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: 750MLBodegas 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_381071Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 93James Suckling: 95JAMES SUCKLING 95 POINTS - "This is a stunning Ribera that shows a plethora of finely judged mulberries, blackberries, oyster shell, rust, iron, citrus, vanilla, undergrowth and licorice. Full-bodied and powerful with muscular tannins, but a wealth of dark fruit. Long and chewy on the finish. Drink in 2025."
WINE ADVOCATE 93 POINTS - "Selección Especial is Abadía Retuerta's reliable red blend produced in enough quantities to have good availability and with an approachable and easy-to-understand profile that reached great quality with the 2016 Selección Especial, from one of the best vintages in recent times in the region. It's 75% Tempranillo, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Syrah, 3% Merlot and 1% Petit Verdot, a blend that can change with the conditions of the year, as it's decided by tasting the wines. If in the past this wine was quite oaky, this 2016 feels quite integrated and balanced, ripe and medium-bodied, with a soft and tender palate, round tannins and moderate influence from the élevage of 13 months in French and American oak barrels."
- 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_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_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_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 (though they make a special wine above this called "Aquilon"). 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_378696Bottle Size: 750MLJames Suckling: 92Decanter: 90 to 95 point score55% Garnacha & 45% Carinena
DECANTER 92 POINTS - "Luxurious aromas of plums, violets and cedar with delicious red fruit quality. Palate is fresh, with nice concentration and soft tannins."
JAMES SUCKLING 92 POINTS - "Enveloping black-cherry and blueberry aromas, but also notes of licorice and smoke. A bold and powerful Priorat with discreet oak and plenty of freshness. The tannins are supple and beautifully integrated, the finish generous and polished."
While originally conceived of as a value wine, Les Terrasses "Velles Vignes" has slowly evolved into the essence of what makes Priorat special. Drawing on 15+ years of study, Terrasses is sourced from many of the region's steepest and oldest vineyards-many of them north-facing to avoid the intense afternoon sun. With the 2007 vintage, Alvaro acknowledged Les Terrasses' "graduation" by adding the "Velles Vignes" designation to the label.
The son of the owners of Rioja's Palacios Remondo, Alvaro Palacios spent his early 20s working and studying winemaking outside of Spain. His experience abroad - particularly in Bordeaux - instilled in him a deep passion for great wines and led him to return to Spain. With the ambition to make wines that could be world-class. To achieve this dream, Palacios was drawn to the historic hillsides of slate soil and its traditional grape varieties of Garnacha and Carinena. Now widely considered to be among the more important new Spanish wineries in a generation, Alvaro Palacios embodies the spirit of "The New Spain."
- Item #: i_380775Bottle Size: 750MLJames Suckling: 94This wine made our list of Top Spanish Wines of 2020 for its impressive quality for the price. It’s a Priorat made in a drink-me-now style that combines a vibrant, ripe fruit and floral profile with a medium-full weight and satiny, vinous texture!
It’s perhaps the most sleek and modern wine from one of Spain’s superstar winemakers, Alvaro Palacios, who comes from the well-respected Palacios Remondo wine family in Rioja. While studying enology in Bordeaux, he worked under superstar Jean-Pierre Moueix at Chateau Pétrus. Inspired to make his own great wines, he chose the secluded region of Priorat, which was an old wine region that had been going through a rennaissance. In the 1990s and 2000s he built up a collection of great vineyards, and with that, released more wines; Finca Dofi’, L’Ermita, Les Terraces, and Gratallops have all become wellrespected names on the international stage. With more vineyards, he found he could tighten up the selection for the top wines, thereby improving them, but also leaving enough left over for a highquality ‘everday’ wine. That’s how Camins del Priorat was created!
Typical to Priorat, the blend composing Camins del Priorat reflects the more relaxed planting rules: 35% Garnacha, 24% Syrah, 17% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Samso (aka Carignan), 10% Merlot and 3% “other varieties.” This flexibility in blending allows for a range of styles in Priorat, so it’s hard to generalize. The only commonality is the distinctive terroir: a combination of the slatelike soils characteristic to the region, the dramatic, steep hills on which vineyards must often be terraced, and the proximity to the Mediterranean Sea, which moderates the climate.
