríguez Altos de Lanzaga
Gypsies have always played an important part in Spanish culture, so it’s fitting that one of its best winemakers should wander the country in itinerant fashion, to find and preserve a tradition under threat from commercial interests. Telmo Rodríguez respects both his budget and high-end bottlings, and this top-end offering is mostly Tempranillo with some Garnacha and Graciano.
2013 Rioja Valdepomares
Take a drop in price but not in taste with this modern rioja. Grapes growing in the cool Avesa sub-region produce reds free from hints of oak ageing, which is obvious from its underlying fruit flavours of cherry and raspberry on a tannin base.
Martires 2013 Finca Allende DOCa Rioja 100% Viura
Being barrel-fermented in new French oak brings touches of lime, lemon, peach and honeysuckle to this fresh but powerful white. Produced from 1970-planted vines in one hectare of loamy clay soil in Briones (Rioja Alta), Martires debuted only in 2008. It was worth the wait and even the higher price tag.
Vinarius Viura-Verdejo, Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y León 2010
This much more modestly-priced unoaked viura is mixed with fragrant verdejo, and its hints of tropical fruit offset by crisp notes of acidity are reminiscent of Sauvignon Blanc. This area in the heartland of Spain around Madrid endures hot dry summers and cold winters and is best known for its reds. Whites are produced on a smaller scale but they deserve just as much serious attention.