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_380255Bottle Size: 750MLJames Suckling: 92JAMES SUCKLING 92 POINTS - "The sliced plum and black-cherry aromas are so enticing. Flowers, too. Medium to full body. Integrated and polished tannins. Round and lengthy, giving intensity and beauty."
Pago Florentino is one of only 13 Denominaciones de Origen de Pago existing in Spain as of 2009. This is the highest category on the quality scale of Spanish wines and means that in addition to having a proven track record of consistent quality, the wines have to be both produced from single estate-grown vineyards and also have to be processed and aged in the winery (bodega) located on the estate. This DO de Pago is located in the municipality of Malagón, in the province of Ciudad Real (Castile-La Mancha, Spain) and acquired its status on 20 August 2009.
- Item #: i_382464Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 91WINE ADVOCATE 91 POINTS - "The new impressive red blend 2016 Cabriola mixes Garnacha with Syrah and a touch of Cariñena (Mazuelo), and despite its 15.5% alcohol, it feels harmonious and balanced in an XL way. It comes in a heavy Burgundy bottle, closed with a quality cork, and it all feels like a more expensive wine. It has a modern profile, but the oak is neatly integrated and folded into the fruit that is ripe and juicy. The tannins are fine and the flavors focused. The price feels too good to be true (if it retails in Spain for €11). They produced 96,000 bottles that were filled after 12 months in oak barrels.
- Item #: i_382919Bottle Size: 750mlLegendary Australian Winemaker Chris Ringland and partner Jorge Ordonez have set out to make explosive, rarified bottlings twice before, with Alto Moncayo & El Nido “Clio.” Triga is the newest of these partnerships, this time centered on a local partnership with Tarima/Tarima Hill in Alicante, Spain. The blend is very similar to the early bottlings of El Nido “Clio,” made primarily of extremely low-yielding Monastrell (aka Mourvedre), from mountainside vineyards (the oldest planted in 1925), with a small amount of Cabernet Sauvignon added to the blend (planted in 1981).
Triga is the hedonistic luscious masterpiece that fans of Alto Moncayo and El Nido “Clio” would expect. Look for an inky, purple black color; ripe blueberry and liqueur-like blackberry fruit complimented by a range of exotic spices. Triga overflows with richness and power, but the vineyard sits on a mountain of fossilized chalk. This limestone influence shows with added minerality and a vibrant, red currant-like raciness underlying the fruit.
- Item #: i_385000Bottle Size: 750mlPRACTICING ORGANIC FARMING
This is a wine from southern Priorat, which marks with a lively, warm and fragrant vein the serious, deep and enigmatic character of old vineyards. Blackberry aromas with balsamic notes typical of the brushwood. The palate is remarkably mature and fresh at the same time. It has a natural elegance, as the vision of a landscape where the passage of centuries have managed to harmonize everything. It’s like an invitation from nature.
- Item #: i_381381Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 90Wine Spectator: 90Wine Enthusiast: 90WINE SPECTATOR 90 POINTS - "Black cherry, red plum, licorice and smoke flavors mingle in this round red. Shows good density, while orange peel acidity and light tannins keep this focused. Drink now through 2028. 375,000 cases made, 10,000 cases imported."
WINE ENTHUSIAST 90 POINTS - "Berry, spice and tobacco aromas work in unison to give this Crianza a nice start. A firm palate avoids jamminess and shows grip. Dark plum, raspberry, spice and pepper flavors hold on through the finish. For everyday Rioja, there isn't much better than this."
WINE ADVOCATE 90 POINTS - "The red 2016 Cune Crianza is an affordable and classical blend of Tempranillo with some 15% Garnacha and Mazuelo that is easy to drink and understand, with a soft palate and an approachable profile. It has a bright nose with red fruit rather than black, quite aromatic and expressive. The palate is soft and approachable, very easy to drink, with a touch of freshness. They produced a whopping 4.5 million bottles of this! The bottle I tasted was bottled in April 2019 after 12 months in barrique. There are eight different lots of this wine that are bottled throughout the year, for which they try to make the most homogeneous blend possible, but some variation is inevitable. But the overall quality of this year is certainly higher than the previous one."
In Rioja, wines are labeled according to the amount of time spent aging in oak. A wine designated as Crianza must be aged in oak for a minimum of a year while the Reserva and Gran Reservas require more extensive aging. As you probably know from previous emails, Cune is one of our favorite producers from Rioja and consistently over-delivers. The name Cune is actually an acronym for Compania Vinicola del Norte del Espana (the Northern Spanish Wine Company). It was founded in 1879 in the famed Rioja Alta region and the winery is still run by descendants of the founding family. Since its inception, Cune has been focused on the production and aging of wines based on Spain's great noble grape.
