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_382231Bottle Size: 750mlWine Spectator: 94Wine marketing departments like to throw the word "bold" around a bit loosely these days. For the 2017 Valderiz from the Ribera del Duero region of Spain, it's a fitting descriptor. It's both intense in flavor and mouthfeel, with an extra-full body, and can stand up to the bolder flavors of the grill. After giving it time to open up, the wine has concentrated dark-fruited flavors including blackcurrant, plum cordial, plenty of creamy vanilla, and subtle woodsy spice, but stops short of being too sweetly fruited. There is also plenty of mouth-filling, grippy tannin from the glass-staining skin extract and oak, and though it softens up a bit with air, this feature is a plus with protein-rich dishes. What really separates this from the average big and bold wine out there is the level of depth, and that the components all work together harmoniously.
Coming from the Ribera del Duero region of Spain, the star of this wine is the local version of Tempranillo called Tinta del Pais, with thicker skins compared to the types found in Rioja. The differences feel appropriate in its home on the plateaus above the Duero river valley in central Spain, where the moderating Mediterranean influence has given way to a more dramatic continental climate.
The dry sunny summers make it easier for Bodega Valderiz to farm organically (they don't use any systematic synthetic pesticides, fungicides, or fertilizers). The wines are fermented with the native yeast and they don't add enzymes to help the process along, contrary to conventional commercial winemaking. Neither filtered nor fined, the taming of this wine comes the old-fashioned way: through 2 years of aging in French and American oak barrels.
Although Bodega Valderiz was founded in 1997, winemaking is a family tradition involving at least 7 generations. Tomas Esteban was the one who decided to make a bigger business of it, and in 1980 started to seriously expand his vineyard area using clippings from the family vineyards. When his sons were ready, they became the winemakers and Bodega Valderiz was officially born.
100% Tinto del Pais (Tempranillo)
WINE SPECTATOR 94 POINTS - "This full-bodied red is generous yet structured, featuring depth and balance. Ripe flavors of plum and currant mingle with cocoa, clove and mineral notes, supported by mouthcoating tannins and balsamic acidity. Harmonious and long. "
No artificial fertilizers or systematic chemical treatments in the vineyard. Fermented with indigenous yeast, with no additives such as acids, tannin, glucose, enzymes and so on. Aged in 80% French, 20% American oak (60% new, 40% once used).
- Item #: i_380784Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 94Winemaker Peter Sisseck has already been pushing the limits of top-end Ribera del Duero but has also, for some time, dreamt of capturing the soul of Ribera through a new project named after the twenty-third letter of the Greek alphabet. In 2006, he began working with a select group of growers willing to convert their old vines vineyards into organically- and ultimately biodynamically farmed sites with the goal of unleashing the potential of Ribera by creating the purest expression possible.
WINE ADVOCATE 94 POINTS - "I had already tasted the unbottled 2018 PSI, which saw a jump in quality after they got a new winery where they had much better working conditions. This wine is produced with purchased grapes from 200 hectares in around 750 plots and 20 different villages throughout Ribera del Duero (they now rent and work 50 hectares of these vineyards themselves). In 2018, they were able to use some 12% Garnacha and 2% other grapes, including whites that are found intermixed with the Tinta del País/Tempranillo in the old vineyards. Garnacha adds freshness, and the wine shows it—the character of the grape comes through in the blend. It fermented with indigenous yeasts and matured mostly in 5,000-liter and 10,000-liter oak vats, but 20% of the volume aged in used French barriques for 18 months. The color is quite light (relatively speaking), bright and lively, the nose perfumed, floral and elegant, like no PSI before. The palate is medium-bodied, with fine tannins, and it feels terribly balanced and beautifully textured. It's elegant more than powerful but full of energy. This is without a doubt the finest PSI to date. Viva Garnacha!"
- Item #: i_382842Bottle Size: 750mlBIODYNAMIC
Estate-bottled and Demeter certified bio-dynamic, this modestly-priced (to say the least!) Tempranillo is, quite frankly, one of most astonishing values we’ve encountered in a long time. In fact, with all of the recent buzz for organic and natural wines, demand for bio-dynamic wine is at all all-time high. Luminaries like Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Zind-Humbrecht, Domaine Leroy, Huet, Nicolas Joly, and others have helped fuel the prestige of this rare and expensive-to-implement set of organic farming practices, so when we learned about this wine—estate bottled, Demeter certified bio-dynamic, at $9.98 a bottle — we jumped at the opportunity!
