Spanish Red Wine

  in Blog

 By Lisa Perrine Brown, Oryana Beer & Wine Coordinator

As grilling season is upon us, it’s a great time to talk about Spanish red wines. They are known for being bold and an exceptionally great value for European wines, with under-$15 bottles that parallel the best wines in the world. Spanish reds match very well with rich foods such as cheddar or blue cheese burgers, BBQ, pork roast, tomato-based Italian food, and Mexican dishes. 

Spanish wines are not just unique European wines; they go back to the Spanish Phoenicians around 800 BC. in the Iberian Peninsula and are not the same grape varietals as French and American. What’s also unique is the amount of time a Spanish wine stays in its wooden cask or bottle at the winery before being released.

Young Tempranillo

With less than a year of aging, this wine is juicy and a spicy style of Tempranillo. These value-driven Tempranillos are lighter-bodied and lack the complex flavors of brown spices from oak-aging. If you love Sangria, try young Tempranillos from Central Spain.

  • Tasting Notes: sour cherry, plum, spicy black pepper, and bay leaf
  • Average Cost: $10 – $20
  • Regions: Rioja Crianza, Ribera del Roble and Crianza, Valdepeñas, Tinto de Toro, La Macha, Castilla-León, Extremadura
  • Pair with: Lasagna, pizza, dishes with tomato-based sauces, BBQ grilled meats, smoky meats, grits, polenta, dishes with corn, tacos, nachos, burritos, and chile rellenos.

Available at West: 

Begonia Sangria is one of the few premium sangrias produced in Spain. The ingredients are natural and of high quality. The spices macerate with the wine, which is the same method as the production of artisanal vermouth. The fruit flavors come from a natural extraction of the essence of the oranges.

Cune, Roja – tasting notes: A surprisingly aromatic nose with red fruits and licorice, nicely balanced with the American oak flavors of vanilla, cocoa and caramel.

Available at 10th St.: 

Manon TempranilloVintage: 2016 –Tasting Notes: Smoky, oaky aromas rest on top of basic berry scents, with hints of leather and animal as the wine breathes out. This feels tight and juicy in the mouth, with pulling tannins. Oaked-up, black-fruit flavors end with spice notes and a hint of chocolate. 

Aged Tempranillo

Interestingly, when Tempranillos age, the spiciness softens and the flavors become almost sweet and dry. These wines have bold tannins because they are aged for several years in oak or in their bottle. For this reason these wines tend to be more expensive. To identify these wines, look for wines labeled with Reserva and Gran Reserva.

  • Tasting Notes: cherry, dried fig, vanilla and cedar
  • Average Cost: $25 – 35
  • Regions: Rioja Reserva, Ribera del Duero Reserva, Toro Reserva, Aged Castilla-León
  • Pair with: Roasted lamb, grilled pork chops, prosciutto, garlic chicken, Manchego cheese, pepperoni pizza, aged Parmesan, Moroccan cuisine, and much more.

Available at Tenth & West:

Venta La Ossa – tasting notes: This Tempranillo is full of ripe fruit, lifted floral characters and then a deliciously meaty savouriness on the nose with notes of wood smoke and liquorice. The palate is plump and lifted, with blackberry fruit, clove and dark chocolate – complex and intense, with beautiful nuances and a long finish.

Available at Tenth:

El Jefe – tasting notes: An honest and solid red wine – deep, fresh and flexible enough to handle most days. Fermented in traditional cement vats with no oak to express soft, fresh tannins and purity of fruit.

Young Garnacha

Garnacha is known for a smooth iced tea finish and sweet red fruit. This varietal of grape is grown close to the border of France in the regions of Aragon and Navarra. If you love candied red fruit-flavored Sangria, this is a great wine to make it with. 

  • Tasting Notes: strawberry, ruby red grapefruit, hibiscus and black tea
  • Average Cost: $12 – 18
  • Regions: Calatayud, Somotano, Navarra, Carińena, Campo de Borja La Mancha
  • Pair with: Poultry, pork, salmon or barbeque.

Available at West:

Honoro Vera – tasting notes: This wine smells of red berries and jam. Beyond the initial aromas, I also picked up on hints of vanilla. This plays in nicely with the fruit aromas. There’s a tartness to the first sip, but not in an unpleasant way. There were also notes of cherry and raspberry jam, as mentioned above. I would not say that it has a lot of spice to it like some Grenache I’ve had, but there’s some and the acidity helps give it some oomph. 