- Item #: i_381222Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 91Wine Spectator: 9190% Tempranillo, 10% Garnacha, Mazuelo, & Graciano
WINE ADVOCATE 91 POINTS - " matured in French and American oak barrels for 13 to 14 months, during which time it was racked every five or six months. It's expressive, deliciously aromatic, floral and elegant, reflecting a cool year that delivered fresh wines that seem to be very approachable early on. 2016 is a pretty vintage, but this wine is not banal; it has depth and complexity that's remarkable for the price point. The palate is fresh and balanced, with fine tannins. "
WINE SPECTATOR 91 POINTS - "This red is dense and focused, with cherry, berry and vanilla flavors that emerge as the tannins give way, leading to a floral and spicy finish. Drink now through 2031."
Cune`s Viña Real winery is located on top of the Cerro de la Mesa, in Rioja Alavesa, an area celebrated for its fruit-forward wines, a land with a soil that supports the best native red wine grape varieties and that enjoys an optimum mesoclimate. Most vines here grow from the highlands of the Sierra de Cantabria down to the Ebro River on southern-facing slopes the calcareous sediment of the hills makes the soil ideal. Rioja Alavesa was one of Spain`s pioneering regions in the barrel-aging of wines, and Viña Real was one of the first to make crianza wines in this area.
Cune has been a long time staff and customer favorite from Rioja. Over the years we have had the privilege of tasting their Gran Reservas as far back as the 50’s. Our reactions are always the same, we ooh and awe, treasuring every sip.
- Item #: i_382194Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 98WINE ADVOCATE 98 POINTS - "The floral, aromatic and citrusy 2016 Espectacle del Montsant has unusual finesse and freshness. It's a powerful Garnacha that feels light on its feet but with great inner strength, refined tannins and great acidity. There is no oak, extraction or excess ripeness whatsoever, but the label says the wine is 16% alcohol! It has structure, freshness and that citrus touch that supports the alcohol, and the wine comes through as really balanced. This is a unique wine, always with the aromatic signature of this north-facing vineyard and the limestone soils that provide those chalky tannins and a dry, tasty, almost salty finish. 6,500 bottles produced."
- Item #: i_383644Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 92Jeb Dunnuck: 92WINE ADVOCATE 92 POINTS - "Grapes from younger vines are used for the 2016 Les Crestes, which is also released earlier...matured in second use French oak barrels for eight months. 2016 was a dry growing season saved by a cooler September with some rain, which resulted in a relaxed and long harvest of grapes with good ripeness and acidity. It's young, tender and aromatic, a gentle Priorat with a juicy palate and a fresh personality. Really attractive and pleasant."
JEB DUNNUCK 92 POINTS - The 2016 Les Crestes checks in as 80% Garnacha and 10% each of Cariñena and Syrah, brought up in neutral French oak. Outstanding notes of black cherries, blackberries, graphite, lead pencil shavings, violets and beautiful minerality all emerge from the glass and this beauty is ripe, plump, rounded, and incredibly textured on the palate, with sweet tannin. It's a beautifully pure, sexy little fruit bomb to drink over the coming 4-5 years.
WINEMAKER NOTES - "Cherry red in color, this wine offers aromas of red fruit, ripe fruit and mountain herbs with floral notes. On the palate, it is balanced, structured and tasty."
- Item #: i_382644Bottle Size: 750mlJeb Dunnuck: 93JEB DUNNUCK 93 POINTS - "Also 100% Monastrell but a selection of old, head-trained vines, the 2016 Mira Salinas was brought up in a mix of new, once-, and twice-used barrels. Its deep ruby/plum color is followed by a Bandol-like bouquet of smoked black fruits, earth, meat, and spice. It's rich, medium to full-bodied, has beautiful fruit, good acidity, and plenty of tannins, and it's a classic, balanced Monastrell that more than over-delivers at the price. These are custom cuvées for Jorge Ordonez that are only brought into the US."
- Item #: i_382603Bottle Size: 750mlWine Enthusiast: 90WINE ENTHUSIAST 90 POINTS #1 BEST BUYS 2020 - "Fresh berry and red plum aromas are lifted by complementary notes of oak grain and vanilla. This value-priced crianza from a very good year feels flush but primed by punchy acidity. Red plum, berry and a hint of wood spice make for a classic Rioja flavor profile, while this remains tasty and fresh on the finish. Evaton, Inc.
- Item #: i_379330Bottle Size: 750mlJames Suckling: 95PRACTICING ORGANIC FARMING
Tempranillo and Garnacha, with Mazuelo and Graciano.
