JAMES SUCKLING 92 POINTS - "This is a fuller and richer crianza with dried fruit, meat and spice. Layered and round-textured. Shows soft tannins. Rich and flavorful at the finish. Gorgeous wine."
Cune`s Viña Real winery is located on top of the Cerro de la Mesa, in Rioja Alavesa, an area celebrated for its fruit-forward wines, a land with a soil that supports the best native red wine grape varieties and that enjoys an optimum mesoclimate. Most vines here grow from the highlands of the Sierra de Cantabria down to the Ebro River on southern-facing slopes the calcareous sediment of the hills makes the soil ideal. Rioja Alavesa was one of Spain`s pioneering regions in the barrel-aging of wines, and Viña Real was one of the first to make crianza wines in this area.
Cune has been a long time staff and customer favorite from Rioja. Over the years we have had the privilege of tasting their Gran Reservas as far back as the 50’s. Our reactions are always the same, we ooh and awe, treasuring every sip.
Mina Real Blanco is a step in a new direction for Oaxacan mezcal, made from agave that has been steam-roasted in low pressure brick kilns in order to highlight the plants' bright highland flavor and floral bouquet.
Utilizing a combination of both modern and historical technique, the agave honeys for Mina Real are fermented together with their crushed pina fibers, followed by a doubledistillation in ceramic pots for a classic earthiness and character.
WINE ADVOCATE 93 POINTS - "The classical 2012 Viña Real Gran Reserva is produced with 95% Tempranillo and 5% Graciano, fermented in stainless steel with neutral dry yeasts and aged in new oak barrel for two years. It's very spicy and creamy, with developed aromas, open and expressive. The palate feels very polished, with a fine thread of acidity going through its core. There is good balance between power and elegance. It should develop nicely in bottle, even if it's approachable now. "
Tequila is aged 5 years in French White oak barrels. Agave is allowed to grow for 10 years before harvesting. Handmade cooking is done in masonry ovens. Soft aroma and flavor with notes of Chocolate, Vanilla, wood, cooked Agave, Almonds, Walnuts and sweet Agave.
The Tempest – a famous play, a violent storm, and the name of Realm's Merlot-based blend, fashioned after the great wines of Pomerol in Bordeaux. The Tempest was the first proprietary wine Realm released, so named for the "perfect" storm of three grape varietals that became available at the same time, from the same vineyard, in 2002 -- the year of Realm's tumultuous beginning. Though their equipment was borrowed and the winery they occupied unfinished, Realm's grapes were sound that year – beautiful in fact – and the resulting wine reflected a fierce determination to brave the storm. The Tempest is still made with beautiful grapes, from vineyards such as Beckstoffer Orchard and Dr. Crane, as well as Blair Vineyard in Calistoga. Predominantly Merlot, with lesser amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot depending on vintage, The Tempest is a roiling cauldron of lush, bright, red fruit – a wine that shows what Merlot can be in the right hands, from the right vineyards.
One of our absolute best values for the month comes from the rugged, untamed national park lands in the central-Italian region of Abruzzo. The red variety Montepulciano is the regional star, a favorite of Italian enotecas for its highly drinkable wines at a value. One of its finest producers, the Valle Reale winery, has been a staple winery for Hi-Time Wine Cellars, and we're happy to welcome in the 2018 vintage of their entry-level Montepulciano, which received a rarely-seen score from a highly reputable critic for a wine that retails for $12.95!
Just like Valle Reale itself, there's no gimmick, just honest wine at a more-than-fair price. The Valle Real 2018 Montepulciano d'Abruzzo reflects the nearly untouched naturalness of the land: made from organically-farmed grapes, and fermented with the native strains of yeast, its sits in stainless steel for just 3 months before being bottled. It has the brightness and perfume of a mountain wine (from their cooler Popoli vineyard) imbued with the soft and generous ripeness of a warm lowland valley wine (from their Capestrano vineyard). Just take a look at Italian wine expert Ian D'Agata's 94-point review for "Vinous!"
ANTONIO GALLONI; VINOUS 94 POINTS - "Bright red. Red cherry and flowers on the perfumed nose; much more fragrant than the 2017 Montepulciano d'Abruzzo. Then fresh and juicy, with bright red fruit repeating in the mouth. Finishes long and savory, showcasing notable purity. Outstanding cool-climate Montepulciano of noteworthy refinement. Very, very well done; I'm not sure readers fully realize just how hard it is to obtain a result of this level in a cold-weather environment such as that of Popoli. This success speaks loudly of the capability and talent of owner Leonardo Pinzolo and his Valle Reale technical team."
Like with most traditional Italian wines, the experience will be even better with the right food. The Abruzzesi like hearty lentil soups, skewered meats on the grill, or pastas with lamb, but let your creativity shine!
A gem of central Italy, This winery is truly a unique property for Abruzzo. Its vineyards are
situated inside one of Italy’s most beautiful
national parks. This is a wild paradise, with
deep gorges carved by glaciers, crystal clear
springs and a diverse array of flora and fauna. Completely organic wine by default of its location and with careful clone selection best for Valle Reale’s soil and climate, Leonardo Pizzolo has made a benchmark for the wines of Abruzzo. Rich and aromatic with a full body of dark berry fruit, spices and long supple tannins, Take this one home to enjoy with ribs or roasted lamb.