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_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_380775Bottle Size: 750MLJames Suckling: 94This wine made our list of Top Spanish Wines of 2020 for its impressive quality for the price. It’s a Priorat made in a drink-me-now style that combines a vibrant, ripe fruit and floral profile with a medium-full weight and satiny, vinous texture!
It’s perhaps the most sleek and modern wine from one of Spain’s superstar winemakers, Alvaro Palacios, who comes from the well-respected Palacios Remondo wine family in Rioja. While studying enology in Bordeaux, he worked under superstar Jean-Pierre Moueix at Chateau Pétrus. Inspired to make his own great wines, he chose the secluded region of Priorat, which was an old wine region that had been going through a rennaissance. In the 1990s and 2000s he built up a collection of great vineyards, and with that, released more wines; Finca Dofi’, L’Ermita, Les Terraces, and Gratallops have all become wellrespected names on the international stage. With more vineyards, he found he could tighten up the selection for the top wines, thereby improving them, but also leaving enough left over for a highquality ‘everday’ wine. That’s how Camins del Priorat was created!
Typical to Priorat, the blend composing Camins del Priorat reflects the more relaxed planting rules: 35% Garnacha, 24% Syrah, 17% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Samso (aka Carignan), 10% Merlot and 3% “other varieties.” This flexibility in blending allows for a range of styles in Priorat, so it’s hard to generalize. The only commonality is the distinctive terroir: a combination of the slatelike soils characteristic to the region, the dramatic, steep hills on which vineyards must often be terraced, and the proximity to the Mediterranean Sea, which moderates the climate.
JAMES SUCKLING 94 POINTS - "Gorgeous, bright fruit with raspberries, black cherries and lavender with some schist. It’s medium-bodied with very polished and integrated tannins that go on and on. Drink or hold."
- Item #: i_380464Bottle Size: 750MLThe vines that are made into Txakoli (chah-koh-lee) wine grow like little trees among the rolling hills that flow into the moody Atlantic ocean of Northeastern Spain. For generations, the Ameztoi (ah-mess-TOY) family has made their wine around the fishing town of Getaria, near San Sebastian. Just as this Basque country has had its own culture for many centuries, it has its native grapes like Hondarrabi Zuri and Hondarrabi Beltza that make distinctive, authentically regional wines. The main lineup of Ameztoi family Txakoli (white, rose, and red) all share in common a very light body with refreshing acidity & natural spritz left over from fermentation.
These are wines that inspire us to get out there and enjoy the day as it passes into night...as they say in Basque country, "Aurrera Txalupa!" (onward, the boat!).
The Ameztoi family has been making wine for seven generations. Located just five or ten minutes down the coast from San Sebastian, their vineyards overlook the Atlantic ocean. This rose is a 50/50 blend of Hondarribi Zuri and Hondarribi Beltza. The result is a pale pink wine with fresh redcurrant, strawberry and lime aromas and flavors followed by citrus notes and gentle minerality on the finish. This rosé is very easy to drink by itself or with appetizers, seafood or fish dishes. Try this with grilled or poached salmon.
A Summer afternoon picnic on the hill...in a glass! Refreshingly light & fizzy like the white, but with a subtle taste of candied red fruit. The quintessential wine to have with a fresh berry salad.
Suggestion: Perfect around 52F, or about 20 minutes in an ice bucket.
- Item #: i_377777Bottle Size: 750mlThe vines that are made into Txakoli (chah-koh-lee) wine grow like little trees among the rolling hills that flow into the moody Atlantic ocean of Northeastern Spain. For generations, the Ameztoi (ah-mess-TOY) family has made their wine around the fishing town of Getaria, near San Sebastian. Just as this Basque country has had its own culture for many centuries, it has its native grapes like Hondarrabi Zuri and Hondarrabi Beltza that make distinctive, authentically regional wines. The main lineup of Ameztoi family Txakoli (white, rose, and red) all share in common a very light body with refreshing acidity & natural spritz left over from fermentation.
These are wines that inspire us to get out there and enjoy the day as it passes into night...as they say in Basque country, "Aurrera Txalupa!" (onward, the boat!).
WINEMAKER NOTES - This light and crisp wine is bottled with residual carbon to give it its signature natural spritz. Bright briny sea salt combined with limey fruits. Fresh and eminently quaffable.
