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_380426Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 96Wine Spectator: 94WINE ADVOCATE 96 POINTS - "Marqués de Murrieta didn't produce their top red in 2008, so I tasted the 2009 Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Especial. In 2009, the final blend was Tempranillo with 19% Mazuelo (or Cariñena), one of the highest percentages of Mazuelo ever. The grapes are now sourced from the La Plana vineyard within the Ygay estate, one of the higher-altitude plots at 485 meters. The grapes fermented and aged separately, the Tempranillo in American oak barrels and the Mazuelo in French barriques for 26 months, given its power. It has that seriousness, character and somehow rusticity of the Mazuelo, austere, harmonious and still young. It has good depth and concentration, still young and lively with fine tannins and a backbone of freshness that lifts it up. It will develop for a very long time in bottle. This is a great classical Rioja for the long haul. 109,000 bottles and some larger formats were produced. It was bottled in October 2014. The prices are increasing but so is the quality. The following vintages will be 2010, 2011 and possibly 2012. I cannot wait to taste them.."
WINE SPECTATOR 94 POINTS - "Black cherry, plum, clove, cocoa and mineral flavors are rich and harmonious in this polished red. Well-integrated tannins and balsamic acidity keep this balanced. Shows focus and depth, but remains very fresh. Tempranillo and Mazuelo. Drink now through 2024."
- Item #: i_378221Bottle Size: 1.5LSTEPHEN TANZER 94 POINTS - "90% tempranillo and 10% cabernet sauvignon; aged for two years in new French oak): Inky ruby. A complex, highly aromatic bouquet evokes ripe dark berries, cola, mocha and incense, along with subtle notes of vanilla and licorice. Juicy and broad on the palate, offering energetic black raspberry and bitter cherry flavors accented by candied violet and allspice nuances. A zesty mineral element adds lift and cut to the strikingly long, sappy finish, which shows just a whisper of tannins"
- Item #: i_378455Bottle Size: EACHWine Advocate: 93WINE ADVOCATE 93 POINTS - "The 2009 Pago de Carrovejas El Anajon de la Cuesta de las Liebres (to give it its full name), is Tinto Fino blended with 6% Cabernet Sauvignon and 1% Merlot and raised for 12 months in French oak, has a much better, more refined bouquet with blackberry and raspberry fruit, a suggestion of wild heather and cedar. The palate is full-bodied with good backbone and structure, while the crisp acidity keeps the graphite-tinged finish agile and focused. This is very impressive. Drink now-2017."
STEPHEN TANZER 93 POINTS - "Glass-staining ruby. Explosive, smoke- and spice-accented dark berry compote and floral scents are complicated by notes of spicecake and vanilla. Sweet and expansive on the palate, offering intense black raspberry and cherry-cola flavors and a refreshing touch of blood orange. Rich but energetic, with superb finishing clarity, slow-building tannins and lingering sweetness".
Founded in 1988 in Penafiel, Pago de Carraovejas was founded by Jose Maria Ruiz. The former restaurateur released his inaugural vintage in 1993 (the 1991) and they have not looked back since. The wines comes from a single 140 hectare vineyard planted with 75% Tinto Fino and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and the wines are raised in a mixture of American and French oak, a judicious one-third renewed each year. These wines have a lot to offer: well-crafted and full of personality, the judicious use of Bordeaux varieties adds a little je ne sais quoi to the blend. These are well worth seeking out.
- Item #: i_373847Bottle Size: 750mlGarnacha, Mazuelo (aka Carignan), Monastrell (aka Mourvedre), Garro, and Querol.
WINE ENTHUSIAST 94 POINTS - "Heady aromas of blackberry, licorice, raisin and prune are at max ripeness but don't go overboard. That's the theme of this Catalan blend of known and local grapes including Carignan and Garnacha. Bold yet bright on the palate, this deals a full-throttle, toasty mix of root beer, mocha and blackberry flavors. Additional notes of chocolate, toast and spice drive the finish and complete the package."
WINEMAKER NOTES - "This wine takes its name from the walls that protected the monastery at Poblet during the Mercenary Wars. The unmistakeable identity of Grans Muralles is thanks to the stony, slate ground (Licorella) of the region, and the grape varieties used to make it. One century after the phyloxera plague the Torres family have begun to recuperate autoctonous grape varieties believed to be extinct, such as Garró and Samsó, using modern viticultural techniques. Together with red Garnacha, Mazuelo and Monastrell they create the unique spirit of this wine."
Serving suggestions: Perfect with meat dishes, such as the roasts or stews typical to Mediterranean cuisine, accompanied with tomato and pepper sauces or cooked with traditional herbs and spices (thyme, oregano, rosemary, basil, bay leaf, pepper).
Intense deep red colour with a purplish sheen. Aroma of exotic and profound complexity showing the wine’s great density, incredibly rich body and structure. Note the hints of spices (pepper, clove), shrubs (thyme) and very ripe, small red berries (cranberry, redcurrant) over a background of smoke, vanilla and incense. On the palate the wine is a true revelation, a different style that at the same time evokes memories of other wines and other horizons. It grows as it warms up, exhibiting after a few seconds a fantastic series of flavours and memories... The dense but sweet tannins open up and once again deliver the spicy, fruity message of the bouquet and evolve in the aftertaste into a splendid finish that leaves a firm mark and a happy memory.