JAMES SUCKLING 95 POINTS - "This is really tight and powerful with gorgeous tannins and solid fruit. Full body. Tight and composed. Wet earth, smoked meat and hints of black truffles. Very long and powerful. Wonderful length. Real Rioja. One of the top best-value, high-quality reds in Spain. Drink or hold."
- 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_378458Bottle Size: 750mlWine Spectator: 90WINE SPECTATOR 90 POINTS - "This red is dense and polished. Muted flavors of plum, fig pudding, loamy earth and toast mingle over solid tannins and balsamic acidity. Reserved but balanced and harmonious. Drink now through 2028."
- Item #: i_385002Bottle Size: 750mlCERTIFIED ORGANIC
Very fragrant, with the French oak contributing vanilla and sweet spice, and the primary aromas reminiscent of macerated plum, boysenberry and flowers, along with a creamy-savory note from fermentation.
- Item #: i_378544Bottle Size: 750MLPago de los Capellanes is one of our favorite Spanish wines and we have proudly carried it at Hi-Time for many years. Nestled deep in the heart of the Ribera del Duero region, "Pago's" vineyards only grow Tinto Fino or Tempranillo grapes, the variety indigenous to the region. "Pago de los Capellanes" (Land of the Chaplains) is named in honor of the clergy who were stewards of the property for centuries. This wine continues to impress, delivering outstanding quality and value. Tempranillo grapes are hand-harvested and aged in new French oak barrels (1 to 3 years) until they reach optimal maturity for blending.
- Item #: i_383122Bottle Size: 750mlAfter a long standing relationship with Alpha Omega Collective, Hi-Time Wine Cellars is pleased to offer first access to Perinet Merit 2016.
Alpha Omega Collective encompasses three world-class wineries, Alpha Omega in Napa Valley, Tolosa in Edna Valley and Perinet in Spain's Priorat, the terror-driven estates are guided by exceptionally talented viticulturists and winemakers. Alpha Omega's Bordeaux-inspired releases, Tolosa's Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays, and Perinet's Mediterranean reds each embody a sense of place from where they originate. In an age of winemaking homogeny, it is unique to experience the distinctive accents of each region while still appreciating the trio's harmonic familial relationship.
The wine is a blend of 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 25% Syrah, 5% Grenache and 5% Carignan Aged 12 months in stainless steel with 40% in 2-year old French oak. This wine expresses the pure essence of Priorat's licorella slate soil. On the nose the wine shows spices and wet stones evolving to ripe red fruits and forest floor. On the palate you find wild berry fruit notes such as blackberry and plums, enhanced by elegant, light tannins with iron-driven minerality throughout the palate.
- Item #: i_380469Bottle Size: 750MLProducing this single varietal wine was somewhat controversial at the time. Other producers such as Vega Sicilia made their wines with Bordeaux varietals as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec. Fernandez soon gained international acclaim for his wines and other winemakers followed his lead and began making wine in the area. Pesquera’s style has remained the same over the years and continues to be a rich, powerful and fragrant wine with juicy dark fruit flavors. This wine pairs well with hearty dishes and is delicious to drink on its own.
As always, Pesquera has delivered a seamless, full-bodied delicious wine. Enjoy this iconic Spanish wine at a reduced price while you can.
Pesquera's bright red color reveals its youth and ample concentration. On the nose, the wine's intense bouquet reveals dark fruit framed by toasted oak aromas. Flavors of black cherry and plum are augmented by notions of spices and vanilla. On the palate, the smooth entry becomes lush with abundant ripe fruit and silky tannins. The presence of well-integrated oak complements the wine and leads to a refined, long-lasting finish.
- Item #: i_381138Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 96+PRACTICING ORGANIC
We love the wines of Raul Perez, not only because they walk the appetizing line between fruity and savory, but because they are like impressionist landscapes of their home. Over the last 15 years Raul Perez has gained a strong following because of his prolific 'vinography', including wines that explore the growing areas near his hometown of Valtuille de Abajo in the region of Bierzo. Bierzo is a departure from the inland valleys and Mediterranean coast as it's distinctly cooler and wetter due to its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, though well protected from storms, nestled in a mountainous amphitheater. Naturally, distinct varieties of grapes thrive here, dominated by Mencia for red wines, whose style roams the spaces between Cote de Nuits Pinot Noir, Loire Valley Cabernet Franc, and Northern Rhone Syrah depending on the character of the vintage and site.
Mr. Perez's winemaking philosophy is very classical, involving harvesting from old, mixed variety vineyards in which he practices organic farming, with native yeast fermentations that proceed leisurely as the whole grape clusters slowly break down; he then leaves the juice in contact with skins for long periods (a total of 1-3 months!) to gently extract the right amount of flavor and texture for the desired style. Aging takes place in older, used barrels that provide slow oxygenation without covering those carefully developed flavors with oak. Raul also avoids adding sulfites, a risky choice in winemaking, but for him it's a requirement.
