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_378696Bottle Size: 750MLJames Suckling: 92Decanter: 9255% 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."
- Item #: i_350152Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 95This 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."
- Item #: i_377354Bottle Size: 750mlORGANICALLY 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.
- Item #: i_381966Bottle Size: 750mlClos 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."
- Item #: i_381049Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 95WINE 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."