Red wines from Spain for your barbecues

Spanish wines have undergone somewhat of a re-birth over the last 40 to 50 years. In previous columns I have often referred to the changing world of wine and Spanish wines are certainly included in this ongoing process.
Spanish reds for the barbecueSpanish reds for the barbecue
Spanish reds for the barbecue

Consumer taste has changed over the last 50 years and winemaking has adapted to those changes and in some instances led the changes.

Technology has naturally been a catalyst for change and modern winemaking across Europe and the world has been transformed.

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In terms of Spanish reds, Rioja is still uppermost in many wine drinkers’ minds, but many other regions of Spain produce fabulous, modern reds which are characterful and bursting with flavour.

From the Valdeorras region of North-west Spain comes a light, fruity red made from the Mencia grape variety. Cune Mencia 2022 is a fresh, fruity summery red with raspberry fruit flavours and light tannins, which can be served slightly chilled. Delicious with cold meats or courgette quiche. £10 from Morrisons. Cune or CVNE is the Compania Vinicola del Norte de Espania which was founded in 1879, originally dedicated to Rioja production and now making wine all over Northern Spain.

Cune Rioja Reserva 2018 is benchmark aged Rioja in the more modern style – less oak and tannin than in years gone by. Made from handpicked Tempranillo grapes, it spends a year in French and American oak and then bottle aged before being released. Widely available - Majestic, Ocado, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose – at around £14 a bottle, this is a rich, mellow wine with soft tannins and a touch of spice. Calls for barbecued, spicy chicken and sausages.

From the same company but marketed under a different label and made in a different winery, comes Contino Rioja Reserva 2018, a single estate wine, made in quantities of less than 300,000 bottles. Fabulous top-quality Rioja made from Tempranillo and Graciano, together with some Grenache and Mazuela. Succulent blackberry fruit and well-integrated oak, producing a wine of complexity and elegance. Try it with a perfectly cooked medium-rare Cote de Boeuf.

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Moving to the warmer Southern regions of Spain, Gonzalez Byass – better known for their excellent sherries, such as Tio Pepe – have revived some almost forgotten red wines, made with their top, modern winemaking skills to produce appealing fruity, full-bodied, mellow, elegant wines from lesser-known regions. From the far south of Spain near to the sherry region comes Finca Moncloa 2018 which is a Vino de la Tierra de Cadiz. An interesting blend of Syrah, Tintilla de Rota, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot, it is a deep ruby red, with intense aromas of red fruits and spices. Balsamic hints with some vanilla and long finish. £18.75 from online merchants.

Also from Gonzalez is Finca Constancia Seleccion 2019, another regional wine this time from estate vineyards in the Vino de le Tierra de Castilla region near Toledo. Again from a blend of several grape varieties including Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, this is a powerful, rich, structured wine with depth and complexity. Deep red cherry and dark fruit aromas and flavours, with a touch of spicy oak. Great value at £13 a bottle from Ocado. Perfect with mixed barbecue meats and grilled vegetables.

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