No minimum order required and free UK-wide delivery on orders over £125

New arrivals from lesser-known Spanish wine regions

Pippa Hayward

Posted on October 13 2022

My long-standing love affair with Spanish Wines is an open secret amongst my shop colleagues – and many of our customers too.

I travel there regularly and delight in more new discoveries with every trip. Rioja may have been Spain’s calling card for all of us for as long as we can remember – and it’s still often the only region that people do identify with Spain – but time has moved on and last 20 years have seen so much innovation and development throughout Spain’s wine regions.

Across the country from Galicia in the northwest and Catalunya in the northeast to the Canary Islands and Andalusia, a new generation of Spanish winemakers is driving change.

On the one hand, it's a change rooted, quite literally, in old vineyards of ancient local varieties. On the other, it’s a rejection of quality defined solely by a mandatory spell in oak barrels. It’s both innovative but profoundly respectful of grape and region – and it is delivering some delicious results.

This October we celebrate this amazing diversity in the shops with some stellar additions to our lovely portfolio of Spanish wines. These are my picks…

From Valdeorras in Galicia we have two fine examples from Alberto Orte, who specializes in identifying and saving old abandoned plots of vines. Most of his work to date had been in the south with Old Pedro Ximenez – but more recently he’s turned his attention to the north west of Spain.


Galicia Wine Region in Spain


Valdeorras is inland in Galicia, a good three hours’ drive from Albariño country near the coast. It’s mountainous and partly ringed by the River Sil to the east. Vineyards are high – between 500 and 800 metres, often terraced and always on granite or slate soils. The climate here is drier and hotter, but the cool mountain nights keep the wines fresh. Godello is the white grape here and Mencía (mostly) for red.


Escalada do Sil Blanco 2019

Great Godello gives you a thrilling balance of ripe apple and stone fruit with acidity, spice and minerality keeping it all in in place, intense and long. Here the vines are from a mix of slate and granite soils. A natural fermentation and ageing in large French barrels deliver a perfectly balanced Godello – ample but full of energy, focus and length.


Escalada do Sil Tinto 2019

This was the wine I most loved from the first mouthful. It’s a blend of 60% Merenzao (the local name for Trousseau in the Jura and Bastardo in Portugal), 30% Mencía and 10% Garnacha Tintorera. It’s silky, perfumed, intense and fresh – a little wild around edges of the ripe red fruit – powerful yet somehow really light and long.


Quinta Ausas, Interpretación, Ribera del Duero 2016

Xavier Ausas spent 27 years making wine for Vega Sicilia before deciding to start over on his own. Based in Quintanilla de Onésimo, he has plots of old Tempranillo vines in the highest parts of Ribera up to 900 metres. A natural fermentation in concrete tanks and 16 months ageing in large French oak with a maximum of 40% new barrels delivers a ripe but really fresh wine with perfectly judged use of oak. This is elegant – and in my case, at long last, a conversion to the joy of Ribera wines.


Los Frailes, Dolomitas 2020

From a wonderful estate founded in 2000 just south west of Valencia. The vineyard lies between two sierras at 700 metres. The topsoil is shallow and the chalky limestone “dolomite” subsoil is just a couple of feet down. 30-year-old dry-farmed Monastrell bush vines on such stony soil give very low yields but quality is superb. A gentle hand in the winery with natural yeasts and fermentation in the old tanks (originally installed by the friars) followed by ageing in cement and amphora ensures a supple texture and really fresh dark ripe fruit. Moreish!

More Posts


Leave a comment

All blog comments are checked prior to publishing