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. ALVARO PALACIOS 2017 LES TERRASSES

    Item #: i_378696
    Bottle Size: 750ML
    James Suckling: 92
    Decanter: 92
    55% Garnacha & 45% Carinena

    DECANTER 92 POINTS - "Luxurious aromas of plums, violets and cedar with delicious red fruit quality. Palate is fresh, with nice concentration and soft tannins."

    JAMES SUCKLING 92 POINTS - "Enveloping black-cherry and blueberry aromas, but also notes of licorice and smoke. A bold and powerful Priorat with discreet oak and plenty of freshness. The tannins are supple and beautifully integrated, the finish generous and polished."

    While originally conceived of as a value wine, Les Terrasses "Velles Vignes" has slowly evolved into the essence of what makes Priorat special. Drawing on 15+ years of study, Terrasses is sourced from many of the region's steepest and oldest vineyards-many of them north-facing to avoid the intense afternoon sun. With the 2007 vintage, Alvaro acknowledged Les Terrasses' "graduation" by adding the "Velles Vignes" designation to the label.

    The son of the owners of Rioja's Palacios Remondo, Alvaro Palacios spent his early 20s working and studying winemaking outside of Spain. His experience abroad - particularly in Bordeaux - instilled in him a deep passion for great wines and led him to return to Spain. With the ambition to make wines that could be world-class. To achieve this dream, Palacios was drawn to the historic hillsides of slate soil and its traditional grape varieties of Garnacha and Carinena. Now widely considered to be among the more important new Spanish wineries in a generation, Alvaro Palacios embodies the spirit of "The New Spain."
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  2. ALVARO PALACIOS 2019 CAMINS DEL PRIORAT

    Item #: i_380775
    Bottle Size: 750ML
    James Suckling: 94
    This wine made our list of Top Spanish Wines of 2020 for its impressive quality for the price. It’s a Priorat made in a drink-me-now style that combines a vibrant, ripe fruit and floral profile with a medium-full weight and satiny, vinous texture!

    It’s perhaps the most sleek and modern wine from one of Spain’s superstar winemakers, Alvaro Palacios, who comes from the well-respected Palacios Remondo wine family in Rioja. While studying enology in Bordeaux, he worked under superstar Jean-Pierre Moueix at Chateau Pétrus. Inspired to make his own great wines, he chose the secluded region of Priorat, which was an old wine region that had been going through a rennaissance. In the 1990s and 2000s he built up a collection of great vineyards, and with that, released more wines; Finca Dofi’, L’Ermita, Les Terraces, and Gratallops have all become wellrespected names on the international stage. With more vineyards, he found he could tighten up the selection for the top wines, thereby improving them, but also leaving enough left over for a highquality ‘everday’ wine. That’s how Camins del Priorat was created!

    Typical to Priorat, the blend composing Camins del Priorat reflects the more relaxed planting rules: 35% Garnacha, 24% Syrah, 17% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Samso (aka Carignan), 10% Merlot and 3% “other varieties.” This flexibility in blending allows for a range of styles in Priorat, so it’s hard to generalize. The only commonality is the distinctive terroir: a combination of the slatelike soils characteristic to the region, the dramatic, steep hills on which vineyards must often be terraced, and the proximity to the Mediterranean Sea, which moderates the climate.

    JAMES SUCKLING 94 POINTS - "Gorgeous, bright fruit with raspberries, black cherries and lavender with some schist. It’s medium-bodied with very polished and integrated tannins that go on and on. Drink or hold."
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  3. CLOS ERASMUS 2017 LAUREL

    Item #: i_350152
    Bottle Size: 750ML
    Wine Advocate: 95
    This red made it into our Top Spanish Wines of 2020 because of its wonderfully expressive, early-drinking take on the extra full-bodied Priorat style. It has the pedigree, as it’s the 2nd wine to the world-famous Clos Erasmus. While sourced from the same organically farmed vineyards, it’s made in a distinctive way to create a softer style. The wines befitting the Laurel style are separated early on and aged in a very modern combination of oak, concrete egg, and clay amphorae for 16 months, creating a layering of textures and flavor sensations that arise from each container. In Priorat, there is a wider range of profiles available due to the range of varieties that this relatively new wine region is allowed. Laurel is a Grenache-driven wine that greatly contributes to the mouth-filling body and softness, accompanied by 20% Syrah and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. The aromas and flavors are dark plum and black cherry with a classic, savory herbal quality like the garrigue of Rhone wines, and delicate French oak that contributes to a licorice note. The texture is one of the wine’s most notable features, with velvety ripe tannin that provides a soft finish.

    WINE ADVOCATE 95 POINTS - "The 2017 Laurel is a blend of the younger vines, some barrels that were declassified from Clos Erasmus and the remaining Cabernet Sauvignon, and in the low-yielding and dry 2017 vintage, it's 70% Garnacha, 20% Syrah and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, with 15% alcohol. The wine fermented mostly in concrete and oak vats with indigenous yeasts and matured in a combination of oak vats, concrete, used barriques and amphorae for 16 months. They produce this to be approachable from the moment it's released. The 2017s feel very aromatic, open, expressive and young, quite primary, tender and juicy and surprisingly fresh for a dry, warm year that resulted in a very early harvest. There is a peachy, soft, approachable quality here that I like very much. Surprisingly enough, winemaker and proprietor Daphne Glorian sees reminiscences of the 2013s in the 2017s, and I have to agree. Different from 2016, but at the same quality level. 19,126 bottles were filled in May 2019."
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  4. CLOS MOGADOR 2017

