El Viajero

Spain’s best red wines for under €15

Looking for a delicious red wine? Why not try a Spanish crianza?

These are the Spanish crianza wines aficionados will want to keep an eye on.
These are the Spanish crianza wines aficionados will want to keep an eye on.

Spaniards' tastes in wines have changed in recent years: they're drinking little, but often. As ever, price-quality ratio is the key to making the right choice, and while traditional regions like La Rioja continue to lead the way in sales, customers are now much more open to other options.

In the case of crianza reds (wines aged for at least two years, one of them in oak barrels), what we're looking for is honesty, clear fruity aromas, just enough of a wood scent and a full-flavored presence on the palate that is easy to appreciate.

Spain has an unbeatable array of wines to offer consumers in this category, with a wide selection of grape varieties, among them Tempranillo, Garnacha, Graciano, Monastrell, Mencía and Prieto picudo, and the winemaking industry has undergone an extensive overhaul, leading to the production of excellent crianzas in just about every winemaking region and within all of Spain's Denominación de Origen (DO), many of them for €15 or under.

The following list reflects the latest market trends and highlights wines with a fruity bouquet, mature tannins, and a smooth, well-rounded finish that fully expresses their terroir.

BORSAO TRES PICOS 2014

  • Winery: Borsao. Borja (Zaragoza).

  • Telephone: 976 86 71 16.

  • Internet: www.bodegasborsao.com.

  • DO: Campo de Borja.

  • Type: Crianza red, 15%.

  • Grape variety: Garnacha.

  • Price: €14.

  • Score: 9.3/10.

There is a density to its aroma that conceals spicy nuances and a hint of oak; the bouquet reveals very ripe fruit with elegant and complex notes. Sweetness and acidity balance each other out in the mouth.

MUGA 2011

  • Winery: Muga. Haro (La Rioja).

  • Telephone: 941 31 18 25.

  • Internet: www.bodegasmuga.com.

  • DOCa: Rioja.

  • Type: Crianza red, 14%.

  • Blend: Tempranillo, garnacha and some mazuelo and graciano.

  • Price: €14.

  • Score: 9.3/10.

Intense aroma of red and black berries, herbal tones, and hints of oak and spice. Powerful in the palate, smooth and with a hint of sweetness, refined and elegant.

PÉTALOS 2014

  • Winery: Descendientes de J. Palacios. Villafranca del Bierzo (León).

  • Telephone: 987 54 08 21.

  • DO: Bierzo.

  • Type: Crianza red, 14.5%.

  • Varietal: Mencía.

  • Price: €14.

  • Score: 9.3/10.

A deeply aromatic Mencía that makes no effort to hide its fruity nature, enhanced with flowery and herbal overtones. There is a slight presence of spice. Fresh and very fruity on the palate.

992 FINCA RÍO NEGRO 2014

  • Winery: Río Negro. Cogolludo (Guadalajara).

  • Telephone: 639 30 18 17.

  • Internet: www.fincarionegro.com.

  • IGP: Vino de la Tierra de Castilla.

  • Type: Crianza red, 14%.

  • Blend: Tempranillo, syrah, merlot and some cabernet sauvignon.

  • Price: €9.50.

  • Score: 9.2/10.

A well-achieved blend with a predominance of Tempranillo, offering an enticing bouquet characterized by a variety of wild fruit and a hint of flowers and spice. Full-bodied yet smooth.

CASTAÑO COLECCIÓN CEPAS VIEJAS 2013

  • Winery: Castaño. Yecla (Murcia).

  • Telephone: 968 79 11 15.

  • Internet: www.bodegascastano.com.

  • DO: Yecla.

  • Type: Crianza red, 14%.

  • Varietal: Monastrell and cabernet sauvignon.

  • Price: €11.50.

  • Score: 9.2/10.

With the characteristic aroma of these grapes, this wine is infused with mature red and black berries and a peppering of mountain herbs, spices and roast coffee. Full-bodied, lush, sensual and attractive, fruitiness is the key word here.

CLUNIA TEMPRANILLO 2012

  • Winery: Clunia. Coruña del Conde (Burgos).

  • Telephone: 607 18 59 51.

  • Internet: www.bodegasclunia.com.

  • VT: Castilla y León.

  • Type: Crianza red, 14%.

  • Varietal: Tempranillo.

  • Price: €15.

  • Score: 9.2/10.

This Tempranillo stands out for its clean aroma of fresh but ripe berries, boosted by hints of flowers, roast coffee and spices. Flavorful and elegant, it reaffirms its fruitiness with an extended aftertaste.

EL SENAT DEL MONTSANT 2013

  • Winery: 7Magnifics. Vilafranca del Penedès (Barcelona).

  • Telephone: 938 17 74 00.

  • Internet: www.7magnifics.com.

  • DO: Montsant.

  • Type: Crianza red, 14.5%.

  • Varietal: Cariñena (mazuela), garnacha and syrah.

  • Price: €11.75.

  • Score: 9.2/10.

The aroma is intense, complex, lightly reminiscent of liquor, yet fresh and Mediterranean with an abundance of ripe forest fruit and an airy fragrance of brush, underwood and roasted coffee.

FRONTAURA 2008

  • Winery: Frontaura. Pesquera de Duero (Valladolid).

  • Telephone: 983 35 26 99.

  • Internet: www.bodegasfrontarura.com.

  • DO: Toro.

  • Type: Crianza red, 14.5%.

  • Varietal: Tinta de Toro (tempranillo).

  • Price: €15.

  • Score: 9.2/10.

The aroma is concentrated, intense and complex, with a clean, ripe berry flavor framed by wood that contributes subtle hints of spice. Smooth and lush, with an impressively fresh finish.

PRUNO 2014

  • Winery: Finca Villacreces. Quintanilla de Onésimo (Valladolid).

  • Telephone: 983 68 04 37.

  • Internet: www.villacreces.com.

  • DO: Ribera del Duero.

  • Type: Crianza red, 14%.

  • Varietals: Tinto fino and some cabernet sauvignon.

  • Price: €10.90.

  • Score: 9.2/10.

This wine has an attractive aroma of acid forest fruit that intermingles with delicate notes of crianza and coffee. Lush on the palate, it is well-structured, with mature tannins, a fruity finish and a spicy, appealing freshness.

VAL DE LOS FRAILES 2012

  • Winery: Valdelosfrailes. Cubillas de Santa Marta (Valladolid).

  • Telephone: 983 48 50 28.

  • Internet: www.valdelosfrailes.es.

  • DO: Cigales.

  • Type: Crianza red, 14.5%.

  • Varietal: Tempranillo.

  • Price: €10.

  • Score: 9.1/10.

This wine offers up a fresh aroma of ripe berries, with a hint of brushwood and spice. Lush, with a clean and fruity finish.

English version by Susana Urra