Montecastrillo is the entry-level wine from the renowned Ribera del Duero estate, Finca Torremilanos. It is made from their younger vineyards, which are located on the second slope above and nearly two kilometers south of the Duero river at an altitude of 800-900 meters. Soils are deep and composed of limestone, sand and clay in roughly equal proportions along with gravels from the old river bed that are composed of silex and quartz. A beautifully dark purplish-red in color, it shows intense red fruit, licorice, and spice notes. Light-bodied on the palate, fruity, and soft in tannin. Extraordinary wine for $9.98 a bottle, a no-brainer case buy!
Tasting Notes - The nose is fragrant, loaded with red fruits, berries, red currant, balsa wood, light earthy spice. Sweet fruit is reiterated in the palate with raspberry preserves and mixed red berries kept aloft with balanced acidity and light tannins. This is an easy summer sipper, perfect for warm weather and sunny days - great red for the season.
- Item #: i_382149Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 91WINE ADVOCATE 91 POINTS - "The 2012 Finca Valpiedra Reserva is produced with the grapes from the older vineyards and the clay-rich soils after a soil study. 2012 was a very dry year that delivered concentrated wines. It's a blend of Tempranillo with 6% Graciano and 4% Maturana Tinta, fermented with indigenous yeasts and matured in French barriques for 22 months. The nose is quite developed, with notes of candied fruit, leather and spice, and it feels a bit warm. The palate is medium to full-bodied and shows grainy tannins."
90% Tempranillo, 6% Graciano, 4% Maturana Tinta
- Item #: i_378221Bottle Size: 1.5LSTEPHEN TANZER 94 POINTS - "90% tempranillo and 10% cabernet sauvignon; aged for two years in new French oak): Inky ruby. A complex, highly aromatic bouquet evokes ripe dark berries, cola, mocha and incense, along with subtle notes of vanilla and licorice. Juicy and broad on the palate, offering energetic black raspberry and bitter cherry flavors accented by candied violet and allspice nuances. A zesty mineral element adds lift and cut to the strikingly long, sappy finish, which shows just a whisper of tannins"
- Item #: i_378455Bottle Size: EACHWine Advocate: 93WINE ADVOCATE 93 POINTS - "The 2009 Pago de Carrovejas El Anajon de la Cuesta de las Liebres (to give it its full name), is Tinto Fino blended with 6% Cabernet Sauvignon and 1% Merlot and raised for 12 months in French oak, has a much better, more refined bouquet with blackberry and raspberry fruit, a suggestion of wild heather and cedar. The palate is full-bodied with good backbone and structure, while the crisp acidity keeps the graphite-tinged finish agile and focused. This is very impressive. Drink now-2017."
STEPHEN TANZER 93 POINTS - "Glass-staining ruby. Explosive, smoke- and spice-accented dark berry compote and floral scents are complicated by notes of spicecake and vanilla. Sweet and expansive on the palate, offering intense black raspberry and cherry-cola flavors and a refreshing touch of blood orange. Rich but energetic, with superb finishing clarity, slow-building tannins and lingering sweetness".
Founded in 1988 in Penafiel, Pago de Carraovejas was founded by Jose Maria Ruiz. The former restaurateur released his inaugural vintage in 1993 (the 1991) and they have not looked back since. The wines comes from a single 140 hectare vineyard planted with 75% Tinto Fino and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and the wines are raised in a mixture of American and French oak, a judicious one-third renewed each year. These wines have a lot to offer: well-crafted and full of personality, the judicious use of Bordeaux varieties adds a little je ne sais quoi to the blend. These are well worth seeking out.
- Item #: i_378647Bottle Size: 750mlPrepared with Tempranillo grapes (100%), this wine has a very bright, intense maraschino cherry colour that fades to a Cardinal red rim.
It has a very marked aroma with a good balance of fruit and wood, where tones of vanilla intermingle with well-ripened fruit, black berries and wild fruits. There are also noticeable hints of leather and liquorice, resulting from the mingling of the French oak and the aromas inherent in this variety of grape.
In the mouth, the wine has a smooth texture but fills the palate with balanced flavours, including fine tannins, which help extend the life of the wine. The finish and aftertaste are both long and elegant.
- Item #: i_378544Bottle Size: 750MLPago de los Capellanes is one of our favorite Spanish wines and we have proudly carried it at Hi-Time for many years. Nestled deep in the heart of the Ribera del Duero region, "Pago's" vineyards only grow Tinto Fino or Tempranillo grapes, the variety indigenous to the region. "Pago de los Capellanes" (Land of the Chaplains) is named in honor of the clergy who were stewards of the property for centuries. This wine continues to impress, delivering outstanding quality and value. Tempranillo grapes are hand-harvested and aged in new French oak barrels (1 to 3 years) until they reach optimal maturity for blending.
