The Iberian peninsula is the second-largest in Europe, with a rich history of wine. Yet, for some unknown reason, we rarely open bottles from that region. Consequently, we happily received samples of six good-value wines from Marqués de Cáceres in Spain and Symington Family Estates in Portugal. Overall, the six wines range in price from $13 to $31. Keep in mind that good value does not negate quality! Most noteworthy, many Iberian wines age well.
Aren’t you curious to find out more?
Marqués de Cáceres
First of all, Enrique Forner founded Marqués de Cáceres in 1970, and focused on bringing Bordeaux winemaking techniques to Rioja. Likewise, his daughter Cristina now manages the winery, as the the fifth generation of this distinguished Spanish wine family.
We tasted three wines: 2018 Rosé, 2015 Rioja Crianza and 2014 Rioja Reserva. Another note, Rioja is a Tempranillo-based wine that becomes more complex with age.
Coral pink in color, 2018 Rosé blends 96% Tempranillo with 4% Garnacha Tinta. Citrus, pear and peach flavors follow a lively nose of peach and strawberry. Fermented in stainless steel, some minerality adds a nice touch on the finish. (MSRP $12.99)
In addition, 2015 Rioja Crianza is comprised of 85% Tempranillo, 10% Garnacha Tinta and 5% Graciano. As a result, pretty aromatics of red berries, cherries, spice and barrel oak lead into flavors of jammy berry, red plum and cherry. Certainly, this is a good wine to cozy up to this winter. (MSRP $19.99)
Similarly, 2014 Rioja Reserva is a beautiful blend of 85% Tempranillo, topped with 10% Garnacha and 5% Graciano. Overall, this is a lovely Rioja, featuring plum and spice aromatics, followed by ripe red fruits, savory notes and more spice on the palate. (MRSP $30.99)
Symington Family Estates
Traveling west to Portugal, Symington Family Estates offers a portfolio of wines, including Altano Wines and Quinta do Ataide. From this estate, we tasted 2017 Altano Douro White, 2016 Altano Douro Organic Red and 2015 Quinta do Ataide.
First of all, we tasted 2017 Altano Douro White, which blends high-elevation Douro grape varieties such as Malvasia Fina and Moscatel Galego. Scents of citrus and apple lead into tropical fruit flavors, minerality and crisp acidity. (MRSP $14.99)
Next, 2016 Altano Douro Organic Red is made from organically grown grapes, including Touriga Nacional, Tinto Cao and Tinta Barroca. On the nose and the palate, ripe red and black fruit shines through. (MRSP $21.99)
Finally, 2015 Quinta do Ataide blends a wealth of Portuguese grapes into a lovely wine that would pair well with roast or bacon burgers. We really enjoyed it with a tri-tip roast. Of note, this wine features an Old World winemaking approach, with aromas of blackberries, spice and olives that are mirrored in the flavors. (MRSP $25.99)
Most noteworthy, Iberian wines are steeped in history, and frequently underrated. Certainly, the wines of Portugal and Spain offer excellent aging potential and decent prices. Although some of their traditional native grapes are not well known outside these countries, you will find their wines combine quality with some of the best values.
Margot and Dave