I´m not a wine expert and always buy a cheap local wine, Castillo de Lliria, which I quite like and doesn´t give me any headaches
But besides Rioja you could think of Duero and Burgos-wines, I believe these are the best Spanish wines. I don´t know what they cost though.
I'd recommend Lagunilla. It is a Rioja, but is unusual in that it is grown at altitude. It's a bugger to get hold of, because they don't produce that much and the rotten sods keep it to themselves rather than export it. You'd have to import it specially, but it's well worth it, as it is a fabulous drop.
She's as nervous as a very small nun at a penguin shoot.