High-End Garnacha and Blends

Bold and complex with high tannins and dark raspberry flavors; these are characteristics of high-end Garnacha. These wines that come from old vines around Madrid and higher elevation vineyards produce concentrated wines. In Spain, the Priorat region also uses Garnacha blended with Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cariñena and delivers bolder styles with blackberry and licorice.

  • Tasting Notes: grilled plum, red licorice, juniper and crushed gravel
  • Average Cost: $25 – 35
  • Regions: Vinos de Madrid, Campo de Borja, Priorat, Méntrida
  • Pair with: If the Garnacha is a blend spicy foods and wild game also work well, plus the foods mentioned above for young Granacha.

Available at West and Tenth: 

Luzon Garnacha – tasting notes: A pitch black color and heavily charred aromas are beyond the norm, while this is thick feeling and sticky like berry syrup. Burnt, saucy vanilla and chocolate flavors carry the palate. Michael Schachner, from Wine Enthusiast


Monastrell is the same wine as Mourvédre in France, but it’s actually a wine of Spanish origin. Monastrell is produced in Central Spain. This big bold wine with high tannins is known for the following flavors: black plum, chocolate, and black pepper. 

  • Tasting Notes: blackberry sauce, chocolate, potting soil, and smoke
  • Average Cost: $10 – $18
  • Regions: Jumilla, Alicante, Valencia, Bullas, La Mancha, Yecla
  • Pair with: Hearty meat dishes like hamburgers, short ribs, veal, pork, lamb, sausage, game, and especially barbeque. Pairs beautifully with rich roasted or braised beef and lamb or roasted vegetables.

Available at West:

Teso – tasing notes: Full bodied and fruit forward. Notes of Blueberry, black berry and spice. Orange and dark cherry col-or with aromas of spice, vanilla and ripe fruits on the palate. Well-structured with light tannins, full body and harmonious and long full finish.

Available at Tenth:

Bodegas Luzón – tasting notes: This potent Monastrell is elegant on the nose with aromas reminiscent of red fruits such as cherries, strawberries and black plums and a spicy finish. On the palate, it is juicy and fresh with a pronounced, captivating body and a long and vibrant finish


Mencía (pronounced Men-THEE-ah) is a unique medium-bodied wine that grows in Spain and Portugal. If you like the Grand Cru Burgundy because of its layers of red fruit, floral aromas, and moderate mouth drying tannins, you will like this wine. These grapes are grown in Northwest Spain in the area of Galicia and in Portugal in the Dão region. 

  • Tasting Notes: pomegranate, Black Licorice, crushed gravel, and graphite 
  • Average Cost: $20 – $30
  • Regions: Bierzo, Ribeira Sacra, Monterrei, Valdeorras
  • Pair with: Hearty meat stews, grilled pork or lamb, empanadas, warm salads, pizza, and pasta.


Spain’s most planted grape is relatively unknown to the fact that very little of it is exported but I was able to find a few wines for you (at West). This grape grows in Central Spain and is known for its deep opaque color, high tannins, and black fruit flavors. The bold tannins in this wine combine with smooth qualities. Notable for dark fruit flavors like prune, fig, blackberry, and blueberry notes makes this wine unique. 

  • Tasting Notes: black cherry, dried green herbs, violet, and cocoa powder
  • Average Cost: $15 – $18
  • Pair with: Richly flavored meat, decadent stews, heavy casseroles, oily fish, and paella.

Available at West:

Atance, Bobal – tasting notes: A lighter and approachable style of Bobal with aromas of brambly crushed berries and tapenade. The bright red fruit flavors carry on the palate with notes of wild herbs (like those found in the vineyards – thyme, fenugreek, fennel) and citrus peel. Gentle, chalky tannin provides structure and length. 

Laya – tasting notes: After a careful vinification process, Laya 2019 was aged for 4 months in French oak barrels. The red wine Laya has a deep red robe with a bright hue at the rim. This Spanish red wine from Almansa carries some fresh aromas of red fruits, along with notes of burnt sugar, chocolate, spices, and tobacco. The fruit-driven and easy-to-drink 2019 Laya was produced with Garnacha Tintorera, or Alicante Bouschet, grapes blended with 30% Monastrell from an unusually wet year with torrential rains during the harvest. It fermented in stainless steel vats with neutral yeasts, with malolactic in barrel, where the wine matured for four months. It’s very dark, almost opaque, expressive and open. This comes from younger vines yet is structured and seamless, quite complete. It feels like a very good vintage for Garnacha Tintorera in the zone. The palate is round, somehow creamy, and the tannins are ripe and juicy. 360,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in March 2020. Rating : 90+

Cheers! Lisa Perrine Brown, Beer & Wine Coordinator Oryana West & Tenth