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_382649Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 93WINE ADVOCATE 93 POINTS - "The single vineyard Tempranillo is the 2012 Pago Negralada, a plot at 760 meters altitude on deep gravel soils covered with sand; it is a relatively warm soil that provides good homogeneous ripeness of the grapes, vintage after vintage. As with all of the single vineyards, it fermented with indigenous yeasts and went through malolactic fermentation in brad new French oak barrels, where it had an upbringing of 18 months before bottling after a clarification with egg whites. I found the character of orange peel that I frequently saw in the Ribera del Duero reds in the late 1980s and early 1990s, with some rusticity and a little dustiness, with character. There are fine-grained tannins, good balance and a dusty texture that fills your mouth. It has very good balance and it will age nicely. 5,700 bottles, 275 magnums and 18 double magnums were filled from the 22 barrels in one single lot on June 17th 2014."
Abadia Retuerta is part of the prestigious 'Golden Mile' (La Milla de Oro) of wineries located along the Duero River in the autonomous community of Castilla y Leon. La Milla de Oro has a special microclimate and is home to some of Spain's most renowned wineries including Vega Sicilia, Dominio de Pingus and Bodegas Mauro.
- Item #: i_377187Bottle Size: 750mlOn the nose it surprises you with its powerful fruity character mingling with reminders of its noble aging, traces of coconut, toffee and attractive wild herb nuances. After a powerful attack the sensation of soft, supple volume gradually extends across the palate to end with a long finish. In the aftertaste you are again reminded of the red-berry fruit mingled with hints of wild herbs.
- Item #: i_380445Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 96We got a great deal on a top Spanish wine from Priorat that we want to pass on to you! Bodegas Mas Alta makes ripe, polished wines that are saturated with flavors that taste of their home: the beautiful, warm Mediterranean hills near Barcelona. Priorat is an old vine-growing area that used to supply other wine regions, but only in recent decades has it risen above obscurity, or rather, shot to the top of notoriety due to its optimum climate and landscape for world-class wine-making!
Bodegas Mas Alta is one of the wineries that helped set that reputation, and we just got a small amount of the high-scoring 2012 vintage of their top wine, "LA CREU ALTA," that's drinking in top form right now! Usually priced around $100, we're offering it at $69.95 until we run out!
It's made from old-vine Carinena (Carignan), along with Syrah and a small amount of Garnacha (Grenache), all organically farmed, and aged in mostly new French oak barrels for added texture and complexity. The perfume is intense with mixed berry cordial and balsam essences, and the silky palate is warmly vinous and loaded with berry compote and sweet oak.
Based on his Wine Advocate review, Luis Gutierrez seems to have been most impressed with the 2012 in particular:
WINE ADVOCATE 96 POINTS - "I think vinification and elevage is now a secondary consideration for these Mas Alta wines because what I have in the glass is much more about the place, which to me makes the wine much more interesting. This is balsamic with notes hinting on camphor, but mainly rosemary, fennel and thyme with even a floral touch and a mixture of black and red berries and some spiciness thrown in. The palate is full-bodied, but the tannins are very fine, and the rusticity of the Carinena feels very polished and elegant. Great Priorat."
- 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_383634Bottle Size: 750mlJames Suckling: 97JAMES SUCKLING 97 POINTS - "Fabulous aromas of black tea, soya, cinnamon, and dark fruits. Very floral. Full body, very deep and beautiful. Superb depth of fruit. The tannins are total melted in the wine. Wonderful finish."
- Item #: i_379499Bottle Size: 750mlJames Suckling: 94CVNE (Compania Vinicola del Norte de Espana), which has been a leader in Rioja since 1879,started working with the owners of the Contino estate in 1973 to establish a Rioja "chateau," akin to those of Bordeaux. The vineyards are all located in the Rioja Alavesa subregion, which benefits from high altitude and a combination Atlantic-Mediterranean climate.
Contino 2012 Reserva is aged for two years in French and American oak, then rested in bottle for another two years before release. It's made from 85% Tempranillo, 10% Graciano, and 5% Mazuelo (aka Carignan) & Garnacha.
JAMES SUCKLING 94 POINTS - "Aromas of wet earth, spice and dark berry follow through to a full body, round and soft tannins and a long and decadent finish. Black olive and dark fruits. This is the only wine made from Contino in this year. Drink now."
- Item #: i_382941Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 95James Suckling: 94WINE ADVOCATE 95 POINTS - "The wine that represents the traditional and serious reds from Haro, the 2012 Imperial Gran Reserva is a classical blend of Tempranillo with 10% Graciano and 5% Mazuelo that matured in barrel for two years. It has a textbook serious Haro nose, with dark spices, ripe fruit, something balsamic and a round, full-bodied palate within the straight and serious style of the wine. 2012 was a warm year, but the wines are fresher than those from 2011. This has fine, slightly grainy tannins with good grip. A textbook Imperial Gran Reserva."
JAMES SUCKLING 94 POINTS - "A tight and beautiful wine with blackberries, bramble berries, rose petals and lemon grass. Medium to full body, ultra-fine tannins and a beautiful finish. Very fine-grained. Lovely now. Even better in 2020."
- Item #: i_376010Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 93WINE ADVOCATE 93 POINTS - "The classical 2012 Viña Real Gran Reserva is produced with 95% Tempranillo and 5% Graciano, fermented in stainless steel with neutral dry yeasts and aged in new oak barrel for two years. It's very spicy and creamy, with developed aromas, open and expressive. The palate feels very polished, with a fine thread of acidity going through its core. There is good balance between power and elegance. It should develop nicely in bottle, even if it's approachable now. "
- Item #: i_383427Bottle Size: 750mlWine Enthusiast: 91 PointsWINE ENTHUSIAST 91 POINTS - "Familiar Rioja aromas of creamy oak, wood smoke, leather and earthy berry fruits are encouraging and lead to a solid palate with forgiving intensity. Blackberry, cassis and vanilla aromas are lasting on a finish that's reaching maturity."
- Item #: i_380472Bottle Size: 750MLVinous Media: 92ANTONIO GALONI 92 POINTS - "Vibrant ruby. Musky, deeply pitched cherry and blackcurrant aromas are complemented by licorice, dried flowers and smoked meat. Sweet, expansive and focused on the palate, offering dried cherry and fruitcake flavors and an exotic suggestion of chewing tobacco. Vanilla and mocha qualities come forward on a long, smoky finish that features velvety tannins and lingering game and cherry pit qualities. Decidedly old school in style and structured to age."
- Item #: i_373885Bottle Size: 750mlJames Suckling: 94JAMES SUCKLING 94 POINTS - "Fragrant and suave, this is a very enticing modern style Rioja with great balance of fruit. Elegant tannins give the long finish some real complexity. Delicious now, but could age."