Here are a few of my favourite Spanish wines available at O’Briens – and until 17th August they are on sale with 20% or more off, so it’s a great time to snap them up!
Martín Códax Rías Baixas Albariño 2013 (12.5%, €17.95 down to €14.36 at O’Briens)
The fresh one: Named after a literary hero from Galicia in northwest Spain, this wine also uses the celebrated local grape Albariño. While some examples can be a little too tart for my taste, several months of ageing on the lees before bottling and a few years’ rest make this wonderfully round, though still fruity and refreshing. Expect citrus and soft stone fruit notes.
Marqués de Murrieta Rioja Capellanía 2010 (13.5%, €24.95 down to €19.96 at O’Briens)
The Marmite one: this is generally a love or loathe type of wine due to the deliberate introduction of some oxygen during the winemaking process – i.e. giving it a slight “Sherry” taste. It’s how traditional style white Rioja is made – and to be honest I’m all for it as technically better modern examples are often a bit dull. I also tasted a 2005 vintage recently and it was still going strong, so don’t be in a hurry to drink it!
Torres Ribero del Duero Crianza Celeste 2012 (14.0%, €21.95 down to €17.56 at O’Briens)
The regular one: Although it’s fairly well distributed, this is a classy wine that always delivers – it’s a regular tipple for me. It’s made from Tempranillo which is of course the mainstay of red Rioja, but the hotter days and cooler nights of the Ribero del Duero give the local variant a thicker skin and hence the wine has more colour and flavour – dark berries with a pinch of spice!
Monte Real Rioja Gran Reserva 2007 (14.0%, €30.45 down to €24.36 at O’Briens)
The surprising one: This wine was one of the stand outs for me at the O’Briens Spring Wine Fair. When it comes to Rioja I don’t usually go for a Gran Reserva as they can be woody and dried out from too much time in oak, but this was a revelation. 30 months in American oak followed by 3 years in bottle have set it up superbly. The strawberry fruit is so, so soft with vanilla on the side, and a slight smoky edge to the wine. The oak is definitely noticeable but it’s now well integrated. A fabulous wine!
Marques de Murrieta Castillo De Ygay Gran Reserva Especial 2007 (14.0%, €85.00 down to €68.00 at O’Briens)
The no-expense spared one: Yes, this is an expensive wine, but it is counted among the best in Spain, so if you’re splashing out then why not? It’s a blend of 86% Tempranillo and 14% Mazuelo (a.k.a. Carignan) matured in oak for 28 months. It tastes pretty damned amazing, but it’s still a baby – put a couple of bottles away for a special occasion in a few years time!