- Item #: i_378451Bottle Size: 750ml100% Tempranillo
"Joven" is the least oak-influenced wine for a given winery; this one was aged in 300L French oak for only 5 months.
Winery Notes - "Clean and brilliant cherry color, with an intense floral and red forest fruit aromas, together with light spicy hints. In the mouth it is full-bodied, fresh, persistent and velvety."
- Item #: i_380469Bottle Size: 750MLProducing this single varietal wine was somewhat controversial at the time. Other producers such as Vega Sicilia made their wines with Bordeaux varietals as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec. Fernandez soon gained international acclaim for his wines and other winemakers followed his lead and began making wine in the area. Pesquera’s style has remained the same over the years and continues to be a rich, powerful and fragrant wine with juicy dark fruit flavors. This wine pairs well with hearty dishes and is delicious to drink on its own.
As always, Pesquera has delivered a seamless, full-bodied delicious wine. Enjoy this iconic Spanish wine at a reduced price while you can.
Pesquera's bright red color reveals its youth and ample concentration. On the nose, the wine's intense bouquet reveals dark fruit framed by toasted oak aromas. Flavors of black cherry and plum are augmented by notions of spices and vanilla. On the palate, the smooth entry becomes lush with abundant ripe fruit and silky tannins. The presence of well-integrated oak complements the wine and leads to a refined, long-lasting finish.
- Item #: i_380887Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 94WINE ADVOCATE 94 POINTS - "Like the rest of the wines, I tasted the bottled 2018 Flor de Pingus—which I tasted unbottled last year—next to the 2019 that will be bottled in June 2021, and it was great to see how the wines reflected the character of the two vintages. All of the estate vineyards are certified organic, and this is pure Tinta del País, the local strain of Tempranillo, from 40 hectares in five different locations (parajes) of the village of La Horra where the Pingus vineyards are also located. It fermented with natural yeasts and also natural malolactic and matured for 18 months in French oak barrels, 25% new. The day I tasted it, the wine was oakier than normal, but the amount of new oak is not higher than normal. The palate showed much better, with very fine and polished tannins. There is freshness, even red fruit and good balance. The oak should integrate with a little more time in bottle. 120,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in July 2020."
- Item #: i_378084Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 100WINE ADVOCATE 100 POINTS - "I was really looking forward to the bottled version of the 2018 Pingus after a great showing of the cask sample last year. Part of the wine matured in 20,000-liter oak casks, so it's not all barrique. This is the first time they used the vats, and based on the results, Sisseck thinks in the future Pingus will be around 50% in oak vats. The Pingus vines were planted in 1929 in two different sectors of the village of La Horra, Barroso and San Cristobal and contain some 2% other varieties. The vineyards are certified organic and biodynamic and are manicured like few vineyards in Spain. The wine is subtle and harmonious, elegant and insinuating, with all the components in very good balance. This is precise and pure; Sisseck is thorough and meticulous, and the wine shows that precision. This follows the line of the 2016, showing very well even if it was bottled only one month before I tasted it. 9,300 bottles were filled in August 2020."
- Item #: i_383121Bottle Size: 750mlCommitted to organic farming and biodynamic agricultural principles, the level of his expertise is unquestioned. The Sastres inherited from their father and grandfather prime vineyard sites in the Burgos area of Ribera del Duero. Jesús has always respected the site and the history of the vineyards his family has farmed.
This is the family wine, made only in the finest years. Hand harvested by only the family members. 2,000 bottles produced from some of the oldest parcels of Tempranillo in Pago de Santa Cruz, blended with cabernet sauvignon, merlot and petit verdot. One of spain's rarest treasures.
Vintage: An exceptional, well-balanced vintage, similar to the 2010, with a perfect balance between alcohol, acidity and high-quality tannins. This harvest gave tremendous potential for aged wines.
Tasting Note: Full-bodied, ripe,concentrated and intense, a luxurious Ribera del Duero in all senses. Tastes of sily dark fruit, exotic black truffles and grilled lamb.
- Item #: i_381111Bottle Size: 750mlJames Suckling: 93A star in Ribera del Duero, Celeste is an opulent wine brimming with fruit, body and colour: as unique as the night sky in the Ribera del Duero. Dark cherry red with intense garnet highlights. Aromas of black fruit (wild blackberries, blueberries) and delicate toasted notes (coffee) with nicely oak-aged undertones (toasted oak). Serious and warm with very fine, juicy, velvety tannins.
