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_380789Bottle Size: 750MLPRACTICING ORGANIC FARMING
While Parker compares this wine to Grand Cru Chablis, we think it's more like some beautiful Spanish re-working of classic Meursault. Either way, it's delicious and unlike nearly any other Spanish white which leads to fanicful, far-away comparisons. The nose begins with honey and perfectly ripe pears complimented by waves of nutmeg and baking spices that build in richness and explosive flavors. Avancia is one of Jorge Ordonez's terroir discoveries. Jorge hunted out and acquired parcels of old-vine Godello planted between 1904 and 1910 in hard-scrabble hillsides of slate and quartz. A touch of oak is part of the style here, but to better frame these wines, Jorge looked to Didier Dagueneau and his famed Loire Valley Sauvignon Blancs rather than Burgundy. Dagueneau had specially formulated barrels that were more than twice the size of a standard barrel, but also aged for much longer as wood staves in the open air before the final barrel was made and toasted-the end result is subtler and marries better with medium bodied whites. When Jorge started planning to make this style of white wine, the waiting list for Dagueneau's special barrels was years long. No matter, Jorge "cut in line" when a very famous Sonoma producer refused a few of Dagueneau's prized barrels at the cellar-door. Jorge Ordonez bought them on the spot and paid to fly them from California to Spain. "
- Item #: i_383303Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 93If one were asked to rank the indispensable white wines from the old world, there would be very few on the list originating below 45º in latitude...yet only after a decade in Valdeorras, it is becoming apparent that Rafa can make wines from warmer climes that have the potential to rival Hermitage Blanc, Corton-Charlemagne, the Mosel or the Wachau.
As quaffable and enjoyable as Godello can be from Valdeorras, it rarely reaches the level of richness, balance and complexity as it does in the hands of Rafael Palacios. Rafa works exclusively with Godello planted on granitic soils at much higher elevations – so high that late Spring snow and frost are ever present dangers to his already low yields.
WINE ADVOCATE 93 POINTS - "The 2019 Louro comes from a vintage that Rafa Palacios compares with 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2016, the best vintages for him. The vines are on sandy granite soils, but there are some vineyards where there's a little more clay, and the vines are worked organically. It fermented in 3,500-liter oak foudres, where the wine matured with lees for four months. It always has a small percentage of Treixadura, around 4% this year, and in 2019, it reached 14% alcohol, so it's not a shy wine. It might seem incredible, but Treixadura is a very aromatic and balsamic grape and that small percentage is clearly noticeable in the aromatics, which gives Louro a very different profile from the AS Sortes, with a more herbal and balsamic touch. But Palacios tells me that's the freshness of the year (Godello can also be herbal), as they have regrafted a lot of Treixadura. In 2019, there is less Treixadura than in previous years, and there's only one hectare of Treixadura left in his vineyards. The wine does have very good freshness, plus a very salty finish and the granite sensation that gives it an electric touch, complex, powerful and with a profile of a serious wine with very little bitterness; Palacios says it reminds him of the 2005 As Sortes. This has to be one of the best vintages of Louro, a clear step up from previous vintages. 180,000 bottles produced. It was bottled between April and May 2020 from a single master blend."
- Item #: i_380293Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 95For those who love "terroir wines," Raul Perez is one of those people to follow no matter what they make. He has a seemingly innate winemaking talent and an intimate working knowledge of his vineyards near his hometown of Valtuille de Abajo in the Bierzo region of Northwestern Spain. We're particularly excited to sell some of his latest releases from the 2018 vintage, which Raul thinks was the best in at least a decade, if not in his 25 years of making wine there! This is reflected in some great reviews from The Wine Advocate, which you can check out below.
The climate and soils of Bierzo are a distinct departure from the Mediterranean coast and the semi-arid high plains and valleys of inland Spain: it's distinctly cooler and wetter from the greater Atlantic influence. Naturally, distinct varieties of grapes thrive here, dominated by Mencia for red wines and Godello for whites. Mencia-driven wines from Bierzo can traverse a style between Oregon Pinot Noir and Rhone Valley Syrah: they have a moderate amount of velvet-textured tannins with spicy, mineral sensations, and floral aromas along with both dark and red fruits, like brambly blackberry and fresh cherry. Godello shares some things in common with dry Chenin Blanc from the Loire Valley and the best sites of South Africa, with subtle flavors ranging from the citrus family (lemon, grapefruit, & orange), quince, and stone fruits (peach & nectarine) along with a broad mouthfeel and crystalline or crushed rock 'minerality' on the palate that can carry a mouthwatering saline sensation like in good Chablis.
Mr. Perez's winemaking philosophy is at the same time traditional and innovative, involving harvesting from old, mixed-variety vineyards in which he practices organic farming, and with native yeast fermentations that proceed leisurely. Depending on the wine, aging takes place in a mix of concrete, amphorae, and mostly older barrels that provide slow oxygenation without covering those carefully developed flavors. Raul also minimizes the use of sulfites, a risky choice in winemaking, but for him it's a requirement. None of the wines are filtered or fined.
WINE ADVOCATE 95 POINTS - "Raul Pérez thinks 2018 is the best year he has seen in his 25 years of making wines in Bierzo, calling it the year of Balance. The whites are superb, even the 2018 Ultreia La Claudina, where there's always a little more ripeness from the sandy soil. They have used only barrels, and in 2018 40% of the oak was new, but in the future there will be a 1,000-liter oak foudre for this. The élevage is longer-17 to 18 months-and the wine develops more. The barrels are never topped up, so it's a little more oxidative. And in this vintage, there is some creaminess (perhaps the high percentage of new oak), with a showier profile, peachy juiciness, more volume and a spicy twist a little à la Jura, but more Meursault than Puligny. It's more expressive, rounder and juicier, less radical than some of the earlier years, spicy and with notes of fennel. 1,400 bottles were filled in late August/early September."
The wine is made of 100% Godello.