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_380827Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 95James Suckling: 94WINE ADVOCATE 95 POINTS - "The red flagship 2006 Viña Tondonia Reserva was inspired by the vineyards of the Médoc but produced with local grapes, 70% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacho, 5% Graciano and 5% Mazuelo, which achieved 13% alcohol in 2006. It always matures in used American oak barriques for some six years. The oldest of all the reds I tasted, it was also the one with more freshness, which speaks to the quality of the vineyard."
JAMES SUCKLING 94 POINTS - "This is a remarkably lively wine for a 12-year-old Rioja with notes of licorice and dried cherries and a very elegant tannin structure that runs through the medium to full body of this red like a silk thread. The dry finish is long and polished. Drink or hold."
R. López de Heredia Viña Tondonia is a legendary estate that makes wine in a style essentially unchanged since its inception in 1877. The British wine critic Gerry Dawes once referred to them as "the great virtual working wine museum" in Rioja. The oldest producer in La Rioja Alta, and the third oldest in all of Rioja, this estate has been family-owned and operated since its inception. Tradition and Patience are watchwords at this extraordinary estate, and to taste their wines is to glimpse another time and place-to grasp the meaning of Rioja and its traditions.
Tradition. They grow all of their own grapes, ferment using only natural, ambient yeasts, and do not filter their wines. They're the last bodega in Spain to employ four full-time coopers to make their barrels on site, and there's not a machine to be found on the estate-everything is done by hand. This is 19th-century winemaking, in the purest and best sense of the words.
Patience. This estate will not release a wine before its time, and doesn't think twice about holding onto a wine, sometimes for decades before it's released. In fact, their wines are routinely aged so long before release, that even their humble crianza could legally be labeled gran reserva! Their extraordinary and rare gran reservas-only released in exceptional vintages, perhaps three or four times a decade-are aged for an impossible eight to ten years in American oak and as much as ten to thirteen years in bottle prior to release. Yes, that's right-the most recent releases (if you can find them) are the 1995's!
- Item #: i_350257Bottle Size: 750MLSTEPHEN TANZER 94 POINTS - "Gorgeous , multidimensional aromas of dried red fruits, white flowers, spicecake, leather, underbrush, graphite and lavender sachet. Sil ky and seemingly weightless, with a haunting crystalline purity to the sweet strawberry and redcurrant flavors Sweetly insinuating on the finish, with lingering mineral and strawberry flavors. A remarkable wine that's completely out of step with today's styles : this is the stuff that gets die-hard Rioja traditionalists all weepy."
- Item #: i_380726Bottle Size: 750MLThe Canary Islands There is a Spanish region so far off the beaten path that it's a stretch to think of it as Spain at all – but even if it lies off the coast of west Africa, the Canary Island archipelago is part of the Spanish Republic. A trickle of these unusual wines is entering the market here and worth seeking out, no matter what the season. The Canary Islands' dramatic volcanic formations support flora and fauna that might rival the Galapagos in wonder and stark weirdness. And its viticulture, like the vineyards on the island Lanzarote, is some of the most visually stunning on Earth. Planted in deep black sand, the vines are protected from the wind by stone walls built between vine rows; in some cases, vignerons build a semicircular cairn for each vine, where natural forces create a virtual crater for each wind-bitten vine, a vinous moonscape unlike any other vine region in the world.And the wines? In such a warm climate, the whites, made from the heat-resistant Malvasia and the indigenous Diego, are deeply colored, mineral and exotic. Perhaps it's a stretch to think of these as spring wines, but they're simply too interesting not to mention.The Malvasia Seco from La Bermejos on the island of Lanzarote gives off a lovely citrus oil scent to complement rich fig and pear skin flavors.
- Item #: i_382525Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 92WINE ADVOCATE 92 POINTS - "“Os Pasás” is a place in Paixón, in the village of Arnoia, and it's also where the white 2017 Viña de Martín Os Pasás gets its name. This is a blend of 70% Treixadura, Albariño, Lado and Torrontés from different 10- to 20-year-old plots on granite soils that yield two kilos of grapes per plant. It's kept in stainless steel for one year, including three months in contact with the lees. It has a very clean and defined nose, with subtle aromas, elegant rather than explosive, a little shy with white flowers and river stones. The palate is delineated and clean, with great purity, focused flavors and a long, lingering finish with a dry, stony sensation. "
JOSE PASTOR SELECTIONS - "Luis Rodriguez established his bodega in 1988 with the philosophy to make terruño (aka terroir)-driven wine from indigenous grape varieties, grapes like Treixadura and Caiño that were on the verge of extinction at the time. He makes wine in the same cellar as his grandfather, where he utilizes native yeasts, judicious SO2, and practices élevage in mostly used, larger French oak barrels.
