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_377848Bottle Size: 750mlJames Suckling: 94ORGANICALLY GROWN GRAPES
JAMES SUCKLING 94 POINTS - "Impressive, rich, dark-cherry and blackberry aromas with nicely cut oak influence. The palate has a sleek, smooth-honed feel with such impressive freshness and depth. Stunning, vibrant finish. 100% tempranillo from several plots around Laguardia. Drink or hold."
Located in the heart of Álava (in the Rioja Alavesa region), Artadi owns 83 hectares of vineyards planted in soils with a wide geological diversity. Clay, gravel and limestone primarily compose this particular balance of nutrient-poor soils with varying microclimates. These unique vineyard sites give singularity to the wines, whose most notable qualities are transparency of fruit and finesse of tannins.
This is Artadi’s entry-level ‘village wine’ of the village of Laguardia, made from twenty-to-thirty year-old selected vineyards located in the plots of San Martín, Las Ventas, Paulejas, San Julián, Santa Águeda, Castejones, Majadales, Ribaltayo Viejo
- Item #: i_383451Bottle Size: 750mlORGANICALLY GROWN GRAPES
"Intense aromas of forest fruits, strawberries, raspberries and blackberry jam. In addition, there are balsamic overtones of eucalyptus and mint. On the palate, a freshness and pleasant, subtle tannins, with pleasingly-integrated notes of coconut and vanilla." - WINERY NOTES
"This project was created in 1987 by a couple of oenologists with deep roots in the business: jerezano Eduardo Gómez Palma and riojana María Isabel Bernardo Córdoba de Samaniego. They discovered in La Puebla de Labarca “our own special place, a magical land that offered us everything we needed to create the wines we had imagined”. Their old vines, planted in the banks of the Ebro river, thrive thanks to the sheltering effect of the Sierra Cantabria and to their perfect southwards orientation. Since their very beginning, María Isabel and Eduardo strived to bring to La Rioja Alavesa the innovative techniques they learned while studying abroad, in a time when the labels Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva had lost most of its original sense. Their obsession for quality and innovation is showcased in their recent “Belezos Ecológico”, a great representation of the powerful Rioja Alavesa terroir, made with organic grapes." - ANTALVA IMPORTS
- Item #: i_382152Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 96James Suckling: 97WINE ADVOCATE 96 POINTS - "The 2016 La Estrada is from a northeast-facing 0.64-hectare plot, one of the highest vineyards in the village of Lanciego, at 610 meters in altitude. This vineyard was planted in the 1940s on a shallow plateau with mostly Tempranillo with a little Graciano, and the altitude provides freshness and balance. The 2016 feels very harmonious and elegant, clearly above the 2015 I tasted next to it. There is more precision and finesse here, the finest bottling of this vineyard to date. 1,880 bottles produced."
JAMES SUCKLING 97 POINTS - "The purity and beauty of the wine are so impressive with crushed berries and flowers. Medium to full body. Dense and gorgeous. Spice, dark fruit and asphalt, yet always long and beautiful. Real Rioja. Drink now or hold.
- Item #: i_382622Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 97+WINE ADVOCATE 97+ POINTS - "2017 was marked by the frost of April 27 and 28, but the 2017 Tabuerniga was miraculously untouched, as the narrow valley where the vineyard is located escaped the cold northern winds that caused havoc in many other places. But it was a warm and dry year, and the harvest was the earliest ever, delivering ripe wines. The grapes are from organically farmed vines at 540 to 630 meters altitude on terraces, with a field blend of mostly Tempranillo, Garnacha and Graciano. It fermented in 3,000-liter open-top oak vats with indigenous yeasts, and the wine matured in 1,500-liter oak foudres for 14 to 16 months. This is incredibly elegant, floral, expressive and aromatic. It has superb balance, refined tannins and gobsmacking balance. This clearly transcends the vintage, and it's nearly as good as the 2016, perhaps a little more structured. 2,004 bottles were filled in May 2019."
- 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_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_383314Bottle Size: 750mlWine Spectator: 90What to drink when we’re able to enjoy poolside and patio picnics, summer gatherings and friends and families getting together, again, hopefully very soon? Well, when it comes to red wines in the summer, we’re always on the lookout for the right one-- something loaded with flavor and texture while not being so structurally huge as to turn day drinking into nap time. Heeeeere’s Carlos! But who is Carlos Serres?
"Wine has a history. And history is full of wine. That of Carlos Serres (Charles, in French) is one of them. One of those which happen once in a lifetime and perdure. Not only because he saw in Haro a perfect place to make wine of great quality but, above all, because he envisaged a new horizon for Rioja wine not considered until then: international exports.
A perfect place to make wines that met the quality, flavor and personality expectations of the most discerning international palates. Elegant wines with a Rioja flavor, ready to conquer; even overseas."
Nose: Plum, redcurrant, balsa wood, hint of mint, pepper spice.
Palate: Dried plum, fruit reduction, strawberry/cherry, white pepper, cacao nibs, hillside florals, forward tannins with balanced acidity, finish of fruit and earth. Balanced, not heavy, great with grilled foods, tapas, cheeses, etc., great bang-for-the-buck value!
