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_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_379499Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 94James Suckling: 96CVNE (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.
JAMES SUCKLING 96 POINTS - "This shows so much intense dark berry such as blueberries and blackberries with hints of flowers. Lavender too. Full body, dense tannins with freshness and intensity. So tight and focused. A classic Rioja. Need five to six years of bottle age to come around."
WINE ADVOCATE 94 POINTS- "The 2015 Reserva is a blend of 85% Tempranillo, 10% Graciano and 5% split between Mazuelo and Garnacha that wants to express the character of the Contino estate. It fermented in 12,000-liter stainless steel at 28 degrees to 30 degrees Cesius with 15 to 20 days of maceration and an élevage in 60% French and 40% American oak barrels for two years. It feels fresher than the 2014, and it also shows younger, with better integrated oak, subtle aromas and nice balance. It's medium-bodied, with very fine tannins and good freshness, integrated and balanced. I look forward to tasting the 2016 of this wine, because this 2015 is going in a direction that I like."
- 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_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: 90 PointsWINE 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_380671Bottle Size: 750MLMade from Viura grapes, this wine exhibits citrus and floral aromas. Great mouth-feel enhanced by citrus and mango flavors with a long, fresh finish. The balanced acidity coupled with its other characteristics makes this an ideal sipper as well as a perfect accompaniment to a wide variety of dishes.
All grapes come from the 'Rioja Alta' subzone, where higher altitudes and Atlantic influences make for a moderate climate which is ideal for producing wines of elegance and finesse. Soils are composed of iron-rich clay and limestone. This wine is aged in tank and bottled in January to preserve freshness and fruit.
La Rioja is blessed with the perfect conditions for excellent vineyards. Its soil and climate are favorable for growing vitis vinifera, and its wine culture runs deep and wide. There are good reasons why this land enjoys international recognition for its outstanding wines. Cune, with its three wineries and the many international prizes earned by its wines, has also contributed to making Rioja the global benchmark it is today.
Cune`s Viña Real winery is located on top of the Cerro de la Mesa, in Rioja Alavesa, an area celebrated for its fruit-forward wines, a land with a soil that supports the best native red wine grape varieties and that enjoys an optimum mesoclimate. Most vines here grow from the highlands of the Sierra de Cantabria down to the Ebro River on southern-facing slopes the calcareous sediment of the hills makes the soil ideal. Rioja Alavesa was one of Spain`s pioneering regions in the barrel-aging of wines, and Viña Real was one of the first to make crianza wines in this area.
Cune 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.
- 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_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_382974Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 94 +95% Tempranillo, 3% Garnacha, & 2% Graciano
WINE ADVOCATE 94+ POINTS - "The 2010 Finca Iscorta De Peciña Gran Reserva is their usual blend of Tempranillo with 3% Garnacha and 2% Graciano, sourced from 50-year-old vines from their Finca Iscorta vineyard in the Sonsierra zone; therefore, it is a single-vineyard bottling. It fermented with indigenous yeasts and aged in well-seasoned American oak barrels for 48 months with manual and gravity rackings every six months. This feels very harmonious, combining some primary notes with more-developed tertiary aromas. The palate also reveals a rare mix of power and elegance that only the very best vintages are capable of. It has polished tannins, good volume, freshness and length. Drink or hold, there should be no rush."
- 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_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_377944Bottle Size: 750mlWINE 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.
- 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_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: 93This 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_382614Bottle Size: 750mlJames Suckling: 94JAMES SUCKLING 94 POINTS - "The newest project for the Alvaro family, in partnership with Benjamin de Rothschild. This 2015 second wine has an alluring chocolate and cherry nose with impressively integrated spicy oak. The palate has firm tannins in the mid-palate. Very plush, detailed and attractive, long and balanced. Big plum flavor. Very fresh."
- 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."