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_380598Bottle Size: 750mlBurghound: 91From Bodegas Atalaya (Almansa), we received this 2018 La Atalaya del Camino, a red wine based on monastrell and garnacha. The 2018 La Atalaya del Camino is the ideal red to combine with ragout and pork. Aromatic, fresh and fruity with ripe notes, blackberry, aromatic herbs and floral notes.
- Item #: i_380789Bottle Size: 750MLPRACTICING ORGANIC FARMING
While Parker compares this wine to Grand Cru Chablis, we think it's more like some beautiful Spanish re-working of classic Meursault. Either way, it's delicious and unlike nearly any other Spanish white which leads to fanicful, far-away comparisons. The nose begins with honey and perfectly ripe pears complimented by waves of nutmeg and baking spices that build in richness and explosive flavors. Avancia is one of Jorge Ordonez's terroir discoveries. Jorge hunted out and acquired parcels of old-vine Godello planted between 1904 and 1910 in hard-scrabble hillsides of slate and quartz. A touch of oak is part of the style here, but to better frame these wines, Jorge looked to Didier Dagueneau and his famed Loire Valley Sauvignon Blancs rather than Burgundy. Dagueneau had specially formulated barrels that were more than twice the size of a standard barrel, but also aged for much longer as wood staves in the open air before the final barrel was made and toasted-the end result is subtler and marries better with medium bodied whites. When Jorge started planning to make this style of white wine, the waiting list for Dagueneau's special barrels was years long. No matter, Jorge "cut in line" when a very famous Sonoma producer refused a few of Dagueneau's prized barrels at the cellar-door. Jorge Ordonez bought them on the spot and paid to fly them from California to Spain. "
- Item #: i_381415Bottle Size: 750mlThis amazing Garnacha (Grenache) with the eye-catching label offers so much for so little. The fruit is bright and fresh, the palate is silky smooth, and there is surprising complexity for a wine at this price-point. Enticing flavors of raspberry liqueur, black cherry, licorice, and exotic spices reveal themselves with each sip. Bodegas Ateca Honoro Vera is made by the Gil Family Estates who also make the famed El Nido Clio amongst other top values from Spain. They source grapes from the estate’s 60 year old Garnacha vines in Calatayud, Spain and the results speak for themselves. The quality-to-price ratio for the Honoro Vera Garnacha is off the charts and represents an incredible value in the world of wine. Delicious!
- Item #: i_383947Bottle Size: 750mlAugust 2020 Wine of the Month
If ever there was a wine meant to enjoy during hot summer days, balmy nights, socially-distanced barbecues and pandemic times-- this is it!! Flor de Goda is out of the Gil Family Estates portfolio and you should be fairly familiar with this group by now-- we have sung their praises many, many times (most recently with an email in late July for the Juan Gil "Blue Label"). Why? Because they make a panoply of excellent wines at varying prices from numerous terroirs and regions in Spain, wines we believe are stellar, enjoy drinking and that have found resonance with our friends and customers here in the store. Strong their track record is (as Yoda would say).
So, what about this Flor de Goda? 100% Garnacha (Grenache) from Campo de Borja, it drinks way above its price point with a multi-layered, nuanced approach. The nose exudes scents of plum, raspberry, river rock minerality, rose garden and mixed baking spices. Lovely! In the mouth, ripe, jammy fruit is kept grounded with brisk acidity and silky tannins. Beautiful flavors of cherries and berries are joined by notes of peppery spice, dark cacao and a finish filled with hints of blueberry and blackberry fruits. This is a lovely quaffer, filled with fruit but balanced by excellent structure. Big enough for the grill, balanced enough to enjoy under the summer sun.
Bodegas Morca is the winery, it has been built to be modeled after Bodegas El Nido. So every parcel, which ranges in age from 45-85 years old, and free run vs first press is fermented and aged separately so that the blends will be perfect; they make four 100% Garnacha wines ranging from El Nido/Clio level in the Touran and Morca wines, to Flor de Goda. In the case of Flor de Goda, the winemaker wanted to highlight the elegant floral and fruit notes that Campo de Borja Garnachas are known for, so they used 80% free run juice and aged the wine just 6 months in 2nd and 3rd use barrels.
