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_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_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_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_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_377420Bottle Size: 750ml100% Listan Negro from Lanzarote in the Canary Islands, grown at the bottom of painstakingly-tended hoyos (the local name for the craters dug into the crunchy, black volcanic ash topsoil that coated the island of Lanzarote following a series of volcanic eruptions that started in 1730). One vine is planted at the bottom of each hoyo, which protects the plant from Lanzarote's relentless trade winds. Stone walls of volcanic rock rim the hoyos, an effort to prevent the soils from blowing onto the vines. In turn, the walls are constantly blown down and rebuilt. This is high-maintenance viticulture! Bermejos' visionary winemaker, Ignacio Valdera, makes it look easy. His wines are fascinating and crystal-clear expressions of this unique and mystical vinescape. The rosado is pale, dry, and refreshing, with hints of tangerine, orange blossom, dried oregano, and ash on the nose, followed by flavors of salty citrus and strawberries, blood orange, brine, and cherry pits, with ash, orange oil and rind on the finish. Complex yet crowd-pleasing.
- Item #: i_382231Bottle Size: 750mlWine Spectator: 94Wine marketing departments like to throw the word "bold" around a bit loosely these days. For the 2017 Valderiz from the Ribera del Duero region of Spain, it's a fitting descriptor. It's both intense in flavor and mouthfeel, with an extra-full body, and can stand up to the bolder flavors of the grill. After giving it time to open up, the wine has concentrated dark-fruited flavors including blackcurrant, plum cordial, plenty of creamy vanilla, and subtle woodsy spice, but stops short of being too sweetly fruited. There is also plenty of mouth-filling, grippy tannin from the glass-staining skin extract and oak, and though it softens up a bit with air, this feature is a plus with protein-rich dishes. What really separates this from the average big and bold wine out there is the level of depth, and that the components all work together harmoniously.
Coming from the Ribera del Duero region of Spain, the star of this wine is the local version of Tempranillo called Tinta del Pais, with thicker skins compared to the types found in Rioja. The differences feel appropriate in its home on the plateaus above the Duero river valley in central Spain, where the moderating Mediterranean influence has given way to a more dramatic continental climate.
The dry sunny summers make it easier for Bodega Valderiz to farm organically (they don't use any systematic synthetic pesticides, fungicides, or fertilizers). The wines are fermented with the native yeast and they don't add enzymes to help the process along, contrary to conventional commercial winemaking. Neither filtered nor fined, the taming of this wine comes the old-fashioned way: through 2 years of aging in French and American oak barrels.
Although Bodega Valderiz was founded in 1997, winemaking is a family tradition involving at least 7 generations. Tomas Esteban was the one who decided to make a bigger business of it, and in 1980 started to seriously expand his vineyard area using clippings from the family vineyards. When his sons were ready, they became the winemakers and Bodega Valderiz was officially born.
100% Tinto del Pais (Tempranillo)
WINE SPECTATOR 94 POINTS - "This full-bodied red is generous yet structured, featuring depth and balance. Ripe flavors of plum and currant mingle with cocoa, clove and mineral notes, supported by mouthcoating tannins and balsamic acidity. Harmonious and long. "
No artificial fertilizers or systematic chemical treatments in the vineyard. Fermented with indigenous yeast, with no additives such as acids, tannin, glucose, enzymes and so on. Aged in 80% French, 20% American oak (60% new, 40% once used).
- Item #: i_382501Bottle Size: 750mlVINOUS MEDIA 91 POINTS - "Aromas of dried cherry and red berries are complemented by suggestions of succulent herbs and coconut. Chewy and focused on the palate, offering bitter cherry and red currant flavors that pick up smoke and spice flourishes on the back half. Dusty tannins build slowly on the finish and frame lingering cherry and licorice notes.”
- Item #: i_380629Bottle Size: 750MLCune 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. Cune is one of the most renowned and historic bodegas in all of Spain. Founded in 1879 by the Real de Asúa brothers, the company has been an integral part of Rioja’s ascendance in the world of fine wine. The company is still run by descendants of the Real de Asúa brothers and remains a constant in the cultural iconography of Spain. Their combination of traditional roots and innovative vision, has made them one of Rioja’s most reliable sources for high quality wine.
- Item #: i_376575Bottle Size: 750mlPRACTICING ORGANIC FARMING
This winery, founded in 1973, is currently run by Gerardo Mendez. Gerardo owns 5 hectares. Three hectares are over 50 years old and one is 200 years old. The vineyards follow organic guidelines avoiding the use of pesticides and non-organic fertilizers. Utilizing the latest technology, Gerardo blends the traditional with the modern to produce lively, crisp wines true to their origin. There are two wines produced at the property. The first Albariño Do Ferreiro and the second, produced in very in very limited quantities is Ferreiro Cepas Vellas. The Cepas Vellas is from the vineyard that is 200 years old. These vines are planted on a hillside vineyard of mainly sandy composition that predates any other vineyards in Rias Baixas. The Albariño Do Ferreiro is also from a hillside vineyard greatly influenced by the Atlantic Ocean climate.
