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_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_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_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_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_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_382464Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 91WINE ADVOCATE 91 POINTS - "The new impressive red blend 2016 Cabriola mixes Garnacha with Syrah and a touch of Cariñena (Mazuelo), and despite its 15.5% alcohol, it feels harmonious and balanced in an XL way. It comes in a heavy Burgundy bottle, closed with a quality cork, and it all feels like a more expensive wine. It has a modern profile, but the oak is neatly integrated and folded into the fruit that is ripe and juicy. The tannins are fine and the flavors focused. The price feels too good to be true (if it retails in Spain for €11). They produced 96,000 bottles that were filled after 12 months in oak barrels.
- Item #: i_383406Bottle Size: 750mlJames Suckling: 94We have a new Spanish red that is so distinctive in relating its origins and winemaking style that we felt compelled to bring to your attention. It doesn't hurt that James Suckling rated it 94 points and it's only $16.98!
Coming from the Terra Alta region of Catalonia, the "Via Edetana" from Bodegas Edetaria is, above all, a wine about mouthfeel. Its aromas show resinous wood and subtle ripe berry, while in the mouth there is a cool and mellow quality with a mouth-filling mix of chalky and crushed velvet tannin, along with other skin extract, which seem to meld onto the palate. The flavors are dominated by restrained boysenberry and old mahogany wood, with a subtle licorice-like sensation. The tapered finish shows a glint of brightness before ending with the flavor of perfectly ripe fruit skins and a warming sensation. Overall, there is a firmness and restraint in this wine's character that sets it apart from some of its "internationally-styled" Catalonian neighbors. It's also an appetizing wine that can be chewed over, perhaps along with a New York strip or slow-cooked Lamb shank!
The winemaking is traditional with some modern improvements: the grapes are grown organically, then kept cold before being fermented with native yeast, and ageing takes place in medium-sized French oak barrels that are more appropriate for Garnacha.
The varieties that compose the wine are familiar throughout the Catalonian wine regions like Priorat and Montsant: Garnacha, Syrah, and Carignan. But there are actually two types of Garnacha at play here: the more common Garnacha "Fina" along with a type that evolved a fuzzy leaf-bottom, called Garnacha "Peluda." It's the latter that winemaker Joan Angel Liberia particularly likes to include in the family wines, as it brings a richer extract, brighter acidity, and lower alcohol to the mix.
Another key to this distinct wine is, of course, where it comes from in Spain: the southern Catalonian wine region of Terra Alta ("highland"), which encompasses foothills and valleys on the inland side of the small but dramatic mountain range that separates them from the Mediterranean Sea (the famous Priorat wine region is further up that range). This makes for a mostly Mediterranean climate with some extreme inland influence, which is particularly great for growing ripe but balanced Garnacha and Carinena grapes!
Try a bottle today and taste this dramatic landscape in liquid form!
JAMES SUCKLING 94 POINTS - "I love the licorice accents here, which work so well with the overtones of blueberries, citrus, boysenberries and brambles. Firm and tight on the taut palate, which is medium-bodied and so lithe and restrained. Clear-cut and precise. Drink now."
- Item #: i_383947Bottle Size: 750mlAugust 2020 Wine of the Month
If ever there was a wine meant to enjoy during hot summer days, balmy nights, socially-distanced barbecues and pandemic times-- this is it!! Flor de Goda is out of the Gil Family Estates portfolio and you should be fairly familiar with this group by now-- we have sung their praises many, many times (most recently with an email in late July for the Juan Gil "Blue Label"). Why? Because they make a panoply of excellent wines at varying prices from numerous terroirs and regions in Spain, wines we believe are stellar, enjoy drinking and that have found resonance with our friends and customers here in the store. Strong their track record is (as Yoda would say).
So, what about this Flor de Goda? 100% Garnacha (Grenache) from Campo de Borja, it drinks way above its price point with a multi-layered, nuanced approach. The nose exudes scents of plum, raspberry, river rock minerality, rose garden and mixed baking spices. Lovely! In the mouth, ripe, jammy fruit is kept grounded with brisk acidity and silky tannins. Beautiful flavors of cherries and berries are joined by notes of peppery spice, dark cacao and a finish filled with hints of blueberry and blackberry fruits. This is a lovely quaffer, filled with fruit but balanced by excellent structure. Big enough for the grill, balanced enough to enjoy under the summer sun.
