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_381949Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 99WINE ADVOCATE 99 POINTS - A blend of 85% Garnacha and 15% Syrah, 2018 Clos Erasmus comes from a year with good yields and enough rain for good ripeness of the grapes. The vines are now 36 years old on average, and the grapes fermented after a cold soak in 1,000-, 1,500- and 2,000-liter oak vats with indigenous yeasts and a five-week maceration. It matured in new and second use Burgundian 228-liter oak barrels, with around 40% new oak. This is a very elegant and perfumed vintage for Clos Erasmus, a wine that reveals a bright ruby color and a exotic nose that mixes flowers with tons of sweet spices. It is still very young and influenced by the élevage in oak, with something herbal and fresh, reminiscent of pine needles. The palate is textured and velvety, lace and dust, with fine-grained tannins that bring back the memories of the slate rocks; it is pure and detailed and has terrible balance, focus, inner strength, filigree and subdued minerality. I'd wait a little bit for the oak to get integrated before pulling the cork. It has the ingredients, stuffing and balance to develop nicely in bottle for a long time. 3,319 bottles and 100 magnums produced. It was bottled in May 2020."
In a region now filled with big names, Daphne Glorian has been a quiet godmother to the younger generations of winemakers, continuing to promote the good name of Priorat with her exceptional and highly sought-after wines. Her boutique estate of 10 hectares barely produces 140 cases each year, so her first label, Clos Erasmus, is inevitably scarce and expensive. Deservedly so, however, as this is one of the regions' and indeed Spain's greatest of all red wines – rich, powerful, dense and exotically perfumed. Clos Erasmus is also one of the few Spanish wines ever to achieve 100 Parker points, proof that the Priorat region in the right hands produces wines to rival the finest from Rioja and Ribera Del Duero.
- Item #: i_382711Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 9385% Garnacha Blanca, 15% Garnacha Gris
WINE ADVOCATE 93 POINTS - The white 2018 Black Slate La Morera is a Vi de Vila (village wine) and is a blend of 85% Garnacha Blanca and 15% Garnacha Gris from young-ish vines planted on slate soils at 600 meters in altitude in the village of La Morera de Montsant. It fermented in stainless steel with neutral yeasts and matured in stainless steel with the lees for four months.They went for more skin contact and used Garnacha Gris instead of Pedro Ximénez, which they used before. It's full of character and has a petrol-like whiff and a touch of ripe skins, reminiscent of something between an aged Chenin and a traditional white Rioja. This has added texture and a saline touch on the finish. It didn't see any oak. Good for food, mind-boggling good for the price, I'd say. 2,600 bottles produced. It was bottled in May 2019.
- Item #: i_383581Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 93+WINE ADVOCATE 93+ POINTS - "The 2018 Martinet Bru is a wine that was born in 1990 and is now their way into Priorat but more about the stone than the fruit, less ripe than in the beginning, with complexity rather than voluptuosity. It's a blend of Garnacha, Cariñena, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot from three organically farmed vineyards between Falset and Torroja. The grapes are picked early but at different times, fermented with some full clusters, co-fermented when possible (Garnacha-Syrah-Merlot and Cariñena-Syrah-Cabernet) with indigenous yeasts in concrete vats. It matured in a combination of 4,500-liter oak vats, used 300-liter barrels, amphorae and glass demijohns. It's elegant and fresh, nuanced and clean. It's very harmonious and feels very balanced, with fresh flavors and very fine tannins. It's one of the finest vintages for this bottling."