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Rose Murray Brown: Characterful Spanish for under a tenner

Scotsman wine columnist Rose Murray Brown picks out 12 great Spanish wines under £10 for you to enjoy

Published: February 8, 2016
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With the largest area under vine in the world, Spain is a natural place to look for good value among the volume. The renewed interest in native grapes like godello, albarino and verdejo amongst the whites and graciano and monastrell amongst the reds in lesser known regions also now offers the UK wine drinker something different. Unless stated these are all between 12.5 and 13.5 per cent alcohol.

WHITE

Rueda: San Antolin Verdejo Rueda 2014
For those who usually drink unoaked sauvignon blanc, give verdejo from the central Rueda region a go. This is crisp and dry with crunchy fruits, tangerine and citric flavours.
£8.99, Waitrose

Rioja: Navajas Blanco Crianza Rioja 2012
If you fancy an oaky white, this is an easy-drinking bargain. I liked the balance between ripe fruit, soft oak notes and vibrant acidity so it is full in the mouth, but still refreshing with a crisp, dry finish.
£7.50, The Wine Society

Somontano: Vinas Del Vero Gewurztraminer 2014
Spicy gewurztraminer is an unexpected find in Spain, but the Somontano region specialises in it. Lighter and drier than many Alsace gewurztraminers, this has honey and tropical fruit notes.
£5.99 each for 6 bts/£9.99 bt, Majestic Wine

Bierzo: Taste The Difference Godello 2014 Marques de Almeida - STAR BUY
I have recommended Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference albarino in the past, but if you fancy something a bit different check out the creamier godello grape. It would appeal to those who like unoaked chardonnay as it has a lemony flavour and broader texture than albarino.
£8, Sainsbury’s

Rias Baixas: Pazo De Villarei Albarino 2014
Normally you need to pay more than £10 for a decent albarino, otherwise they just taste like over-stretched sauvignon blanc. This is one of the few I have found sneaking under the £10 barrier. It’s minerally to start, refreshing in flavour with balancing acidity, a hint of salt and a touch of the creamy albarino character coming through.
£8.50, The Wine Society; £10.80, Tanners Wines, tanners-wines.co.uk

La Mancha: Escudo De Oro Muscat 2014
For those who like off dry aromatic whites, this is all about the primary grape flavours. Muscat wines really smell grapey with a touch of lychees and honey on the palate.
£7.64/£8.49, Laithwaites, www.laithwaites.co.uk

RED

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Jumilla: Juan Gil 4 Meses Monastrell 2012 - STAR BUY
Powerful and full-bodied with plummy fruits, a lush smooth palate and meaty finish. Monastrell (mourvedre in France and mataro in Australia) grows particularly well in Jumilla in south east Spain and shows what great value modern Spanish wines can be. Just watch the hefty 15 per cent alcohol.
£8.98, WoodWinters,  Edinburgh/Bridge of Allan;  Aitken Wines, Dundee

Yecla: La Purisma Syrah 2013
Spanish reds are not just about their native grapes, with the Rhône grape syrah finding a home in Yecla. Jose Martinez Ruiz has crafted a big, spicy blackfruited red. Our tasters liked its purity of fruit and violet notes, although some found it too tight.
£9, Oddbins

Rioja: Navajas Crianza Rioja 2011 - STAR BUY
Soft, rounded with a hint of spicy oak, this is a bargain price for rioja. Modern in style with a nod to the old with its leathery, earthy undertones, this is made by Navajas who used to sell off their grapes, but now craft their own blends of tempranillo, garnacha and carignan.
£7.25, The Wine Society, www.thewinesociety.com

La Mancha: Taste The Difference Graciano 2014 Martinez Bujanda
Well known Rioja producer Lauren Rosillo of Martinez Bujanda has worked with the tricky graciano grape in Rioja, so he coaxed the best out of it in La Mancha too.
£6, Sainsbury’s

Rioja: Lagunilla Gran Reserva 2007 - STAR BUY
If you can buy this Gran Reserva Rioja at its offer price of £8.99, it is a steal. Cinnamon, spicy, figgy with earthy undertones, this was popular with the rioja lovers at our tasting. Compared with Majestic Wine’s Muriel Rioja Reserva 2010 at this same tasting, the Lagunilla Gran Reserva shone out with its mellow aromas, lushness and velvety texture.
£8.99/£11.99, Majestic Wine

Carinena: Camino Gran Reserva 2009
Spain meets the New World. This upfront fruity red was very popular with our tasters who liked the prominent blackcurranty aromas, spicy vanilla notes and purity of the fruit flavours. A blend of cabernet sauvignon with tempranillo and garnacha. Made in the Carinena region.
£6.99, Waitrose

• Join Rose’s Chocolate & Wine Tasting on 20 May at 28 Queen Street, Edinburgh, £40, www.rosemurraybrown.com

Rose Murray Brown is one of only 323 Masters of Wine worldwide and is the only one to host wine courses and regular wine tastings in Scotland.

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