In addition, this winery has been built in accordance to LEED specifications. They are still in the process of getting full certification, but at this point in time it is fully off the electrical grid (solar) and zero-waste. The Gil Family has been investing every year to get more of their wineries off the grid (total of 3 now are) to further lessen their footprint. Also, their vineyards are farmed organically-- no pesticides or herbicides are used-- however, the vineyards have not yet been certified organic. It's a long process, but that will be the direction. Also, as the vines are old and all planted in the traditional vaso (goblet) style, they are hand-harvested. All of their wines are Vegan as well.
Guía Peñín 90 Points
[La Guia Peñín is Spain's most famous and comprehensive wine guide. It is compiled by José Peñín, whose impressive knowledge of international and Spanish wines has been gathered over more than 25 years as a professional wine writer and journalist.]
- Item #: i_383458Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 93+For 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 93+ POINTS - "The truly impressive 2018 Ultreia Saint Jacques transcends its price category. They destemmed more grapes because they fermented it in the oak vats they bought from Vega Sicilia to use in the new winery, where it macerated for two months and then matured in used barrels for nine to 10 months. The secret is to use very good grapes from very good vineyards. The wine is clean, precise and fresh, and the oak is super-subtle, almost unnoticeable. The palate reflects a fluid wine of pleasure, a red of thirst. This is the wine where they have invested more, and 2018 has to be the finest vintage to date. They did 150,000 bottles of this in the outstanding 2018 vintage. It was bottled in October/November 2019."
Mostly Mencia, with Bastardo & Garnacha Tintorera
- Item #: i_306230Bottle Size: 750mlWinemaker 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_381949Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 99WINE ADOVATE 99 POINTS - A blend of 85% Garnacha and 15% Syrah, 2018 Clos Erasmus comes from a year with good yields and enough rain for good ripeness of the grapes. The vines are now 36 years old on average, and the grapes fermented after a cold soak in 1,000-, 1,500- and 2,000-liter oak vats with indigenous yeasts and a five-week maceration. It matured in new and second use Burgundian 228-liter oak barrels, with around 40% new oak. This is a very elegant and perfumed vintage for Clos Erasmus, a wine that reveals a bright ruby color and a exotic nose that mixes flowers with tons of sweet spices. It is still very young and influenced by the élevage in oak, with something herbal and fresh, reminiscent of pine needles. The palate is textured and velvety, lace and dust, with fine-grained tannins that bring back the memories of the slate rocks; it is pure and detailed and has terrible balance, focus, inner strength, filigree and subdued minerality. I'd wait a little bit for the oak to get integrated before pulling the cork. It has the ingredients, stuffing and balance to develop nicely in bottle for a long time. 3,319 bottles and 100 magnums produced. It was bottled in May 2020."
In a region now filled with big names, Daphne Glorian has been a quiet godmother to the younger generations of winemakers, continuing to promote the good name of Priorat with her exceptional and highly sought-after wines. Her boutique estate of 10 hectares barely produces 140 cases each year, so her first label, Clos Erasmus, is inevitably scarce and expensive. Deservedly so, however, as this is one of the regions' and indeed Spain's greatest of all red wines – rich, powerful, dense and exotically perfumed. Clos Erasmus is also one of the few Spanish wines ever to achieve 100 Parker points, proof that the Priorat region in the right hands produces wines to rival the finest from Rioja and Ribera Del Duero.
- Item #: i_380113Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 93+PRACTICING BIODYNAMIC & ORGANICALLY FARMED
We are so excited that another dynamite vintage of Petalos has just arrived. Think burgundy with a hint of Northern Rhone syrah.
WINE ADVOCATE 93+ POINTS - "Their regional wine achieves unheard of levels of complexity and nuance with the 2018 Pétalos del Bierzo. It's a blend from over 90 hectares of vineyards in dierent part of Bierzo, 20% of the grapes from their own vineyards in Corullón, including some 4% white grapes. The rest is purchased from 180+ families with whom they have a long-term relationship. Some of these vineyards are not yet certied organic, but the objective is to achieve it in the next ve years. It's mostly Mencía, but there are other grapes varieties in the vineyards; they estimate about 3% of other reds, Alicante Bouschet, Gran Negro, Pan y Carne, Negreda, etc. and around 4% whites, Valenciana, Jerez and Godello, half from Corullón and the other half from other villages. The grapes were partly destemmed and fermented in open-top stainless steel and oak vats with 25 days of maceration where the wine underwent a slow three-month malolactic. It matured in barrel for 12 months. This is the wine that showcases the house style and the character of the vintage, which, in this case, is delicate and very much from the zone. There is an aromatic purity and elegance that is very captivating with a faint inty background, the cherry essence (Mediterranean) and a touch of fern (Atlantic) plus a honeyed twist that shows up after a couple of hours in the glass. It has a silky texture, soft and caressing, with very ne tannins and the faint bitter twist in the nish. In an ideal world, this should be the rst wine people drink from Bierzo, and fortunately, in many cases, it is, given the availability, even if they did a more severe selection. This is approachable now but would be better in one year, and it's going to live in bottle. 282,038 bottles and 2,500 magnums produced. It was bottled between December 2019 and January 2020.