WINE SPECTATOR 90 POINTS; BEST VALUE - "This supple red is balanced and expressive. Cherry, vanilla, orange peel and spice notes mingle over light tannins, supported by citrusy acidity. Not a big wine, but has focus and energy. Drink now through 2025."
- Item #: i_379499Bottle Size: 750mlJames Suckling: 94CVNE (Compania Vinicola del Norte de Espana), which has been a leader in Rioja since 1879,started working with the owners of the Contino estate in 1973 to establish a Rioja "chateau," akin to those of Bordeaux. The vineyards are all located in the Rioja Alavesa subregion, which benefits from high altitude and a combination Atlantic-Mediterranean climate.
Contino 2012 Reserva is aged for two years in French and American oak, then rested in bottle for another two years before release. It's made from 85% Tempranillo, 10% Graciano, and 5% Mazuelo (aka Carignan) & Garnacha.
JAMES SUCKLING 94 POINTS - "Aromas of wet earth, spice and dark berry follow through to a full body, round and soft tannins and a long and decadent finish. Black olive and dark fruits. This is the only wine made from Contino in this year. Drink now."
- Item #: i_376010Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 93WINE ADVOCATE 93 POINTS - "The classical 2012 Viña Real Gran Reserva is produced with 95% Tempranillo and 5% Graciano, fermented in stainless steel with neutral dry yeasts and aged in new oak barrel for two years. It's very spicy and creamy, with developed aromas, open and expressive. The palate feels very polished, with a fine thread of acidity going through its core. There is good balance between power and elegance. It should develop nicely in bottle, even if it's approachable now. "
- 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_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_381381Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 90Wine Spectator: 90Wine Enthusiast: 90WINE SPECTATOR 90 POINTS - "Black cherry, red plum, licorice and smoke flavors mingle in this round red. Shows good density, while orange peel acidity and light tannins keep this focused. Drink now through 2028. 375,000 cases made, 10,000 cases imported."
WINE ENTHUSIAST 90 POINTS - "Berry, spice and tobacco aromas work in unison to give this Crianza a nice start. A firm palate avoids jamminess and shows grip. Dark plum, raspberry, spice and pepper flavors hold on through the finish. For everyday Rioja, there isn't much better than this."
WINE ADVOCATE 90 POINTS - "The red 2016 Cune Crianza is an affordable and classical blend of Tempranillo with some 15% Garnacha and Mazuelo that is easy to drink and understand, with a soft palate and an approachable profile. It has a bright nose with red fruit rather than black, quite aromatic and expressive. The palate is soft and approachable, very easy to drink, with a touch of freshness. They produced a whopping 4.5 million bottles of this! The bottle I tasted was bottled in April 2019 after 12 months in barrique. There are eight different lots of this wine that are bottled throughout the year, for which they try to make the most homogeneous blend possible, but some variation is inevitable. But the overall quality of this year is certainly higher than the previous one."
In Rioja, wines are labeled according to the amount of time spent aging in oak. A wine designated as Crianza must be aged in oak for a minimum of a year while the Reserva and Gran Reservas require more extensive aging. As you probably know from previous emails, Cune is one of our favorite producers from Rioja and consistently over-delivers. The name Cune is actually an acronym for Compania Vinicola del Norte del Espana (the Northern Spanish Wine Company). It was founded in 1879 in the famed Rioja Alta region and the winery is still run by descendants of the founding family. Since its inception, Cune has been focused on the production and aging of wines based on Spain's great noble grape.
- Item #: i_380629Bottle Size: 750MLCune has been a long time staff and customer favorite from Rioja. Over the years we have had the privilege of tasting their Gran Reservas as far back as the 50’s. Our reactions are always the same, we ooh and awe, treasuring every sip. Cune is one of the most renowned and historic bodegas in all of Spain. Founded in 1879 by the Real de Asúa brothers, the company has been an integral part of Rioja’s ascendance in the world of fine wine. The company is still run by descendants of the Real de Asúa brothers and remains a constant in the cultural iconography of Spain. Their combination of traditional roots and innovative vision, has made them one of Rioja’s most reliable sources for high quality wine.
- Item #: i_382679Bottle Size: 750mlDecanter: 97DECANTER 97 POINTS - "This dark, relatively tight-knit Rioja proves that the Gran Reserva category doesn't just indicate the supremely well-aged, relaxed and reposeful style of Rioja, but can also serve to draw drinkers' attention to outstanding wines of density and tenacity which still have a way to run along their potential ageing trajectories. Look out for dark, urgent fruits here sweetened and back-lit by cunningly angled oak, with intense, deep, fresh and searching flavours in which the 10% of Graciano seems to be working overtime. A Rioja of innate drama." - Decanter Magazine
- Item #: i_383197Bottle Size: 750ml100% Tempranillo
This is another well-made youthful Rioja from higher-altitude vineyards in a very good vintage. It has a juicy, medium-bodied palate with subtle, good quality oak coming through as a hint of vanilla and a clean, fresh finish that is lightly warming with a touch of lingering ripe fruit skins.