This flagship wine is made from a single vineyard, 'Las Villegas', planted at the end of the 1800s. This is the darkest and richest of the wines, with black fruits and tobacco, showing oak influence through its woody & cocoa aromas, and herbal-balsam notes that he describes as reminiscent of an apothecary. With the 2016 vintage the Wine Advocate points out that "the grapes are a lot more concentrated, with more tannin and structure," but that the wine still “has great freshness and perfume...It's really outstanding." This is the wine to age if you're so inclined!"
WINE ADVOCATE 96+ POINTS - "There are only 1,000 bottles of the 2016 Ultreia Valtuille (the new name, as all labels have been simplified and cleaned up, and some of the names have even been shortened). The crop was greatly reduced because of mildew, and the grapes are a lot more concentrated, with more tannin and structure, and they had to do a much longer élevage, up to 24 months in barrique. Despite its concentration and power, it has great freshness and perfume. You don't find excess tannin, and it seems like the time in barrel has really polished the edges. It's really outstanding."
Ultreia de Valtuilleis a red wine of very limited production, its first vintage held great international acclaim. "Ultreia" was the greeting that formerly used by pilgrims who were on the road to Santiago. It is a Latin word which today would translate as "forward" or "continue". Ultreia de Valtuille is a single variety of Mencia old variety made with grapes from a single farm, "The Villegas" located in the small town of Valtuille. It is an estate of just over 1 hectare of old vines, planted in 1908, on a calcareous clay soil with lots of sand on the surface. It is located at 530 metres above sea level and has an Atlantic-continental climate, which is cold yet with a relatively moderate climate as it is an area located halfway between the land and the coast. The wine production is done without much intervention. Fermentation takes place in vats. After the fermentation, there is a long maceration and extraction. Ultreia de Valtuille spends 14-15 months aging in French oak barrels used for wine. Once matured, it is bottled without filtering or clarification. Raúl Pérez is a connoisseur of the Mencia variety, with Ultreia de Valtuille one of his masterpieces.
- Item #: i_378110Bottle Size: 750mlJames Suckling: 95Hi-Time has been supporters of Bodegas Roda’s wines for a long time, so it’s no surprise that they should be included in our list of Top Spanish Wines of 2020! Founded in the 1980s, it’s a relative newcomer in this old winemaking region, but they quickly earned a reputation as a top-tier producer of Rioja by committing to quality in all areas of modern winemaking, from vine to bottle. Part of that quality comes from farming the land without synthetic chemicals.
Their flagship wine, called Roda I, carries the structure of a fine Bordeaux, built to age. But like the Bordelais, they have given us a “second wine” that’s approachable now: the Roda Reserva. This is modern Rioja defined in a glass. It’s vinified and aged in French oak (American oak as traditionalists might use) for a subtler contribution of vanilla and oak spice. They also age their wines less before release than more traditional styles, opting for a more youthful, primary expression of the grapes. The varieties are classic, of course: Tempranillo (85%), Graciano (9%) and Garnacha (6%).
The wine has a sleek freshness that gives it a medium-full weight and avoids plush & sweetly-fruited territory, maintaining instead the classic, dry Rioja style. It carries tightly packed aromas and flavors of dark fruits (like macerated blackberry and black plum) and floral hints, with the oak contributing a rich nuttiness (almost chocolatey), along with subtle vanilla and spice. The overlying texture is soft with well-integrated oak adding breadth, but is supported by a fine-grained, moderately chewy tannin that will make this a great partner for heavy tapas and lean, grilled or roasted meats. Serve at cellar temperature and give it some time to open up in the glass.
JAMES SUCKLING 95 POINTS - "Blackberry and bark with some black-tea undertones on the nose. The firm, fine and polished tannins are very long and very pretty and add tension and finesse to this wine. Medium body and a lovely texture. Drink or hold."
- Item #: i_381488Bottle Size: 750mlThe vineyards belonging to Bodega Sierra Cantabria are composed of soils made of calcareous-clay and poor in organic matter, nutrients and minerals. This wine is a Tempranillo based blend with some Graciano, aged in both French and American Oak. A red wine with a strong primary character ,very aromatic, perceptible tannin but ripe with good acidity and structure, character and expressive. Pure character!
- Item #: i_381549Bottle Size: 750ml100% Tempranillo
This Crianza has inviting fresh aromas, with flavors of bing cherry, boysenberry, toast, coconut & vanilla, and licorice. Soft, with a persistent, earthy finish.
Aged in 80% American and 20% French oak for 12 months.