Spain’s reputation is built on traditional regions and good value for money, except when it comes to its best wines.
Ask anyone to name the best wines in Spain and the names will come out of the tongue.
Vega Sicilia, CVNE, La Rioja Alta, Muga, ViÃ±a Tondonia …
Spain’s reputation with consumers rests on the supply of high-value Spanish wines and on the back of a few styles; rich and deep reds, lighter and simpler holiday whites, the simple pleasure of cava and the most unique Spanish wine of all – sherry. And this is confirmed by our research figures. Check out the list of the most wanted Spanish wines in our database and you’ll see all the big names and familiar regions.
However, when it comes to the choice of reviews, that’s a whole different matter. Yes, you will see wines from Rioja and Ribeira del Duero, but what you will see above all is a region that has become a real success in the world of Spanish wine: Priorat.
The little corner of Catalonia is a real star, as you will see by looking at the list below. The grape has been cultivated there since the 12th century, when it was ruled by the prior of the monastery of Scala Dei, hence its name. However, it was not until the 1980s that it moved away from bulk wine production and that producers were rewarded there in 2000, when it was elevated to DOCa status, the highest level of classification in Spain. Only Rioja shares this status.
Since then, quality has remained the focus and producers have certainly been rewarded with high marks from wine critics around the world.
Again, let’s talk about how we arrive at our scores. Wine-Searcher brings together scores from a wide range of critics, from influential palates like Robert Parker and Jancis Robinson to publications like Wine Spectator, all adjusted for the 100 point scale. To generate the overall score of a wine, Wine-Searcher uses Bayesian methodology to calculate a weighted average, because not all reviews are equal. This score is calculated for specific vintages of a wine, as well as for all vintages.
The best Spanish wines in the world on Wine-Searcher:
|Wine name||Goal||Average price|
|Dominio de Pingus Pingus, Ribera del Duero||96||$ 983|
|Alvaro Palacios L’Ermita Velles Vinyes, Priorat DOCa||96||$ 956|
|Bodega Lazaga Las Beatas, Rioja DOCa||95||$ 276|
|Artadi Vina El Pison, Allava||95||$ 298|
|Descendants of J. Palacios La Faraona, Bierzo||95||$ 1011|
|Bodegas Contador Benjamin Romeo Contador, Rioja DOCa||95||$ 302|
|Clos et Terrasses Clos Erasmus, Priorat DOCa||95||$ 259|
|Bodegas Toro Albala Don PX Convento Seleccion, Montilla-Moriles||95||$ 265|
|Terroir Al Limit Les Manyes, Priorat DOCa||95||$ 207|
|Cellar Mas Doix 1902 Carignan, Priorat DOCa||95||$ 264|
As mentioned above, Priorat absolutely dominates the list, comprising half of the entrees. It says a lot that La Rioja – with a much longer history of producing quality wine – only manages to get two wines on the list. Beyond that Duera’s Pingus, the rest of the list is almost a tour of the less advertised Spanish wine regions – it’s a rare person who would have suggested that Montilla-Moriles would have been on this list.
Getting back to the value proposition, for a moment the prices of the wines on this list may seem high in some cases, but they are remarkably stable, without the volatility of Burgundy or Bordeaux. Instead of big rises and steep drops, wines slowly but steadily increase their average price, providing stability to anyone collecting for investment.
So, despite the superficially high prices, there is still value in Spain; although it may come from unlikely sources.