Luis Tolosa, author of Supervinos 2014, is a no-nonsense kind of guy. The book, a guide to the best Spanish wines available to buy in non-specialist shops including your local supermarket, reads as though you were having a chat about plonk with an oenophile friend and showcases 100 wines that are available (in Spain and abroad) for less than €7. Tolosa also throws in a generous selection of 30 ‘megawines’ if you are in the market for something a bit more special, still under €15.
Editor Enrique Murillo, from publisher Libros del Lince, tells us that the book was inspired by a Dutch book along similar lines, although Supervinos was produced with extra attention to layout and producing a book that was accessible to all since, as Murillo says, he himself knows ‘nothing about wine’. A new edition is released annually and the author is keen to point out that he does not receive any kickbacks from the vineyards, allowing him to keep an open mind on each of the wines he reviews.
How would you advise a complete newbie to start learning about wine? Would you recommend any websites in particular?
I would say that the best way to get started in the world of wine is through the story of the product: the family that owns the vineyard, why they make wine, how they care for the land used to grow grapes, and the history of the region the wine comes from. These things are easy for everyone to talk about. I wouldn’t start out the way that almost everyone does, trying to sniff out faint aromas of nutmeg and woodland violet that pretty much nobody notices. And without getting too technical, nothing about tannins or malolactic fermentation.
I recommend the online shop Vinissimus, where they sell wines but also give comprehensive information about each one.
Los Supervinos 2014 picks out a huge number of good value wines, but could you recommend 3 whites, 3 rosés and 3 reds for less than 7 Euros?
From the whites, I would go for Castillo de Liria Medium White, Habitat and Libalis White. For rosé, Viña Aljibes Rosado, Ochoa Rosado de Lágrima and Ramón Bilbao Rosado. And finally, for a good red, I would choose Altos de Tamarón roble, Borsao Selección or Evohé Garnacha Viñas Viejas.
We were in the Canaries recently and pleasantly surprised at the quality of the local wine, especially since this was a completely unknown winegrowing region to us. Are there any other relatively unknown winegrowing regions that you would recommend?
Absolutely, I tried some great wines in the Canaries too. Mallorca is another wine-producing area that is unknown to many and really worth trying. I would also add the Denominaciones de Origen (designated wine-growing areas) of Empordà, Bages and Terra Alta, in Catalunya, which are producing some exceptional wines at the moment. Valencia and Jumilla are also very good. In Spain, almost all of the 70 Denominaciones de Origen produce at least some very good wine.
In Los Supervinos 2014, you mention that the design of the bottle is important to you when trying a wine. Could you recommend a well-dressed wine?
Among the whites, I like Milflores and Marina Espumante. For rosé, I would go for Libalis Rosé or Lágrimas de Obergo. Some reds are also really well-packaged too, and I would recommend Habla del Silencio or Camins del Priorat.
Which ‘Megawine’ and which cava would you recommend for under €15?
Cava Torelló Brut Reserva. In the book, I describe it as elegant, delicate and classic, and it’s made with the three traditional varieties of grape. For the ‘megawine’, I would choose the Románico from the Toro Denominación de Origen. It grows on the palate with hints of black cherry and flavoured by 6 months in French oak.
Our website focuses on food and tourism. Which trips in Spain would you recommend for readers who love wine?
Rioja is the unmissable trip. I lived there for one year and almost stayed forever. Ribera del Duero has also made an impact on wine tourism and Jerez is one of the world’s unique wine-growing destinations, again unmissable. Also, Priorat, a region that is aiming for world heritage status for its wine-growing countryside, and Empordà, on the Costa Brava, with El Celler de Can Roca and a whole constellation of Michelin stars surrounding it. Finally, Pla de Bages, the great unknown, in the heart of Cataluña -near to the mountain of Montserrat – and the Canary Islands, to see the great volcanic vineyards.
Do you like any alcoholic drinks other than wine? One of our followers has asked for your advice on sherry, vermouth and white riojas.
I know most about the Riojas out of that list. Among them, one of my favourites is the Viña Tondonia Blanco, 10 years old. It’s one of the best wines in the world.
Cover Photo: Flickr / idandersen