Grape: Hondarrabi Zuri
A wine that captures mornings on the coast. Lightly fizzy, with citrus like lime, tart apple, a cool herbal note like mint, and even a minerality reminiscent of the briny Atlantic breezes. Serve with grilled or tempura squid, Caesar salad, chilled mint & pea soup, and ceviche.
Suggestion: Keep this one chilled around 45F, or about 30 minutes in an ice bucket.
- Item #: i_377420Bottle Size: 750ml100% 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_380671Bottle Size: 750MLMade from Viura grapes, this wine exhibits citrus and floral aromas. Great mouth-feel enhanced by citrus and mango flavors with a long, fresh finish. The balanced acidity coupled with its other characteristics makes this an ideal sipper as well as a perfect accompaniment to a wide variety of dishes.
All grapes come from the 'Rioja Alta' subzone, where higher altitudes and Atlantic influences make for a moderate climate which is ideal for producing wines of elegance and finesse. Soils are composed of iron-rich clay and limestone. This wine is aged in tank and bottled in January to preserve freshness and fruit.
La Rioja is blessed with the perfect conditions for excellent vineyards. Its soil and climate are favorable for growing vitis vinifera, and its wine culture runs deep and wide. There are good reasons why this land enjoys international recognition for its outstanding wines. Cune, with its three wineries and the many international prizes earned by its wines, has also contributed to making Rioja the global benchmark it is today.
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_380557Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 91WINE ADVOCATE 91 POINTS - "The regular Albariño is one of the most reliable among the more available wines, and it tends to show well early on and also age nicely for a few years in bottle. The 2019 Albariño de Fefiñanes feels unusually expressive and ready, very approachable, with a harmonious nose but with none of that reductive character often found in the early bottled wines. It's floral, varietal, aromatic and clean, with a balanced palate combining volume with great freshness. I tend to like this wine two or three years after the harvest."
Located in the verdent Salnes Valley of Rias Baixas, proprietor Juan Gil de Araujo Gonzales de Careaga looks for a classical style of Albarino. “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.”
- 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_382478Bottle Size: 750mlORGANICALLY FARMED
100% Monastrell (aka Mourvedre)
From Juan Gil family of wines, the Honoro Vera Monastrell from the warm, dry Mediterranean region of Jumilla exhibits great aromatic complexity, richness and length. Like their other wines, it over-delivers for the price!
- Item #: i_383970Bottle Size: 750mlORGANICALLY FARMED / PRACTICING BIODYNAMICS
"After 12 hours on the skins, the wine was racked and wild yeast fermented in stainless steel tank, spending 8 months on fine lees before bottling in June without any fining, filtration or added SO2 (21 mg/l in total).
Manuel Cantalapiedra, along with his viticulturist father Isaac, work 21 hectares of vineyards spread over several plots in the municipality of La Seca - the heart of the Rueda appellation and home to the Verdejo grape. While most producers in the region have embraced the ultra-modern styles of Verdejo (industrial farming, cultured yeasts, acidification, and cold fermentation) to make an internationally appealing wine, the Cantalapiedra vineyards are certified organic and their winemaking is resolutely natural. They work with fully ripe fruit, ferment with wild yeasts with little temperature control, and add very little sulfur. Manuel is experimenting with whole cluster fermented red wines, orange wines with skin contact, zero sulfur-added pet-nats, and wines under flor. Although the Cantalapiedra’s work is outside of the Rueda D.O., one could say that they are the “torchbearers for Real Rueda.”" - JOSE PASTOR SELECTIONS
- Item #: i_380768Bottle Size: 750MLWINE ADVOCATE - "The clean and fruit-driven 2019 Albariño shows the powerful house style of wines with volume and high acidity to compensate it. The wine matured in a combination of stainless steel and used oak puncheons and demi-muids for five months with bâtonnage. It has some balsamic notes of recently cut grass and a faint bitter touch in the finish. It finishes dry."
- 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_377313Bottle Size: 750mlORGANICALLY FARMED
65% Merseguera, 24% Viognier, & 11% Malvasia
WINERY NOTES - "The Viognier is immediately apparent on the nose with apricot, tropical fruit and honey while underlying notes of white peach, scented flowers and citrus hints creep in from the Merseguera. The tightwire balance between the fleshy Viognier/Malvasia and taut Merseguera continue with a fresh, fruity and floral attack and an unctuous mid palate."
