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_377592Bottle Size: 750mlGUIA PENIN (PENIN GUIDE OF SPANISH WINES) 94 POINTS
Bodegas Alto Moncayo is a winery located in the area covered by the Campo de Borja Denominación de Origen (DO, wine quality standard). It was founded in 2002 with the aim of turning it into a world reference for Garnacha wines of the highest quality, prepared from native vine clones.
‘Alto Moncayo’ is the flagship of the winery (though they make a special wine above this called "Aquilon"). It is also another single-grape variety of Garnacha, from vines between 40 and 70 years old, aged in new barrels for 20 months. It has a remarkable complex nose, with balsamic aromas, redolent of black fruit, roasted notes and a very good structure in the mouth.
- Item #: i_378524Bottle Size: 750MLBodegas Alto Moncayo is a winery located in the area covered by the Campo de Borja Denominación de Origen (DO, wine quality standard). It was founded in 2002 with the aim of turning it into a world reference for Garnacha wines of the highest quality, prepared from native vine clones.
‘Veraton’ is the third wine we produce from the Garnacha grape, from vines between 30 and 50 years old, and aged in barrels for 16 months. It is a wine with an attractive collection of balsamic notes, of chocolate and black fruits, very warm in the mouth and an extremely pleasant finish.
- Item #: i_378696Bottle Size: 750MLJames Suckling: 92Decanter: 9255% Garnacha & 45% Carinena
DECANTER 92 POINTS - "Luxurious aromas of plums, violets and cedar with delicious red fruit quality. Palate is fresh, with nice concentration and soft tannins."
JAMES SUCKLING 92 POINTS - "Enveloping black-cherry and blueberry aromas, but also notes of licorice and smoke. A bold and powerful Priorat with discreet oak and plenty of freshness. The tannins are supple and beautifully integrated, the finish generous and polished."
While originally conceived of as a value wine, Les Terrasses "Velles Vignes" has slowly evolved into the essence of what makes Priorat special. Drawing on 15+ years of study, Terrasses is sourced from many of the region's steepest and oldest vineyards-many of them north-facing to avoid the intense afternoon sun. With the 2007 vintage, Alvaro acknowledged Les Terrasses' "graduation" by adding the "Velles Vignes" designation to the label.
The son of the owners of Rioja's Palacios Remondo, Alvaro Palacios spent his early 20s working and studying winemaking outside of Spain. His experience abroad - particularly in Bordeaux - instilled in him a deep passion for great wines and led him to return to Spain. With the ambition to make wines that could be world-class. To achieve this dream, Palacios was drawn to the historic hillsides of slate soil and its traditional grape varieties of Garnacha and Carinena. Now widely considered to be among the more important new Spanish wineries in a generation, Alvaro Palacios embodies the spirit of "The New Spain."
- Item #: i_377848Bottle Size: 750mlJames Suckling: 94ORGANICALLY GROWN GRAPES
JAMES SUCKLING 94 POINTS - "Impressive, rich, dark-cherry and blackberry aromas with nicely cut oak influence. The palate has a sleek, smooth-honed feel with such impressive freshness and depth. Stunning, vibrant finish. 100% tempranillo from several plots around Laguardia. Drink or hold."
Located in the heart of Álava (in the Rioja Alavesa region), Artadi owns 83 hectares of vineyards planted in soils with a wide geological diversity. Clay, gravel and limestone primarily compose this particular balance of nutrient-poor soils with varying microclimates. These unique vineyard sites give singularity to the wines, whose most notable qualities are transparency of fruit and finesse of tannins.
This is Artadi’s entry-level ‘village wine’ of the village of Laguardia, made from twenty-to-thirty year-old selected vineyards located in the plots of San Martín, Las Ventas, Paulejas, San Julián, Santa Águeda, Castejones, Majadales, Ribaltayo Viejo
- Item #: i_380598Bottle Size: 750mlBurghound: 91James Suckling: 91GUIA PENIN 92 POINTS - "High, cherry-colored depth with a ruby rim. Explosive notes of red and black fruit, fig preserve, hints of toast, Arabica coffee, toffee, spices, menthol and a dash of violets. Bold, meaty and full-bodied, yet a suprising freshness. Good acidity and round through under-ripe tannins give tension and complexity. Long finish."
JAMES SUCKLING 91 POINTS - "Dark fruit with dark tea and hints of mahogany on the nose. Full body. Dense and very rich with walnut and gum-tree flavors. Juicy finish. A rich and decadent wine."
