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_380691Bottle Size: 750MLJeb Dunnuck: 95JEB DUNNUCK 95 POINTS - "The 2015 Aalto is a gorgeous wine, and even at the retail price of $50, is a value. Loaded with notions of blackberry and cassis fruits, vanilla, graphite, and high-class oak, it hits the palate with medium to full-bodied richness, has beautiful concentration, and ripe, polished tannin. It certainly has a modern slant, yet is balanced, has terrific purity, and a great finish. Give it a few years."
Bodegas y Vinedos Aalto is a partnership between legendary vigneron Mariano Garcia and Javier Zaccagnini, former President of the governing body of the Ribera del Duero DO. Aalto is sourced from 7 different villages on a variety of soils with vineyard age ranging from 40-100 years and was aged for 24 months in French and American oak.
- Item #: i_381071Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 93James Suckling: 95JAMES SUCKLING 95 POINTS - "This is a stunning Ribera that shows a plethora of finely judged mulberries, blackberries, oyster shell, rust, iron, citrus, vanilla, undergrowth and licorice. Full-bodied and powerful with muscular tannins, but a wealth of dark fruit. Long and chewy on the finish. Drink in 2025."
WINE ADVOCATE 93 POINTS - "Selección Especial is Abadía Retuerta's reliable red blend produced in enough quantities to have good availability and with an approachable and easy-to-understand profile that reached great quality with the 2016 Selección Especial, from one of the best vintages in recent times in the region. It's 75% Tempranillo, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Syrah, 3% Merlot and 1% Petit Verdot, a blend that can change with the conditions of the year, as it's decided by tasting the wines. If in the past this wine was quite oaky, this 2016 feels quite integrated and balanced, ripe and medium-bodied, with a soft and tender palate, round tannins and moderate influence from the élevage of 13 months in French and American oak barrels."
- Item #: i_382357Bottle Size: 750mlBurghound: 92PRACTICING ORGANIC
70% Carignan, 30% Garnacha
This is a newer discovery and we are happy to be able to bring this fabulous wine into the store! Acustic Celler is the project of Albert Jané who grew up helping tend vineyards and learning the craft of winemaking from his family. He worked there until he was 33 years old when he fell in love with the rugged landscape and ancient vineyards of Montsant, an area of north-eastern Spain which surrounds Priorat. Albert left the security of the family business to start his own adventure, Acústic Celler. He chose the winery name to reflect his desire to keep his wines, “unplugged.” In other words, to let the terroir and grapes speak for themselves. The old vines provide an amazing nectar of fruit, which is fermented using natural yeasts. Cautious use of barrel-aging helps the wines achieve maturity without hiding the character of the grapes from which they have been made. The flavors of this wine dance on the tongue and somehow manage to achieve richness and lightness at once. Bravo!
- Item #: i_383451Bottle Size: 750mlORGANICALLY GROWN GRAPES
"Intense aromas of forest fruits, strawberries, raspberries and blackberry jam. In addition, there are balsamic overtones of eucalyptus and mint. On the palate, a freshness and pleasant, subtle tannins, with pleasingly-integrated notes of coconut and vanilla." - WINERY NOTES
"This project was created in 1987 by a couple of oenologists with deep roots in the business: jerezano Eduardo Gómez Palma and riojana María Isabel Bernardo Córdoba de Samaniego. They discovered in La Puebla de Labarca “our own special place, a magical land that offered us everything we needed to create the wines we had imagined”. Their old vines, planted in the banks of the Ebro river, thrive thanks to the sheltering effect of the Sierra Cantabria and to their perfect southwards orientation. Since their very beginning, María Isabel and Eduardo strived to bring to La Rioja Alavesa the innovative techniques they learned while studying abroad, in a time when the labels Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva had lost most of its original sense. Their obsession for quality and innovation is showcased in their recent “Belezos Ecológico”, a great representation of the powerful Rioja Alavesa terroir, made with organic grapes." - ANTALVA IMPORTS
- Item #: i_381221Bottle Size: 750mlIt is an exciting time for Spanish winemaking and particularly for the Priorat region which continues its evolution as a producer of thrilling red wines. Although winemaking has taken place in Priorat for centuries, the region really caught the public’s attention in the 1990’s when several producers blazed a trail, focusing on quality. Today, this area is thriving and the demand for its wines continues to grow.
