Spain located on the Iberian Peninsula, has over 2.9 million acres planted—making it the most widely planted wine producing nation but it is the third largest producer of wine in the world, the largest being France followed by Italy. This is due, in part, to the very low yields and wide spacing of the old vines planted on the dry, infertile soil found in many Spanish wine regions. The country has an abundance of native grape varieties, with over 400 varieties planted throughout Spain though 80 percent of the country's wine production is from only 20 grapes—including the reds Tempranillo, Garnacha, and Monastrell; the whites Albariño from Galicia, Palomino, Airen, and Macabeo; and the three cava grapes Parellada, Xarel·lo, and Macabeo. Major Spanish wine regions include the Rioja and Ribera del Duero which are known for their Tempranillo production; Valdepeñas, drunk by Unamuno and Hemingway, known for high quality tempranillo at low prices; Jerez, the home of the fortified wine Sherry; Rías Baixas in the northwest region of Galicia that is known for its white wines made from Albariño and Catalonia which includes the Cava and still wine producing regions of the Penedès as well the Priorat region. Spanish wine laws created the Denominación de Origen (DO) system in 1932 and were later revised in 1970. The system shares many similarities with the hierarchical Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) system of France, Portugal's Denominação de Origem Controlada (DOC) and Italy's Denominazione di origine controllata (DOC) system.
- Item #: i_380691Bottle Size: 750MLVinous Media: 92Jeb Dunnuck: 95 PointsJEB DUNNUCK 95 POINTS - "The 2015 Aalto is a gorgeous wine, and even at the retail price of $50, is a value. Loaded with notions of blackberry and cassis fruits, vanilla, graphite, and high-class oak, it hits the palate with medium to full-bodied richness, has beautiful concentration, and ripe, polished tannin. It certainly has a modern slant, yet is balanced, has terrific purity, and a great finish. Give it a few years."
Bodegas y Vinedos Aalto is a partnership between legendary vigneron Mariano Garcia and Javier Zaccagnini, former President of the governing body of the Ribera del Duero DO. Aalto is sourced from 7 different villages on a variety of soils with vineyard age ranging from 40-100 years and was aged for 24 months in French and American oak.
- Item #: i_382649Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 93WINE ADVOCATE 93 POINTS - "The single vineyard Tempranillo is the 2012 Pago Negralada, a plot at 760 meters altitude on deep gravel soils covered with sand; it is a relatively warm soil that provides good homogeneous ripeness of the grapes, vintage after vintage. As with all of the single vineyards, it fermented with indigenous yeasts and went through malolactic fermentation in brad new French oak barrels, where it had an upbringing of 18 months before bottling after a clarification with egg whites. I found the character of orange peel that I frequently saw in the Ribera del Duero reds in the late 1980s and early 1990s, with some rusticity and a little dustiness, with character. There are fine-grained tannins, good balance and a dusty texture that fills your mouth. It has very good balance and it will age nicely. 5,700 bottles, 275 magnums and 18 double magnums were filled from the 22 barrels in one single lot on June 17th 2014."
Abadia Retuerta is part of the prestigious 'Golden Mile' (La Milla de Oro) of wineries located along the Duero River in the autonomous community of Castilla y Leon. La Milla de Oro has a special microclimate and is home to some of Spain's most renowned wineries including Vega Sicilia, Dominio de Pingus and Bodegas Mauro.
- Item #: i_381071Bottle Size: 750mlWine Spectator: 93James Suckling: 94JAMES SUCKLING 94 POINTS - "The black-cherry, warm-earth and delicate, smoky notes on the nose make this enticing. On the palate, there’s great balance between ripe and dry notes, the generous tannins polished and already well integrated. Long, silky and subtle finish."
WINE SPECTATOR 93 POINTS - "Rich and dense, this red shows a brooding character, with woodsy and loamy earth notes framing a core of currant and tar. Muscular tannins are well-integrated, and juicy acidity keeps this lively. Harmonious. Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot. Drink now through 2030. 30,000 cases made, 5,000 cases imported."
- Item #: i_382475Bottle Size: 750mlWorking organically since his first vintage in 2004, all the grapes are hand-picked. Vinification is traditional (small wooden press), there is a very prudent use of oak 'a good barrel is a barrel you cannot taste' says Albert, it should 'help the wine express itself not actually add its own mark to the juice'. All wines are then bottled without fining or filtration, making them the most exciting and expressive wines we have tasted from this upcoming region.