    Item #: i_377354
    Bottle Size: 750ml
    ORGANICALLY GROWN GRAPES

    One of the most interesting aspects of winemaking at Clos Mogador is the fact that René presses the grape using an olive press, which has the effect of only extracting half of the amount of juice that a typical wine press would, making the wine 50% more concentrated. Considering that Priorat wines are already highly concentrated, and that "normal" yields are absolutely microscopic (especially compared to other Spanish wine regions such as La Rioja), the wines of Clos Mogador are nearly elixirs. Robert Parker, the influential wine critic, was one of the first international critics to praise the wines of this stunning winery.
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  5. CLOS MOGADOR 2017 NELIN BLANC

    Item #: i_381966
    Bottle Size: 750ml
    Clos 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."
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  6. COSTERS 2016 CLOS CYPRESS 100% SAMSO aka CARIGNAN

    Item #: i_385000
    Bottle Size: 750ml
    PRACTICING ORGANIC FARMING

    This is a wine from southern Priorat, which marks with a lively, warm and fragrant vein the serious, deep and enigmatic character of old vineyards. Blackberry aromas with balsamic notes typical of the brushwood. The palate is remarkably mature and fresh at the same time. It has a natural elegance, as the vision of a landscape where the passage of centuries have managed to harmonize everything. It’s like an invitation from nature.
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  7. MAS DOIX 2016 LES CRESTES

    Item #: i_383644
    Bottle Size: 750ml
    Wine Advocate: 92
    Jeb Dunnuck: 92
    WINE ADVOCATE 92 POINTS - "Grapes from younger vines are used for the 2016 Les Crestes, which is also released earlier...matured in second use French oak barrels for eight months. 2016 was a dry growing season saved by a cooler September with some rain, which resulted in a relaxed and long harvest of grapes with good ripeness and acidity. It's young, tender and aromatic, a gentle Priorat with a juicy palate and a fresh personality. Really attractive and pleasant."

    JEB DUNNUCK 92 POINTS - The 2016 Les Crestes checks in as 80% Garnacha and 10% each of Cariñena and Syrah, brought up in neutral French oak. Outstanding notes of black cherries, blackberries, graphite, lead pencil shavings, violets and beautiful minerality all emerge from the glass and this beauty is ripe, plump, rounded, and incredibly textured on the palate, with sweet tannin. It's a beautifully pure, sexy little fruit bomb to drink over the coming 4-5 years.

    WINEMAKER NOTES - "Cherry red in color, this wine offers aromas of red fruit, ripe fruit and mountain herbs with floral notes. On the palate, it is balanced, structured and tasty."
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  8. PALACIOS 2017 FINCA DOFI

    Item #: i_381049
    Bottle Size: 750ml
    Wine Advocate: 95
    WINE ADVOCATE 95 POINTS - "The single-vineyard 2017 Finca Dofí comes from ten hectares that were planted 20 years ago in the village of Gratallops. It's mostly Garnacha with 8% Cariñena and 1% white grapes that fermented after being destemmed and lightly crushed in oak vats with indigenous yeasts. It matured in large oak barrels (bocoyes and foudres) for 16 months. There is no trace of oak in the wines, and there are no edges; they all feel sleek and elegant. This Dofí expresses the Mediterranean vintage from this vineyard at 300 to 320 meters in altitude, where the slate has a lot of iron, which turns the soils red and makes round and velvety wines, with flavors of red cherries, cherry pit, nectarines and even blood orange. The warm soils are compensated by mostly northern exposures. The palate has volume and is juicy, sensual and velvety, with some fine-grained tannins that currently call for food. It makes for a very gastronomical red. 29,700 bottles produced. It was bottled in April 2019. In 2018, there will be a separate bottling from one hectare of pure north-exposition grapes from Dofí, a new wine called La Baixada."
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  9. PERINET 2016 MERIT RED

    Item #: i_383122
    Bottle Size: 750ml
    After a long standing relationship with Alpha Omega Collective, Hi-Time Wine Cellars is pleased to offer first access to Perinet Merit 2016.

    Alpha Omega Collective encompasses three world-class wineries, Alpha Omega in Napa Valley, Tolosa in Edna Valley and Perinet in Spain's Priorat, the terror-driven estates are guided by exceptionally talented viticulturists and winemakers. Alpha Omega's Bordeaux-inspired releases, Tolosa's Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays, and Perinet's Mediterranean reds each embody a sense of place from where they originate. In an age of winemaking homogeny, it is unique to experience the distinctive accents of each region while still appreciating the trio's harmonic familial relationship.

    The wine is a blend of 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 25% Syrah, 5% Grenache and 5% Carignan Aged 12 months in stainless steel with 40% in 2-year old French oak. This wine expresses the pure essence of Priorat's licorella slate soil. On the nose the wine shows spices and wet stones evolving to ripe red fruits and forest floor. On the palate you find wild berry fruit notes such as blackberry and plums, enhanced by elegant, light tannins with iron-driven minerality throughout the palate.
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  10. VAL LLACH 2015 PORRERA

    Item #: i_379482
    Bottle Size: 750ml
    Wine Spectator: 95
    77% 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.
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  11. VALL LLACH 2017 EMBRUIX

    Item #: i_381944
    Bottle Size: 750ml
    Wine Spectator: 91
    WINE SPECTATOR 91 POINTS - "This red is dense yet plush, with blackberry and espresso flavors, accented by licorice, wild herb and mineral notes. Well-integrated tannins and balsamic acidity keep this focused. Harmonious, in a savory style. Garnacha, Merlot, Cariñena, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon."

    Priorat makes massive wines; there is no arguing that. But the allure of the region is its stark beauty and its ability to craft wildly ripe wines that nonetheless retain dryness and even balance. This wine is no exception: black plums and raisins give way to some red cherries and bright raspberries, with spice throughout--a typical Priorat rollercoaster ride. Drink soon or in the next few years. -
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