During the late 1980's, Alvaro Palacios traveled his native Spain selling French barriques to winemakers. But his journeys had a second purpose: to find the best place to achieve his goal of making Spain's greatest wines. Alvaro wanted-incredibly steep hillside vineyards, distinctive terroirs and, most importantly, ancient vineyards of Mencia—a unique red grape believed to be brought by French pilgrims during the Middle Ages. Meanwhile, his nephew Ricardo Perez had finished enological studies in Bordeaux and was traveling across France-absorbing everything he could about great wines. He worked the harvest at Chateau Margaux, and did internships at other Bordelais firms like Moueix (Petrus, Trotanoy, etc.). He also visited Alvaro frequently and came to share a belief in Bierzo's potential. In 1998, the two decided on a joint venture and set out in search of the region's finest old vineyards. Alvaro and Ricardo found promising sites in a number of villages but shortly came to believe that the greatest potential lay in a little town on Bierzo's western border named Corullon. Old vineyards lined the precipitous hillsides there, and the local soils were extremely poor-composed mostly of schist-but with incredible diversity. The minute variations in soils and exposures across this zone immediately reminded the two of Burgundy's Cote d'Or, or Piedmont's Langhe hills. In Corullon, Alvaro and Ricardo believe they have found a unique combination of soils, old vines, and a distinctive variety that will yield their own grands crus.
- Item #: i_383899Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 94+WINE ADVOCATE 94+ POINTS - "The 2018 Adina comes from the southernmost vineyard they work, a parish close to Portonovo, a zone with influence from the fog (which brings saltiness) and completely different soils, as it's on red slate. The nose feels more austere, a little more closed. This is a wine that has good light and burns more malic acid, and the wine feels more citrusy, giving it a different kind of freshness. It's harmonious and serious, subtle; there is a lot of complexity, really elegant. There are 2,000 bottles of this. It was bottled in September 2019."
- 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_380784Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 94Winemaker Peter Sisseck has already been pushing the limits of top-end Ribera del Duero but has also, for some time, dreamt of capturing the soul of Ribera through a new project named after the twenty-third letter of the Greek alphabet. In 2006, he began working with a select group of growers willing to convert their old vines vineyards into organically- and ultimately biodynamically farmed sites with the goal of unleashing the potential of Ribera by creating the purest expression possible.
WINE ADVOCATE 94 POINTS - "I had already tasted the unbottled 2018 PSI, which saw a jump in quality after they got a new winery where they had much better working conditions. This wine is produced with purchased grapes from 200 hectares in around 750 plots and 20 different villages throughout Ribera del Duero (they now rent and work 50 hectares of these vineyards themselves). In 2018, they were able to use some 12% Garnacha and 2% other grapes, including whites that are found intermixed with the Tinta del País/Tempranillo in the old vineyards. Garnacha adds freshness, and the wine shows it—the character of the grape comes through in the blend. It fermented with indigenous yeasts and matured mostly in 5,000-liter and 10,000-liter oak vats, but 20% of the volume aged in used French barriques for 18 months. The color is quite light (relatively speaking), bright and lively, the nose perfumed, floral and elegant, like no PSI before. The palate is medium-bodied, with fine tannins, and it feels terribly balanced and beautifully textured. It's elegant more than powerful but full of energy. This is without a doubt the finest PSI to date. Viva Garnacha!"
- Item #: i_377064Bottle Size: 750mlThe 2018 release of Clio from Bodegas El Nido is here! We are huge fans of this winery and particular bottling, as our loyal readers may recall, and for good reason. Their track record is strong and they have done it once again-- this wine rocks!
The nose is filled with spicy red and blue fruits: savory peppered plums, raspberries and blueberries, earthy incense, kirsch liqueur and cola nut. Bright fruits with elements of earth and minerality.