The grapes for Os Pasas Blanco come from steep, terraced hillsides and is comprised of mostly Treixadura, a variety known for producing delicate, peachy, and flinty wines ideal for blending with the higher acid grape varieties like Albariño and Lado, and the floral Torrontés. The grapes are hand-harvested, fermented spontaneously with native yeasts in steel vat, and raised on the lees in vat for 10-12 months. It is a fresh light to medium-bodied vinho branco with beautiful structure and subtle flavors of citrus, honey, and seashell minerality."
- Item #: i_382848Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 92A collaboration between Vega Sicilia and Benjamin de Rothschild!
WINE ADVOCATE 92+ POINTS - "The 2014 Macán Clásico, pure Tempranillo from their 92 hectares of vineyards in Ábalos, Labastida, El Villar and San Vicente de la Sonsierra, fermented after a cold soak, followed by malolactic partly in barriques and an élevage of 12 to 14 months in new and second use French oak barrels. It's still quite young...good consistency, juicy, integrated and balanced. The Macán wines seem to be coming of age."
Vega Sicilia and Benjamin de Rothschild began the Macán project 10 years ago with the steady acquisition of parcels in Rioja, purchased from small farmers. They focused on the best terroirs, with stony calcareous clay soils, complex mesoclimatic influences, and deep-rooted Tempranillo vines ranging in age from 25 to 80 years old. Each year, the winery aims to produce two wines, Macán and Macán Clasico, in a tradition they took from Bordeaux, where it is standard to produce a "first" and a "second" wine; the first is made with lots that show more potential, and the second is more expressive and easy to drink when young. This is perhaps the most notable influence of the Rothschild family on the project, because otherwise all viticulture and winemaking is in the hands of the Vega Sicilia team. The style of the wines is certainly not ‘traditional' Rioja- for example, after trials, they decided against American oak. Perhaps the term Neo-Classical is most apt, with complex mineral-infused fruit and discreet oak influences, underpinned by a fine but firm structure.
- Item #: i_380594Bottle Size: 750MLJames Suckling: 91JAMES SUCKLING 91 POINTS - "A very rich and ripe Rioja with treacle tart, coffee, and some oxidative dark-berry character. Full body, velvety tannins building to an old-school, chewy finish. Slightly extracted style here. Another three or four years may soften it. Drink in 2020."
- Item #: i_380595Bottle Size: 750MLJames Suckling: 92JAMES SUCKLING 92 POINTS - "A wealth of ripe dark plums and cherries on offer here with earthy nuances, too. The palate has a very succulent, juicy and fresh feel with plenty of very juicy, rich and succulent fruit to close."
- Item #: i_380426Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 96Wine Spectator: 94WINE ADVOCATE 96 POINTS - "Marqués de Murrieta didn't produce their top red in 2008, so I tasted the 2009 Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Especial. In 2009, the final blend was Tempranillo with 19% Mazuelo (or Cariñena), one of the highest percentages of Mazuelo ever. The grapes are now sourced from the La Plana vineyard within the Ygay estate, one of the higher-altitude plots at 485 meters. The grapes fermented and aged separately, the Tempranillo in American oak barrels and the Mazuelo in French barriques for 26 months, given its power. It has that seriousness, character and somehow rusticity of the Mazuelo, austere, harmonious and still young. It has good depth and concentration, still young and lively with fine tannins and a backbone of freshness that lifts it up. It will develop for a very long time in bottle. This is a great classical Rioja for the long haul. 109,000 bottles and some larger formats were produced. It was bottled in October 2014. The prices are increasing but so is the quality. The following vintages will be 2010, 2011 and possibly 2012. I cannot wait to taste them.."
WINE SPECTATOR 94 POINTS - "Black cherry, plum, clove, cocoa and mineral flavors are rich and harmonious in this polished red. Well-integrated tannins and balsamic acidity keep this balanced. Shows focus and depth, but remains very fresh. Tempranillo and Mazuelo. Drink now through 2024."