Bodegas Morca is the winery, it has been built to be modeled after Bodegas El Nido. So every parcel, which ranges in age from 45-85 years old, and free run vs first press is fermented and aged separately so that the blends will be perfect; they make four 100% Garnacha wines ranging from El Nido/Clio level in the Touran and Morca wines, to Flor de Goda. In the case of Flor de Goda, the winemaker wanted to highlight the elegant floral and fruit notes that Campo de Borja Garnachas are known for, so they used 80% free run juice and aged the wine just 6 months in 2nd and 3rd use barrels.
In addition, this winery has been built in accordance to LEED specifications. They are still in the process of getting full certification, but at this point in time it is fully off the electrical grid (solar) and zero-waste. The Gil Family has been investing every year to get more of their wineries off the grid (total of 3 now are) to further lessen their footprint. Also, their vineyards are farmed organically-- no pesticides or herbicides are used-- however, the vineyards have not yet been certified organic. It's a long process, but that will be the direction. Also, as the vines are old and all planted in the traditional vaso (goblet) style, they are hand-harvested. All of their wines are Vegan as well.
Guía Peñín 90 Points
[La Guia Peñín is Spain's most famous and comprehensive wine guide. It is compiled by José Peñín, whose impressive knowledge of international and Spanish wines has been gathered over more than 25 years as a professional wine writer and journalist.]
- Item #: i_377633Bottle Size: 750mlWine Spectator: 91We have featured wines from Volver before and assuredly will do so again. The quality in the bottle is obvious and the value found, upon tasting, is unmistakeable. Great wine for a great price.
The nose is filled with mixed florals, spice, cacao and dark berry fruits. Upon tasting, the fruits reposition to red (plum, raspberry, loganberry) with continued spice, a touch of cherry vanilla and black tea, all bolstered by excellent balance: easy-going tannins and moderate acidity.
The project of Bodegas Volver was founded in 2004 by Rafael Cañizares. The pillars of the bodega are based on the repositioning of quality Spanish wines and recovering old indigenous vineyards which, either through low production or lack of generational succession, had been lost.
Their most prized asset is their “...heritage of vines between 30 and 90 years old, indigenous varieties cultivated in a sustainable way with minimal intervention.”
WINE SPECTATOR 91 POINTS - "Round and polished, this red delivers expressive ripe raspberry, blackberry, mocha and spice flavors, with firm acidity and fresh acidity that imparts liveliness. Bold, in the modern style. Drink now through 2024. 5,000 cases made, 1,000 cases imported."
- Item #: i_383584Bottle Size: 750mlJames Suckling: 93JAMES SUCKLING 93 POINTS - "The blue fruit and graphite, as well as stone aromas are impressive. Full body. Firm and silky. Flavorful finish. Shows tension and focus."
- Item #: i_383458Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 93+For those who love "terroir wines," Raul Perez is one of those people to follow no matter what they make. He has a seemingly innate winemaking talent and an intimate working knowledge of his vineyards near his hometown of Valtuille de Abajo in the Bierzo region of Northwestern Spain. We're particularly excited to sell some of his latest releases from the 2018 vintage, which Raul thinks was the best in at least a decade, if not in his 25 years of making wine there! This is reflected in some great reviews from The Wine Advocate, which you can check out below.
The climate and soils of Bierzo are a distinct departure from the Mediterranean coast and the semi-arid high plains and valleys of inland Spain: it's distinctly cooler and wetter from the greater Atlantic influence. Naturally, distinct varieties of grapes thrive here, dominated by Mencia for red wines and Godello for whites. Mencia-driven wines from Bierzo can traverse a style between Oregon Pinot Noir and Rhone Valley Syrah: they have a moderate amount of velvet-textured tannins with spicy, mineral sensations, and floral aromas along with both dark and red fruits, like brambly blackberry and fresh cherry. Godello shares some things in common with dry Chenin Blanc from the Loire Valley and the best sites of South Africa, with subtle flavors ranging from the citrus family (lemon, grapefruit, & orange), quince, and stone fruits (peach & nectarine) along with a broad mouthfeel and crystalline or crushed rock 'minerality' on the palate that can carry a mouthwatering saline sensation like in good Chablis.
