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_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_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_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."