A new year is here, and that means it’s time to feature another twelve bottles of wine that combine impressive quality, availability, and probably most importantly in the economic woes that are sure to lie ahead in 2009, affordability. Spanish wine continues to dominate my radar in all three of these areas, although I fear that they’ll soon figure out what a bargain their wines are! An especially robust example of a Tempranillo-based Spanish wine crossed my path recently and stopped me in my tracks, although I should mention that there are so many great red wines under the $30 range coming out of Spain right now, including the fantastic Cenit wines featured here on more than one occassion, as well as the products from Emilio Moro, Muga, Sierra Cantabria, Cepa 21 and Costers de Priorat among many others. Fresh off a top 40 placing in Wine Spectator’s Top 100 of 2008, here is my favorite wine I’ve tasted this month:

94822l1CONDADO DE HAZA RIBERA DEL DUERO CRIANZA 2005, 91 Points, $25, 40,000 cases produced

Rich and perfumey on the nose with lots of blackberry and black cherry fruit above an impressive powdery cocoa note on the palate. Hints of smoke and mineral intertwine and chocolate charcter lingers with lots of juicy dark fruits through the long length, a real mouthful of elegance and depth.

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