- Item #: i_378495Bottle Size: 750mlJames Suckling: 93Another incredible value from Spain that will pair well with late spring and early summer dining scenarios, quarantine snacks or simple solo sipping? But, of course! Wines from Spain often find their way into our cellars as there are so many differing dimensions to their existence. The country is big on tradition but willing to adapt and innovate for good reason (while not forgetting their history); they have a mostly mediterranean climate, similar to ours in California, so offer wines to drink in our like temperatures; their food traditions and staples are amazing, making for out-of-this-world pairings; they offer world class bottlings at all price levels (some of the best bargains on our ‘ramp o’ value’ are from Spain).
Care Garnacha Nativa checked all the boxes on its way to being featured this month.
The nose offers up scents of ripe red berries, forest floor, dark spices and a touch of old growth forest. Upon tasting, the fresh fruits dominate again with some excellent backup structure and secondary traits. Red plum and raspberry lead the charge as the rich mouthfeel is tempered by ample tannins. Black pepper, earth and cherry cola join the sweet berries as a hint of smoke and cut wood linger in the finish. Simple but serious, this wine offers a lot for its entry price. 93 Points from James Suckling is a pretty impressive calling card, as well. As the weather warms and we start to thinking about grilling and chilling, especially as we’ll be at home for a while yet, it seems, and we want a good warm weather red wine, Care covers it all!
JAMES SUCKLING 93 POINTS - "A juicy and delicious garnacha with crushed berry and chocolate character. Full-bodied yet tight and balanced with ripe tannins and flavor. Drink now or hold."
- Item #: i_381799Bottle Size: 750ml100% Garnacha (Grenache)
A Hi-Time staple! Full-bodied and softly textured with floral, fruity, and spiced character along with toasted accents.
WINERY NOTES - "Hand harvested from very old vineyards, “Monte Alto” and “La Sarda”. These vineyards are located on very arid slate soils on the slopes of the Iberian Mountain range, close to its highest peak, El Moncayo. Aged on its lees in new French oak barrels for 4 months."
- Item #: i_382622Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 97+WINE ADVOCATE 97+ POINTS - "2017 was marked by the frost of April 27 and 28, but the 2017 Tabuerniga was miraculously untouched, as the narrow valley where the vineyard is located escaped the cold northern winds that caused havoc in many other places. But it was a warm and dry year, and the harvest was the earliest ever, delivering ripe wines. The grapes are from organically farmed vines at 540 to 630 meters altitude on terraces, with a field blend of mostly Tempranillo, Garnacha and Graciano. It fermented in 3,000-liter open-top oak vats with indigenous yeasts, and the wine matured in 1,500-liter oak foudres for 14 to 16 months. This is incredibly elegant, floral, expressive and aromatic. It has superb balance, refined tannins and gobsmacking balance. This clearly transcends the vintage, and it's nearly as good as the 2016, perhaps a little more structured. 2,004 bottles were filled in May 2019."
- Item #: i_382032Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 92PRACTICING ORGANIC & BIODYNAMIC FARMING
WINE ADVOCATE 92 POINTS - "The 2017 Mauro, from a very challenging year, feels like a real triumph over the conditions of the harvest, as they had some zones where they didn't have any frost. The wine feels complex and with moderate acidity. Furthermore, they now use 4,000-liter oak foudres for the élevage of part of the wine. This some tannins, and it has grip and balance, a chalky texture and a dry, serious finish. They did shorter macerations and managed to keep the freshness."
Incisive fruitiness, concentrated, creamy and packed with aromas. Opulent, full-bodied and precise on the palate with energy, vitality, balanced acidity, and juicy tannins.
- Item #: i_382927Bottle Size: 750mlGrape Variety: 93% Tempranillo, 5% Graciano, 2% Garnacha
A wine with strength, young, with many things to tell but with the fresh voice of the youth. Very pleasant to drink, easy to blend it with food and especially delicious and fresh. Black cherry, tobacco, toast and mineral flavors mingle in this focused red, with light, firm tannins and crisp acidity. Supple, fresh and balanced.
- Item #: i_377633Bottle Size: 750ml"A dark color and heavy aromas of mint and oak lead the charge on this fully extracted Garnacha Tintorera. A concentrated, gritty palate is home to spicy woody black-fruit flavors, while peppery wood-spice notes dominate a loaded finish. If you're in search of elegance, pass this by; it's all about extraction, oak and black-fruit character" - WINE ENTHUSIAST
- Item #: i_306230Bottle Size: 750mlJames Suckling: 92JAMES SUCKLING 92 POINTS - "A super brambly red that has abundant rich and ripe, dark berry and cherry aromas. The palate is a riot of fresh dark berries and delivers a very plush, sweetly spiced, powder-dry finish. Drink or hold."
Winemaker Notes - "Very intense cherry red color with tones of purple. Great concentration of aromas of ripe red fruit with floral nuances on the nose. In the mouth, it is a well-structured rich wine that evokes tastes of blackberry, plum and tones of leather and vanilla, with soft and silky tannin. Mountain vineyards with an age of 35 to 60 years situated at an altitude of 600-700 meters, on stony, slimy soils with clay and limestone."