One of the great names associated with winemaking in Spain is Juan Gil, maker of the hugely popular Clio and El Nido wines, which sell out quickly once we get them in the store. One of Gil’s newer ventures is his exciting project in Priorat which he calls Bluegray, named for the color of the slate soils in his vineyards. Bluegray is a blend of 45% Grenache, 30% Mazuelo (Carignan) and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, which is lush and powerful, yet artfully balanced with pure fruit flavors augmented by minerality imparted by the soils. It is made in a ripe, fruit-forward style which seems tailor-made for the American palate.
Deep ruby with heavy staining of the tears, the nose shows focused ripe black fruit and cherry flavors accented by fresh autumn spices, mineral and spicy notes. On the palate, this wine is full-bodied with very smooth tannins. The fresh fruit flavors on display include blackberry, cherry, currant and blue plums. This shows good balance and drinkability with a long, lingering finish. Enjoy on its own or with grilled and roasted beef, aged cheeses and hearty dishes.
- Item #: i_381888Bottle Size: 750mlJames Suckling: 90WINERY NOTES - "Intense cherry red color. Remarkable aromatic complexity with notes of black fruit, light balsamic and toasted touches that remind of BBQ and a vanilla chocolate cake. Cherry cola, lavender, bright red and black preserves in the mouth, full bodied with rich complexity."
JAMES SUCKLING 90 POINTS - "Light and crisp, but also full of character with some nice red-cherry aromas that pull you back for more and, with each sip, the wine seems to expand a bit more. "
- Item #: i_383314Bottle Size: 750mlWine Spectator: 90What to drink when we’re able to enjoy poolside and patio picnics, summer gatherings and friends and families getting together, again, hopefully very soon? Well, when it comes to red wines in the summer, we’re always on the lookout for the right one-- something loaded with flavor and texture while not being so structurally huge as to turn day drinking into nap time. Heeeeere’s Carlos! But who is Carlos Serres?
"Wine has a history. And history is full of wine. That of Carlos Serres (Charles, in French) is one of them. One of those which happen once in a lifetime and perdure. Not only because he saw in Haro a perfect place to make wine of great quality but, above all, because he envisaged a new horizon for Rioja wine not considered until then: international exports.
A perfect place to make wines that met the quality, flavor and personality expectations of the most discerning international palates. Elegant wines with a Rioja flavor, ready to conquer; even overseas."
Nose: Plum, redcurrant, balsa wood, hint of mint, pepper spice.
Palate: Dried plum, fruit reduction, strawberry/cherry, white pepper, cacao nibs, hillside florals, forward tannins with balanced acidity, finish of fruit and earth. Balanced, not heavy, great with grilled foods, tapas, cheeses, etc., great bang-for-the-buck value!
WINE SPECTATOR 90 POINTS; BEST VALUE - "This supple red is balanced and expressive. Cherry, vanilla, orange peel and spice notes mingle over light tannins, supported by citrusy acidity. Not a big wine, but has focus and energy. Drink now through 2025."
- Item #: i_383003Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 93Wine Spectator: 93Vinous Media: 94James Suckling: 95JAMES SUCKLING 95 POINTS - "A tight and linear red now with very long and direct palate that is driven and intense. Medium to full body, bright blackberry and mineral character. Just a baby now. Give it three to four years to soften. A beauty. Try in 2021."
ANTONIO GALLONI; VINOUS 94 POINTS - "Saturated, brilliant ruby. Explosive, seductively perfumed aromas of dark berry preserves, cherry-cola, incense, floral oils and vanilla, along with suggestions of mocha, licorice and woodsmoke. Sweet and seamless in the mouth, offering intense blackberry, cherry preserve and violet pastille flavors and allspice, coconut and star anise flourishes. Distinctly rich yet energetic as well, finishing with resonating floral and spice character, well-integrated tannins and superb mineral-driven persistence."
WINE SPECTATOR 93 POINTS -"This balanced red shows muscle without losing grace. Black cherry, leafy, forest floor and toasty notes mingle over well-integrated tannins in a silky texture, with fresh acidity giving way to a floral, minerally finish. Not showy, but harmonious. Drink now through 2030."
WINE ADVOCATE 93 POINTS - "The analysis of the 2015 Imperial Reserva is almost identical to those of the Viña Real Reserva from the same vintage, but the profile is quite different. This is the more serious Haro-style red, and it has slightly darker fruit and a medium to full-bodied palate with very good grip, powerful but with great balance. The blend is also similar—85% Tempranillo and the rest split between Graciano, Mazuelo and Garnacha—but these are grapes from Rioja Alta fermented with yeasts selected from their own vineyards. The wine matured in French and American oak barrels for two years. The wines are different, but the quality level is similar."