- Item #: i_378000Bottle Size: 750mlwinemaker's notes: Cherry-red color with good robe. Spicy, balsamic aromas of great complexity, with notes of ripe dark berries and light toasted nuances. On the palate it is full and tasty, with good structure and rounded, elegant tannins. The finish is long and fresh, with a slight reminder of the fine oak. This wine goes well with ham, mild cheeses, casseroles which are not highly spiced, bean and pulse dishes, poultry, red meat, grills and roasts.
- Item #: i_380462Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 95WINE ADVOCATE 95 POINTS - "The wine that used to be the top of the range until the old-vine, single-vineyard Cariñena was released is the 2013 Doix Costers de Vinyes Velles. It is a phenomenal blend of 55% Cariñena and 45% Garnacha from very old vines planted on schist (llicorella) slopes in the village of Poboleda. Dark, almost opaque with a bright border, the nose is more about black fruit, peat, graphite and some shoe polish, with a generous dose of oak, a little raw (from youth) but with harmony and huge potential to develop. The bunches are hand-harvested and the grapes selected one by one in a double sorting table and fermented in stainless steel. The wine matured in new French oak barriques for 16 months, in a straightforward process, because what's important here is the quality of the grapes, mostly from centenary vines. There is great harmony in the palate, too, intense and penetrating without being aggressive, elegant and balanced in an XXL way. I see great freshness in these 2013s, one of the best vintages I've tried from Mas Doix. This should age forever. 5,500 bottles were filled in April 2015."
Mas Doix has a story quite common in Priorat in which professional people living in the big cities return to reclaim the family heritage (and are having more fun than they ever did before). Mas Doix’s flagship cuvee is named DOIX Costers Vinyes Velles with an annual production of only 4-7,000 bottles. It is typically a blend of old-vine Garnacha and Carinena (80-108 years of age) with the proportions varying slightly from year to year. The wine is aged in 100% new French oak for 14-18 months.
- Item #: i_380463Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 92Jeb Dunnuck: 93 PointsWINE ADVOCATE 92 POINS + - "A similar blend of 65% Garnacha, 25% Cariñena and 10% Syrah resulted in a 2015 Salanques with higher ripeness and notably lower acidity, reflecting a much warmer and drier year. It's ripe and with lots of earthiness, mineral and characterful, with ripe fruit without excess, elegant tannins and a polished, sleek texture within the rusticity of the zone. 18,000 bottles were filled in March 2017."
JEB DUNNUCK 93 POINTS - "The 2015 Salanques comes from a steep, three-hectare vineyard located near the village of Poboleda. This deep ruby/purple colored beauty offers a stunning bouquet of blueberries, raspberries, violets, and hints of resinous herbs and flowers. Medium to full-bodied, with a light, graceful, elegant texture that just glides across the palate, It’s not huge, but has plenty of intensity and length."
- Item #: i_379419Bottle Size: 750mlORGANICALLY GROWN GRAPES
WINE ADVOCATE 92 POINTS - "The 2015 La Garnacha de la Madre is pure Garnacha Tintorera (or Alicante Bouschet) fermented with indigenous yeast in stainless steel and aged in concrete vats for one year before it was bottled. This is only the second vintage of this very personal wine, which has a completely different nose from the rest of the wines from the winery, but it's also different from the majority of other Garnacha Tintorera wines. It has aromas of cured meat, flowers, a touch of tree bark that made me think of a Monastrell and a touch of flint stone. The absence of oak makes the wine very pure. Even the color is different, not as dark as others, with a palate marked by the limestone, fine-grained and polished tannins. This is truly surprising, wild elegance. "
With the first release of their Garnacha de la Madre the team at Mas Que Vinos came out with guns blazing. They’ve long produced some of the very best value wines to be found anywhere in the world, but here they showcase one of their very special vineyard parcels. Garnacha Tintorrera, also known as Alicante Bouchet, is planted throughout the Iberian Peninsula (though it is rare), but it shines particularly bright in the climate just south of Madrid. The Garnacha Tintorrera planted here seems to be particularly unique, differing quite a bit from other plantings around the country. Here the warm days and very cool nights, with daily temperature swings up to 60 degrees Fahrenheit, allow the grapes to fully and slowly ripen all while maintaining tons of refreshing acidity.