80% Carignan, 20% Garnacha 10 months in 1-3 year old French oak barrels 40-75 year old vines Primary violets, black cherry, raspberry, herbs & oak, palate has vim & vigour, rich, broad black fruits, fennel, floral, plum and dark chocolate
- Item #: i_381033Bottle Size: 750mlBodega Granbazan is located in Tremoedo, in the Salnes sub-zone of Rias Baixas. Owners Manuel Otero and his nephew Jesus Alvarez own 17 hectares of 30-year-old Albarino vines that is supplemented by long-term contract with growers. Grapes are hand-picked, de-stemmed and undergo six to eight hours of cold maceration, while fermentation is undertaken in concrete and steel tanks using both natural and cultured yeast. I adore their evocative, rather old-fashioned labels with their maritime-themed drawings and equally, more importantly, I loved the wines inside. These are pure Rias Baixas Albarinos that brim over with crispness, flavor and authenticity.
- Item #: i_380178Bottle Size: 750MLWINEMAKER NOTES - Vivid straw-yellow green color with a touch of ripe lemon. Bright and slightly sparkling. On the nose it is intense and elegant aroma with hints of fresh herbs, green apples, citric fruits and grapefruit. On the palate it is persistent, rounded and full-bodied, with a light petillance that gives the wine an impressive and vivacious sense of freshness.
- Item #: i_380625Bottle Size: 750MLAppearance: attractive straw color with hints of green in the rim. Clean and brilliant.Nose: very expressive and harmonious nose. Fine notes of white fruit (green apples, pear) and lemony aromas. Hints of herbs (basil) and flower blossom base notes. Surprising aromatic intensity.Palate: Clean and textured. Seductive exotic palate of pineapple and mango intermingled with refreshing citrus flavors amplified by minerally accents. Silky but yet full bodied, with long lingering finish. Round and very tasty.
- Item #: i_350109Bottle Size: 1.5LWine Advocate: 94+eROBERT PARKER 94+ POINTS:: "The 2005 Alion has a captivating perfume of smoke, pencil lead, violets, truffle, cherry, and blackberry. On the palate it is medium to full-bodied, firm, sweetly-fruited, layered, and splendidly balanced. It has several years of aging potential and will offer prime drinking from 2013 to 2025."
- Item #: i_350101Bottle Size: 3 LITERWine Advocate: 94+eROBERT PARKER 94+ POINTS: "The 2005 Alion has a captivating perfume of smoke, pencil lead, violets, truffle, cherry, and blackberry. On the palate it is medium to full-bodied, firm, sweetly-fruited, layered, and splendidly balanced. It has several years of aging potential and will offer prime drinking from 2013 to 2025."
- Item #: i_350102Bottle Size: 6LWine Advocate: 94+eROBERT PARKER 94+ POINTS: "The 2005 Alion has a captivating perfume of smoke, pencil lead, violets, truffle, cherry, and blackberry. On the palate it is medium to full-bodied, firm, sweetly-fruited, layered, and splendidly balanced. It has several years of aging potential and will offer prime drinking from 2013 to 2025."
- Item #: i_381772Bottle Size: 750mlSeptember Wine of the Month
We have featured this Spanish beauty before and probably will do so again. Why? Because it is superlative juice for the money and it checks all the boxes for what we want in a warm-weather wine. Great fruit balanced with a fine body of tannins and acidity? Yep. Light on its feet and shows versatility with food? You bet. Depth, character and layers of flavor? Nailed it. While ideal for late summer and early fall (definitely not a 'heavy' wine), it really is balanced enough to enjoy year-round.
A relatively new winery, The Altes family was involved in grape-growing before, in 2010, the son decided to make wine from the father's grapes, desiring to put the family name on the literal fruits of their labors (a natural progression in the wine world). They produce excellent wines that have been well-received commercially and critically. This has allowed the family to invest in vineyards and, in 2016, they began construction on a new winery.
D.O. Terra Alta (literally 'high ground') is located in the southwest corner of Spain, in the province of Tarragona. Garnatxa Negra (grenache) thrives in hot, dry climates so is an excellent match for the weather in Terra Alta. With the altitude, the grapes have to work even harder, making for more concentrated flavors and more interesting wines.
Fresh raspberries, cherries and plums fill the nose of this wine, bolstered by notes of cedar, rose petal, forest hillside and a background hint of citrus peel; uplifting and refreshing. The bright fruits are reiterated in the palate with cherry and raspberry in the foreground. Streaks of minerality and subtle earthiness, along with medium acidity and balanced, buoyant tannins, add both depth and brightness to the glass. Again, this is a great wine for warmer temps but will bring some of that summer sun for colder climes. We really enjoyed tasting this and will be particularly interested in introducing it to our grills on football Saturdays (Hello barbecued beef, lamb and al pastor-- meat your new best friends!).