Intense blackberry color. Spicy and intense nose, with liquorice and black pepper hints on a base of well ripened fruits (blackberry and cherry). On the palate, very fruity at first with ripened tannins, also persistant and full bodied.
- Item #: i_380541Bottle Size: 750MLComplex, intense, and very fine, with a high concentration of black fruit, very well integrated with notes from its ageing. A great range of spices open out, giving us notes of sweet spices, coffee, chocolate, tobacco, good cedar wood and nice toasted notes. A light balsamic background with a slightly floral touch. This classic red wine is elegant and serious, tasty and fleshy, with a very good balance between the fruit and the wood. On the palate it is smooth and silky. Perfect acidity and powerful, ripe tannins. A long finish, leaving fruity and balsamic sensations.
- Item #: i_377427Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 97James Suckling: 99JAMES SUCKLING 99 POINTS -"This is still very tight and closed with so much depth and beauty. The linear line to this is very vertical and draws you down. It shows intense blackberry, dark-chocolate, hazelnut and walnut character. Full body. Chewy yet extremely polished. Precise. Shows decadence. So drinkable already, but better in 2022."
WINE ADVOCATE 97 POINTS - "I was surprised by the aromatics of the 2010 Único, cropped from a powerful and concentrated year that delivered this blend of 94% Tinto Fino (aka Tempranillo) and 6% Cabernet Sauvignon, with 14.5% alcohol and a highish pH of 3.87. It fermented with indigenous yeasts and matured in a combination of French and American oak barrels and 20,000-liter oak vats and aged for almost six years. It feels quite ripe and somehow old style, dominated by ripe black fruit, with a rustic and earthy touch. It has an ample palate, concentrated and powerful, with some earthy tannins." - Luis Gutierrez
- Item #: i_383599Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 96WINE ADVOCATE 96 POINTS - "The 2015 Valbuena, a red blend of mostly Tempranillo with some 5% Merlot, is released in the fifth year after the harvest. It's explosive and showy, with a complex nose that shows a mixture of flowers and wild herbs, balsamic touches and great nuance. This wine has gained in complexity since the 2010 vintage, where they implemented some changes that increased the expressivity and precision of this wine. The tannins are fine-grained and there is very good balance, and the warm conditions of the year have been absorbed well by the wine. Despite the natural conditions of the year, the wine follows the path of freshness of the 2010."
- Item #: i_376336Bottle Size: 750mlJames Suckling: 96JAMES SUCKLING 96 POINTS - "Very impressive red plums and the Alion has a very approachable feel to it, supple and even. The nose delivers some savory, slightly tarry and earthy character with a classic, direct and easy-to-understand feel. Some dried flowers, too. The palate has medium body and delivers fleshy, round red cherries, gently savory, spicy elements and fine, long and detailed tannins. A great Alion, full of flavor, very fresh. Drink across the next 15 years."
- Item #: i_376332Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 98WINE ADVOCATE 98 POINTS - "To be released in 2020, the NV Único Reserva Especial 2020 Release is a non-vintage blend of 59 barrels from 2008, 2009 and 2010, mostly Tempranillo with some Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine has been getting closer to the style of the Único, and the blend is from vintages very close to the current release of Único, but somehow this year I think the blend has added some complexity to the bottled wine, which has the heart and soul of the 2010 vintage. In fact, they told me they are keeping more wine to have some older vintages to blend for this Reserva Especial, because in the last few years, the wine has been a little too young for the style that it used to have in the past. This has finesse and some of the Burgundian style of the blends of yesteryear. 17,071 bottles and 214 magnums produced. It was bottled in June 2016."
- Item #: i_383208Bottle Size: 750mlORGANICALLY GROWN GRAPES
100% Tempranillo (Tinto del Pais)
This is a great choice for the darker, denser style of Tempranillo that grows in the mountains around the Duero valley. Ripe, but not jammy, with plummy fruit, a good use of subtle oak, and slightly chewy skin extract and tannin. It maintains an appetizing ripeness/freshness balance.
WINERY NOTES - "The nearly nine hectares of vines we cultivate are situated exclusively in Anguix, in the heart of Ribera del Duero...more than 800 metres above sea level the climatic situation is very special: the winter is hard and long, the risk of frost in spring is high. The summer is short and hot. A crucial point for the richness of the wines is the difference of the temperature between day and night which may pass 30 ºC in August. There is little rainfall, the annual average is of about 430 mm."