95

2004 Urbina Gran Reserva Rioja, Rioja

( £19, 14%, The Wine Society )

The Urbina family’s appealingly traditional Riojas age brilliantly thanks to the acidity that comes with growing Tempranillo in the cool, limestone-dominated Cuzcurrita zone. This isn’t a blockbuster wine, but it’s remarkably complex, savoury and scented with notes of wild strawberries, forest floor and pouch tobacco, filigree tannins and haunting balsamic sweetness.

BuyDrinking window: 2019-2025Similar Wines: Spain, Red, Tempranillo
93

2014 La Loba, Ribera del Duero

( €16.20, 14.5%, Desoutter & James )

Serious, youthful, good value Ribera that’s at the lower end of the scale in terms of oaking. Sourced from century old vines in Matanza de Soria, this is part of a new wave of balanced, elegant Tempranillos with lovely freshness and poise. Scented, floral and complex with notes of bramble and balackberry and a refreshing finish. 

BuyDrinking window: 2018-22Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, Spain, Red, Tempranillo
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
90

2012 João Portugal Ramos, F'Oz, Alentejano

( £8.49, 14%, Waitrose )

João Portugal (yes, that’s his name) Ramos makes some of the best value reds in Iberia. This southerrn Portuguese blend of Aragonez, Trincadeira and Castelão is well up to his usual high standards, combining flavours of blackberry, bramble and orange zest in a wine that’s fruity, refreshing, yet substantial enough to serve with red meat. 

BuyDrinking window: 2014-16Similar Wines: £5-£10, 86-90, Portugal, Red, Castelão, Tempranillo, Trincadeira
89

2010 Lindes de Remelluri, Viñedos de Labastida, Rioja

( £16.99, 13.5%, Davis Bell McCraith )

Things have changed for the better, now that Telmo Rodriguez is back at Remelluri, one of Rioja’s first estates. This is a more forward expression of Tempranillo than the bodega’s more expensive releases, with bags of bright, brambly, red berry fruit, medium weight tannins and a sweet, succulent finish that emphasises gluggability. 

Drinking window: 2014-16Similar Wines: £10-£20, 86-90, Spain, Red, Tempranillo
90

2011 Celler de Capçanes, Mas Collet, Barrica, Montsant

( £12, 14% )

An oak-aged blend of Garnacha, Tempranillo, Carignan and Cabernet Sauvignon from the Capçanes co-operative that shows why Montsant is such a good value alternative to neighbouring Priorat. The oak is just a top note here, despite the name of the wine, adding complexity to the flavours of plum, cassis and hot stones. The wine finishes with a dry, mineral flourish that ties it all together, like a bow on a gift-wrapped present. 

BuyDrinking window: 2014-16Similar Wines: £10-£20, 86-90, Spain, Red, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan, Grenache, Tempranillo

Spend less, drink better

by Matt Walls
The UK is a nation of bargain hunters. There are more pound shops on Britain’s high streets than bookstores. When it comes to wine we’re no different; most of what...
90

2011 Perez Burton Rioja

( £9.99 down to £7.49, 14%, Marks & Spencer )

Telmo Rodriguez is a brilliant interpreter of the Tempranillo grape, producing wines that are modern, yet appealingly traditional at the same time. This varietal number from high altitude vineyards around the village of Lanciego, is a very serious red for less than a tenner. Juicy, structured and sweetly oaked, with tannins and concentration that will enable the wines to age further in bottle. 

BuyDrinking window: 2013-18Similar Wines: £5-£10, 86-90, Spain, Red, Tempranillo
89

2011 João Portugal Ramos F'Oz, Alentejo

( £9.99, 14%, Waitrose )

The Alentejo is becoming more and more impressive with each vintage as a source of southern Portugal’s best red wines. This great value, under-a-tenner blend of Aragonez (aka Tempranillo), Trincadeira and Castelão is a case in point. It’s aromatic and refreshing, with no sign of sun-baked, raisiny flavours, fine tannins, notes of chocolate, black cherry and plum and a firm, but well balanced finish. 

BuyDrinking window: 2013-17Similar Wines: £5-£10, 86-90, Portugal, Red, Castelão, Tempranillo, Trincadeira