Is there anything better than a reasonably-priced, good quality wine that tastes as though it costs twice what you paid? Fortunately for wine lovers, Spain continues to produce a wide variety of quality wines priced at $20 or less.
Any of these wines would make fine additions to a holiday dinner or a family barbecue. They're also a gift for that wine-lover on your list.
The wines below are all available in the U.S. in stores or via online retailers. The wines are organized by Denomination of Origin (DO), so we'll be looking at the best inexpensive wines from each of Spain's wine regions.
Borsao Red (From the Campo de Borja DO)
The Borsao red is a nice, red wine that hails from the Campo de Borja region, which was made a Denomination of Origin (DO) in 1980. It is a blend of 80 percent Garnacha (Grenache) and 20 percent Tempranillo, though this ratio does change slightly from one vintage to another. This wine has a medium ruby color with big fruit flavor. At less than $10, it is a great value for drinking any day of the week.
Juan Gil 12 Mesas Silver Label (From the Jumilla DO)
Made by Bodegas Juan Gil in the Jumilla DO, this red wine is made from Monastrell grapes, which thrive in the rocky limestone soil of the old vineyards. It was aged for 12 months in French oak. With an explosion of red fruit flavor, including currant and berry, it is worth every penny of the $12 or so you'll pay for it, no matter the vintage. You'll find it to be a perfect complement to a fall dinner or tapas.
Luzon Verde Organic (From the Jumilla DO)
Made by Bodegas Luzon, this impressive wine is also from the Jumilla region. It's almost hard to believe you can get a decent organic wine at a bargain price. This wine is 100 percent Monastrell and can often be found for around $9.
Several vintages of Luzon Verde have won awards. For instance, the 2007 vintage received 90 points and was named Wine Enthusiast's No. 1 top value wine of 2008. In the years since it has not lost steam—you will enjoy its bold cherry and pleasant sweetness. This one is a nice complement to any beef, lamb, or pork dish, especially roasts and stews.
Campo Viejo Rioja Reserva (From the La Rioja DO)
From the Campo Viejo vineyard, in the La Rioja region, you'll find this complex red wine to be an excellent choice. It is made with 85 percent Temparanillo, 10 percent Graciano, and 5 percent Mazuelo grapes, and is aged for 18 months in casks of American and French oak. After bottling, it underwent an additional 18 months of aging once it was bottled. A bright option among the red Spanish wines, this wine has a delicate balance of red fruits, including cherry, plum, and blackberry along with fantastic wood, cocoa, and coffee notes.
Best of all: You can easily pick up a bottle for under $15. And you cannot go wrong with any vintage you come across.
Marques de Riscal Rioja Reserva (From the La Rioja DO)
La Rioja is a Spanish region known for many fine wines, and a number of those do fall into the reasonably priced range. The Marques de Riscal Rioja Reserva is another good example. While you'll spend nearly $20 on it, the first sip will prove that it's worth it.
Various vintages of this red wine have top scores from the Wine Enthusiast. It is made principally from Tempranillo vines, which are over 15 years old, though it does include Graciano and Mazuelo, as well. It has a deep cherry-red color and is intensely aromatic, with enriching hints of balsamic, dark berries, and a little toastiness.
Montecillo Rioja Reserva (From the La Rioja DO)
This powerful Tempranillo wine from Rioja has an intense and very deep ruby color, with a taste of spice and vanilla. It is, by far, one of the top-rated wines of this class. It is often priced at the higher end, at around $19, and some of the better vintages may be difficult to find. Fortunately, so you're almost sure to enjoy any of vintage you find.
The Monticillo Rioja Reserva is an ideal accompaniment for grilled red meat or stews. However, it can also enhance a fish dish such as tuna or cod.
Vina Eguia Crianza (From the La Rioja DO)
Tempranillo is a popular grape in the wines of Spain, and it makes an appearance in many of these wines because it imparts a nice, ripe red-fruit flavor. The Vina Eguia Crianza is a perfect example—a great all-around wine. This light- to medium-body tempranillo wine has the flavor of cherries with oak and a slight amount of licorice. The vintage from 2008 was a fantastic year, and even that is a good value at $10 to 15 a bottle, though you can also find it on sale quite often.
Crianza pairs with everything from tapas to meat dishes. Be sure to plan ahead: Open and allow it to breathe for an hour before drinking.
Tapena Garnacha (From the Tierra de Casilla DO)
In 1999, the Castilla-LaMancha government created the "Vinos de la Tierra de Castilla," a geographic indication that is between table wine, and a Denominacion de Origen. It is roughly the equivalent of the "vin de pays" in France.
The Tapena Garnacha is a garnet-colored wine from Castilla, made from Garnacha (Grenache) grapes, the most widely planted red wine grape in Spain. It holds a rich palate, and you'll notice nuances of cherries, candied fruits, and the slightest hint of spice.
A budget wine priced around $10 a bottle, it is perfect to serve with Spanish tapas, such as ham, cheese, and olives. It is a versatile wine, light enough to serve with fish, but it works equally well with beef or lamb. The label is also very modern and sleek so it will look great on your table.
Torre Oria Reserva (From the Utiel Requena DO)
When you're seeking a big wine that leaves fruity flavors on the palate, this red from the Utiel-Requena DO is a very nice option. Plus, you cannot beat the price as it can easily be found for right around $10. The 2009 vintage is particularly well-rounded.
This is an everyday drinking wine made from 60 percent Tempranillo and 40 percent Cabernet-Sauvignon grapes. With 12 months of aging in American and French oak casks, it captures a lovely array of wild fruit and spice flavors. Try it with meat, fish, or appetizers.
If you are visiting the Valencia Community, the wineries in the Denomination of Origin of Utiel-Requena have formed an organization called Asociación Ruta del Vino de la D.O. Utiel-Requena. This has allowed them to put together several “wine routes” in the area, so it's an excellent adventure for any wine lover.
Vina Alarba Old Vines Garnacha (From the Calatayud DO)
Vina Alarba Old Vines Garnacha is a red wine made entirely of Grenache grapes. Many of the vintages of this Calatayud region wine are highly rated. Naturally, some vintages are more sought after than others, but you will find most very pleasant, especially given the price of less than $15.
This wine is made from grapes of vines that are at least 50 years old. It has a fruity nose, with a slightly overripe and jammy taste. It's a fantastic option with any meal that includes chicken or grilled fish.