The La Madre Vineyard sits in a small valley, protected from the winds but, because it’s lower than the surrounding area, it’s much cooler and prone to frost. This “Mother” vineyard is the source of all of the new plantings that they’ve put in over the course of the past few decades. And, with a nod to local tradition, the wine is aged in concrete and 90-year-old clay amphora, as opposed to oak barrels. This helps maintain the bright, floral/spice notes in the wine, which would be lost if the wine were in barrel.
- Item #: i_380889Bottle Size: 750MLBurghound: 90ANTONIO GALLONI; VINOUS 91 POINTS - "Vivid ruby-red. Sexy, oak-tinged red berry and floral pastille scents pick up vanilla and licorice flourishes with aeration. Juicy and focused on the palate, offering sweet black raspberry and cherry flavors that unfold and spread out steadily on the back half. Shows impressive clarity and spicy persistence on the lively finish, which is given shape by smooth, even tannins." Josh Raynolds
- Item #: i_383427Bottle Size: 750mlWine Enthusiast: 91 PointsWINE ENTHUSIAST 91 POINTS - "Familiar Rioja aromas of creamy oak, wood smoke, leather and earthy berry fruits are encouraging and lead to a solid palate with forgiving intensity. Blackberry, cassis and vanilla aromas are lasting on a finish that's reaching maturity."
- Item #: i_382767Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 97Vinous Media: 95James Suckling: 99WINE ADVOCATE 97 POINTS - "I was really looking forward to the 2010 Prado Enea Gran Reserva, as I've seen a very good improvement in this cuvée in the last few vintages, and 2010 is one of the more-balanced vintages of recent times. This is the most classical among the wines in the portfolio, the one with the longer élevage, a little bit like the wines from yesteryear but with today's knowledge about vineyards and vinification/élevage. This has settled to a blend of approximately 70% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha and the remaining 10% between Mazuelo and Graciano, from the cooler, higher-altitude vineyards, which means they only bottle it every two or three years. In recent years, 2007 and 2008 were not bottled. It ferments in small oak vats built by their own tonneliers, and they like to delay malolactic until the spring by opening the windows so the cold from outside comes into the winery. For the aging, each variety goes into separate barrels racked from newer to older barrels to complete some 36 months or three years. It has very healthy and balanced parameters, and that's what the wine feels like. It's still young. It's never a dark wine, more of a ruby or bright color, and it has a nose of youth, subtle and elegant. But the quality shows in the unbelievable elegance and harmony on the palate, where the tannins are very fine, the flavors are subtle but deep and the length is just phenomenal. This is only medium-bodied, with perfect ripeness and integrated acidity. This should have a very long life in bottle, especially as I had the chance to check the evolution of the 2004 next to this. 90,000 bottles were produced from 2010. The following vintages will be 2011, 2014 (a small bottling) and 2015."
JAMES SUCKLING #2 ON TOP 100 SPANISH WINES OF 2017
JAMES SUCKLING 99 POINTS - "The wonderfully silky texture with an added juiciness is what makes this wine so very special. The flawless and seamless nature to the wine is so impressive that it takes you breath away. Plenty of beautiful fruit but what mouthfeel. Drink now and forever."
- Item #: i_383416Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 93James Suckling: 94Jeb Dunnuck: 93 PointsTIM ATKIN 96 POINTS - "This has fulfilled its early promise. It's very much a modern style, with masses of colour, rich, textured tannins, good grip and structure, savoury, dark plum and blackberry fruit and refreshing, underlying acidity. 2022-30."
JAMES SUCKLING 94 POINTS - "Fruit-focused red, with strong aromas of ripe blackberries, red plums and gently complex earthy and spicy notes. There’s energetic, ripe dark and red fruit on the palate. Silky and crisp with fine tannins, giving a velvety and chalky texture. Upbeat and succulent finish. Drink or hold."
JEB DUNNUCK AND WINE ADVOCATE 93 POINTS
- Item #: i_379330Bottle Size: 750mlJames Suckling: 94PRACTICING ORGANIC FARMING
Tempranillo and Garnacha, with Mazuelo and Graciano.
JAMES SUCKLING 94 POINTS - "Complex nose with ripe black cherries, deeply integrated cedary oak, baking spices, dried flowers, leather, fresh tobacco and earthy notes. This is silky and mellow with long, laid-back tannins that deliver ripe dark plum flavors into a spicy and earthy finish."