- Item #: i_377415Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 90James Suckling: 9385% Tempranillo with 15% Garnacha, Graciano, & Mazuelo
JAMES SUCKLING 93 POINTS - "A very fresh and clean wine with plums, dark berries and hints of cedar. Medium to full body, integrated tannins and a bright finish. Excellent now."
WINE ADVOCATE 90 POINTS - "The 2015 Cune Reserva is the classical blend of Tempranillo with 15% Garnacha, Graciano and Mazuelo. It's approachable and easy to drink without being banal, the entry-level wine of the Reserva range if you like. It has a mixture of red and black fruit and good ripeness without excess. In fact, it feels quite fresh for the natural conditions of the year, which was very warm and dry."
- Item #: i_383197Bottle Size: 750ml100% Tempranillo
This is another well-made youthful Rioja from higher-altitude vineyards in a very good vintage. It has a juicy, medium-bodied palate with subtle, good quality oak coming through as a hint of vanilla and a clean, fresh finish that is lightly warming with a touch of lingering ripe fruit skins.
- Item #: i_380785Bottle Size: 750MLThe 2015 is La Rioja Alta Vina Alberdi Reserva Tinto is a lively, medium depth, garnet–red color with an intense pink rim. High aromatic intensity with dominating ripe fruit: raspberries, red cherries, wild strawberries and red currants set out against a balsamic background of vanilla, toasted caramel, biscuits, coffee and sweet mints. In the mouth, you can enjoy good acidity, great freshness and balance and mild, friendly tannins. Aromatic harmony persists through the aftertaste, with notes of red fruit jam, prunes, coffee, vanilla and caramel.
- Item #: i_380595Bottle Size: 750MLTIM ATKIN 93 POINTS - "Mixing fruit from the various villages in the Rioja Alta with 15% fruit from Laguardia and Lanciego, this stylish, Tempranillo-dominated Reserva is made to a commendably consistent quality. Aged in French oak, it's dense, concentrated yet refreshing with bramble, black cherry and nutmeg flavors and fresh acidity."
- Item #: i_380422Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 93Wine Spectator: 92James Suckling: 93JAMES SUCKLING 93 POINTS - "So fresh and elegant with more than enough concentration and structure, this is a fine example of a 2015 Reserva. Ripe-blackberry, licorice, smoke and bourbon notes. I love the velvety texture of the long, intense finish. Better from 2019 and with long aging potential."
WINE ADVOCATE 93 POINTS - "The red blend 2015 Rioja Reserva is 80% Tempranillo with 12% Graciano, 6% Mazuelo and 2% Garnacha, a little more Graciano and Mazuelo, something logical in ripe and warm years like 2015. It's produced with grapes from a diversity of the 30 different plots within the estate, to represent the character of if. It fermented in stainless steel and matured in American oak barrels for 18 months. It's spicy and somewhat balsamic, with some dusty tannins."
- Item #: i_379419Bottle Size: 750mlORGANICALLY GROWN GRAPES
WINE ADVOCATE 92 POINTS - "The 2015 La Garnacha de la Madre is pure Garnacha Tintorera (or Alicante Bouschet) fermented with indigenous yeast in stainless steel and aged in concrete vats for one year before it was bottled. This is only the second vintage of this very personal wine, which has a completely different nose from the rest of the wines from the winery, but it's also different from the majority of other Garnacha Tintorera wines. It has aromas of cured meat, flowers, a touch of tree bark that made me think of a Monastrell and a touch of flint stone. The absence of oak makes the wine very pure. Even the color is different, not as dark as others, with a palate marked by the limestone, fine-grained and polished tannins. This is truly surprising, wild elegance. "
With the first release of their Garnacha de la Madre the team at Mas Que Vinos came out with guns blazing. They’ve long produced some of the very best value wines to be found anywhere in the world, but here they showcase one of their very special vineyard parcels. Garnacha Tintorrera, also known as Alicante Bouchet, is planted throughout the Iberian Peninsula (though it is rare), but it shines particularly bright in the climate just south of Madrid. The Garnacha Tintorrera planted here seems to be particularly unique, differing quite a bit from other plantings around the country. Here the warm days and very cool nights, with daily temperature swings up to 60 degrees Fahrenheit, allow the grapes to fully and slowly ripen all while maintaining tons of refreshing acidity.
