93

2014 Maquina & Tabla Blanco, Rueda

( £15.95, 13.5%, Lea & Sandeman )

One of an excellent line-up of regional delights from an exciting new Spanish venture, this tastes as good as it looks. Made from biodynamically farmed, old vine Verdejo, it’s a savoury, textured white with subtle oak, tangy acidity and just a hint of oak framing the pear and citrus fruit flavours. Almost Burgundian in terms of weight, concentration and complexity, this is a remarkable Verdejo.

BuyDrinking window: 2016-19Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, Spain, White

The shock of the new

by Matt Walls
When tasting my way through a large number of unfamiliar wines, there are a few tell-tale signs that I’ve encountered something special. Firstly, an involuntary smile creeps over my face....

Rioja’s vineyard revolution

by Tim Atkin
Juan Carlos López de Lacalle doesn’t look like a man who storms barricades. Skinny, bespectacled and bald, he’s more academic than action man. But appearances can be deceptive. The owner...
89

2011 Finca Carelio Tempranillo, Castilla y León

( £6.66, 14.5%, Majestic )

If I were tasting this blind, I’d put it in Ribera del Duero, rather than the hotter Castilla y León region, such is its freshness and perfume. There’s quite a bit of oak on offer here, but it’s more than balanced by fruit weight and acidity. The tannins are extremely smooth for a wine at this price, complemented by notes of bramble and blackberry, subtle vanilla sweetness and a cool, almost grassy finish. 

BuyDrinking window: 2015-20Similar Wines: £5-£10, 86-90, Spain, Red, Tempranillo
94

2008 Contino Reserva, Rioja

( £19.99, 14% )

Contino is one of the properties that launched the single estate movement in Rioja, a superb wine that develops beautifully in bottle. 2008 was a late, cool vintage in Rioja, giving this blend of mostly Tempranillo with Garnacha, Mazuelo and Graciano a refreshing, low key elegance. Sublte and refined, with red fruits, subtle oak, some plummy tannins and deftly integrated oak. 

BuyDrinking window: 2015-25Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, Spain, Red, Graciano, Grenache, Tempranillo
94

2009 CVNE Imperial Reserva, Rioja

( £20.49, 14%, Berry Bros & Rudd, Cambridge Wine Merchants, Majestic, The Co-operative, Wimbledon Wine Cellars, Wine Rack )

CVNE’s Imperial is one of Rioja’s best value, ageworthy wines. This is still an infant and will need at least another five years in bottle to come close to its best. Dense, concentrated and sweetly oaked with a chalky undertone adding freshness and bite to the plum and raspberry fruit flavours. Traditional Rioja at its youthful best.

BuyDrinking window: 2015-25Similar Wines: £20-£30, 91-95, Spain, Red, Tempranillo
92

2013 Attis, Albariño, Rías Baixas

( £14.49, 12.5%, www.ralphswinecafe.com )

Made in a pithy style, this tasty Albariño comes from the Val do Salnés sub-region. Pear, quince and white pepper notes are deftly combined on the palate, supporting good texture and concentration. Tangy and refreshing on the finish, with notes of lemon peel and oyster shell. 

Drinking window: 2014-16Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, Spain, White, Albariño
91

2012 Cullerot, Celler del Roure, Valencia

( £12.99, 13%, Davis Bell McCraith, Tivoli Wines )

A highly unusual (possibly unique?) blend of Macabeo, Verdil, Pedro Ximénez and Chardonnay from Valencia of all places, this stylishly packaged, leesy white was made with very little suplhur, but it’s cleaner and fresher than many “natural” wines. Ageing takes place in clay amphorae, rather than oak and the result is all about fruit: apple, pear and a hint of stone fruit with subtle spices.

Drinking window: 2014-17Similar Wines: £10-£20, 86-90, Spain, White, Chardonnay, Macabeo