Las Falleras Red (Marks & Spencer)

This is one of M&S’ very cheapest offerings, at just £4.99 per bottle and the name means ‘fireworks’. But would it have us all gasping with delight, or just prove to be a bit standard?
If the region is anything to go by, it could be spectacular (for the price). It’s from Utiel-Requeña, in the East of Spain by the city of Valencia. With plenty of heat and low overheads, this place has built a reputation for producing a variety of decent red wines at keen prices. 
Las Falleras red is made with the little-known Bobal grape, which is a speciality of Utiel-Requeña. The label promises cherry fruit, along with a herby-peppery flavour, and M&S have got this spot on. That pepper is particularly distinctive, and will surprise anyone who hadn’t read the tasting notes (or anyone who just didn’t believe them). There’s also a pleasant, clean, delicate acidity, which makes the wine vibrant and dangerously addictive.
It’s probably best avoided by those who insist on their reds having some oomph. Las Falleras is very light-bodied (some might say ‘thin’), and has virtually no tannin (so none of that mouth-drying sensation). I’d suggest it as a change for anyone who’s into Beaujolais, or perhaps pinot noirs. I’d probably also point you in its direction if you normally avoid reds and want a steady, gentle introduction to them. Then again, the bottle suggests it’s a great accompaniment to a range of ‘simple foods’, and that’s probably a fair recommendation too. I guess what I’m saying is, it’s pretty versatile.
I can’t think of any other wine I’ve tasted that could hold a (roman) candle to Las Falleras for sheer value for money. If it sounds like it could light up your evening, grab it before the price goes rocketing!
Tom BradfordLas Falleras Red (Marks & Spencer)

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