- Item #: i_377354Bottle Size: 750mlORGANICALLY GROWN GRAPES
One of the most interesting aspects of winemaking at Clos Mogador is the fact that René presses the grape using an olive press, which has the effect of only extracting half of the amount of juice that a typical wine press would, making the wine 50% more concentrated. Considering that Priorat wines are already highly concentrated, and that "normal" yields are absolutely microscopic (especially compared to other Spanish wine regions such as La Rioja), the wines of Clos Mogador are nearly elixirs. Robert Parker, the influential wine critic, was one of the first international critics to praise the wines of this stunning winery.
- Item #: i_378467Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 93WINE ADVOCATE 93 POINTS - "The 2017 Com Tu is a Garnacha from La Figuera, from white and red soils (with some more clay). It matured in old 4,000- and 5,000-liter oak vats for one year, a shorter élevage, as it's a lighter year. The fruit is a little riper, and the wine is juicy and has the austere tannins of the limestone soils. It reminds me of a Garnacha from Châteauneuf."
This is René Barbier of Clos Mogador's new project. This wine has been created by René Barbier senior, Anderson his adopted son from Haiti and Rene junior, his son. In search of a "little brother" for their flagship wine of Montsant, Espectacle ( retails for over $120) , it is in the village of La Figuera that René Barbier discovered this plot called "Mirarmar". Located a few hundred metres from Espectacle, the Barbiers worked together to market 2015 as the first vintage.
This is a very limited production with an allocation of 500 ( 6 packs) to the US.
- Item #: i_385001Bottle Size: 750mlPRACTICING ORGANIC FARMING
"A field blend of garnatxa blanca vines of 40-80 years old are picked early by hand to preserve acidity. A spontaneous native yeast fermentation in used 500L barrels and tinajas (amphora) is followed by a 4-month maceration on the skins in the same vessels." - De Maison Selections
- Item #: i_376575Bottle Size: 750mlPRACTICING ORGANIC FARMING
This winery, founded in 1973, is currently run by Gerardo Mendez. Gerardo owns 5 hectares. Three hectares are over 50 years old and one is 200 years old. The vineyards follow organic guidelines avoiding the use of pesticides and non-organic fertilizers. Utilizing the latest technology, Gerardo blends the traditional with the modern to produce lively, crisp wines true to their origin. There are two wines produced at the property. The first Albariño Do Ferreiro and the second, produced in very in very limited quantities is Ferreiro Cepas Vellas. The Cepas Vellas is from the vineyard that is 200 years old. These vines are planted on a hillside vineyard of mainly sandy composition that predates any other vineyards in Rias Baixas. The Albariño Do Ferreiro is also from a hillside vineyard greatly influenced by the Atlantic Ocean climate.
- Item #: i_382545Bottle Size: 750mlPRACTICING ORGANIC FARMING
Here’s an exciting new producer from one of the most wild wine regions on earth, the Canary Islands! It’s an old vine red made from Listan Negro, one of the historic mission grapes carried by the Spanish colonists, grown up high on the windswept volcanic hillsides of Tenerife (an island closer to Africa than Spain). This charming Listan Negro starts with delicate floral notes, red pepper spice, flinty/stony mineral and blueberry before layers of plum, fig, chalk dust and lavender unfold lithely on the palate along with a certain medicinal iodine character, and an earthy rustic element that recalls the volcanic soils. This is not really like any other wine region and the wines are always unique, in some ways you see a similar quality to that of Mount Etna on Sicily, if you had to compare, but in many ways it would be unfair to do so, these are really soulful terroir wines in their own right.
A classic minimal-interventionist style, from the ageing in old Burgundy barrels, minimal use of sulfur dioxide, and unfiltered/unfined.
- Item #: i_383112Bottle Size: 750mlPRACTICING ORGANIC AND BIODYNAMIC
UNFILTERED - Cloudy appearance is normal.
"The gentle, rolling hills of Rueda lay claim to being the ancestral home of the noble Verdejo grape. Prized for its firm structure, complexity, and ability to transmit the limestone minerality of the Rueda soils, Verdejo produces one of Spain’s most distinctive white wines…as long as it is farmed well and carefully vinified.
Being farmers first, they strive to go beyond organic, and incorporate many biodynamic practices into their viticulture. In the cellar, Manuel utilizes wild yeasts for fermentation, minimal amounts of sulfur, and no other additions." - JOSE PASTOR SELECTIONS
- Item #: i_373831Bottle Size: 750mlA winner from year to year, this is one of the most popular value wines in the world!
