Top Ten Spanish Wines tasted in 2015

I’ve been dreading this article . . . .



I’ve been dreading this article!

I started this ‘name and praise’ tradition several years ago. Reader interest and indeed bodega interest has gathered pace over the years, leaving me in a unnerving invidious position. I have to keep the Top Ten Wines tasted for Cork Talk during 2015, to exactly that – just ten.


Each year the task becomes more difficult and more intense. I’m talking serious wine stress here! The ‘problem’, as Cork Talk readers will know only too well, is that the standard of Spanish wines is excellent, with many taking their rightful place on the podiums of International Wine Competitions – comparable with the world’s best wines!


And I have to choose just ten! Inevitably some truly excellent wines will have to be left out! Wine woe, is me!


In reverse order:


No. 10 Bodegas Bertomiz, Ariyanas Dulce Terruño Pizarroso Dessert Wine

A sublme wine. 100% Moscatel with some oak ageing, in fact 8 months in new French barrels. Even the colour is rich, it’s bronze/gold hued, the colour of honey – and on the nose you’ll find honey, as well as some orange peel spritz, with a touch of minerality too, coming from the slate strewn vineyard. Look also for the dried fruit you might add to Christmas cake!


No. 9 Bodegas Can Rafols dels Caus, Gran Caus Rosado

It’s no idle claim to say that this is probably the best rosado in Spain! It’s the first time that a rosé wine has made the Top Ten which in itself is indicative of just how good is this 100% Merlot wine. Bucking the current trend, this wine is darkly coloured with the grape skins also having time to impart their aromas and flavours.


No. 8 Bodegas Muga, Selección Especial

I’ve been giving my conscience a dreadful time here – was it the occasion, when we tasted this wine in situ with a wonderful lunch, that has led me to position here in the Top Ten? I’ve decided no – I am being impartial, it’s a gorgeous wine! Tempranillo, Garnacha, Mazuelo & Graciano are in the mix and the result is a glorious up-front fruited Rioja of ex cellence!


No. 7 Bodegas Luzón, Alma de Luzón

Alma de Luzón, the Soul of Luzón, is the flagship wine of this DO Jumilla bodega, and understandably so, as it speaks of the soil in which its elderly Cabernet Sauvignon, Monastrell and Syrah vines have been growing. The wine will give you some sweet cedar and vanilla with a little coconut and coffee, though it’s the dark blackberry, blackcurrant and picota cherries that you’ll first encounter, a fruit compote that will remain with you from first hit – elegant too!

luzon alma01

No. 6 Bodegas Castaño, Casa de la Cera

With Monastrell at its heart (50%) and Garnacha Tintorera, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in support, you’d be correct in expecting a lovely dark fruit compote on the nose and palate. Add to this impressive start, some judicial oak ageing and you’ll find an elegance to complement the power of the wine, with complexity and length.


No. 5 Bodega Monastrell, Valché

Nineteen months in new French oak 500 litre barricas have added an extra dimension of depth and complexity to this full and rich red wine. There are a few real star bodegas in DO Bullas, and this multi-award winner is the leader of the pack. As the name of the bodega suggests, this is made with 100% Monastrell and it will fill your senses with fragrance and flavour. The first time Bullas has figured in the Top Ten!


No. 4 Bodegas Pazo de Señorans, Selección Añada 2007

Albariño and, yes, that’s the 2007 vintage, which readers may think gives a lie to my claim that most Spanish white wine should be drunk young! However, note the ‘most’ – there are exceptions. The wine is fermented in stainless steel, but then kept for 30 months in a temperature controlled tank with its lees in situ. Whilst enjoying the white peach and flower aromas (magnolia for me, perhaps jasmine too?) you may also note a creamy feel and flavour though it remains fresh and clean. Top white!

pazo seleccion

No. 3 Bodegas Aalto, Aalto PS 2011

A glorious, quite exceptional wine whose rich, voluptuous ripe fruit flavour is also steeped in elegance. It’s full of concentrated black fruit on the nose and the palate with a forest undergrowth foundation, helped, but certainly not overwhelmed, by its 22 months in barrel, which adds complexity and depth to the mix. Drinking brilliantly now, and with time on its side too!


No. 2 Bodegas Mauro, Mauro VS 2011

A quite remarkable Tinto Fino VdlT wine! The moment the cork was pulled the most alluring aromas assailed the nose, in the nicest possible way! Over 30 months in oak has added depth of flavour, complexity and a wonderful, rich unctuousness, with the wood never being allowed to overtake the quintessential fruit delivery. You’ll find richly flavoured red fruits, loganberry for example, with some picota cherries as well as an earthy character with more than a hint of bay leaf.  A superb wine!

A formidable line-up of outstanding Spanish Red Wines!


No. 1. Bodegas Marqués de Murrieta, Dalmau

Dalmau, the best Spanish wine I’ve tasted this year, can be described as the definitive modern style of Rioja! It’s an exceptionally good, deeply flavoured and many textured, complex wine which has had just two years in oak and one in bottle. It’s made with Tempranillo and Graciano grapes from a single vineyard whose vines can count 86 growing seasons, as well as Cabernet Sauvignon of similar age! Stunning, and incidentally the best match I have yet found for the extremely strong blue cheese, Cabrales!


So, my congratulations to all the bodegas above and of course my commiserations to the many deserving wines that I just couldn’t manage to include!


Merry Christmas!


Contact Colin: Twitter @colinonwine Facebook search Colin Harkness and through his unique website

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