JAMES SUCKLING 94 POINTS - "Gorgeous, bright fruit with raspberries, black cherries and lavender with some schist. It’s medium-bodied with very polished and integrated tannins that go on and on. Drink or hold."
- 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_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_377848Bottle Size: 750mlJames Suckling: 94ORGANICALLY GROWN GRAPES
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 (in the Rioja Alavesa region), 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_380257Bottle Size: 750MLDecanter: 90 to 95 point scoreDECANTER 95 POINTS - "This is a big wine with alluring aromas of cedary oak and black fruit. Ripe palate of black berries, some dark chocolate and integrated, polished oak. Long spicy finish. Classy Ribera."
- Item #: i_380598Bottle Size: 750mlBurghound: 91From Bodegas Atalaya (Almansa), we received this 2018 La Atalaya del Camino, a red wine based on monastrell and garnacha. The 2018 La Atalaya del Camino is the ideal red to combine with ragout and pork. Aromatic, fresh and fruity with ripe notes, blackberry, aromatic herbs and floral notes.
- Item #: i_381465Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 91WINE ADVOCATE 90 POINTS - The fruit-driven and easy-to-drink 2019 Laya was produced with Garnacha Tintorera, or Alicante Bouschet, grapes blended with 30% Monastrell from an unusually wet year with torrential rains during the harvest. It fermented in stainless steel vats with neutral yeasts, with malolactic in barrel, where the wine matured for four months. It's very dark, almost opaque, expressive and open. This comes from younger vines yet is structured and seamless, quite complete. It feels like a very good vintage for Garnacha Tintorera in the zone. The palate is round, somehow creamy, and the tannins are ripe and juicy. 360,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in March 2020. Rating : 90+
- Item #: i_380789Bottle Size: 750MLPRACTICING ORGANIC FARMING
While 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_383451Bottle Size: 750mlORGANICALLY GROWN GRAPES
"Intense aromas of forest fruits, strawberries, raspberries and blackberry jam. In addition, there are balsamic overtones of eucalyptus and mint. On the palate, a freshness and pleasant, subtle tannins, with pleasingly-integrated notes of coconut and vanilla." - WINERY NOTES
"This project was created in 1987 by a couple of oenologists with deep roots in the business: jerezano Eduardo Gómez Palma and riojana María Isabel Bernardo Córdoba de Samaniego. They discovered in La Puebla de Labarca “our own special place, a magical land that offered us everything we needed to create the wines we had imagined”. Their old vines, planted in the banks of the Ebro river, thrive thanks to the sheltering effect of the Sierra Cantabria and to their perfect southwards orientation. Since their very beginning, María Isabel and Eduardo strived to bring to La Rioja Alavesa the innovative techniques they learned while studying abroad, in a time when the labels Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva had lost most of its original sense. Their obsession for quality and innovation is showcased in their recent “Belezos Ecológico”, a great representation of the powerful Rioja Alavesa terroir, made with organic grapes." - ANTALVA IMPORTS
- Item #: i_378124Bottle Size: 750mlCERTIFIED ORGANIC
Benito Santos is a central figure in the modern history of Albariño and the Rías Baixas D.O. He began working in his grandfather's vineyards in the 1930s and made wine for serving in his bar - wines that repeatedly won prizes in the annual Fiesta de Albariño in Cambados. He was instrumental in the creation of the Rías Baixas D.O. in the 1980s. All of the vineyards are now certified organic - a rarity in rainy, mildew-prone Rías Baixas - and winemaking uses only native yeasts and minimal sulfur. Benito Santos wines are salty, mineral, and structured, with ample fruit but none of the overly tropical flavors of many industrially-produced Albariños.
- Item #: i_381221Bottle Size: 750mlIt is an exciting time for Spanish winemaking and particularly for the Priorat region which continues its evolution as a producer of thrilling red wines. Although winemaking has taken place in Priorat for centuries, the region really caught the public’s attention in the 1990’s when several producers blazed a trail, focusing on quality. Today, this area is thriving and the demand for its wines continues to grow.
