Few things are more satisfying than cultivating a palate that can appreciate the subtle differences between various types of wines. Another form of wine appreciation comes with knowing the kinds of foods that are best paired with certain wines. Spanish wine has become a very popular choice for American wine drinkers. Partly due to the emerging popularity of Tapas restaurants offering Spanish wines to compliment their dishes, wine drinkers from all over the world have come to enjoy the very best of what Spanish wineries have to offer. Known for taking their oak-aging very seriously, Spain produces a robust variety of affordable wines everyone can enjoy.

When it comes to inexpensive Spanish wines and their pairings, the Campo Arriba, Montecillo Rioja Reserva, Tapena Garacha, and Pujanza Rioja are four excellent choices to give you a good place from which to start your explorations of the best inexpensive Spanish wines.

Campo Arriba

The Campo Arriba of 2014 comes from the high mountains of Yecla where the delicate vines are planted up to 800 metres above sea level. It is a well-balanced blend of 70-percent Mourvedre, 20-percent Syrah, and 10-percent Grenache. It is aged for three months in French oak barrels.

The Candela family started their winery in 1925 and has found its stride with the Campo Arriba. The notes of blackberries, blueberries, acacia, and chalkiness lead the flavors. For such a full-bodied wine, the price is extremely low. This wine would likely continue aging nicely if left alone – that is, if you can resist drinking it!

This fruity and dense wine would pair nicely with breads, pork, hard cheeses, cured meats, red meats, grilled pork, pork roast, and roasted vegetables. As you can see, this is an extremely versatile wine that works well with a number of culinary dishes.

Montecillo Rioja Reserva

The Montecillo Rioja Reserva has a lovely ruby complexion with a fruity aroma. The flavours of plum, herbs, and spices shine through. This medium-bodied Spanish wine is well-balanced, has a delicate tannic base and a long finish. Aged for 18 months in oak and several in the bottle, this wine is sublimely smooth and fruity. This extra-dry wine pairs perfectly with hearty stews.

A chunky casserole with meat and veggies will be complimented by this inexpensive and accessible Spanish wine. It is also known to work well with chili, Chinese food, blue cheeses, venison, steak, beef bourguignon, and a variety of tomato-sauce pastas. As versatile as it is dry, the Montecillo Rioja Reserva is sure to satisfy the most discerning and sophisticated of palates.

Tapena Garnacha

This Garnacha blend from Castilla has been hailed as one of the 10 best wines from the region. It has been the recipient of numerous awards: Gold at the 2010 Critics Challenge Wine Competition, Silver at the 2013 Critics Challenge Wine Competition, Silver at the 2013 San Francisco International Wine Competition, Silver at the 2012 Critics Challenge Wine Competition, Bronze at the 2013 TEXSOM International Wine Awards.

This richly intense red is excellent paired with fish, olives, empanadas, lamb meatballs, and stuffed mushrooms. This worthy red is highly praised for its versatility.

Pujanza Rioja (Norte)

From Spain’s most worshipped wine region, the Pujanza Rioja is fresh, fruity, and light. With complex notes of leather, fruit, and tobacco, this wine boasts bright acidity and a moderate alcohol level.

As a young wine, it can handle pairings with spicy and rich dishes. Spanish dishes with lamb and pork are ideal for the Rioja. It is extremely flavorful and is a food-friendly wine option. The Pujanza Rioja is also lovely with lamb chops, chorizo, stew and paella.

There are few things more enjoyable than slowing down the busy pace of modern life with a glass of wine and a delicious meal. Spanish wines have recently moved into the forefront when it comes to affordable and palatable wine choices that work with a number of dishes. From rich and spicy Spanish foods to fish and stews, the aforementioned Spanish wines are as versatile as they are tasty. When it comes to discovering the best of what Spanish wine has to offer, the Campo Arriba, Montecillo Rioja Reserva, Tapena Garacha, and Pujanza Rioja offer an ideal and exciting introduction at a reasonable price.