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 Advocate: 92Wine Spectator: 93WINE SPECTATOR 93 POINTS - "This red shows density and structure, with firm, well-integrated tannins and balsamic acidity supporting plum, currant, dark chocolate and mineral flavors. Polished and harmonious. Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Drink now through 2026."
WINE ADVOCATE 92 POINTS - "I tasted the 2014 Selección Especial, a very different vintage from 2013. It was a prolific vintage, so they had to do a severe green harvest to adjust yields, and some rains in September forced the harvest to be a little earlier. The final blend is slightly different each year and in 2014 it was 70% Tempranillo, 17% Syrah and 13% Cabernet Sauvignon. The aging in barrel was slightly shorter, 11 months instead of 13. 2014 was a homogeneous vintage and they didn't need to use any Merlot, which in slightly warmer vintages does not work as nicely as in cooler ones. This wine changed from the 2010 vintage, as before that year they used quite a lot of oak and the wine was very oaky. They have now removed the excess, and the wines show more precision and purity. It's a little riper and concentrated than the 2013, with more clout but perhaps a little more predictability. This has all the ingredients to be a great commercial success. 390,000 bottles, 22,000 magnums and 1,800 double magnums produced and bottled in 23 lots."
This is a serious, well-balanced wine with a rich bouquet and deep fruit flavors. This fantastic red blend is from Sardon de Duero, a wine-growing area in northern Spain west of Ribera del Duero. It is part of the prestigious 'Golden Mile' of wineries located along the Duero River in the community of Castilla y Leon. The Golden Mile has a special microclimate and is home to some of Spain's most renowned wineries including Vega Sicilia, Dominio de Pingus and Bodegas Mauro. The Special Selection is produced from the best grapes from each of Abadia's vineyards. It combines the richness of Tempranillo with the structure of Cabernet Sauvignon with additional complexity from the addition of Syrah. This delicious wine is an outstanding value and over-delivers for the price!
- 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_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_350180Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 96WINE ADVOCATE 96 POINTS - "Even better (although you will pay dearly for the upgrade) is the flagship 2006 Aquilon. It offers a similar room-filling kinky perfume that is totally captivating. On the plush palate, gobs of pure black cherry and black raspberry fruit conceal the fact that this wine has enough ripe tannin to evolve for at least a decade. This hedonistic effort is impeccably balanced and should provide extreme pleasure from 2015 to 2030."
- Item #: i_377592Bottle 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.
‘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_381458Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 90WINE ADVOCATE 90 POINTS - "The incredibly perfumed 2017 Evodia was true to its name, as apparently 'evodia' means fragrant in the ancient Greek language. It had been bottled for a few months when I tasted it and it was very harmonious and expressive. They have reduced quantities and raised the price a bit, going into a different segment of the market, definitely a better wine than what I tasted from 2016. It achieved almost 15% alcohol in 2017, one of the earliest harvests of the last 20 years after some spring frosts and a very dry summer. Only 20% of the volume matured in barrel, while the rest was kept in concrete vats for six months. It's very easy to drink, with unnoticeable tannins and a long, lingering finish. Super tasty and impressive for the price. 150,000 bottles were produced."
- 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: 9140% Garnacha, 30% Samso, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Syrah.
JAMES SUCKLING 91 POINTS - Effusive sour-cherry and floral nose that pulls you into the orbit of this remarkably charming and lively, medium-bodied Priorat red that’s a joy to drink right now. Lovely freshness on the long, clean finish. Drink now or in 2019.
- 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_382488Bottle Size: 750mlDecanter: 95 Points95% Tinto Fino, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Merlot
DECANTER PLATINUM WORLD WINE AWARD, 95 POINTS - "The nose is dense with a pleasing sweetness, attractively evolved with tobacco, roasted meats and black fruit. The palate develops an amazingly complex array of layered spice, ripe tannins, plenty of fruit and extremely long finish"
- 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
- Item #: i_381968Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 90WINE ADVOCATE 90 POINTS - "The straightforward and fruit-driven 2013 Crianza is a classical Ribera del Duero: clean, modern and with nicely integrated oak. It's pure Tempranillo aged in French oak (70% new) for 22 months. The palate is approachable, balanced and fresh, very good for the year. 100,000 bottles produced. Score: 90, Luis Gutierrez, February 2017"
Modern-style crianza, with much fruit and little oxidation. Lively with juicy fruit, very clean and highly pleasurable.
- Item #: i_380598Bottle Size: 750mlBurghound: 91GUIA PENN 92 POINTS - High, cherry-colored depth with a ruby rim. Explosive notes of red and black fruit, fig preserve, hints of toast, Arabica coffee, toffee, spices, menthol and a dash of violets. Bold, meaty and full-bodied, yet a suprising freshness. Good acidity and round through under-ripe tannins give tension and complexity. Long finish.
- Item #: i_380789Bottle Size: 750MLVinous Media: 92While Parker compares this wine to Grand Cru Chablis, we think it's more like some beautiful Spanish re-working of classic Meursault. Either way, it's delicious and unlike nearly any other Spanish white which leads to fanicful, far-away comparisons. The nose begins with honey and perfectly ripe pears complimented by waves of nutmeg and baking spices that build in richness and explosive flavors. Avancia is one of Jorge Ordonez's terroir discoveries. Jorge hunted out and acquired parcels of old-vine Godello planted between 1904 and 1910 in hard-scrabble hillsides of slate and quartz. A touch of oak is part of the style here, but to better frame these wines, Jorge looked to Didier Dagueneau and his famed Loire Valley Sauvignon Blancs rather than Burgundy. Dagueneau had specially formulated barrels that were more than twice the size of a standard barrel, but also aged for much longer as wood staves in the open air before the final barrel was made and toasted-the end result is subtler and marries better with medium bodied whites. When Jorge started planning to make this style of white wine, the waiting list for Dagueneau's special barrels was years long. No matter, Jorge "cut in line" when a very famous Sonoma producer refused a few of Dagueneau's prized barrels at the cellar-door. Jorge Ordonez bought them on the spot and paid to fly them from California to Spain. "
- Item #: i_377187Bottle Size: 750mlOn the nose it surprises you with its powerful fruity character mingling with reminders of its noble aging, traces of coconut, toffee and attractive wild herb nuances. After a powerful attack the sensation of soft, supple volume gradually extends across the palate to end with a long finish. In the aftertaste you are again reminded of the red-berry fruit mingled with hints of wild herbs.
- Item #: i_350193Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 94+WINE ADVOCATE 94+ POINTS - "The purple-colored 2006 La Cueva del Contador was aged for 12 months in new French oak and bottled without fining or filtration. It gives up an outstanding perfume of pain grille, pencil lead, damp earth, incense, and black cherry. Opulent on the palate, it is dense, rich, and full-flavored with enough ripe tannin to evolve for 4-6 years. Drink this lengthy effort from 2014 to 2031."