- Item #: i_382616Bottle Size: 750mlFrom the region of Jumilla, which has been experiencing ever-growing popularity, comes this fresh and supple rosado. The monster of a grape - Monastrell - is blended with Syrah to make a wine with enticing scents of strawberries and cream along with flavors of crushed berries. Round and rich, with a beautiful berry-infused finish.
- Item #: i_377350Bottle Size: 750mlThe nose is a fantastic blend of tropical fruits and minerality; think of green, honey dew and casaba melons being rinsed off in the waters below Bridalveil Falls (or some other granitic water source): clean, refreshing, lovely. The palate starts off rich and oily with just a touch of sweetness that is moderated by cleansing acidity. Beautiful spring fruits abound: sweet quince, citrus notes (almost like lemon icing) and plenty of orchard fruits enmesh on the palate with a touch of earthiness and lemon grass on the finish. The final note, however, brings the palate back to the fresh stream water running over granite.
- Item #: i_382535Bottle Size: 750mlORGANICALLY GROWN GRAPES & PRACTICING BIODYNAMIC
From 30 year old vines, fermented with wild yeasts in stainless-steel vat with malolactic fermentation, and raised on the lees for 12-18 months in vat. This is one of the most singular and soil-driven Albariños from Rías Baixas. The result is a mineral-laden, beautifully aromatic, and textured wine that improves with time. Pure, distilled granite in Miguel Alfonso’s words. Perfect to pair with any fresh seafood.
- Item #: i_383303Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 93If one were asked to rank the indispensable white wines from the old world, there would be very few on the list originating below 45º in latitude...yet only after a decade in Valdeorras, it is becoming apparent that Rafa can make wines from warmer climes that have the potential to rival Hermitage Blanc, Corton-Charlemagne, the Mosel or the Wachau.
As quaffable and enjoyable as Godello can be from Valdeorras, it rarely reaches the level of richness, balance and complexity as it does in the hands of Rafael Palacios. Rafa works exclusively with Godello planted on granitic soils at much higher elevations – so high that late Spring snow and frost are ever present dangers to his already low yields.
WINE ADVOCATE 93 POINTS - "The 2019 Louro comes from a vintage that Rafa Palacios compares with 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2016, the best vintages for him. The vines are on sandy granite soils, but there are some vineyards where there's a little more clay, and the vines are worked organically. It fermented in 3,500-liter oak foudres, where the wine matured with lees for four months. It always has a small percentage of Treixadura, around 4% this year, and in 2019, it reached 14% alcohol, so it's not a shy wine. It might seem incredible, but Treixadura is a very aromatic and balsamic grape and that small percentage is clearly noticeable in the aromatics, which gives Louro a very different profile from the AS Sortes, with a more herbal and balsamic touch. But Palacios tells me that's the freshness of the year (Godello can also be herbal), as they have regrafted a lot of Treixadura. In 2019, there is less Treixadura than in previous years, and there's only one hectare of Treixadura left in his vineyards. The wine does have very good freshness, plus a very salty finish and the granite sensation that gives it an electric touch, complex, powerful and with a profile of a serious wine with very little bitterness; Palacios says it reminds him of the 2005 As Sortes. This has to be one of the best vintages of Louro, a clear step up from previous vintages. 180,000 bottles produced. It was bottled between April and May 2020 from a single master blend."
- 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”.
- 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_382615Bottle Size: 750mlOne of the top, classic producers of Albarino in the world. The entry-level Zarate already has an above-average persistence and balance in the mouth. It's a notably "mineral" style of Albarino, with a zesty natural acidity that is balanced by added richness from ageing on the lees, citrus and firm-fleshed stone fruits, and the occasional partial malolactic fermentation.
- Item #: i_383438Bottle Size: 750mlA very nicely crafted, highly drinkable wine that offers up a lot of enjoyment. Reasonably serious, clean and fresh, this displays crushed sea shell, dense fruit, and well integrated brightness. Not overtly serious or complex, yet has depth and lip smacking qualities. Enough stuffing to to last perhaps 3 years or so.