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_378000Bottle Size: 750mlwinemaker's notes: Cherry-red color with good robe. Spicy, balsamic aromas of great complexity, with notes of ripe dark berries and light toasted nuances. On the palate it is full and tasty, with good structure and rounded, elegant tannins. The finish is long and fresh, with a slight reminder of the fine oak. This wine goes well with ham, mild cheeses, casseroles which are not highly spiced, bean and pulse dishes, poultry, red meat, grills and roasts.
- Item #: i_380462Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 95WINE ADVOCATE 95 POINTS - "The wine that used to be the top of the range until the old-vine, single-vineyard Cariñena was released is the 2013 Doix Costers de Vinyes Velles. It is a phenomenal blend of 55% Cariñena and 45% Garnacha from very old vines planted on schist (llicorella) slopes in the village of Poboleda. Dark, almost opaque with a bright border, the nose is more about black fruit, peat, graphite and some shoe polish, with a generous dose of oak, a little raw (from youth) but with harmony and huge potential to develop. The bunches are hand-harvested and the grapes selected one by one in a double sorting table and fermented in stainless steel. The wine matured in new French oak barriques for 16 months, in a straightforward process, because what's important here is the quality of the grapes, mostly from centenary vines. There is great harmony in the palate, too, intense and penetrating without being aggressive, elegant and balanced in an XXL way. I see great freshness in these 2013s, one of the best vintages I've tried from Mas Doix. This should age forever. 5,500 bottles were filled in April 2015."
Mas Doix has a story quite common in Priorat in which professional people living in the big cities return to reclaim the family heritage (and are having more fun than they ever did before). Mas Doix’s flagship cuvee is named DOIX Costers Vinyes Velles with an annual production of only 4-7,000 bottles. It is typically a blend of old-vine Garnacha and Carinena (80-108 years of age) with the proportions varying slightly from year to year. The wine is aged in 100% new French oak for 14-18 months.
- Item #: i_382911Bottle Size: 750mlPedro Peciña founded his namesake winery in 1992 with the aim to produce very traditional wines that are unmistakably Rioja. Previous to this he was the vineyard manager for the La Rioja Alta winery for 25 years.Only estate fruit is used for the Peciña wines. All of their fruit comes from around the town of San Vicente, an area widely regarded as having some of the best vineyards in Rioja.
• In order for a wine to be called Reserva in Rioja, the wine needs to be aged for at least 1 year in barrel and 2 years in bottle. Peciña’s Reserva far exceeds this requirement.
• Vinification: Fermented with native yeasts in stainless steel vats; Raised in used American oak barrels for 3 years with 6 manual rackings; Aged in bottle for at least two years before release; Unfiltered
• Character: Complex, full-bodied, smoothly textured, ripe dark fruit, tobacco, leather, coffee bean, and umami. • Gastronomy: Lamb, Beef, Venison, Roasted Meats
- Item #: i_380858Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 93WINE ADVOCATE 93 POINTS - "I also tasted the 2013 San Vicente, which will be released in September 2016, from a vintage that has provided fresh and elegant wine. It has great freshness within its style. This is clearly a lighter vintage, slightly different, more aromatic and floral, with tension and precision--a style I like very much. Volumes are lower, some 44,000 bottles, as they had to sort and select the fruit."
- Item #: i_380471Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 94WINE ADVOCATE 94 POINTS - "The 2013 Victorino was cropped from a rainy year from 35 hectares of head-pruned, ungrafted, organically farmed 70- to 100-year-old vineyards in the villages of Valdefinjas, Toro and Villabuena del Puente, planted on sandy soils rich in gravel and boulders with a clay subsoil with some limestone veins. They got 14 hectoliters per hectare in 2013 from grapes harvested on October 7, 8 and 11. The destemmed and crushed grapes were foot trodden during the eight days of fermentation with selected yeasts from their own vineyards. The post fermentative maceration lasted 21 days and the wine matured in brand new French barriques for 20 months, where it also underwent malolactic fermentation. During the élevage the wine was racked every four months. This is one of the freshest wines from the collection I tasted, a cuvée with less oak and great freshness, and therefore very good balance. Marcos Eguren agrees that 2013 is a very good and cold vintage in Toro, which resulted in wines that took some time to integrate tannins and acidity, but that have a little less alcohol and very good overall balance. The tannins are fine-grained, firm and fine, giving the wine good nerve. An elegant Toro within the natural power of the zone. The absence of rain in October, which is a constant in the region, could be responsible for the consistency across vintages there. This is the more approachable and drinkable wine from the collection today."
Victorino is darker, smokier and more mineral. Victorino is amazingly open for such a big, structured wine. All that blackberry fruit and richness can't be wrong, can it? But with proper cellaring this is the kind of wine that can go another 15-20 years and still not show you all its secrets. Part of the story here is un-grafted vines. Like most placesin the world, the vineyard-pest phylloxera is in nearly every vineyard in Europe, meaning nearly every vine in Spain (as elsewhere) is grafted for protection. Toro's sandy soils ensure that there are pockets of land where phylloxera cannot live and the vines can be "own-rooted." We've heard a handful of top producers speak reverently about the aromatic complexities of un-grafted vines and perhaps this explains the immediate beauty and "wow" factor of this wine. Then again, it could be the intense hand-de-stemming practices of the Eguren family or the ridiculously low yields of 0.6 tons/acre.
- Item #: i_375122Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 93WINE ADVOCATE 93 POINTS - "The Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 Mas La Plana was produced from a cool and late harvest of the vines planted between 1964 and 1966 in the Mas La Plana estate in Penedès. It matured in French oak barrels, 85% of them new, for 18 months. 2013 was a wetter year, with cooler temperatures and a longer cycle that resulted in a later harvest and wines with very good freshness. The wine has been finding its style, and in the 2000s, they believe they are finding it through more elegance and less extraction, with fruit and more integration of the oak, leaving the initial model of Bordeaux, or later in Napa, and now admitting that it's a more Mediterranean expression of the Cabernet. It's vibrant, tasty and lively, with focused and clean aromas and flavors and polished and elegant tannins. It has a tasty, long finish, lifted by the freshness and a chalky, mineral, almost salty touch. This feels long-lived through balance and good acidity. 109,638 bottles, 2,899 magnums and some larger formats were produced. In 2016 they fermented this wine in stainless steel, oak vats and some concrete, in a separate part of the winery."
- Item #: i_381124Bottle Size: 750mlJames Suckling: 94Carinena, Garnacha, & Syrah
ORGANICALLY GROWN GRAPES
JAMES SUCKLING 94 POINTS - "Very dark smoke and tar character. Extremely concentrated and ripe, yet cool and and mineral with a long, super-clean finish that is also fresh."
Miguel Torres' Purgatori is made from grapes grown in a vineyard in Costers del Segre and includes Syrah in the Grenache and Carignan fruit-driven blend. Full-bodied and smooth, this deep-ruby wine has ripe strawberries, red cherry and white pepper on the palate with a hint of oak. Pair with grilled meats. Food pairings: duck confit over small roasted potatoes and green onion, duck fricassee on egg noodles, grilled goose breast with cherry coulee.