Mr. Perez's winemaking philosophy is at the same time traditional and innovative, involving harvesting from old, mixed-variety vineyards in which he practices organic farming, and with native yeast fermentations that proceed leisurely. Depending on the wine, aging takes place in a mix of concrete, amphorae, and mostly older barrels that provide slow oxygenation without covering those carefully developed flavors. Raul also minimizes the use of sulfites, a risky choice in winemaking, but for him it's a requirement. None of the wines are filtered or fined.
WINE ADVOCATE 93+ POINTS - "The truly impressive 2018 Ultreia Saint Jacques transcends its price category. They destemmed more grapes because they fermented it in the oak vats they bought from Vega Sicilia to use in the new winery, where it macerated for two months and then matured in used barrels for nine to 10 months. The secret is to use very good grapes from very good vineyards. The wine is clean, precise and fresh, and the oak is super-subtle, almost unnoticeable. The palate reflects a fluid wine of pleasure, a red of thirst. This is the wine where they have invested more, and 2018 has to be the finest vintage to date. They did 150,000 bottles of this in the outstanding 2018 vintage. It was bottled in October/November 2019."
Mostly Mencia, with Bastardo & Garnacha Tintorera
- Item #: i_306230Bottle Size: 750mlWinemaker Notes - "Very intense cherry red color with tones of purple. Great concentration of aromas of ripe red fruit with floral nuances on the nose. In the mouth, it is a well-structured rich wine that evokes tastes of blackberry, plum and tones of leather and vanilla, with soft and silky tannin. Mountain vineyards with an age of 35 to 60 years situated at an altitude of 600-700 meters, on stony, slimy soils with clay and limestone."
- Item #: i_382808Bottle Size: 750mlJeb Dunnuck: 94 PointsWe loved the 2016 release of Solanera and we believe the 2017 is even better! This is a red blend from Southeastern Spain comprised of 65% Monastrell, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Garnacha Tintorera.
Complex, luxurious, harmonious. This is both serious and seriously good wine. It is structured enough to hold up to ribs on the barbecue with enough ripe fruit components and a price point to enjoy every day. There's so much going on regarding olfactory, taste and structure while just being a delight to sip. All this for under $13?? Sign us up!
DOP Yecla is a Spanish Denominación de Origen Protegida (DOP) for wines located around the town of Yecla in the northernmost corner of the region of Murcia (Spain) and is completely surrounded by other DOPs: Jumilla to the south and west, Almansa to the north and Alicante to the east. The area is notable for its extensive use of the red Monastrell grape variety, and it is traditionally known as the home of Monastrell in Spain. Monastrell is the fourth most planted red grape variety in Spain.
The nose starts with gorgeous violet scents and a midnight garden floral perfume that leads to layers of mixed black fruits, sarsaparilla, dark red fruits and incense. In the mouth, ripe red fruits (cherry, raspberry) lead to spice box flavors, strawberry tea and a touch of herbal. Moderate silky tannins keep this wine balanced and alight. Vibrant fruit and dark spices pave the way to a long, glorious finish.
JEB DUNNUCK 94 POINTS - "Beautiful, with lots of cassis, blackberry, graphite, camphor, and acacia flower notes on the nose, the 2017 Vinas Viejas hits the palate with medium to full-bodied richness, a layered, elegant texture, ripe tannins, and a gorgeous finish. A blend of 65% Monastrell, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, and the rest Garnacha, brought up in 75% new French oak, it's the real deal and will keep for 7-8 years, probably longer."
- Item #: i_381825Bottle Size: 750mlJeb Dunnuck: 95 PointsWow! One of our favorite Spanish wines, one that overloads the price-to-quality ratio with its bang-for-the-buck nature, is back! We just secured an allocation of the 2016 Black Slate Porrera, an amazing red wine and perhaps the most coveted of the reasonably-priced bottlings from Priorat. Black Slate Porrera offers a rich, hedonistic expression of mouth-coating deliciousness with exceptionally smooth and polished tannins. The lush dark fruit envelops the palate while somehow maintaining incredible balance.