"Deep purple/black color. Explosive aromas of ripe currant, red berries and smoked notes. Rich, powerful and voluminous on the attack, a huge mouthful of crème-de-cassis concentration, silken and juicy in the mid-palate with excellent length and persistence, and a long spicy well-balanced finish including toasted notes provided by the French wood." Winemaker notes
- Item #: i_378841Bottle Size: 750mlORGANICALLY GROWN GRAPES
JOSE PASTOR SELECTIONS - "Crushed cherries, orange zest, and scrub brush garrigue with mouthwatering acidity. Pair this lively red with anything char-grilled over wood fire or roasted on a spit."
Diego Losado, a minimal-interventionist wine grower, is shaking things up in Bierzo, creating wines of intensity, focus, & purity. In the winery, Diego works with a mix of unlined concrete vats and older oak & chestnut casks and foudre with no pumps, battonage or SO2 additions, producing some of the most revolutionary Bierzo wines that we have encountered. The wine is bottled with minimal amount of sulfur dioxide and without filtering/fining.
- Item #: i_378921Bottle Size: 750mlORGANICALLY FARMED & NO ADDED SULFITES
"El Aqueronte comes from a single namesake vineyard of 100% Mencía. The vineyard is full of life, with a huge diversity of flora that grows between the vines. The grapes are hand-harvested, with 1/3 left whole cluster, 1/3 destemmed and crushed, and 1/3 destemmed and crushed but the stems are included in the primary fermentation. Fermentation is initiated with wild yeasts in chestnut vat for 5-7 days with daily battonage, but no pumping over. The juice is taken off of the skins and stems before primary fermentation is finished and the grapes are pressed. The alcoholic and malolactic fermentations continue in chestnut vat where the wine rests for 10 months, before being bottled without fining, filtration, or added SO2. El Aqueronte is the most aromatic of Diego’s wines, showing a woven complexity of red fruits, florals, spice, and minerals. A supreme expression of Mencía and Bierzo terruño. " - JOSE PASTOR SELECTIONS
- Item #: i_381884Bottle Size: 750mlORGANICALLY GROWN GRAPES
From the Finca Las Suertes vineyard, first planted in 1885 is dry-farmed, with ungrafted vines due to the sandy soils. Fermented in large, seasoned French oak barrels, then aged 12 months on the fine lees in large barrels, with battonage for a creamy mouthfeel.
DECANTER - 92 POINTS
"Aromas of ripe orange and pear take on dusty mineral, vanilla and floral accents in the glass. Silky and broad on the palate, offering densely packed yet energetic citrus and orchard fruit flavors that firm up slowly on the back half. Emphatically fruity and seamless in texture, delivering excellent clarity, strong finishing thrust and lingering floral and mineral flourishes."
- Item #: i_381049Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 95WINE ADVOCATE 95 POINTS - "The single-vineyard 2017 Finca Dofí comes from ten hectares that were planted 20 years ago in the village of Gratallops. It's mostly Garnacha with 8% Cariñena and 1% white grapes that fermented after being destemmed and lightly crushed in oak vats with indigenous yeasts. It matured in large oak barrels (bocoyes and foudres) for 16 months. There is no trace of oak in the wines, and there are no edges; they all feel sleek and elegant. This Dofí expresses the Mediterranean vintage from this vineyard at 300 to 320 meters in altitude, where the slate has a lot of iron, which turns the soils red and makes round and velvety wines, with flavors of red cherries, cherry pit, nectarines and even blood orange. The warm soils are compensated by mostly northern exposures. The palate has volume and is juicy, sensual and velvety, with some fine-grained tannins that currently call for food. It makes for a very gastronomical red. 29,700 bottles produced. It was bottled in April 2019. In 2018, there will be a separate bottling from one hectare of pure north-exposition grapes from Dofí, a new wine called La Baixada."
- Item #: i_385101Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 91ORGANICALLY FARMED
WINE ADVOCATE 91 POINTS - "The 2016 Pegaso Zeta is the first wine completely made with the help of winemaker Marc Isart and reflects the change in direction towards fresher wines with less oak, helped by the natural conditions of the vintage. This is floral and quite expressive, with fully ripe flavors from a vintage with a slow ripeness given the good yields. It has nice balance and great drinkability, with good citrus freshness, reminiscent of blood oranges that to me represent the bright red fruit and the citrus spark. It has the depth and complexity of great dry farmed wines that deliver great grapes. Delicious. There were 16,500 bottles produced and bottled in July 2018."
- Item #: i_380887Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 93James Suckling: 95JAMES SUCKLING 95 POINTS - "A chunky and pretty young wine with blueberries and blackberries and chocolate. Chewy tannins that are polished and fresh. Full-bodied. Round and sexy. Shows lots of potential."