Andalucia Steve the dream

Wine snobs drive me crazy! Why pay more for wine than you need to?  Spain is great because every supermarket has good wine on the shelves for very little money.

My aim here is to give you an idea of what is available in my part of the world, Perhaps you have them same wines in where you are - let me know lets compare prices!  I'd love to hear from you. You can even guest blog and write your own review.

Most of the wines I'll be featuring here will be of Spanish origin. I simply don't see many foreign wines on the shelves here, only in the foreign owned supermarket chains like Lidl. Spanish seem to prefer to drink their own produce and all power to them for that.


Señorío de Fitero

Another new bottle on the wine shelf at the Mercadona

I was lamenting the lack of decent wine in Mercadona, cheap or otherwise with a friend of mine, Paul just last week. In case you're not familiar with Mercadona, who are perhaps the Sainsburys of Spain, they have a huge preference for Spanish made wine. Only very rarely do you see a wine from anywhere else on their shelves. While this leads to a inexpensive supply of half decent Riojas and Riber del duero's, after a while the lack of diversity leaves someone with a more internationally whetted palette crying out for something different.

Señorío de Fitero front

Señorío de Fitero

Señorío de Fitero back

Señorío de Fitero


I picked this bottle up for 1.75 euros (£1.37 approx on 5 June 2016) so not too expensive. Labelled as Señorío de Fitero, the alcohol is 13.5% and this wine is from the Denomination of Navarra.

This is a classic grape blend of Garnacha and Temperanillo. It is a roble, meaning it has spent a short time in an oak barrel - three months according to the labelling, and the year is 2013, so we're talking a three year old oak flavoured bottle of wine for the price of a cup of coffee - well less in some places!

I have to say this wasn't a memorable bottle. It has very little nose - hardly any smell at all, despite the air temperature being nearly thirty degrees on the day I opened it - most odd. The flavour was a bit more lively - one immediately says Rioja, but flatter with less tannin. No taste similies lept into my mind - it's just a bog standard cheap red wine - sorry. OK for quaffing with a bit of cheese but don't make this one the accompaniment for a special meal.


A Well Fruity Riojan Crianza

A deep flavoured red with a jolly high precentage of alcohol

I have to come clean here, I have no idea how much this bottle of wine cost. It was a gift from a friend who said she bought it locally but so far I've been unable to locate the source.

Well she knows a good drop and suggested I would like this - well she was not wrong. Though not strong on the nose, the flavours  engulfing your tongue on the first sip of this Rioja are like an avalanche of fruits of the forest. Name a berry and it's there. It is smooth and dark with a sort of chocolaty after-taste. Would definitely be a good partner for red meat and cheese, and have enough legs to accompany a really hot curry. At 14% it's not a wimp in the alcohol department.  I'm already a big fan -  I think I'll pour another glass!


Front view of Monologo Monologo rear view

A classic in the bargain basement

Don Simon - a cardboardeaux of distinction

If you go into most supermarkets here in Spain you will find this stalwart on the shelves. The Don Simon one litre carton of vino tinto is much beloved for its price to quality ratio. Don't expect miracles. This is a factory produced chemically adulterated mass produced drink that doesn't have any pretensions to anything other wise. There is even a warning on the side saying 'contains suphites'  in TWENTY ONE different languages. Don Simon is a brand name used by the very large company of J.Garcia Carrion La Mancha, who have been in the wine trade since 1890.

They are clearly way ahead of the game in terms of marketing. A recent addition to the package are the address of two social media sites, Facebook and Tuenti - a popular site in Spain {tu-en-ti}. Also the package is the first of the wines I've seen to carry a QR code linking moble users to the company website.In a recent turn about, the company has taken to shipping the same wine in a clear pastic bottle, though of 75cl size, whereas the carton is a litre. Clearly they are researching the market and adapting according to the segmentations they find.

The wine itself is drinkable. I didn't notice until I wrote this piece that there is a small label saying produce of Chile. There is some fuityness, a mild tannin and moderate strength at ten per cent. There is a lack of body though, a thinness which personally find makes it unsuitable for the first glass of a series. What it actually is remains a mystery though I'd go with a cabernet blend.  However as the palatte is numbed and one starts to seriously quaff, there are no really unpleasant tastes or smells and so subsequent glasses become quite acceptable.  This is not the case for a lot of cheap cartons available in Spain!

 Cheapest price at the moment is one euro ten centimos from the Mercadona here in Olvera.

Don Simon Carton Rear view of the Don Simon carton

Castillo San Simon

A fine little Crianza from Jumilla

I've a particular fondness for the wines of Jumilla. I lived in Murcia for six years and there are two main wine growing regions, Bullas, near where I lived and Jumilla which was an hours drive to the north. Well I made the drive whenever I could because it was worth it. Jumilla produces some formidable wine, some of the strongest I've seen at 16% or more (Bodega Silvano Garcia) and with a corresponding body that leaves quite an impression.

This particular crianza is oak aged for six months and while fairly strong at 13% retains a little youthfulness so is not too overpowering. It has a rich ruby red colour, a fruity nose with a hint of raspberry, while to the tongue there is just a touch of vanilla mixed with liquorice. I picked this one up for and amazing 1.39 € though it has recently gone up - for the last few years in the local Albeyco supermarket it was available at 1.18 € How much would you pay in the UK I wonder?


Crianza from Jumilla Rear view of Crianza San Simón

Antaño Rioja Crianza 2009

A very powerful full-bodied yet inexpensive Crianza

This wine is one of my regular favourites. At 2.78 euros per bottle it is the bargain of the century if you like OAK AGED wine with a high tanin content.


 Rioja Crianza 2009 Rear label of the Antaño 2009 Crianza


This a great wine to have with spicy Mexican food like Burritos or a good hot Indian curry. This is because the flavour is very robust and fruity. It is a blend of Temperanillo, Garnacha, Graciano and Mazuelo grapes and is blended in such a way is to mimic a gran reserva, though infact it is fermented in stainless steel and given 12 months in oak barrels, so it's pretty much on the way to being a reserva anyway.

Of all the cheap wines I've tried since coming to Spain, this one impresses most. You can get better if you go over the three euros mark but under three, this is the one for me.

Oh and in case your're wondering it has a real cork and the alcohol is a creditable 14%. The bodega name is Garcia Carrion.


Altos de Tamaron

A Ribera del Duero for 3.20€

I bought this bottle today in the local 'Dia' a national Spanish supermarket chain with stores in most towns. I paid 3,20 euro and it was not on any special offer. The description says 100% tempranillio and the alcohol 13%.

I'd never had Ribera del duero until I moved to Olvera where I was introduced to it by some local devotees and I too have become a fan. Will open later this evening and add my tasting notes to this post....

Altos de Tamaron Front label Altos de Tamaron Back Label

....mmm rich. There was a real cork in the bottle which is always somehow reassuring. No age is shown on the bottle but a look near the lip of my tilted glass suggests it is not a young wine. First taste was shock as there was an unexpected narrowness to the palette as if some of the flavours one expects had been clipped. There was a long pleasant aftertaste and having adjusted to the nose I enjoyed what is quite a dark fruityness coupled with a hint of liquorice and a touch of tannin. This is one of those wines that rises to the nose as a Chardonnay has a habit of doing. Not my favourite Ribera but I'll definately have it again if it's the best one on the shelf as it may well be in one of my local Spanish supermarkets.

Gravatar #Andalucia evangelist, social marketer, musician, guitar technician, reformed estate agent, recovering programmer, political disruptor - yup that's me!