One of the great names associated with winemaking in Spain is Juan Gil, maker of the hugely popular Clio and El Nido wines, which sell out quickly once we get them in the store. One of Gil’s newer ventures is his exciting project in Priorat which he calls Bluegray, named for the color of the slate soils in his vineyards. Bluegray is a blend of 45% Grenache, 30% Mazuelo (Carignan) and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, which is lush and powerful, yet artfully balanced with pure fruit flavors augmented by minerality imparted by the soils. It is made in a ripe, fruit-forward style which seems tailor-made for the American palate.
Deep ruby with heavy staining of the tears, the nose shows focused ripe black fruit and cherry flavors accented by fresh autumn spices, mineral and spicy notes. On the palate, this wine is full-bodied with very smooth tannins. The fresh fruit flavors on display include blackberry, cherry, currant and blue plums. This shows good balance and drinkability with a long, lingering finish. Enjoy on its own or with grilled and roasted beef, aged cheeses and hearty dishes.
- Item #: i_378495Bottle Size: 750mlJames Suckling: 93Another incredible value from Spain that will pair well with late spring and early summer dining scenarios, quarantine snacks or simple solo sipping? But, of course! Wines from Spain often find their way into our cellars as there are so many differing dimensions to their existence. The country is big on tradition but willing to adapt and innovate for good reason (while not forgetting their history); they have a mostly mediterranean climate, similar to ours in California, so offer wines to drink in our like temperatures; their food traditions and staples are amazing, making for out-of-this-world pairings; they offer world class bottlings at all price levels (some of the best bargains on our ‘ramp o’ value’ are from Spain).
Care Garnacha Nativa checked all the boxes on its way to being featured this month.
The nose offers up scents of ripe red berries, forest floor, dark spices and a touch of old growth forest. Upon tasting, the fresh fruits dominate again with some excellent backup structure and secondary traits. Red plum and raspberry lead the charge as the rich mouthfeel is tempered by ample tannins. Black pepper, earth and cherry cola join the sweet berries as a hint of smoke and cut wood linger in the finish. Simple but serious, this wine offers a lot for its entry price. 93 Points from James Suckling is a pretty impressive calling card, as well. As the weather warms and we start to thinking about grilling and chilling, especially as we’ll be at home for a while yet, it seems, and we want a good warm weather red wine, Care covers it all!
JAMES SUCKLING 93 POINTS - "A juicy and delicious garnacha with crushed berry and chocolate character. Full-bodied yet tight and balanced with ripe tannins and flavor. Drink now or hold."
- Item #: i_381799Bottle Size: 750ml100% Garnacha (Grenache)
WINERY NOTES - "Hand harvested from very old vineyards, “Monte Alto” and “La Sarda”. These vineyards are located on very arid slate soils on the slopes of the Iberian Mountain range, close to its highest peak, El Moncayo. Aged on its lees in new French oak barrels for 4 months."
- Item #: i_380255Bottle Size: 750MLJames Suckling: 92JAMES SUCKLING 92 POINTS - "The sliced plum and black-cherry aromas are so enticing. Flowers, too. Medium to full body. Integrated and polished tannins. Round and lengthy, giving intensity and beauty."
Pago Florentino is one of only 13 Denominaciones de Origen de Pago existing in Spain as of 2009. This is the highest category on the quality scale of Spanish wines and means that in addition to having a proven track record of consistent quality, the wines have to be both produced from single estate-grown vineyards and also have to be processed and aged in the winery (bodega) located on the estate. This DO de Pago is located in the municipality of Malagón, in the province of Ciudad Real (Castile-La Mancha, Spain) and acquired its status on 20 August 2009.
- Item #: i_381415Bottle Size: 750mlThis amazing Garnacha (Grenache) with the eye-catching label offers so much for so little. The fruit is bright and fresh, the palate is silky smooth, and there is surprising complexity for a wine at this price-point. Enticing flavors of raspberry liqueur, black cherry, licorice, and exotic spices reveal themselves with each sip. Bodegas Ateca Honoro Vera is made by the Gil Family Estates who also make the famed El Nido Clio amongst other top values from Spain. They source grapes from the estate’s 60 year old Garnacha vines in Calatayud, Spain and the results speak for themselves. The quality-to-price ratio for the Honoro Vera Garnacha is off the charts and represents an incredible value in the world of wine. Delicious!