- Item #: i_380784Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 94Winemaker Peter Sisseck has already been pushing the limits of top-end Ribera del Duero but has also, for some time, dreamt of capturing the soul of Ribera through a new project named after the twenty-third letter of the Greek alphabet. In 2006, he began working with a select group of growers willing to convert their old vines vineyards into organically- and ultimately biodynamically farmed sites with the goal of unleashing the potential of Ribera by creating the purest expression possible.
WINE ADVOCATE 94 POINTS - "I had already tasted the unbottled 2018 PSI, which saw a jump in quality after they got a new winery where they had much better working conditions. This wine is produced with purchased grapes from 200 hectares in around 750 plots and 20 different villages throughout Ribera del Duero (they now rent and work 50 hectares of these vineyards themselves). In 2018, they were able to use some 12% Garnacha and 2% other grapes, including whites that are found intermixed with the Tinta del País/Tempranillo in the old vineyards. Garnacha adds freshness, and the wine shows it—the character of the grape comes through in the blend. It fermented with indigenous yeasts and matured mostly in 5,000-liter and 10,000-liter oak vats, but 20% of the volume aged in used French barriques for 18 months. The color is quite light (relatively speaking), bright and lively, the nose perfumed, floral and elegant, like no PSI before. The palate is medium-bodied, with fine tannins, and it feels terribly balanced and beautifully textured. It's elegant more than powerful but full of energy. This is without a doubt the finest PSI to date. Viva Garnacha!"
- Item #: i_382679Bottle Size: 750mlDecanter: 97DECANTER 97 POINTS - "This dark, relatively tight-knit Rioja proves that the Gran Reserva category doesn't just indicate the supremely well-aged, relaxed and reposeful style of Rioja, but can also serve to draw drinkers' attention to outstanding wines of density and tenacity which still have a way to run along their potential ageing trajectories. Look out for dark, urgent fruits here sweetened and back-lit by cunningly angled oak, with intense, deep, fresh and searching flavours in which the 10% of Graciano seems to be working overtime. A Rioja of innate drama." - Decanter Magazine
- Item #: i_378483Bottle Size: 750mlEladio Piñeiro founded Bodegas Mar de Frades in 1983 after spending many years as a sought-after winemaker and consultant in Rias Baixas, Spain's heartland of Albariño. However, In January of 2003, Piñiero underwent a sea change in his personal life, resulting in the sale of his winery, keeping only a few of his most treasured vineyard sites.
With the support of his family, Piñiero re-emerged under his own label, with an objective to create the kind of wines that really excited him, "wines with soul" he calls them. With a revitalized focus toward quality and artisinality without compromise, he sought to create wines expressive of the terroir, history, and passion of the Piñiero family.
The Envidia Cochina, or "poisonous worm of envy," is one of the most exciting wines we've ever encountered from Rias Baixas, indeed from any white wine appellation in Spain. Comprised of 100% Albariño from an old, biodynamically farmed vineyard in the Salnés Valley, it receives a brief maceration and fermentation with native yeasts before the "current vintage" fruit is married back with reserve Albariño from the previous vintage. It's then left for twelve months on the fine lees before being matured in stainless steel and bottled. The result is a rich, complex wine with unheralded depth, purity, and a texture unlike almost anything else we've encountered from the appellation. We're really excited to be able to offer this wine, especially for the remarkably modest price. Get it while you can!
- Item #: i_378875Bottle Size: 750MLDecanter: 95DECANTER 95 POINTS - Decanter, writing from its blind tastings for the Decanter World Wine Awards, says, "Raspberry confit, rhubarb pie and pipe tobacco nose. Lovely concentration with present but resolved tannins and a beautiful finish. Lovely now, so don't put it in the cellar."
- Item #: i_380557Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 91WINE ADVOCATE 91 POINTS - "The regular Albariño is one of the most reliable among the more available wines, and it tends to show well early on and also age nicely for a few years in bottle. The 2019 Albariño de Fefiñanes feels unusually expressive and ready, very approachable, with a harmonious nose but with none of that reductive character often found in the early bottled wines. It's floral, varietal, aromatic and clean, with a balanced palate combining volume with great freshness. I tend to like this wine two or three years after the harvest."
Located in the verdent Salnes Valley of Rias Baixas, proprietor Juan Gil de Araujo Gonzales de Careaga looks for a classical style of Albarino. “It must have very good acidity and fruity flavors: apple, citrus fruit and so on. I love the minerality of this area, from the granitic soils. I am looking for persistency in the mouth.”
- Item #: i_381426Bottle Size: 750ml60% Monastrell, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Syrah
We have developed quite the Pavlovian relationship with wines from Juan Gil and Gil Family Estates over the years; before we even get a chance to taste these wines, we tend to salivate in anticipation of the great tasting experience ahead. Why is that? Simply put, their track record here in the store, with our valued clientele and staff, is excellent, as are their wines. From their entry-level bargains on the ramp to their more advanced selections in the cellar, we have found their portfolio to be consistent in both how good the wines are to drink and the quality-to-price ratio: lots of bang for the buck with these bottlings! The 2017 "Blue Label" fits right in with our expectations and we are, once again, overjoyed to share how great this juice is!