The palate has a lovely mouthfeel/viscosity with the tastes reiterating the scents. Bright red and blue fruits with hints of spice and earth. The lush fruits are tempered and balanced by excellent structure: moderate tannins and acidity course throughout leading to an extended finish of blueberries, raspberries and cherries, bolstered by earthy elements. It’s hard to focus on one particular aspect of this wine as the parts are so synchronized to uplift the totality of the whole. It really is a choir of smells and tastes that blend and flow together so well. Harmony in the glass, for sure!
Balanced enough to enjoy solo, this will greatly elevate a number of foods to enjoy with it: rice, pasta, (noodles, spaghetti, macaroni), vegetables, mushroom, stewed meat, sausage, pork, roast meat, red and/or white meat with sauces, grilled meat, short or medium cheeses.
The 2018 Clio is a blend of 70% Monastrell and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon; the grapes for this wine are made from 30 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards and 79 acres of very old Monastrell, with a very low yield. The grapes are harvested with small baskets to prevent bruising. The bunches are brought to triage tables where the best ones are selected. It spends 24 months in French and American new oak barrels where it gets a very typical complexity.
And, of course, we must point out that this wine comes out of the Gil Famiy Estates portfolio; we carry many of their wines and, across-the-board, they express the glorious bounty that Spanish vintners have been and are currently creating. We must, therefore, also highlight the El Nido 2018 "El Nido" wine $119.98. For this wine they utilize 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Monastrell and it’s clearly the main thoroughbred in the Gil Family Estates stable of winners.
- Item #: i_350181Bottle Size: 750MLEl Nido is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (70%) and Monastrell (30%) from very old vineyards that have a low yield but great quality. The harvest is done by hand. El Nido undergoes a maceration and afterwards a fermentation in small stainless steel deposits and barrels. The malolactic fermentation occurs in new French and American oak barrels, where there is an aging for 24 months. El Nido is one of the great wines from D.O. Jumilla. Full of flavor, complex and powerful.
- Item #: i_378483Bottle Size: 750mlEladio Piñeiro founded Bodegas Mar de Frades in 1983 after spending many years as a sought-after winemaker and consultant in Rias Baixas, Spain's heartland of Albariño. However, In January of 2003, Piñiero underwent a sea change in his personal life, resulting in the sale of his winery, keeping only a few of his most treasured vineyard sites.
With the support of his family, Piñiero re-emerged under his own label, with an objective to create the kind of wines that really excited him, "wines with soul" he calls them. With a revitalized focus toward quality and artisinality without compromise, he sought to create wines expressive of the terroir, history, and passion of the Piñiero family.
The Envidia Cochina, or "poisonous worm of envy," is one of the most exciting wines we've ever encountered from Rias Baixas, indeed from any white wine appellation in Spain. Comprised of 100% Albariño from an old, biodynamically farmed vineyard in the Salnés Valley, it receives a brief maceration and fermentation with native yeasts before the "current vintage" fruit is married back with reserve Albariño from the previous vintage. It's then left for twelve months on the fine lees before being matured in stainless steel and bottled. The result is a rich, complex wine with unheralded depth, purity, and a texture unlike almost anything else we've encountered from the appellation. We're really excited to be able to offer this wine, especially for the remarkably modest price. Get it while you can!
- Item #: i_382842Bottle Size: 750mlBIODYNAMIC
Estate-bottled and Demeter certified bio-dynamic, this modestly-priced (to say the least!) Tempranillo is, quite frankly, one of most astonishing values we’ve encountered in a long time. In fact, with all of the recent buzz for organic and natural wines, demand for bio-dynamic wine is at all all-time high. Luminaries like Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Zind-Humbrecht, Domaine Leroy, Huet, Nicolas Joly, and others have helped fuel the prestige of this rare and expensive-to-implement set of organic farming practices, so when we learned about this wine—estate bottled, Demeter certified bio-dynamic, at $9.98 a bottle — we jumped at the opportunity!
Montecastrillo is the entry-level wine from the renowned Ribera del Duero estate, Finca Torremilanos. It is made from their younger vineyards, which are located on the second slope above and nearly two kilometers south of the Duero river at an altitude of 800-900 meters. Soils are deep and composed of limestone, sand and clay in roughly equal proportions along with gravels from the old river bed that are composed of silex and quartz. A beautifully dark purplish-red in color, it shows intense red fruit, licorice, and spice notes. Light-bodied on the palate, fruity, and soft in tannin. Extraordinary wine for $9.98 a bottle, a no-brainer case buy!
