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_381966Bottle Size: 750mlClos Nelin is the property of Rene Barbier of Clos Mos comprised of four parcels totalling 10 hectares on llicorella soil located close to the village of Gratallops. The wine is a blend of 50% Garnacha Blanca and the rest Pinot Noir (blended as a white), Viognier, Roussanne, Marsanne, Macabeo, Pedro Ximenez and Escanya Vella (a.k.a "old strangler"!). The wine is vinified in a combination of stainless-steel and concrete eggs, plus various sizes of oak barrel, where it spends nine months on its lees. The maiden vintage was 2000 and just 6,000 bottles are produced. Readers should note that the wine is now entitled simply "Nelin" rather than "Clos Nelin."
- Item #: i_383899Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 94+WINE ADVOCATE 94+ POINTS - "The 2018 Adina comes from the southernmost vineyard they work, a parish close to Portonovo, a zone with influence from the fog (which brings saltiness) and completely different soils, as it's on red slate. The nose feels more austere, a little more closed. This is a wine that has good light and burns more malic acid, and the wine feels more citrusy, giving it a different kind of freshness. It's harmonious and serious, subtle; there is a lot of complexity, really elegant. There are 2,000 bottles of this. It was bottled in September 2019."
- Item #: i_380850Bottle Size: 750MLJames Suckling: 96JAMES SUCKLING 96 POINTS - "Lovely dried red fruit, such as plums with just a hint of prunes. Cedar, walnut and leather undertones. Full-bodied with lots of fruit, considering its age, as well as hints of smoke, tobacco, bark and black tea. Some balsamic at the finish. Traditionally styled with lovely results. Drink or hold."
- Item #: i_380827Bottle Size: 750ML75% Tempranillo, 15% Garnacha, 10% Mazuelo & Graciano
R. López de Heredia Viña Tondonia is a legendary estate that makes wine in a style essentially unchanged since its inception in 1877. The British wine critic Gerry Dawes once referred to them as "the great virtual working wine museum" in Rioja. The oldest producer in La Rioja Alta, and the third oldest in all of Rioja, this estate has been family-owned and operated since its inception. Tradition and Patience are watchwords at this extraordinary estate, and to taste their wines is to glimpse another time and place-to grasp the meaning of Rioja and its traditions.
Tradition. They grow all of their own grapes, ferment using only natural, ambient yeasts, and do not filter their wines. They're the last bodega in Spain to employ four full-time coopers to make their barrels on site, and there's not a machine to be found on the estate-everything is done by hand. This is 19th-century winemaking, in the purest and best sense of the words.
Patience. This estate will not release a wine before its time, and doesn't think twice about holding onto a wine, sometimes for decades before it's released. In fact, their wines are routinely aged so long before release, that even their humble crianza could legally be labeled gran reserva! Their extraordinary and rare gran reservas-only released in exceptional vintages, perhaps three or four times a decade-are aged for an impossible eight to ten years in American oak and as much as ten to thirteen years in bottle prior to release. Yes, that's right-the most recent releases (if you can find them) are the 1995's!
- Item #: i_380293Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 95For those who love "terroir wines," Raul Perez is one of those people to follow no matter what they make. He has a seemingly innate winemaking talent and an intimate working knowledge of his vineyards near his hometown of Valtuille de Abajo in the Bierzo region of Northwestern Spain. We're particularly excited to sell some of his latest releases from the 2018 vintage, which Raul thinks was the best in at least a decade, if not in his 25 years of making wine there! This is reflected in some great reviews from The Wine Advocate, which you can check out below.
The climate and soils of Bierzo are a distinct departure from the Mediterranean coast and the semi-arid high plains and valleys of inland Spain: it's distinctly cooler and wetter from the greater Atlantic influence. Naturally, distinct varieties of grapes thrive here, dominated by Mencia for red wines and Godello for whites. Mencia-driven wines from Bierzo can traverse a style between Oregon Pinot Noir and Rhone Valley Syrah: they have a moderate amount of velvet-textured tannins with spicy, mineral sensations, and floral aromas along with both dark and red fruits, like brambly blackberry and fresh cherry. Godello shares some things in common with dry Chenin Blanc from the Loire Valley and the best sites of South Africa, with subtle flavors ranging from the citrus family (lemon, grapefruit, & orange), quince, and stone fruits (peach & nectarine) along with a broad mouthfeel and crystalline or crushed rock 'minerality' on the palate that can carry a mouthwatering saline sensation like in good Chablis.
Mr. Perez's winemaking philosophy is at the same time traditional and innovative, involving harvesting from old, mixed-variety vineyards in which he practices organic farming, and with native yeast fermentations that proceed leisurely. Depending on the wine, aging takes place in a mix of concrete, amphorae, and mostly older barrels that provide slow oxygenation without covering those carefully developed flavors. Raul also minimizes the use of sulfites, a risky choice in winemaking, but for him it's a requirement. None of the wines are filtered or fined.
WINE ADVOCATE 95 POINTS - "Raul Pérez thinks 2018 is the best year he has seen in his 25 years of making wines in Bierzo, calling it the year of Balance. The whites are superb, even the 2018 Ultreia La Claudina, where there's always a little more ripeness from the sandy soil. They have used only barrels, and in 2018 40% of the oak was new, but in the future there will be a 1,000-liter oak foudre for this. The élevage is longer-17 to 18 months-and the wine develops more. The barrels are never topped up, so it's a little more oxidative. And in this vintage, there is some creaminess (perhaps the high percentage of new oak), with a showier profile, peachy juiciness, more volume and a spicy twist a little à la Jura, but more Meursault than Puligny. It's more expressive, rounder and juicier, less radical than some of the earlier years, spicy and with notes of fennel. 1,400 bottles were filled in late August/early September."
The wine is made of 100% Godello.
- Item #: i_379482Bottle Size: 750mlWine Spectator: 9577% Carinena (Carignan), 23% Garnacha (Grenache)
WINE SPECTATOR 95 POINTS - "This red is exuberant and structured. Ripe yet focused flavors of raspberry, currant and kirsch mingle with savory herb, espresso and mineral notes, supported by muscular but well-integrated tannins and enough acidity to keep the heady flavors in balance. A statement wine, not for the faint of heart. Carignan and Garnacha. Best from 2020 through 2035."
A tribute to a village, its townspeople and its indigenous old-vines. The winery lies in the tiny village of Porrera in the highly-acclaimed appellation of Priorat. Here, the magnificent, century-old vineyard estates of Vall Llach are home to 60- to 90-year-old Cariñena and Garnacha vines.
The old vines naturally produce low yields, and Vall Llach reduces yields even further through careful vineyard management. Vineyards climb steep slate hillsides, receiving optimum sun exposure and little water, further concentrating the fruit. Lovers of rich and concentrated wines with dark fruit flavors will be thrilled with this one.
- Item #: i_382133Bottle Size: 750mlTASTING NOTES: Ruby-red. Intensely perfumed aromas of fresh dark berries, cherry compote and licorice develop a vanilla overtone as the wine opens up. Plush blackberry, cherry-vanilla, spicecake and floral pastille flavors show excellent clarity and a seamless texture, and a peppery flourish adds lift and bite. Fine-grained tannins build slowly and give shape to the impressively long, sweet finish, which leaves behind floral pastille and dark fruit liqueur notes.-- Josh Raynolds