- Item #: i_381144Bottle Size: 750MLJames Suckling: 95Decanter: 97DECANTER 97 POINTS - "Classic nose with savoury character over a sweet spices background with elegant cigar box notes. Quite mouth watering with a full body and chewy mid-palate."
JAMES SUCKLING 95 POINTS - "Brambleberries, licorice, dried blueberries, cedar, tobacco, smoke, vanilla, dried citrus and even a hint of grapefruit. The lazer-sharp acidity evinces a real sense of purity, and the tannins are really edgy and structured. Full-bodied but very elegant and stylish. The finish goes on and on, thanks to the shimmering acidity. Beautiful now, but better in 2024."
- Item #: i_377944Bottle Size: 750ml78% Tempranillo, 22% Garnacha
The Tempranillo grapes (80%) come from our 30-year-old La Cuesta and Montecillo vineyards, located in Fuenmayor y Cenicero. The Garnacha (20%) comes from La Pedriza vineyard in Tudelilla (Rioja Baja). This 70 hectare property offers unbeatable conditions for growing this variety. Its nutrient-poor soil, covered with boulders, results in low grape yields and significant varietal typicity, rich in aromas, with a pleasant, elegant structure. We started picking in mid-October, manually and transported in refrigerated trucks to the winery. Alcoholic fermentation took place naturally. Malolactic concluded at the end of the year. In March 2011, the selected wines were put in barrels to start ageing separately: the Tempranillo for 36 months with six manual rackings in American oak barrels averaging 4 years in age and the Garnacha for 30 months with five manual rackings in American oak barrels with two and three wines. The final blend took place after barrel ageing was completed. The wine was bottled in May 2015.
- Item #: i_380785Bottle Size: 750MLThe 2015 is La Rioja Alta Vina Alberdi Reserva Tinto is a lively, medium depth, garnet–red color with an intense pink rim. High aromatic intensity with dominating ripe fruit: raspberries, red cherries, wild strawberries and red currants set out against a balsamic background of vanilla, toasted caramel, biscuits, coffee and sweet mints. In the mouth, you can enjoy good acidity, great freshness and balance and mild, friendly tannins. Aromatic harmony persists through the aftertaste, with notes of red fruit jam, prunes, coffee, vanilla and caramel.
- Item #: i_382602Bottle Size: 750mlJames Suckling: 96Tempranillo, Graciano, and Garnacha
JAMES SUCKLING 96 POINTS - "A rich and dense red with deep and rich flavors of spice, smoked meat, mushrooms and berries. Medium to full body. Extremely long and creamy. Wonderful fruit and balance. Drink now."
TELMO RODRIGUEZ NOTES - "Lanzaga is the backbone of our project, the identity, the purest expression of our work in Lanciego. Made only from a selection of the best grapes from our own organic vineyards, Lanzaga brings together all the elements of our way of work; respect of the place, bush pruning, field blend, organic viticulture, concrete fermentation, aging (~14 months) in foudres and barrels of different sizes and origins, keeping always a limited production of human size. The result is a rich and complex expression of the village of Lanciego..."
- Item #: i_380563Bottle Size: 750MLEven Lopez de Heredia's Crianza is well-aged, but maintains a freshness of fruit that points to the quality in this vineyard (and winemaking). As Tim Atkin, MW puts it: "[Vina Cubillo] tends to produce the lightest, freshest and most elegant of the López de Heredia reds. Floral, refined and delicately wooded, this is sweet, delicate and almost Pinot Noir-like in terms of its flavors and tannin structure."
- Item #: i_380706Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 93TIM ATKIN, MW 96 POINTS - "The Bosconia vineyard, which has always been vinified separately at the winery, has more clay in the soil and tends to produce richer, plumper wines that are priced below Tondonia. This cuvée of Tempranillo with 10% Garnacha and 5% each of Graciano and Mazuelo has caressing sweetness, supple tannins and notes of dill and tobacco."
JAMES SUCKLING 95 POINTS - "A stunning vintage of this Rioja classic. Ripe and concentrated, yet cool and delicate with tons of fine tannin. Lots of earthy, autumnal Burgundy-like nuances, as well as notes of violets and plums. Long, complete finish. Drink or hold."
WINE ADVOCATE 93 POINTS - "The 2007 Viña Bosconia Reserva shows a little tannic, fulfilling the reputation for being a more rustic wine than Viña Tondonia. There are notes of chocolate-covered cherries and hints of forest floor. "
This wine has evolved perfectly showing a deep ruby color with shades of orange. Its nose is persistent, full bodied and showing a lot of mature fruit, being dominated by the Tempranillo grape. Its taste is round, smooth, fresh, full of body and persistent. Perfect with roasted and highly flavored meats, lamb and game.
- 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_380595Bottle Size: 750MLTIM ATKIN 93 POINTS - "Mixing fruit from the various villages in the Rioja Alta with 15% fruit from Laguardia and Lanciego, this stylish, Tempranillo-dominated Reserva is made to a commendably consistent quality. Aged in French oak, it's dense, concentrated yet refreshing with bramble, black cherry and nutmeg flavors and fresh acidity."