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_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_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_382149Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 91WINE ADVOCATE 91 POINTS - "The 2012 Finca Valpiedra Reserva is produced with the grapes from the older vineyards and the clay-rich soils after a soil study. 2012 was a very dry year that delivered concentrated wines. It's a blend of Tempranillo with 6% Graciano and 4% Maturana Tinta, fermented with indigenous yeasts and matured in French barriques for 22 months. The nose is quite developed, with notes of candied fruit, leather and spice, and it feels a bit warm. The palate is medium to full-bodied and shows grainy tannins."
90% Tempranillo, 6% Graciano, 4% Maturana Tinta
- Item #: i_381144Bottle Size: 750MLJames Suckling: 95Decanter: 97DECANTER 97 POINTS - "Classic nose with savoury character over a sweet spices background with elegant cigar box notes. Quite mouth watering with a full body and chewy mid-palate."
JAMES SUCKLING 95 POINTS - "Brambleberries, licorice, dried blueberries, cedar, tobacco, smoke, vanilla, dried citrus and even a hint of grapefruit. The lazer-sharp acidity evinces a real sense of purity, and the tannins are really edgy and structured. Full-bodied but very elegant and stylish. The finish goes on and on, thanks to the shimmering acidity. Beautiful now, but better in 2024."
- Item #: i_383427Bottle Size: 750mlWine Enthusiast: 91WINE 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_377301Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 94ORGANICALLY FARMED
PENIN GUIDE TO SPANISH WINES 96 POINTS
WINE ADVOCATE 94 POINTS - "The 2012 Quincha Corral is a serious, classic old-vine Bobal from head-pruned vineyard planted in 1945 at 800 meters on sand and chalk soils. This is one of the single vineyard appellation wines, DOP El Terrerazo that was fermented with indigenous yeasts in oak vats and matured for 19 months in French oak barrels. The nose offers notes of plums, some creaminess and some spices on top of well-integrated oak aromas. There is an acute note of licorice intermixed with fennel, aniseed, thyme and rosemary as well. The medium to full-bodied palate has fine tannins and good acidity. "
- Item #: i_382316Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 93ORGANICALLY GROWN GRAPES
WINE ADVOCATE 93 POINTS - "The flagship 2012 Reserva was cropped from a year when they started seeing the results of improvements made to the work in the vineyards that started in 2010. 2012 was not as warm and ripe as 2011, and the wine comes through as a nice balance between power and elegance, with some earthiness, good fruit and a fine palate. It has a personality between the Labastida and San Vicente bottlings of the Lindes bottlings. It matured in barrique for 18 months, but the wood feels very well integrated. 2012 was a shorter crop, and they produced some 281,000 bottles. It was bottled in April 2015."