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_380775Bottle Size: 750MLJames Suckling: 94JAMES 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."
- Item #: i_381221Bottle Size: 750mlIt is an exciting time for Spanish winemaking and particularly for the Priorat region which continues its evolution as a producer of thrilling red wines. Although winemaking has taken place in Priorat for centuries, the region really caught the public’s attention in the 1990’s when several producers blazed a trail, focusing on quality. Today, this area is thriving and the demand for its wines continues to grow.
One of the great names associated with winemaking in Spain is Juan Gil, maker of the hugely popular Clio and El Nido wines, which sell out quickly once we get them in the store. One of Gil’s newer ventures is his exciting project in Priorat which he calls Bluegray, named for the color of the slate soils in his vineyards. Bluegray is a blend of 45% Grenache, 30% Mazuelo (Carignan) and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, which is lush and powerful, yet artfully balanced with pure fruit flavors augmented by minerality imparted by the soils. It is made in a ripe, fruit-forward style which seems tailor-made for the American palate.
Deep ruby with heavy staining of the tears, the nose shows focused ripe black fruit and cherry flavors accented by fresh autumn spices, mineral and spicy notes. On the palate, this wine is full-bodied with very smooth tannins. The fresh fruit flavors on display include blackberry, cherry, currant and blue plums. This shows good balance and drinkability with a long, lingering finish. Enjoy on its own or with grilled and roasted beef, aged cheeses and hearty dishes.
- Item #: i_382464Bottle Size: 750mlGrenache, Syrah, Mazuela
Elegant ruby and garnet colour over a very deep cherry red. Aromas of vanilla with intense fruity tones and soft tannins coming from the wood. It has a long and pleasant very harmonic aftertaste, perfectly structured and fleshy.
- Item #: i_382919Bottle Size: 750mlLegendary Australian Winemaker Chris Ringland and partner Jorge Ordonez have set out to make explosive, rarified bottlings twice before, with Alto Moncayo & El Nido “Clio.” Triga is the newest of these partnerships, this time centered on a local partnership with Tarima/Tarima Hill in Alicante, Spain. The blend is very similar to the early bottlings of El Nido “Clio,” made primarily of extremely low-yielding Monastrell (aka Mourvedre), from mountainside vineyards (the oldest planted in 1925), with a small amount of Cabernet Sauvignon added to the blend (planted in 1981).
Triga is the hedonistic luscious masterpiece that fans of Alto Moncayo and El Nido “Clio” would expect. Look for an inky, purple black color; ripe blueberry and liqueur-like blackberry fruit complimented by a range of exotic spices. Triga overflows with richness and power, but the vineyard sits on a mountain of fossilized chalk. This limestone influence shows with added minerality and a vibrant, red currant-like raciness underlying the fruit.
- Item #: i_381888Bottle Size: 750mlJames Suckling: 90WINERY NOTES - "Intense cherry red color. Remarkable aromatic complexity with notes of black fruit, light balsamic and toasted touches that remind of BBQ and a vanilla chocolate cake. Cherry cola, lavender, bright red and black preserves in the mouth, full bodied with rich complexity."
JAMES SUCKLING 90 POINTS - "Light and crisp, but also full of character with some nice red-cherry aromas that pull you back for more and, with each sip, the wine seems to expand a bit more. "
- Item #: i_380210Bottle Size: 750MLMas de Can Blau is a red wine produced by the winery Can Blau in the D.O Montsant. This winery, located in the town of Molá (Tarragona) belongs to the group Gil Family States. Mas de Can Blau is a blend of the varieties Cariñena, Syrah and Garnacha. The grapes originate from old vines of 40 years of age. For its production, the maceration and fermentation is performed in small stainless steel containers. The malolactic fermentation is completed in French oak barrels, and in the same barrels where is was aged for 18 months. A Large aromatic intensity, presence of ripe red fruit combined with and abundance of roasted tones.Full bodied and enveloping on the palate. Passing is unctuous and tasty. Very good acidity and round tannins. Long and persistent finish.
- 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_381426Bottle Size: 750ml60% Monastrell, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Syrah
We have developed quite the Pavlovian relationship with wines from Juan Gil and Gil Family Estates over the years; before we even get a chance to taste these wines, we tend to salivate in anticipation of the great tasting experience ahead. Why is that? Simply put, their track record here in the store, with our valued clientele and staff, is excellent, as are their wines. From their entry-level bargains on the ramp to their more advanced selections in the cellar, we have found their portfolio to be consistent in both how good the wines are to drink and the quality-to-price ratio: lots of bang for the buck with these bottlings! The 2017 "Blue Label" fits right in with our expectations and we are, once again, overjoyed to share how great this juice is!
A blend of 60% Monastrell (also known as Mourvedre), 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Syrah, the nose is filled with scents of fresh berries, cedar, incense, wet clay and notes of hillside garrique. Upon tasting, the sweet fruits make their presence known, displaying flavors of mixed strawberries, cherries and boysenberries that are grounded with big firm tannins and grippy acidity. A big, beautiful wine with tons of fruit balanced by savory notes and magnificent structure. A final nosing (so sexy!) brings further hints of pie crust, graham cracker and rose garden. We love it! Enjoy with ribs, lamb, burgers, tapas, hard cheese, meat pizza, mushroom dishes, sausages (great red for summer grilling!
- Item #: i_382509Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 91James Suckling: 90WINE ADVOCATE 91 POINTS - "Produced for the US market, this is the first vintage of the 2018 Juan Gil Red Blend. It is 45% Monastrell, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Syrah from a year more in line with 2016, more continental and with more rain, despite which, the wine is still 15% alcohol. The different grapes fermented and matured separately for 12 months. It's ripe and has notes of chocolate and spices, keeping some herbal undertones and with the tasty and pungent notes from the Cabernet. 54,000 bottles produced. This wine is sold exclusively in the US. It was bottled in June 2020."
JAMES SUCKLING 90 POINTS - "This juicy and vibrant, summer-berry and wild-cherry nose leads to a very plush and deep-set palate with a sleek, juicy and attractive feel. So vibrant. Drink now."
45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Monastrell, 10% Syrah.
- Item #: i_383644Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 92Jeb Dunnuck: 92WINE 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."
- 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."
- Item #: i_380152Bottle Size: 750ML55% Ull de Llebre (Tempranillo), 25% Syrah & 20% Garnatxa
The nose is delicious with earthy brown spices, leather and minerality balanced with dried cherry and strawberry notes. The cherry/strawberry fruit carries over to the palate-- whereas dried in the nose, it's fully lush and even more alive on the palate. The fruit leads to a rich earthiness on the palate with more spice (cinnamon, cardamom) toward the mid-palate and finish, which is completely borne aloft by a gorgeous layer of acidity-- suddenly, you realize that this is kind of a serious wine at the sub-$16 price point. Vilosell definitely has some gravitas and, while we were pretty happy just tasting it solo, a bit of appropriate food would really let this wine shine through (think BBQ, beef, hearty autumn/winter fare, stews, charcuterie, rich tapas).
- Item #: i_379482Bottle Size: 750mlWine Spectator: 9577% 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.