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_382927Bottle Size: 750mlGrape Variety: 93% Tempranillo, 5% Graciano, 2% Garnacha
A wine with strength, young, with many things to tell but with the fresh voice of the youth. Very pleasant to drink, easy to blend it with food and especially delicious and fresh. Black cherry, tobacco, toast and mineral flavors mingle in this focused red, with light, firm tannins and crisp acidity. Supple, fresh and balanced.
- Item #: i_383003Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 93Wine Spectator: 93Vinous Media: 94James Suckling: 95JAMES SUCKLING 95 POINTS - "A tight and linear red now with very long and direct palate that is driven and intense. Medium to full body, bright blackberry and mineral character. Just a baby now. Give it three to four years to soften. A beauty. Try in 2021."
ANTONIO GALLONI; VINOUS 94 POINTS - "Saturated, brilliant ruby. Explosive, seductively perfumed aromas of dark berry preserves, cherry-cola, incense, floral oils and vanilla, along with suggestions of mocha, licorice and woodsmoke. Sweet and seamless in the mouth, offering intense blackberry, cherry preserve and violet pastille flavors and allspice, coconut and star anise flourishes. Distinctly rich yet energetic as well, finishing with resonating floral and spice character, well-integrated tannins and superb mineral-driven persistence."
WINE SPECTATOR 93 POINTS -"This balanced red shows muscle without losing grace. Black cherry, leafy, forest floor and toasty notes mingle over well-integrated tannins in a silky texture, with fresh acidity giving way to a floral, minerally finish. Not showy, but harmonious. Drink now through 2030."
WINE ADVOCATE 93 POINTS - "The analysis of the 2015 Imperial Reserva is almost identical to those of the Viña Real Reserva from the same vintage, but the profile is quite different. This is the more serious Haro-style red, and it has slightly darker fruit and a medium to full-bodied palate with very good grip, powerful but with great balance. The blend is also similar—85% Tempranillo and the rest split between Graciano, Mazuelo and Garnacha—but these are grapes from Rioja Alta fermented with yeasts selected from their own vineyards. The wine matured in French and American oak barrels for two years. The wines are different, but the quality level is similar."
- Item #: i_378875Bottle Size: 750MLJames Suckling: 92Wine Enthusiast: 93 PointsWINE ENTHUSIAST 93 POINTS - "Classic Rioja aromas of vanilla, spice, tobacco and dried berry fruits carry this wine. On the palate, this warm-vintage gran reserva has energy from well-stored acidity, while the flavors include cherry, plum, mocha and a plethora of spices. Chocolate and tobacco flavors along with general warmth crowd the finish. Drink through 2030."
JAMES SUCKLING 92 POINTS - "Fresh and focused with aromas of blackberries, black olives and violets. Medium-to full-bodied. Very fine tannins and polish. Long and beautiful. Shows energy and brightness. Delicious now."
- Item #: i_381144Bottle Size: 750MLJAMES SUCKLING 96 POINTS - "Lots of mushroom and walnut aromas with plum and leather, too. It’s full-bodied, but very soft and creamy-textured with lots of old wood, mushroom and ripe fruit on the finish. Some chocolate and hazelnut. Complex and gorgeous. Drink or hold."
DECANTER 90 POINTS
- Item #: i_382163Bottle Size: 750mlWINE SPECTATOR 91 POINTS - "This red is fresh and lively, with a core of black cherry and plum accented by licorice, tobacco and mineral notes. The tannins are light but firm, the balsamic acidity bright, focusing the polished texture through the smoky finish."
- Item #: i_383632Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 94WINE ADVOCATE 94 POINTS - "The varietal Garnacha red 2018 Suzzane refers to Leonard Cohen's song of the same name and is an ode to women. It was produced with grapes from three hectares of 117-year-old vines in the zone of Cárdenas, where the soils are red and have a lot of iron. It fermented in a combination of concrete and oak vats and 500-liter barrels with 20% full clusters and indigenous yeasts followed by malolactic in concrete and foudre and 12 months' aging in 500-liter barrels and a Stockinger foudre. This wine has nothing to do with past vintages, when I found too prominent oak. Here, the oak is perfectly integrated and neatly folded into the delicate Garnacha fruit, coming through as delicate and floral (violets). It's nicely textured, velvety and very pure. The wine is tasty and has bright flavors, and it has light, great persistence and length, with some extra structure from the stems. 4,600 bottles produced. It was bottled in December 2019."
- Item #: i_378110Bottle Size: 750mlJames Suckling: 95Hi-Time has been supporters of Bodegas Roda’s wines for a long time, so it’s no surprise that they should be included in our list of Top Spanish Wines of 2020! Founded in the 1980s, it’s a relative newcomer in this old winemaking region, but they quickly earned a reputation as a top-tier producer of Rioja by committing to quality in all areas of modern winemaking, from vine to bottle. Part of that quality comes from farming the land without synthetic chemicals.
Their flagship wine, called Roda I, carries the structure of a fine Bordeaux, built to age. But like the Bordelais, they have given us a “second wine” that’s approachable now: the Roda Reserva. This is modern Rioja defined in a glass. It’s vinified and aged in French oak (American oak as traditionalists might use) for a subtler contribution of vanilla and oak spice. They also age their wines less before release than more traditional styles, opting for a more youthful, primary expression of the grapes. The varieties are classic, of course: Tempranillo (85%), Graciano (9%) and Garnacha (6%).
The wine has a sleek freshness that gives it a medium-full weight and avoids plush & sweetly-fruited territory, maintaining instead the classic, dry Rioja style. It carries tightly packed aromas and flavors of dark fruits (like macerated blackberry and black plum) and floral hints, with the oak contributing a rich nuttiness (almost chocolatey), along with subtle vanilla and spice. The overlying texture is soft with well-integrated oak adding breadth, but is supported by a fine-grained, moderately chewy tannin that will make this a great partner for heavy tapas and lean, grilled or roasted meats. Serve at cellar temperature and give it some time to open up in the glass.
JAMES SUCKLING 95 POINTS - "Blackberry and bark with some black-tea undertones on the nose. The firm, fine and polished tannins are very long and very pretty and add tension and finesse to this wine. Medium body and a lovely texture. Drink or hold."