SPAIN

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.

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  1. CUNE 2016 CRIANZA

    Item #: i_381381
    Bottle Size: 750ml
    Wine Advocate: 90
    Wine Spectator: 90
    Wine Enthusiast: 90 Points
    WINE 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.
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  2. MONTECILLO 2016 CRIANZA

    Item #: i_382603
    Bottle Size: 750ml
    Wine Enthusiast: 90 Points
    WINE ENTHUSIAST 90 POINTS #1 BEST BUYS 2020 - "Fresh berry and red plum aromas are lifted by complementary notes of oak grain and vanilla. This value-priced crianza from a very good year feels flush but primed by punchy acidity. Red plum, berry and a hint of wood spice make for a classic Rioja flavor profile, while this remains tasty and fresh on the finish. Evaton, Inc.
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  3. RAMIREZ DE LA PISCINA 2016 CRIANZA

    Item #: i_383159
    Bottle Size: 750ml
    Aged 15 months in a combination of American and French oak, this 2013 Crianza displays plenty of unsmoked cigar tobacco, red and black currant, licorice and forest floor aromas in the complex aromatics. The flavors do not disappoint either as this medium-bodied, savory, round, mouthfilling, velvety wine is best drunk over the next 5-6 years.
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  4. SIERRA CANTABRIA 2016 CRIANZA

    Item #: i_378415
    Bottle Size: 750ml
    Wine Advocate: 91
    100% Tempranillo

    WINE ADVOCATE 91 POINTS - "The 2016 Crianza is pure Tempranillo from a year they consider spectacular because of the health and ripeness that the grapes achieved very slowly. The destemmed grapes fermented in stainless steel, and the wine matured in French and American oak barrels for 14 months. It is still quite toasty and has a classical profile despite the new-ish oak, a little creamy, with that soft, voluptuous mouthfeel but with the fresh profile of the 2016 vintage, with red rather than black fruit. It's a year of good yields, and the fruit and the wines have very good balance and freshness, less concentrated and more drinkable. It's a year of balance and freshness, with good yields and healthy grapes. It has to be one of the finest vintages for this wine."
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