PERIODICALLY, ONE OF THE WINE MAGAZINES or a score-driven critic will discover a $10 bottle of Spanish red wine and pronounce it an exceptional value. This is news only to them. Spanish reds are consistently some of the best inexpensive wines around. They aren’t, certainly, like California or Australian reds, so don’t expect those big, over the top flavors. But most are more food friendly and much more approachable.

Spanish reds are less well-known in the because the grapes used are less well-known. The most important is tempranillo, which is to what shiraz is to . It’s lighter than shiraz and cabernet sauvignon, more sophisticated than most California merlot, and sturdy enough for red meat dishes. The other important Spanish grape is garnacha (it’s granache in ). In , it’s mostly used to blend, but the Spaniards love to use garnacha by itself to produce a fruity, berry-like wine that goes well with tomato sauces and roast chicken and duck.

Osborne Solaz, a tempranillo-cabernet blend, should be well-known to regular readers of this space. But that’s far from the only choice:

            • Almost any bottle of tempranillo from major producers such as Montecillo, Campo Viejo, and Marques de Cacera. Look for the term crianza (the lowest of the three levels of quality) on the label. These wines are about $10 and perfect for a midweek dinner.

            • New-style tempranillos such as Cortijo III ($10). These are not aged as long as the crianzas, which means they lose a little backbone but have a bit brighter fruit.

            • Garnachas such as Los Rocas and Garnacha de Fuego, again about $10. I’m not as enamored as some of these wines (I like a little more acid to balance the fruit), but they’re still good wines at a fair price.