Its amazing to see we’ve taken to the hot weather like a fish to water everywhere I looked last weekend people we either loading up and heading to the beach or preparing for the new great love of the Irish people the barbeque. And who could blame us after the terrible summer last year when most barbequing was done inside the door of the shed watching the rain teeming down. Now we all know a lovely Aussie shiraz goes lovely with the Barbeque, and Rioja provides a great alternative, but I began to wonder this weekend about great Spainish alternatives to Rioja.

The other wine producing areas in Spain, Toro, Bierzo and Ribera del Duero have been leading the charge in the challenge to Riojas supremacy. And this competition that can only mean good news for you and me. In the last few years these regions have really come into their own and out from the shadow of Rioja and are now producing wines to equal some of their more well known Rioja Rivals. I have put together a list, below, of three alternative Spanish reds all around the price of a good Rioja Crianza. If you love Rioja, but are looking for something different try these and let us know what you think.

Obra Roble, Ribera Del Duero

This fantastic red is from Ribera del Duero, by far the and away the leader of the pack in regions chasing Rioja, has inviting dark and red fruit aromas on the nose with an interesting floral hint. The palate has sumptuous red fruit flavours and a touch of chocolate leading to a long lasting finish. This is an absolutely great wine to have with cooked red meat of any kind.

Eternum Viti, Toro

What can I say about this wine, once you try it you’ll wonder what life was like with out it. 100% Tinto de Toro (Tempranillo) from Spain’s up and coming region in the north west, Toro. The world renowned wine critic Robert Parker gave this wine 90 points recently. And its no wonder, once you try this dark inky wine, with its alluring nose of toasty oak, black fruits, tobacco and leather. The palate has huge black fruit flavours that is smooth and sweet. What a wine! Just try it with steak.

Motivo, Bierzo
From another up and coming region in North West Spain, Bierzo This is a fantastic everyday drinking red has an interesting nose of dried coffee grounds with nutty hints. It has an soft mouthfeel violets and gentle fruits, and good balanced acidity a lovely finish.

It not just all about Rioja anymore.