The La Madre Vineyard sits in a small valley, protected from the winds but, because it’s lower than the surrounding area, it’s much cooler and prone to frost. This “Mother” vineyard is the source of all of the new plantings that they’ve put in over the course of the past few decades. And, with a nod to local tradition, the wine is aged in concrete and 90-year-old clay amphora, as opposed to oak barrels. This helps maintain the bright, floral/spice notes in the wine, which would be lost if the wine were in barrel.
- Item #: i_383416Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 94James Suckling: 96Jeb Dunnuck: 95JEB DUNNUCK 95 POINTS - "The 2015 Selección Especial checks in as 70% Tempranillo and the balance Garnacha, Mazuelo, and Graciano that's an old vine and terroir selection. Aged 6 months in new oak followed by 24 months in 90% French oak and 10% American oak, it has a beautiful bouquet of blueberries, black raspberries, crushed violets, incense, and cedar. This gives way to a full-bodied, rich, powerful wine that has an incredible sense of elegance and finesse on the palate. It's a brilliant Rioja that can be drunk today or cellared for 10-15 years or more."
JAMES SUCKLING 96 POINTS - "The balance and purity to this wine is really impressive with blackberries, black truffles and dark fruit. Wet earth. Full body. Tight and compact. Structured, long and powerful. Superb length. Compressed and polished texture. Drink in 2022."
WINE ADVOCATE 94 POINTS - "The very perfumed, expressive and floral 2015 Selección Especial is a lot fresher than the stereotype of the vintage I had before I tasted 2015 widely. It's a year that has turned out fresher than what the weather during the growing season pointed at. It was a dry and warm year, but the wines have very good freshness, which in this case feels exceptional. My first surprise was how aromatic and open the wine is for such a young age, with aromas of lavender and other Mediterranean herbs jumping from the glass. I expected that from the 2016s, but I thought the 2015 was going to be more closed and reticent. The palate is medium to full-bodied with fine-grained tannins, balanced, fresh and very clean. This combines energy and elegance with classical Rioja character."
- Item #: i_380276Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 95James Suckling: 98JAMES SUCKLING 98 POINTS - "This is an extremely powerful, confident wine. So young and so complex. Immaculate black cherries, plums and blackberries and deeply integrated, spicy oak that's super fresh. The power and build is staggering. It's so rich and so balanced with seamless plum-flavored tannins. Perfect!"
WINE ADVOCATE 95 POINTS - "In the end, they also showed me the 2015 Torre Muga, even though the wine had only been in bottle for three months. There were no substantial changes in the way this was made—in provenance of the grape, the fermentation or élevage—even though they fine-tune the use of the oak in every vintage. I don't think I've ever tasted such a young and fruit-driven Torre Muga, and even though it felt a little dizzy from the recent bottling, it had great purity and such a structure and build that it is going to need some time in bottle. But this looks like a better vintage than the 2014."
- Item #: i_383252Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 95For those who love "terroir wines," Raul Perez is one of those people to follow no matter what they make. He has a seemingly innate winemaking talent and an intimate working knowledge of his vineyards near his hometown of Valtuille de Abajo in the Bierzo region of Northwestern Spain. We're particularly excited to sell some of his latest releases from the 2018 vintage, which Raul thinks was the best in at least a decade, if not in his 25 years of making wine there! This is reflected in some great reviews from The Wine Advocate, which you can check out below.
The climate and soils of Bierzo are a distinct departure from the Mediterranean coast and the semi-arid high plains and valleys of inland Spain: it's distinctly cooler and wetter from the greater Atlantic influence. Naturally, distinct varieties of grapes thrive here, dominated by Mencia for red wines and Godello for whites. Mencia-driven wines from Bierzo can traverse a style between Oregon Pinot Noir and Rhone Valley Syrah: they have a moderate amount of velvet-textured tannins with spicy, mineral sensations, and floral aromas along with both dark and red fruits, like brambly blackberry and fresh cherry. Godello shares some things in common with dry Chenin Blanc from the Loire Valley and the best sites of South Africa, with subtle flavors ranging from the citrus family (lemon, grapefruit, & orange), quince, and stone fruits (peach & nectarine) along with a broad mouthfeel and crystalline or crushed rock 'minerality' on the palate that can carry a mouthwatering saline sensation like in good Chablis.
Mr. Perez's winemaking philosophy is at the same time traditional and innovative, involving harvesting from old, mixed-variety vineyards in which he practices organic farming, and with native yeast fermentations that proceed leisurely. Depending on the wine, aging takes place in a mix of concrete, amphorae, and mostly older barrels that provide slow oxygenation without covering those carefully developed flavors. Raul also minimizes the use of sulfites, a risky choice in winemaking, but for him it's a requirement. None of the wines are filtered or fined.
