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_381033Bottle Size: 750mlBodega Granbazan is located in Tremoedo, in the Salnes sub-zone of Rias Baixas. Owners Manuel Otero and his nephew Jesus Alvarez own 17 hectares of 30-year-old Albarino vines that is supplemented by long-term contract with growers. Grapes are hand-picked, de-stemmed and undergo six to eight hours of cold maceration, while fermentation is undertaken in concrete and steel tanks using both natural and cultured yeast. I adore their evocative, rather old-fashioned labels with their maritime-themed drawings and equally, more importantly, I loved the wines inside. These are pure Rias Baixas Albarinos that brim over with crispness, flavor and authenticity.
- Item #: i_380625Bottle Size: 750MLAppearance: attractive straw color with hints of green in the rim. Clean and brilliant.Nose: very expressive and harmonious nose. Fine notes of white fruit (green apples, pear) and lemony aromas. Hints of herbs (basil) and flower blossom base notes. Surprising aromatic intensity.Palate: Clean and textured. Seductive exotic palate of pineapple and mango intermingled with refreshing citrus flavors amplified by minerally accents. Silky but yet full bodied, with long lingering finish. Round and very tasty.
- Item #: i_377420Bottle Size: 750mlThe beautiful 2018 rosado from Bermejos has arrived. 100% Listan Negro from Lanzarote in the Canary Islands, grown at the bottom of painstakingly-tended hoyos (the local name for the craters dug into the crunchy, black volcanic ash topsoil that coated the island of Lanzarote following a series of volcanic eruptions that started in 1730). One vine is planted at the bottom of each hoyo, which protects the plant from Lanzarote's relentless trade winds. Stone walls of volcanic rock rim the hoyos, an effort to prevent the soils from blowing onto the vines. In turn, the walls are constantly blown down and rebuilt. This is high-maintenance viticulture! Bermejos' visionary winemaker, Ignacio Valdera, makes it look easy. His wines are fascinating and crystal-clear expressions of this unique and mystical vinescape. The rosado is pale, dry, and refreshing, with hints of tangerine, orange blossom, dried oregano, and ash on the nose, followed by flavors of salty citrus and strawberries, blood orange, brine, and cherry pits, with ash, orange oil and rind on the finish. Complex yet crowd-pleasing.
- Item #: i_380037Bottle Size: 750mlPRACTICING ORGANIC FARMING
"Greenish yellow with bright green reflections, very attractive. The nose is powerful, dominated by balsamic aromas with herbal notes and background of peach and pineapple. Tasty, balanced and fresh. Persistent long aftertaste of a stream of fruit.
Serve with avocado and shrimp, bagel with smoked salmon, boiled lobster , bouillabaisse, ceviche, chicken, grilled fish. " - WINERY NOTES
- Item #: i_381415Bottle Size: 750mlVinous Media: 90This 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_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_380557Bottle Size: 750MLTheir vineyards are located in the Salnes Valley. “I am looking for a very classic wine that emphasizes the Albarino variety,” said proprietor Juan Gil de Araujo Gonzales de Careaga. “It must have very good acidity and fruity flavors: apple, citrus fruit and so on. I love the minerality of this area, from the granitic soils. I am looking for persistency in the mouth.” This was an impressive set of wines and older vintages testified their aging propensity.
- 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_382688Bottle Size: 750mlAn intense and complex nose of ripe fruits, lime, fennel and mint. The apple, melon and peach fruit flavors carry on giving power to the wine which is deftly balance by brisk herbal notes and hints of mineral from the slate soils. A wine that really evolves in the glass and lingers with you, very adaptable for a wide array of dishes.
- Item #: i_383228Bottle Size: 750mlPRACTICING ORGANIC
JOSE PASTOR SELECTIONS - "From multiple plots of Mencía vines with an average age of 40 years old, located in and around Ribeira Sacra. The un-oaked, regional tinto is all about immediate pleasure with pure, lush red fruits, spices, and slate-laden minerality. A wine to pair with all kinds of foods, especially chorizos, embutidos, roast pork, spicy foods, any dish with a lot of Pimentón.
Cultivated since Roman times, Ribeira Sacra’s steep terraced vineyards are some of the most picturesque and treacherous to work in the world of wine - think Douro, Cote Rotie, or Mosel. Like those most dramatic terruños, winegrowing here is not for the faint of heart; it takes spirited determination, unwieldy optimism, a sense of tradition, and a willingness to collaborate. All of these qualities are embodied by the young Pedro Rodríguez of Guímaro."
- Item #: i_385100Bottle Size: 750mlDeMaison Selections - "Itxas Harri, located in the village of Monteagudo in the Basque region of Navarra, was the dream of Iñaki Guelbenzu. Iñaki, a long-time friend and partner of Ignacio Ameztoi in Getaria, longed to make wine in his native region. The inaugural vintage of 2018 yielded just five-hundred cases of one wine, an old-vine garnacha rosé, appropriately named Roxa, which is "rosé" in Basque. Roxa is an elegant, refreshing rosé which pairs beautifully with the grilled artichokes and vegetables for which Navarra is so famous."