Winemaker's Notes - "On the nose, it displays ripe, dark fruit, grape syrup, bitter chocolate and as it opens up, hints of spices such as pepper, vanilla and a little mountain scrub begin coming through. On the palate, it is balanced with a soft touch of acidity to give it good potential for cellaring. The attack is broad and long, with an evolution in the mouth which spreads silky and mineral sensations before concluding with sweet tannins which stilll have a lot of grip and will benefit from some time out for their full integration."
- Item #: i_380276Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 95James Suckling: 98JAMES SUCKLING 98 POINTS - "This is an extremely powerful, confident wine. So young and so complex. Immaculate black cherries, plums and blackberries and deeply integrated, spicy oak that's super fresh. The power and build is staggering. It's so rich and so balanced with seamless plum-flavored tannins. Perfect!"
WINE ADVOCATE 95 POINTS - "In the end, they also showed me the 2015 Torre Muga, even though the wine had only been in bottle for three months. There were no substantial changes in the way this was made—in provenance of the grape, the fermentation or élevage—even though they fine-tune the use of the oak in every vintage. I don't think I've ever tasted such a young and fruit-driven Torre Muga, and even though it felt a little dizzy from the recent bottling, it had great purity and such a structure and build that it is going to need some time in bottle. But this looks like a better vintage than the 2014."
- Item #: i_381441Bottle Size: 750mlWithin the valley we use the slopes of the Obarenes mountains for growing the garnacha grapes we use in our red wines. These plots have good conditions for ripening thanks to their exposure to the sun, but in the case of the rosé wines we are more interested in the grapes planted on the opposite slope, more sheltered from the sun and much cooler so as to preserve better the notes of fresh, sharp fruit. A very light, bright colour – mainly pale orange-tinged salmon pink. In this harvest very fresh, tart fruit aromas return, dominating the whole sensorial profile of the wine. On the nose you mainly find the citrus and green apple aromas which are present throughout the wine’s passage through the mouth; in the aftertaste, the olfactory nuances are transformed into something finer and more complex, where you can discover, along with those noted previously, hints of apricot and faint reminders of pastries. On the palate it is really attractive since, although the sharp fruit still dominates, the overall taste is sweetened by elegant, well-integrated fine lees. This is a wine with a long finish, combining sweetness, freshness and acidity.
- Item #: i_381884Bottle Size: 750mlORGANICALLY GROWN GRAPES
From the Finca Las Suertes vineyard, first planted in 1885 is dry-farmed, with ungrafted vines due to the sandy soils. Fermented in large, seasoned French oak barrels, then aged 12 months on the fine lees in large barrels, with battonage for a creamy mouthfeel.
DECANTER - 92 POINTS
"Aromas of ripe orange and pear take on dusty mineral, vanilla and floral accents in the glass. Silky and broad on the palate, offering densely packed yet energetic citrus and orchard fruit flavors that firm up slowly on the back half. Emphatically fruity and seamless in texture, delivering excellent clarity, strong finishing thrust and lingering floral and mineral flourishes."
- Item #: i_378458Bottle Size: 750mlWine Spectator: 90WINE SPECTATOR 90 POINTS - "This red is dense and polished. Muted flavors of plum, fig pudding, loamy earth and toast mingle over solid tannins and balsamic acidity. Reserved but balanced and harmonious. Drink now through 2028."
- Item #: i_382163Bottle Size: 750mlWINE SPECTATOR 91 POINTS - "This red is fresh and lively, with a core of black cherry and plum accented by licorice, tobacco and mineral notes. The tannins are light but firm, the balsamic acidity bright, focusing the polished texture through the smoky finish."
- Item #: i_382106Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 90Wine Spectator: 91WINE SPECTATOR 91 POINTS - "This red is fresh and lively, with a core of black cherry and plum accented by licorice, tobacco and mineral notes. The tannins are light but firm, the balsamic acidity bright, focusing the polished texture through the smoky finish. Drink now through 2022. "
- Item #: i_385002Bottle Size: 750mlORGANICALLY GROWN GRAPES
Very fragrant, with the French oak contributing vanilla and sweet spice, and the primary aromas reminiscent of macerated plum, boysenberry and flowers, along with a creamy-savory note from fermentation.