Tasting Notes - The nose is fragrant, loaded with red fruits, berries, red currant, balsa wood, light earthy spice. Sweet fruit is reiterated in the palate with raspberry preserves and mixed red berries kept aloft with balanced acidity and light tannins. This is an easy summer sipper, perfect for warm weather and sunny days - great red for the season.
- Item #: i_380715Bottle Size: 750MLA very rare red Txakoli made from 100% Hondarribi Beltza, the Gorrondona Tinto is a distinctive wine with aromas of peppers, spices and red fruit. The palate displays flavors of crushed minerals with medium tannins that yield a bright and refreshing finish. Best served with cheese, grilled sausages, lamb or beef dishes.
- Item #: i_381426Bottle Size: 750ml60% Monastrell, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Syrah
We have developed quite the Pavlovian relationship with wines from Juan Gil and Gil Family Estates over the years; before we even get a chance to taste these wines, we tend to salivate in anticipation of the great tasting experience ahead. Why is that? Simply put, their track record here in the store, with our valued clientele and staff, is excellent, as are their wines. From their entry-level bargains on the ramp to their more advanced selections in the cellar, we have found their portfolio to be consistent in both how good the wines are to drink and the quality-to-price ratio: lots of bang for the buck with these bottlings! The 2017 "Blue Label" fits right in with our expectations and we are, once again, overjoyed to share how great this juice is!
A blend of 60% Monastrell (also known as Mourvedre), 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Syrah, the nose is filled with scents of fresh berries, cedar, incense, wet clay and notes of hillside garrique. Upon tasting, the sweet fruits make their presence known, displaying flavors of mixed strawberries, cherries and boysenberries that are grounded with big firm tannins and grippy acidity. A big, beautiful wine with tons of fruit balanced by savory notes and magnificent structure. A final nosing (so sexy!) brings further hints of pie crust, graham cracker and rose garden. We love it! Enjoy with ribs, lamb, burgers, tapas, hard cheese, meat pizza, mushroom dishes, sausages (great red for summer grilling)!
- Item #: i_373831Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 93WINE ADVOCATE 93 POINTS - "I also tasted the following vintage, the 2018 Juan Gil (silver label), from a cooler and rainier, more continental vintage than the 2017 I tasted next to it. The origin is the same, Monastrell from their own old, non-irrigated vines fermented in stainless steel and matured in French oak barrels for around 12 months. This is the first vintage that is certified organic. There were some challenges, but they resulted in a fresh and balanced wine with integrated oak and a juicy and round palate. They have introduced optical sorting of the grapes, and perhaps that's why there is more precision and purity. They cannot do manual sorting at this price point, but optical sorting seems like a good alternative. 2018 is a more difficult vintage than the 2017, yet this wine is better, juicier and seems to absorb the oak better, with just a smoky touch that reminded me somehow of a Northern Rhône. Really impressive. 312,000 bottles. It was bottled in June 2020."
- Item #: i_382509Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 91From the maker of El Nido and Clio we present a 91-point, vegan, dry-farmed wine from one of our favorite Spanish producers, Juan Gil! We have long championed the wines of Juan Gil because they consistently offer top quality bottlings for reasonable prices. This red blend continues their hit streak, once again, and captured February’s "Wine of the Month" crown after it vanquished some 25 other samples we evaluated. Noting that this is the inaugural release of this wine for the US market, we believe it’s just the beginning of a beautiful friendship...
A blend of 45% Monastrell (Mourvédre), 45% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Syrah, the nose on this one is quite fascinating: fresh fruit notes of strawberry and blackberry lead to deeper tones of spice, tea and mixed herbals. A beautiful violet and lavender component is evident upon nosing but really shines when tasting-- the florals seem to evaporate and burst in the olfactory while sipping. And the forward fruits take the lead upon tasting: plum, raspberries and mixed red fruits with a strong kirsch hint on the finish. Excellent acidity completely balances the ripe fruit making for a harmonious glass-- it’s perfectly delicious on its own but is a great food wine, as well (think hearty, meaty dishes, from hamburgers and pizza to short ribs, veal, pork, lamb, sausage, game and other meats, especially grilled meats-- winter fare!).
The origins of Bodegas Juan Gil date from 1916 when Juan Gil Gimènez, great grandfather of the present generation, began getting involved in the world of wines and built a winery in the heart of Jumilla, Spain. His son, Juan Gil Guerrero, dedicated his entire life to the wine business, however, it was the third generation who really consolidated the winery. Juan Gil Gonzalez, together with his brother Paco, the founder’s grandsons, forged an image of quality, reliability and efficiency. The present Gil generation continually strive to maintain and improve the Juan Gil standard, which is evident through the remarkable wines they produce.