- Item #: i_383440Bottle Size: 750mlORGANICALLY GROWN GRAPES
WINEMAKER NOTES: "Light green-hued yellow. Tightly focused lemon and pear scents are complemented by deeper melon and peach notes. Lively and focused on the palate, offering vibrant citrus and orchard fruit flavors and a gingery nuance that adds back-end spiciness. Finishes nervy, energetic and long, featuring lingering suggestions of bitter lemon pith and dusty minerals. This fresh, mineral-inflected Godello will pair well with swordfish sautéed in butter and wild herbs, grilled or pan-fried sweet veal or pork sausage, and a host of casual foods like tapas, pasta with white clam sauce or fried oyster sandwiches."
- Item #: i_380726Bottle Size: 750MLThe Canary Islands There is a Spanish region so far off the beaten path that it's a stretch to think of it as Spain at all – but even if it lies off the coast of west Africa, the Canary Island archipelago is part of the Spanish Republic. A trickle of these unusual wines is entering the market here and worth seeking out, no matter what the season. The Canary Islands' dramatic volcanic formations support flora and fauna that might rival the Galapagos in wonder and stark weirdness. And its viticulture, like the vineyards on the island Lanzarote, is some of the most visually stunning on Earth. Planted in deep black sand, the vines are protected from the wind by stone walls built between vine rows; in some cases, vignerons build a semicircular cairn for each vine, where natural forces create a virtual crater for each wind-bitten vine, a vinous moonscape unlike any other vine region in the world.And the wines? In such a warm climate, the whites, made from the heat-resistant Malvasia and the indigenous Diego, are deeply colored, mineral and exotic. Perhaps it's a stretch to think of these as spring wines, but they're simply too interesting not to mention.The Malvasia Seco from La Bermejos on the island of Lanzarote gives off a lovely citrus oil scent to complement rich fig and pear skin flavors.
- Item #: i_381441Bottle Size: 750mlWithin the valley we use the slopes of the Obarenes mountains for growing the garnacha grapes we use in our red wines. These plots have good conditions for ripening thanks to their exposure to the sun, but in the case of the rosé wines we are more interested in the grapes planted on the opposite slope, more sheltered from the sun and much cooler so as to preserve better the notes of fresh, sharp fruit. A very light, bright colour – mainly pale orange-tinged salmon pink. In this harvest very fresh, tart fruit aromas return, dominating the whole sensorial profile of the wine. On the nose you mainly find the citrus and green apple aromas which are present throughout the wine’s passage through the mouth; in the aftertaste, the olfactory nuances are transformed into something finer and more complex, where you can discover, along with those noted previously, hints of apricot and faint reminders of pastries. On the palate it is really attractive since, although the sharp fruit still dominates, the overall taste is sweetened by elegant, well-integrated fine lees. This is a wine with a long finish, combining sweetness, freshness and acidity.
- Item #: i_383963Bottle Size: 750mlSKURNIK IMPORTS - "A Cruz das Ánimas’ (trans. “The Crossroads of Souls”) is nothing short of explosive. It leaps out of the glass with aromas of oyster shell and etherized granite and follows through with a palate rich in marine-inflected yellow and green fruits and sporting a powerful surge of acidity."
With two and a half centuries of family tradition in the world of viticulture, Raúl Pérez Pereira’s profession seems to be more a matter of destiny than choice. It is a legacy that dominates his philosophy of work and one that swiftly directed him towards the family bodega, after a brief spell at a bodega in Penedès.
“For me the main thing is to understand my limits, to respect the environment and personal surroundings and above all to comprehend the wisdom of my ancestors and therefore to work accordingly”, he comments.
For him, fixed formulas do not exist, every wine, every soil, every parcel and every variety is different. “The differences are infinite, it all plays a part until your emotions take over”, he says.
Even the elaboration process is not subject to rules; it must be adapted to the characteristics of the soil which it must use according to its own development. For him, there are no rules, except one: to work in harmony with the ecosystem. “Our treatments,” comments Raúl, “respect the flora and the environment and we even manage to go without. Above all, we avoid systemic products”.
This Albariño shows the saline and bright, acid forward qualities of the grape when grown in Rias Baixas, but also the rich, satisfying textural elements from Raul's expressive winemaking. Highly recommended Albariño!
- Item #: i_380760Bottle Size: 750MLIt displays a nose of toasty baking spices, nutmeg, spring flowers, marzipan, and pit fruits. A bit richer and more complex on the palate than the “regular” cuvee, this vibrant effort could evolve for 1-2 years but is drinking well now.
- Item #: i_381699Bottle Size: 750mlBorsao's wines have been a corner stone of our Spanish section for years and years. Familiarity sometimes means we don't taste these wines as often as we should. It's true! Just grab a glass of Borsao's $6.98 Vina Borgia Garnacha, it is probably the best wine for the money on the planet. The color is a rich dark purple. Warm spices enveloped in blackberry and blueberry. The richness and spice carries through on the palate as the darker fruit tones showing on the nose are brightened by notes of red cherry and pomegranate. The folks at Borsao own nearly 3 thousand acres in Campo de Borja, roughly three quarters of the appellation. This rocky zone in the foothills of the Pyrenees is one of the original homes of the Garnache grape. There is an old church on the property that has records of Garnache plantings that go back to the 900's...