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_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_377415Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 90James Suckling: 9385% Tempranillo with 15% Garnacha, Graciano, & Mazuelo
JAMES SUCKLING 93 POINTS - "A very fresh and clean wine with plums, dark berries and hints of cedar. Medium to full body, integrated tannins and a bright finish. Excellent now."
WINE ADVOCATE 90 POINTS - "The 2015 Cune Reserva is the classical blend of Tempranillo with 15% Garnacha, Graciano and Mazuelo. It's approachable and easy to drink without being banal, the entry-level wine of the Reserva range if you like. It has a mixture of red and black fruit and good ripeness without excess. In fact, it feels quite fresh for the natural conditions of the year, which was very warm and dry."
- Item #: i_377944Bottle Size: 750mlWINE ADVOCATE - 94 POINTS
Garnacha is an important component in the 2012 Vina Ardanza Reserva, where it represents 20% of the blend (the rest is, of course, Tempranillo). 2011 was a difficult vintage for Garnacha, so Vina Ardanza was not produced that year and they jumped from 2010, which had the mention "Selección Especial," to 2012, where it returns to the regular Reserva. The wine is a prototype of polished and aged Rioja with a ruby color with some orange and a developed nose with subtle aromas of decayed leaves, sweet spices and some cherries in liqueur even, quite complex and harmonious. The palate is velvety but rich, with resolved tannins and a fine chalky mouthfeel, sleek and elegant, terribly balanced. The flavors are pure and defined, and there is an overall sense of harmony that I like very much. Brilliant Ardanza! They produced no less than 600,000 bottles of this wine, which is remarkable. It has been in bottle since March 2016, so it's very approachable but should also age nicely in bottle. Drink or keep.
- 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_380422Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 93-94Vinous Media: 93James Suckling: 94For fans of full-bodied, ripe-fruited reds that offer great value without sacrificing quality, we've got the latest release of a classic best-seller that you'll love: the 2016 Marques de Murrieta Reserva Rioja!
Going all the way back to 1852, the Marques de Murrieta estate of Castillo Ygay has been a benchmark winery for the historic Rioja region of Spain. Lately they've brought things to a new level: the 2010 vintage of their flagship Gran Reserva was named Wine Spectator's #1 Wine of the Year for 2020. But even their humble reserva wine has earned consistent praise with its modern take on Rioja, and is still one of the great values in the world of wine at $21.98!
As is tradition here, they age in American oak, which brings prominent toasty vanilla and baking spice flavors, as well as a polished texture. But aging the wine less than the old school leaves a fresher fruit character up front, along with a firmer bed of tannin for a greater sense of structure. This style, backed by years of experience and recent upgrades in the winery, yields a crowd-pleaser whose quality can easily go up against today's stylish wines that cost more. And at this price, it's an easy choice to impress at your next get-together!
87% Tempranillo, 6% Graciano, 5% Mazuelo, 2% Garnacha
JAMES SUCKLING 94 POINTS - "This is very structured and powerful with a dense and rich palate of ripe fruit and hints of toasted oak. Full and layered. Structured."
WINE ADVOCATE 93-94 POINTS - "I also tasted an unbottled sample of the 2016 Rioja Reserva... it represents the year—2016 was a cooler year, and the wine also goes in that direction... going toward more finesse and subtleness, combined with the natural power. There was a change in the winery in 2016 that was finalized in 2018 with the new winery. The wine is textured and fine, and it's more elegant than the 2015 I tasted next to it. The detail and texture on the palate is different, and the quality of the tannins is completely different... There will be almost 1.1 million bottles of this, which is remarkable, as they have managed to increase quality and quantity."
VINOUS 93 POINTS - "Brilliant violet. Red and black currant, cherry, fresh flowers and baking spices on the highly perfumed nose, along with hints of vanilla and pipe tobacco. Juicy and energetic on the palate, offering bitter cherry, cassis, spicecake and cola flavors that turn sweeter through the midpalate. Successfully blends power and delicacy and finishes very long, smoky and smooth, with fine-grained tannins adding gentle grip."
"The wine is aged for 18 months in 225 litre American oak barrels." - WINERY NOTES
- 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_381055Bottle Size: 750mlROBERT PARKER 93 POINTS - "The 2015 Lindes de Remelluri Viñedos de Labastida was produced with Tempranillo and Garnacha purchased from growers from that village and was cropped from a healthy and homogeneous year. There is a ripe note on the nose, and the palate has some dusty tannins that call for food."
- Item #: i_383629Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 93James Suckling: 95JAMES SUCKLING 95 POINTS - "Lots of ripeness with blackberry, fresh-mushroom, bark and moss undertones. Full-bodied with powerful tannins, yet they have a pretty fruit coating and end with complexity and candidness. Old-vine character."
WINE ADVOCATE 93 POINTS - "It's interesting to compare the 2016 Lindes de Remelluri Viñedos de San Vicente de la Sonsierra with the wine from the same year but from the external suppliers from Labastida, as the two wines are produced in the same way after a natural fermentation in small vats and oak casks and matured in a combination of barriques of different origins and aged for 13 months. The grapes from San Vicente usually achieve more ripeness, which is the case in this 2016. It's a little less precise and focused than the Labastida, especially on the nose. There is a little more rusticity on the palate, with some dusty tannins. Again, I think it represents the character of the village."
- Item #: i_381488Bottle Size: 750mlThe vineyards belonging to Bodega Sierra Cantabria are composed of soils made of calcareous-clay and poor in organic matter, nutrients and minerals. This wine is a Tempranillo based blend with some Graciano, aged in both French and American Oak. A red wine with a strong primary character ,very aromatic, perceptible tannin but ripe with good acidity and structure, character and expressive. Pure character!
- Item #: i_380319Bottle Size: 750mlBlend: 95 % Tempranillo, 5 % Mazuelo & Graciano
The 2000 Bodegas Urbina Rioja Seleccion offers intense aromas of red fruits, flowers, sweet spices, dried herbs, and cedar. In the mouth, it is flavorful with good balance, vibrancy, soft tannins, and impressive persistence.
- Item #: i_382405Bottle Size: 750ml90% Tempranillo, 5% Mazuelo, & 5% Graciano
Nose: Intense, complex with ripe red fruit, balsamic notes, truffe and toasty notes.
Palate: Complex, balanced, ripe tannins, frut-forward with roasted notes.
Aged 36 months in 80% American and 20% French oak.
The Bodegas Ramon de Ayala, founded in 1970, is based on family winemaking since 1853. Now with vineyards in Rioja Alta and Alavesa (in the foothills of the Sierra Cantabria mountain range), they make wines that are an improved version of the traditional Riojas of long ago. They still age their wines longer than the minimum requirements before releasing them on the market, and for a very fair price.