A blend of 60% Monastrell (also known as Mourvedre), 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Syrah, the nose is filled with scents of fresh berries, cedar, incense, wet clay and notes of hillside garrique. Upon tasting, the sweet fruits make their presence known, displaying flavors of mixed strawberries, cherries and boysenberries that are grounded with big firm tannins and grippy acidity. A big, beautiful wine with tons of fruit balanced by savory notes and magnificent structure. A final nosing (so sexy!) brings further hints of pie crust, graham cracker and rose garden. We love it! Enjoy with ribs, lamb, burgers, tapas, hard cheese, meat pizza, mushroom dishes, sausages (great red for summer grilling!
- Item #: i_378921Bottle Size: 750mlORGANICALLY FARMED & NO ADDED SULFITES
"El Aqueronte comes from a single namesake vineyard of 100% Mencía. The vineyard is full of life, with a huge diversity of flora that grows between the vines. The grapes are hand-harvested, with 1/3 left whole cluster, 1/3 destemmed and crushed, and 1/3 destemmed and crushed but the stems are included in the primary fermentation. Fermentation is initiated with wild yeasts in chestnut vat for 5-7 days with daily battonage, but no pumping over. The juice is taken off of the skins and stems before primary fermentation is finished and the grapes are pressed. The alcoholic and malolactic fermentations continue in chestnut vat where the wine rests for 10 months, before being bottled without fining, filtration, or added SO2. El Aqueronte is the most aromatic of Diego’s wines, showing a woven complexity of red fruits, florals, spice, and minerals. A supreme expression of Mencía and Bierzo terruño. " - JOSE PASTOR SELECTIONS
- Item #: i_382602Bottle Size: 750mlJames Suckling: 96Tempranillo, Graciano, and Garnacha
JAMES SUCKLING 96 POINTS - "A rich and dense red with deep and rich flavors of spice, smoked meat, mushrooms and berries. Medium to full body. Extremely long and creamy. Wonderful fruit and balance. Drink now."
TELMO RODRIGUEZ NOTES - "Lanzaga is the backbone of our project, the identity, the purest expression of our work in Lanciego. Made only from a selection of the best grapes from our own organic vineyards, Lanzaga brings together all the elements of our way of work; respect of the place, bush pruning, field blend, organic viticulture, concrete fermentation, aging (~14 months) in foudres and barrels of different sizes and origins, keeping always a limited production of human size. The result is a rich and complex expression of the village of Lanciego..."
- Item #: i_380563Bottle Size: 750MLEven Lopez de Heredia's Crianza is well-aged, but maintains a freshness of fruit that points to the quality in this vineyard (and winemaking). As Tim Atkin, MW puts it: "[Vina Cubillo] tends to produce the lightest, freshest and most elegant of the López de Heredia reds. Floral, refined and delicately wooded, this is sweet, delicate and almost Pinot Noir-like in terms of its flavors and tannin structure."
- 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_380594Bottle Size: 750MLJames Suckling: 94JAMES SUCKLING 94 POINTS - "Currant, blackberry and some plum undertones, as well as floral and burnt-orange notes. Linear and firm on the palate with a medium to full body and a polished, tannic finish. Very clean and refined texture, yet displaying strength at the same time. Drink or hold."
- Item #: i_383644Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 92Jeb Dunnuck: 92WINE ADVOCATE 92 POINTS - "Grapes from younger vines are used for the 2016 Les Crestes, which is also released earlier...matured in second use French oak barrels for eight months. 2016 was a dry growing season saved by a cooler September with some rain, which resulted in a relaxed and long harvest of grapes with good ripeness and acidity. It's young, tender and aromatic, a gentle Priorat with a juicy palate and a fresh personality. Really attractive and pleasant."
JEB DUNNUCK 92 POINTS - The 2016 Les Crestes checks in as 80% Garnacha and 10% each of Cariñena and Syrah, brought up in neutral French oak. Outstanding notes of black cherries, blackberries, graphite, lead pencil shavings, violets and beautiful minerality all emerge from the glass and this beauty is ripe, plump, rounded, and incredibly textured on the palate, with sweet tannin. It's a beautifully pure, sexy little fruit bomb to drink over the coming 4-5 years.
WINEMAKER NOTES - "Cherry red in color, this wine offers aromas of red fruit, ripe fruit and mountain herbs with floral notes. On the palate, it is balanced, structured and tasty."
- Item #: i_379330Bottle Size: 750mlJames Suckling: 95PRACTICING ORGANIC FARMING
Tempranillo and Garnacha, with Mazuelo and Graciano.
JAMES SUCKLING 95 POINTS - "This is really tight and powerful with gorgeous tannins and solid fruit. Full body. Tight and composed. Wet earth, smoked meat and hints of black truffles. Very long and powerful. Wonderful length. Real Rioja. One of the top best-value, high-quality reds in Spain. Drink or hold."
- 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."