I like wine. In fact, you could say I love wine, especially if it is red. I don’t mind rosé, and I can manage a glass or two of white from time to time. What I’m not prepared to do is pay top dollar for it. I know what I like, I like what I like, and I buy what I like. I think it’s a good philosophy!
In Spain you can buy very cheap wine. Cheap, of course, is a relative term. The same wines in the UK will be heavily taxed and are therefore not available at the prices I pay. I don’t buy the cheapest stuff though. Those cartons for less than a Euro per litre are awful. Mind you, it is some time since I last tried one, so maybe they have changed and I am missing out.
Don’t laugh, scorn or mock, but for my wine, I go to Lidl. There I can buy five different bottles, all of which I rather like (!), for less than £10. The bill actually comes to about €12 which I am more than happy to pay. Look out for any of these five and you will not be disappointed – unless of course you don’t like red wine or have a more sophisticated pallet than mine!
In no particular order then, here is my lowdown on the five bottles I regularly buy. Enjoy!
Cepa Lebral comes from the Rioja region of Spain. This is the cheapest of my selection at just €1.79 a bottle. For a young (joven) wine, it is surprisingly full of flavour and goes down very well with friends! If you can find the older crianza version of this wine, it will only cost you €0.70 more and you’ll find it has a fuller body and much more developed taste. Still, it’s well worth trying, if only to shock yourself as to how good such a cheap wine can taste.
This reserva from the Cariñena wine region is delightful with meaty dishes and stews. I’m not enough of a wine buff to waffle on any more about it, but clearly the Zaragoza area is producing some fine wines at the moment.
Vespral comes from the Terra Alta wine region, a little way inland from the Ebro Delta. Once upon a time I used to drink the cheapest version of this, but a friend suggested I try the reserva which was just €0.50 more. When I saw that a further few centimos would get me upgraded to the gran reserva, I thought it was too good an opportunity to turn down, and many bottles of this have been quaffed as an every day wine since that very day!
Navarre is quite famous in Spain for its rosé wines. When I lived in Pamplona , I became quite partial to the region’s reds. Mezquiriz had an unusual name and a nice label, so when I saw it I thought I would give it a go. Whilst not as complex as the other wines here, it is a perfectly pleasant wine if you have friends round and want something to go with your nibbles.
Save the best for last then! Castille de Alcoy doesn’t appear on Lidl’s website. Perhaps that’s because it is produced not too far from where I now live in the Alicante area, and is only therefore available nearby. This was quite an accidental choice and has become an essential component of my far-from-extensive wine cellar (actually a rack which holds a maximum of 12 bottles!).
2020 Update! All but the last of these wines are still readily available some five years after writing this entry. If you fancy trying some others in this price bracket, have a look at my 2020 wine guide!