WINE ADVOCATE 91 POINTS - "Produced for the US market, this is the first vintage of the 2018 Juan Gil Red Blend. It is 45% Monastrell, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Syrah from a year more in line with 2016, more continental and with more rain, despite which, the wine is still 15% alcohol. The different grapes fermented and matured separately for 12 months. It's ripe and has notes of chocolate and spices, keeping some herbal undertones and with the tasty and pungent notes from the Cabernet. 54,000 bottles produced. This wine is sold exclusively in the US. It was bottled in June 2020."
- Item #: i_378841Bottle Size: 750mlORGANICALLY FARMED
"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 nor battonage, and minimal SO2 additions. Unfiltered and unfined.
The vines for the "1984" bottling are 70-90 years old and planted on clay soils incorporated with slate and trace minerals at 650 meters elevation, some of the highest vineyards in Bierzo. The grapes are partially destemmed, macerated for 7-8 days in 3 large oak casks. The wine is then transferred to small barrels to finish primary and malolactic fermentation, then aged for 8 months." - JOSE PASTOR SELECTIONS
- Item #: i_381441Bottle Size: 750mlJames Suckling: 92JAMES SUCKLING 92 POINTS - "A beautiful rosé as always with a pink salmon color. It opens with rose petals, pink guava, grapefruit, mandarins and freshly squeezed nectarines. Medium-bodied and very salty on the palate. Lithe and oily texture, but a sharp acid backbone. Macabeo, grenache and tempranillo. Drink now."
- Item #: i_377316Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 91ORGANICALLY FARMED
72% Bobal , 17% Garnacha, 11% Syrah
Deep in color with an intriguing nose of black fruits, violets, cedar and black pepper. The fleshy dark fruit flavors of blackberry and black currant are lifted by brink mineral acidity (this is where those limestone soils come through) and fine tannins. Leaves you on a nice sweet and spicy finish, a perfect pair with anything cooked over fire & smoke.
WINE ADVOCATE 91 POINTS - "...head-pruned and dry-farmed vines. Each plot and variety fermented separately with indigenous yeasts in stainless steel and/or oak vats, and the élevage was in a mixture of oak vats and French barrique and lasted ten months. It felt very harmonious, subtle and elegant. I think there has been a change in the wine since they started removing the French grapes and using larger oak containers. It respects the Mediterranean character of the grapes and the place."
- Item #: i_383646Bottle Size: 750mlWine Spectator: 94WINE ADVOCATE 94 POINTS - "The idea with the white 2018 Iraun is to produce a Viura with freshness and subtleness, aged in oak but without being overpowered by wood and creaminess. In reality, it's a Viura-based blend with some 20% other white varieties, Garnacha Blanca, Maturana Blanca and Malvasía Riojana, with only 12.5% alcohol and good freshness from an ancient plot of vines in the village of El Villar. It fermented with indigenous yeasts, and the fermentation started in stainless steel but finished in a combination of tinaja and a used 500-liter French barrel. The wine matured in barrel for 12 months. I was blown away by the purity and harmony of this white, its freshness and elegance. There is contained ripeness, floral aromas, elegant and nuanced. The palate is silky and crunchy; it has more tension (probably the other varieties, especially Maturana Blanca) and a dry, long and serious finish. Only 974 bottles were filled (he lost grapes to mildew) in November 2019."
- Item #: i_383632Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 94WINE ADVOCATE 94 POINTS - "The varietal Garnacha red 2018 Suzzane refers to Leonard Cohen's song of the same name and is an ode to women. It was produced with grapes from three hectares of 117-year-old vines in the zone of Cárdenas, where the soils are red and have a lot of iron. It fermented in a combination of concrete and oak vats and 500-liter barrels with 20% full clusters and indigenous yeasts followed by malolactic in concrete and foudre and 12 months' aging in 500-liter barrels and a Stockinger foudre. This wine has nothing to do with past vintages, when I found too prominent oak. Here, the oak is perfectly integrated and neatly folded into the delicate Garnacha fruit, coming through as delicate and floral (violets). It's nicely textured, velvety and very pure. The wine is tasty and has bright flavors, and it has light, great persistence and length, with some extra structure from the stems. 4,600 bottles produced. It was bottled in December 2019."
- 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.