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. BODEGAS RODA 2017 SELA

    Item #: i_382927
    Bottle Size: 750ml
    Grape 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.
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  2. LA RIOJA ALTA 2012 VINA ARDANZA RESERVA

    Item #: i_377944
    Bottle Size: 750ml
    WINE 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.

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  3. LA RIOJA ALTA 2014 ARANA GRAN RESERVA

    Item #: i_381144
    Bottle Size: 750ML
    JAMES 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
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  4. ONTANON 2010 GRAN RESERVA

    Item #: i_382163
    Bottle Size: 750ml
    WINE 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."
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  5. RODA 2016 RIOJA RESERVA

    Item #: i_378110
    Bottle Size: 750ml
    James Suckling: 95
    Hi-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."
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