ANTONIO GALLONI; VINOUS 90 POINTS - "Vivid ruby. Vibrant, spice-accented dark berry and violet scents show very good clarity and pick up a mineral nuance with aeration. Juicy, focused and lithe on the palate, offering appealingly sweet boysenberry and cherry flavors that deepen steadily through the back half. Shows strong intensity and sharp definition on a long, floral-tinged finish that's given shape by silky, even tannins."
- Item #: i_377592Bottle Size: 750mlGUIA PENIN (PENIN GUIDE OF SPANISH WINES) 94 POINTS
Bodegas Alto Moncayo is a winery located in the area covered by the Campo de Borja Denominación de Origen (DO, wine quality standard). It was founded in 2002 with the aim of turning it into a world reference for Garnacha wines of the highest quality, prepared from native vine clones.
‘Alto Moncayo’ is the flagship of the winery. It is also another single-grape variety of Garnacha, from vines between 40 and 70 years old, aged in new barrels for 20 months. It has a remarkable complex nose, with balsamic aromas, redolent of black fruit, roasted notes and a very good structure in the mouth.
- Item #: i_378524Bottle Size: 750MLBodegas Alto Moncayo is a winery located in the area covered by the Campo de Borja Denominación de Origen (DO, wine quality standard). It was founded in 2002 with the aim of turning it into a world reference for Garnacha wines of the highest quality, prepared from native vine clones.
‘Veraton’ is the third wine we produce from the Garnacha grape, from vines between 30 and 50 years old, and aged in barrels for 16 months. It is a wine with an attractive collection of balsamic notes, of chocolate and black fruits, very warm in the mouth and an extremely pleasant finish.
- Item #: i_383025Bottle Size: 750mlIf anyone embodies the promise and spirit of "The New Spain," it's Alvaro Palacios. His L'Ermita is widely considered-along with Peter Sisseck's Dominio de Pingus-to be the most important Spanish wine of the modern era.
One of nine children born to the owners of Rioja's respected Palacios Remondo, Alvaro studied enology in Bordeaux, while working under Jean-Pierre Moueix at Ch. Pétrus. He credits his tenure at Pétrus for much of his winemaking philosophy and for showing him "the importance of great wines."
Alvaro could have returned to the security of his family's domaine. But in the 1980s, he was drawn to the largely abandoned, ancient vineyards of Priorat. Located 60 miles from Barcelona, Priorat had been one of Spain's important pre-Phylloxera wine regions. And with its unique terroir of steep hills and terraces, Alvaro believed he could make wines that rivaled the best of Europe.
Alvaro has been instrumental in introducing the Burgundian ideas of Villages and Cru to Priorat. In 2006, he began to elaborate separately a collection of old vineyards from throughout the township of Gratallops to extend and commercialize this idea. The wine is a blend of Garnacha, Carinyena (Carignan) and Cabernet.
Our notes...The nose is complex and fascinating: anise, dark red fruits, earth, white pepper, incense, walnut, hibiscus. It was like each nosing brought another element to the surface, to have their moment under the sun before joining their compatriot scents in a rich, unified conglomeration. When tasted, red fruits, purple florals and silky tannins took the lead. Balsa wood, dried cherries, cranberry tea and mixed herbals provided support as polished acidity kept the wine brisk and lively with an upward focus- excelsior. While not a 'heavy' wine, the nose and flavor profiles certainly have plenty of gravitas. There are many extraneous spokes of flavor and scent that merge seamlessly to create a stronger, more enticing whole wine. We really enjoyed this one and believe it will evolve beautifully for many years to come. Dried red fruits, dark spices, forest floor flavors slowly recede in the finish.
- Item #: i_380775Bottle Size: 750MLJames Suckling: 9440% Garnacha (aka Grenache), 20% Samsó (aka Carignan), 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Syrah.
JAMES SUCKLING 94 POINTS - "A layered and very dense Priorat with crushed-raspberry and slate character, as well as black tea. Full body. Ripe yet tight tannins and a long and flavorful finish. Drink now or hold."
- Item #: i_380464Bottle Size: 750MLThe vines that are made into Txakoli (chah-koh-lee) wine grow like little trees among the rolling hills that flow into the moody Atlantic ocean of Northeastern Spain. For generations, the Ameztoi (ah-mess-TOY) family has made their wine around the fishing town of Getaria, near San Sebastian. Just as this Basque country has had its own culture for many centuries, it has its native grapes like Hondarrabi Zuri and Hondarrabi Beltza that make distinctive, authentically regional wines. The main lineup of Ameztoi family Txakoli (white, rose, and red) all share in common a very light body with refreshing acidity & natural spritz left over from fermentation.
These are wines that inspire us to get out there and enjoy the day as it passes into night...as they say in Basque country, "Aurrera Txalupa!" (onward, the boat!).