WINE ADVOCATE 95 POINTS - "2018 is a great vintage: The cycle was long and Godello ripened properly, so they avoided the excess bitterness on the finish, as you can see in the 2018 La Vizcaína La del Vivo. It's made the same way as in previous years: they use 500-liter oak barrels and one amphora with skins and flor that is used for the final blend. Having such perfect ripeness, the wine is very tasty, and there's no fruit but a lot more austerity-they select the vineyards (around two hectares) for that straight and austere character (there is a little bit of Doña Blanca too, which adds to the austerity). It has a saline palate and some rugosity, complex, with no room for sweetness. I think this could live 10 years and develop great complexity. In 2019, they replaced some of the barrels with a 2,500-liter oak foudre. This is the most austere and serious white in its finest vintage. A white for purists and one that is going to develop very slowly. There are 4,000 bottles of this. It was bottled in September 2019."
Godello and Dona Blanca.
- Item #: i_383629Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 94WINE ADVOCATE 94 POINTS - "The 2015 Lindes de Remelluri Viñedos de San Vicente de la Sonsierra is mostly Tempranillo with some Garnacha from vines in that village, and it's the finest of the four wines from Lindes that I tasted this time. It is floral, elegant and harmonious, with no excess in any way. The palate is medium-bodied with very fine tannins and a long finish."
- Item #: i_378110Bottle Size: 750mlJames Suckling: 94ORGANICALLY GROWN GRAPES
JAMES SUCKLING 94 POINTS - "Really polished and fine with dark-berry, chocolate, cedar and spice character. Full body. Round and chewy tannins. Flavorful finish. Lovely length and focus. Drink now."
This modern style Rioja comes from the outstanding Roda estate, which, like Marques de Vargas, produces only reserva wines. This state-of-the-art winery strives to achieve the maximum potential of the Tempranillo grape. The wine is aged in French oak for just twelve months, with the remaining 24 months being spent in bottle. This is a markedly different approach to La Rioja Alta, and the result is stunning. Sumptuous, silky fruit bursts from the glass. Hand on heart, this is a magnificent example of a modern Rioja.
- Item #: i_380301Bottle Size: 750MLLike all the Telmo Rodriguez wines from Toro, Dehesa Gago is 100% Tinto de Toro (the local clone of Tempranillo). Dehesa gago Gago is picked by hand from bush vines, and fermented in neutral cement casks and stainless steel. It is then aged for 4-6 months in cement tanks.
The distinctive red soils produce a Tinto de Toro (the local clone of Tempranillo) with tremendous fruit concentration, ripeness, acidity, tannins and structure. Dehesa Gago is the wine Telmo has used to discover and understand the vineyards of Toro, a pure wine that showcases the fruit.
- Item #: i_379482Bottle Size: 750mlWine Spectator: 9577% Carinena (Carignan), 23% Garnacha (Grenache)
WINE SPECTATOR 95 POINTS - "This red is exuberant and structured. Ripe yet focused flavors of raspberry, currant and kirsch mingle with savory herb, espresso and mineral notes, supported by muscular but well-integrated tannins and enough acidity to keep the heady flavors in balance. A statement wine, not for the faint of heart. Carignan and Garnacha. Best from 2020 through 2035."
A tribute to a village, its townspeople and its indigenous old-vines. The winery lies in the tiny village of Porrera in the highly-acclaimed appellation of Priorat. Here, the magnificent, century-old vineyard estates of Vall Llach are home to 60- to 90-year-old Cariñena and Garnacha vines.
The old vines naturally produce low yields, and Vall Llach reduces yields even further through careful vineyard management. Vineyards climb steep slate hillsides, receiving optimum sun exposure and little water, further concentrating the fruit. Lovers of rich and concentrated wines with dark fruit flavors will be thrilled with this one.
- Item #: i_383599Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 96WINE ADVOCATE 96 POINTS - "The 2015 Valbuena, a red blend of mostly Tempranillo with some 5% Merlot, is released in the fifth year after the harvest. It's explosive and showy, with a complex nose that shows a mixture of flowers and wild herbs, balsamic touches and great nuance. This wine has gained in complexity since the 2010 vintage, where they implemented some changes that increased the expressivity and precision of this wine. The tannins are fine-grained and there is very good balance, and the warm conditions of the year have been absorbed well by the wine. Despite the natural conditions of the year, the wine follows the path of freshness of the 2010."