"Tasting like it cost three times the price" - Jeb Dunnuck
The nose is loaded with ripe, dark red fruits enriched by a layer of floral perfume, balsa wood, incense and a touch of mineral earth. A very inviting, attractive nose. In the mouth, bright red and ripe dark fruits and mixed berries dominate, perfectly lush; the sweetness of fruit flavors are balanced by silky tannins and a touch of acidity, keeping the wine uplifted. Notes of mixed herbals, stony soil and forest floor add complexity; the fruit, however, is the star of the show as ripe sweet strawberry, red plum and blackberry flavors lead to an elongated, glorious finish.
The Black Slate wines are brought in by Eric Solomon who imports well-regarded wines from Spain as well as France. For his pioneering efforts, Eric has been recognized by Robert Parker as his Wine Personality of the Year. Parker also wrote, "I first tasted with Eric in 1991/1992, and I have watched him grow as an importer to the point where he may be the finest in the United States."
JEB DUNNUCK 95 POINTS - "Plums, blueberries, licorice, violets, candied rose, and a beautiful spice character all emerge from the 2017 Black Slate Porrera, and it’s incredibly complex and nuanced aromatically. This carries to a medium to full-bodied, powerful red with incredible finesse, elegant, silky tannins, and a gorgeous finish. It's another heavenly wine selling for way below what it’s worth."
- Item #: i_381381Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 90Wine Spectator: 90Wine Enthusiast: 90 PointsWINE SPECTATOR 90 POINTS - "Black cherry, red plum, licorice and smoke flavors mingle in this round red. Shows good density, while orange peel acidity and light tannins keep this focused. Drink now through 2028. 375,000 cases made, 10,000 cases imported."
WINE ENTHUSIAST 90 POINTS - "Berry, spice and tobacco aromas work in unison to give this Crianza a nice start. A firm palate avoids jamminess and shows grip. Dark plum, raspberry, spice and pepper flavors hold on through the finish. For everyday Rioja, there isn't much better than this."
WINE ADVOCATE 90 POINTS - "The red 2016 Cune Crianza is an affordable and classical blend of Tempranillo with some 15% Garnacha and Mazuelo that is easy to drink and understand, with a soft palate and an approachable profile. It has a bright nose with red fruit rather than black, quite aromatic and expressive. The palate is soft and approachable, very easy to drink, with a touch of freshness. They produced a whopping 4.5 million bottles of this! The bottle I tasted was bottled in April 2019 after 12 months in barrique. There are eight different lots of this wine that are bottled throughout the year, for which they try to make the most homogeneous blend possible, but some variation is inevitable. But the overall quality of this year is certainly higher than the previous one."
In Rioja, wines are labeled according to the amount of time spent aging in oak. A wine designated as Crianza must be aged in oak for a minimum of a year while the Reserva and Gran Reservas require more extensive aging. As you probably know from previous emails, Cune is one of our favorite producers from Rioja and consistently over-delivers. The name Cune is actually an acronym for Compania Vinicola del Norte del Espana (the Northern Spanish Wine Company). It was founded in 1879 in the famed Rioja Alta region and the winery is still run by descendants of the founding family. Since its inception, Cune has been focused on the production and aging of wines based on Spain's great noble grape.
- Item #: i_380671Bottle Size: 750MLMade from Viura grapes, this wine exhibits citrus and floral aromas. Great mouth-feel enhanced by citrus and mango flavors with a long, fresh finish. The balanced acidity coupled with its other characteristics makes this an ideal sipper as well as a perfect accompaniment to a wide variety of dishes.
All grapes come from the 'Rioja Alta' subzone, where higher altitudes and Atlantic influences make for a moderate climate which is ideal for producing wines of elegance and finesse. Soils are composed of iron-rich clay and limestone. This wine is aged in tank and bottled in January to preserve freshness and fruit.
La Rioja is blessed with the perfect conditions for excellent vineyards. Its soil and climate are favorable for growing vitis vinifera, and its wine culture runs deep and wide. There are good reasons why this land enjoys international recognition for its outstanding wines. Cune, with its three wineries and the many international prizes earned by its wines, has also contributed to making Rioja the global benchmark it is today.
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.
- Item #: i_380010Bottle Size: 750mlWINEMAKER NOTES - "The 2009 Dehesa La Granja is uniquely silky, powerful, balanced and elegant. It contains lush notes of ripe blackberries, vanilla, cigar box and licorice on the nose and palate."
100% Tempranillo aged 2 years in American oak followed by years of bottle age.