The Ameztoi family has been making wine for seven generations. Located just five or ten minutes down the coast from San Sebastian, their vineyards overlook the Atlantic ocean. This rose is a 50/50 blend of Hondarribi Zuri and Hondarribi Beltza. The result is a pale pink wine with fresh redcurrant, strawberry and lime aromas and flavors followed by citrus notes and gentle minerality on the finish. This rosé is very easy to drink by itself or with appetizers, seafood or fish dishes. Try this with grilled or poached salmon.
A Summer afternoon picnic on the hill...in a glass! Refreshingly light & fizzy like the white, but with a subtle taste of candied red fruit. The quintessential wine to have with a fresh berry salad.
Suggestion: Perfect around 52F, or about 20 minutes in an ice bucket.
- Item #: i_377777Bottle Size: 750mlThe vines that are made into Txakoli (chah-koh-lee) wine grow like little trees among the rolling hills that flow into the moody Atlantic ocean of Northeastern Spain. For generations, the Ameztoi (ah-mess-TOY) family has made their wine around the fishing town of Getaria, near San Sebastian. Just as this Basque country has had its own culture for many centuries, it has its native grapes like Hondarrabi Zuri and Hondarrabi Beltza that make distinctive, authentically regional wines. The main lineup of Ameztoi family Txakoli (white, rose, and red) all share in common a very light body with refreshing acidity & natural spritz left over from fermentation.
These are wines that inspire us to get out there and enjoy the day as it passes into night...as they say in Basque country, "Aurrera Txalupa!" (onward, the boat!).
WINEMAKER NOTES - This light and crisp wine is bottled with residual carbon to give it its signature natural spritz. Bright briny sea salt combined with limey fruits. Fresh and eminently quaffable.
Grape: Hondarrabi Zuri
A wine that captures mornings on the coast. Lightly fizzy, with citrus like lime, tart apple, a cool herbal note like mint, and even a minerality reminiscent of the briny Atlantic breezes. Serve with grilled or tempura squid, Caesar salad, chilled mint & pea soup, and ceviche.
Suggestion: Keep this one chilled around 45F, or about 30 minutes in an ice bucket.
- Item #: i_382148Bottle Size: 750mlThe 2016 AN is a blend of Callet with small amounts of Manto Negro and Fogoneu from 36 small plots on red soils rich in limestone. It fermented in oak and concrete vats with their own selected yeasts, and it aged in oak barrels and one 2,000-liter oak foudre for 15 months, with some 10% of the volume kept without being in contact with oak. Very balsamic, with a Mediterranean profile of aromatic herbs intermixed with notes of cigar ash and graphite.
- Item #: i_383631Bottle Size: 750mlThe color is an enticing straw-lemon in color with greenish highlights. Quíbia has aromas of white peach, pear, sea brine and jasmine. On the palate the wine is weighty with silky olive oil texture and concentrated flavors of ripe peach, Anjou pear and capers. Crisp, lively and well balanced. This wine pairs beautifully with bay scallops, langoustines, mussels in a butter broth, and seafood paella.
- Item #: i_377848Bottle Size: 750mlJames Suckling: 94CERTIFIED ORGANIC
JAMES SUCKLING 94 POINTS - "Impressive, rich, dark-cherry and blackberry aromas with nicely cut oak influence. The palate has a sleek, smooth-honed feel with such impressive freshness and depth. Stunning, vibrant finish. 100% tempranillo from several plots around Laguardia. Drink or hold."
Located in the heart of Álava, Artadi owns 83 hectares of vineyards planted in soils with a wide geological diversity. Clay, gravel and limestone primarily compose this particular balance of nutrient-poor soils with varying microclimates. These unique vineyard sites give singularity to the wines, whose most notable qualities are transparency of fruit and finesse of tannins.
This is Artadi’s entry-level ‘village wine’ of the village of Laguardia, made from twenty-to-thirty year-old selected vineyards located in the plots of San Martín, Las Ventas, Paulejas, San Julián, Santa Águeda, Castejones, Majadales, Ribaltayo Viejo
- Item #: i_382047Bottle Size: 750mlTinto Fino 100% - It is purplish red, clean and bright wine. The nose has black fruit and noble wood aromas such as cedar together with licorice. There is a balance in the mouth and nose. On the palate it is an unctuous and silky.
- Item #: i_380642Bottle Size: 750MLA well-matured wine, the nose is deep with a predominance of spice, leather and tobacco. On the palate it is a big and meaty with balance between acidity and tannins. The wood is very integrated in the flavors, especially tasty complex long cedar notes.
WINE & SPIRITS MAGAZINE 95 POINTS