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_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_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_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."