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. TESO DE LA MONJA 2013 VICTORINO

    Item #: i_380471
    Bottle Size: 750ML
    Wine Advocate: 94
    WINE ADVOCATE 94 POINTS - "The 2013 Victorino was cropped from a rainy year from 35 hectares of head-pruned, ungrafted, organically farmed 70- to 100-year-old vineyards in the villages of Valdefinjas, Toro and Villabuena del Puente, planted on sandy soils rich in gravel and boulders with a clay subsoil with some limestone veins. They got 14 hectoliters per hectare in 2013 from grapes harvested on October 7, 8 and 11. The destemmed and crushed grapes were foot trodden during the eight days of fermentation with selected yeasts from their own vineyards. The post fermentative maceration lasted 21 days and the wine matured in brand new French barriques for 20 months, where it also underwent malolactic fermentation. During the élevage the wine was racked every four months. This is one of the freshest wines from the collection I tasted, a cuvée with less oak and great freshness, and therefore very good balance. Marcos Eguren agrees that 2013 is a very good and cold vintage in Toro, which resulted in wines that took some time to integrate tannins and acidity, but that have a little less alcohol and very good overall balance. The tannins are fine-grained, firm and fine, giving the wine good nerve. An elegant Toro within the natural power of the zone. The absence of rain in October, which is a constant in the region, could be responsible for the consistency across vintages there. This is the more approachable and drinkable wine from the collection today."

    Victorino is darker, smokier and more mineral. Victorino is amazingly open for such a big, structured wine. All that blackberry fruit and richness can't be wrong, can it? But with proper cellaring this is the kind of wine that can go another 15-20 years and still not show you all its secrets. Part of the story here is un-grafted vines. Like most placesin the world, the vineyard-pest phylloxera is in nearly every vineyard in Europe, meaning nearly every vine in Spain (as elsewhere) is grafted for protection. Toro's sandy soils ensure that there are pockets of land where phylloxera cannot live and the vines can be "own-rooted." We've heard a handful of top producers speak reverently about the aromatic complexities of un-grafted vines and perhaps this explains the immediate beauty and "wow" factor of this wine. Then again, it could be the intense hand-de-stemming practices of the Eguren family or the ridiculously low yields of 0.6 tons/acre.
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