Montañar Graciano 2015, La Mancha
€13.99 from Egan’s, Portlaoise; Vanilla Grape, Kenmare; and Drinkstore, Stoneybatter.
Bright fresh dark fruits with good acidity and plenty of concentration. Medium to full-bodied with well-managed tannins on the finish. This is a lovely well-priced wine.
This went brilliantly with a leg of lamb, but any substantial roast red meat would do fine.
Graciano is a grape variety found in Rioja, but shunned until recently as it was very difficult to grow. It can produce perfumed elegant wines with good acidity and structure. The Parra family are based in the warmer La Mancha region of Spain. This wine combines the elegance and acidity of Graciano with the stuffing provided by the La Mancha heat. Organic.
Canforalles Syrah Tempranillo 2015, La Mancha
€13 from La Touche, Greystones; World Wide Wines, Waterford; 64wine, Glasthule; Liston’s, Camden Street.
Nice young wine – the Syrah gives it a savoury touch, the Tempranillo an elegance. Together they form a well-made wine, with clean dark fruits and light tannins. Ideal with pizza and tomato-based pasta dishes. Organic.
La Mancha is one of the largest vineyards in the world, and produces massive quantities of wine, largely red. They are usually very reasonably priced. I reckon La Mancha Tempranillo is one of the best-value red wines you can find. This wine mixes in a bit of Syrah too, a nice innovation. Great value for money.
Pardevalles Prieto Picudo 2015, Tierra de León.
€15 from Clontarf Wine, 64wine and the Corkscrew.
Every year, the Spanish seem to rediscover a long-lost grape variety. If you haven’t heard of the Prieto Picudo grape before, don’t worry; very few wine anoraks have either. I seem to remember trying a few very rough versions a year or two ago, but couldn’t swear to it. Then this very attractive wine landed on my doorstep. The grape is indigenous to the León region in north-west Spain. The wine is savoury with liquorice and plump dark fruits with a very pleasant freshness. Well worth looking out for.
Borsao Garnacha Seleccíon 2013, Campo de Borja
€13.95 from Searsons, Monkstown
The label is fairly dazzling, and so is the wine. Campo de Borja produces large quantities of big ripe warming red wines, usually made from Garnacha. Along with Tempranillo from La Mancha, they represent some of the best value red wines available. Not just from Spain, but from anywhere. This is a classic of the style, with more fruit and intensity than most of the supermarket versions. Big, rounded and ripe with soft spicy strawberry fruits and a very decent supple finish. Great value for money, and perfect for barbecued meats.
Finca Resalso 2014, Ribera del Duero, Emilio Moro
Tasted more like 14% or even more to me, but a very good polished wine with smooth dark fruits, very subtle oak, a bit of real power and good length too. Nice wine. Went very well with our Armenian chicken, stuffed with walnuts, prunes and sumac.
Available from Redmonds, Ranelagh; Deveneys, Dundrum; The Coachhouse, Balinteer; Higgins, Clonskeagh; Sweeneys, Glasnevin; Clontarf Wines; O’Driscoll’s, Cahirsiveen; Donnybrook Fair; Holland’s, Bray; Fresh, Canal St.; No.21, Cork; 1601, Kinsale; Joyce’s, Galway.