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_382626Bottle Size: 750ml#4, Wine Spectator Top 100 Wines of 2018
Wine Spectator: 95 Points "Cedar and sandalwood aromas give way to flavors of tea, tobacco, dried cherry, forest floor and orange peel in this expressive red. Round on the palate, supported by muscular tannins and juicy acidity. Big but graceful, mature yet lively, in the traditional style. Drink now through 2030."
Wine Advocate: 95 Points "I tasted the 2005 Gran Reserva 890 again, and I liked it better this time than in my previous review, even if I normally like the Gran Reserva 904 better than this bottling, as I find it better balanced. I tend to feel less energy in this wine, as it spends a very long time in barrel, six years in this case. 2005 was an excellent vintage, and they implemented some improvements in the harvest, introducing 350-kilo boxes and refrigerated transport to the winery, which they think provides better grapes and potentially better quality of the wines. The palate is medium-bodied, the tannins have mostly melted, and it has lively acidity that lift the wine up. This is a very classical and polished Rioja. It was bottled in March 2012. Drink 2019 - 2035"
- Item #: i_382405Bottle Size: 750ml90% Tempranillo, 5% Mazuelo, & 5% Graciano
Nose: Intense, complex with ripe red fruit, balsamic notes, truffe and toasty notes.
Palate: Complex, balanced, ripe tannins, frut-forward with roasted notes.
Aged 36 months in 80% American and 20% French oak.
The Bodegas Ramon de Ayala, founded in 1970, is based on family winemaking since 1853. Now with vineyards in Rioja Alta and Alavesa (in the foothills of the Sierra Cantabria mountain range), they make wines that are an improved version of the traditional Riojas of long ago. They still age their wines longer than the minimum requirements before releasing them on the market, and for a very fair price.