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. CUNE 2016 CRIANZA

    Item #: i_381381
    Bottle Size: 750ml
    Wine Advocate: 90
    Wine Spectator: 90
    Wine Enthusiast: 90
    WINE 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.
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  2. LUIS CANAS 2016 CRIANZA

    Item #: i_382915
    Bottle Size: 750ml
    Wine Advocate: 91
    Luis Cañas 2016 Crianza Tempranillo is a richly layered Rioja red with ripe dark cherry, dried fruit, cigar box, baking spice and cracked black pepper spice flavours finishing with smoky vanilla notes on the palate. Tannins are firm. Cellar for a couple of years or decant one hour prior to pouring with a prime rib steak done rare.
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  3. MONTECILLO 2016 CRIANZA

    Item #: i_382603
    Bottle Size: 750ml
    Wine Enthusiast: 90
    WINE ENTHUSIAST 90 POINTS #1 BEST BUYS 2020 - "Fresh berry and red plum aromas are lifted by complementary notes of oak grain and vanilla. This value-priced crianza from a very good year feels flush but primed by punchy acidity. Red plum, berry and a hint of wood spice make for a classic Rioja flavor profile, while this remains tasty and fresh on the finish. Evaton, Inc.
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  4. MUGA 2016 RESERVA

    Item #: i_379330
    Bottle Size: 750ml
    James Suckling: 95
    PRACTICING ORGANIC FARMING

    Tempranillo and Garnacha, with Mazuelo and Graciano.

    JAMES SUCKLING 95 POINTS - "This is really tight and powerful with gorgeous tannins and solid fruit. Full body. Tight and composed. Wet earth, smoked meat and hints of black truffles. Very long and powerful. Wonderful length. Real Rioja. One of the top best-value, high-quality reds in Spain. Drink or hold."
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  5. MUGA 2016 TORRE MUGA

    Item #: i_380276
    Bottle Size: 750ML
    Wine Advocate: 95
    James Suckling: 98
    JAMES SUCKLING 98 POINTS - "This is an extremely powerful, confident wine. So young and so complex. Immaculate black cherries, plums and blackberries and deeply integrated, spicy oak that's super fresh. The power and build is staggering. It's so rich and so balanced with seamless plum-flavored tannins. Perfect!"

    WINE ADVOCATE 95 POINTS - "In the end, they also showed me the 2015 Torre Muga, even though the wine had only been in bottle for three months. There were no substantial changes in the way this was made—in provenance of the grape, the fermentation or élevage—even though they fine-tune the use of the oak in every vintage. I don't think I've ever tasted such a young and fruit-driven Torre Muga, and even though it felt a little dizzy from the recent bottling, it had great purity and such a structure and build that it is going to need some time in bottle. But this looks like a better vintage than the 2014."
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  6. OSTATU 2016 ESCOBAL RIOJA ALAVESA

    Item #: i_385002
    Bottle Size: 750ml
    CERTIFIED ORGANIC

    100% Tempranillo
    Very fragrant, with the French oak contributing vanilla and sweet spice, and the primary aromas reminiscent of macerated plum, boysenberry and flowers, along with a creamy-savory note from fermentation.
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    was $24.98 Special Price $19.99
  7. 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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  8. SIERRA CANTABRIA 2016 UNICA RESERVA

    Item #: i_381488
    Bottle Size: 750ml
    The vineyards belonging to Bodega Sierra Cantabria are composed of soils made of calcareous-clay and poor in organic matter, nutrients and minerals. This wine is a Tempranillo based blend with some Graciano, aged in both French and American Oak. A red wine with a strong primary character ,very aromatic, perceptible tannin but ripe with good acidity and structure, character and expressive. Pure character!
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  9. VINA SANTURNIA 2016 CRIANZA

    Item #: i_381549
    Bottle Size: 750ml
    100% Tempranillo

    This Crianza has inviting fresh aromas, with flavors of bing cherry, boysenberry, toast, coconut & vanilla, and licorice. Soft, with a persistent, earthy finish.
    Aged in 80% American and 20% French oak for 12 months.
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