Spain, WINE

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Much like the other titans of European wine production, Spain's industry has deep historical roots and a kaleidoscopic assortment of varietals, styles, and landscapes. Spain has remained the most staunchly traditional (some might even say backward) of the major European wine-producing nations, but the inevitable march of moderniztion and the demands of the international wine market have compelled many producers to adopt new methods and philosophies.

Spain's rivers form the backbone of many of its most important regions, none more so than the river Ebro that flows through the Rioja DOC. Spain's most prestigeous wine region has undergone fluctuations in style and quality like few others over the years. As in the rest of central Spain, Tempranillo is the favored grape for the finest wines, with Graciano and Mazuelo (Carignan) making up the difference in most blends. In youth, these medium-bodied wines are bright, berry-laden crowd pleasers, but with age, the finest ones (Gran Reservas) can develop haunting complexity and texture reminiscent of fine, aged Burgundy. A hallmark of the wines is their aging in new oak, typically American in origin, and a wine's categorization depends on the length of time spent in barrel. White Rioja wines, made from primarily from Viura (Macabeo), are also famously long-lived and usually see the same extended oak regimen as the reds.

Nearby, on the vast expanse of the Castilla y Leon plateau, other regions also excel with Tempranillo. Ribera del Duero is the more rustic cousin to Rioja's refined presentation. In the hotter continental climate, where temperatures fluctuate dramatically from day to night, the Tempranillo grape takes on a decidedly more animalistic tone. It's no coincidence that this region is home to Spain's most expensive and sought-after wine, Vega Sicilia. The ancient Roman settlement of Toro is also renowned for producing perhaps the densest, most luxuriantly ripe versions of Tempranillo, albeit with some latent sense of balance. The Bierzo region on northwest edge of Castilla y Leon is markedly different thanks to a small degree of exposure to influences from the Atlantic Ocean. Cooler temperatures and slate and granite soils are ideal for the Mencia grape to thrive, making for lighter, lively, fruity wines characterized by a profoundly mineral streak. Rueda is the one prominent white wine region on the plateau, where Verdejo is the principal grape.

Over the Sierra de Cantabria mountains, the north coast of Spain is cooler and wetter. From the Albariño wines of the Galician coast and Rías Baixas in the west to the bracing, lightning Txakolina wines of Basque country to the east, this climate is capable of producing some of the raciest, most refreshing white wines in the world. In the Catalan northeast of the country, at the foot of the Pyrenees, the hot, montane climate excels in producing burly, powerful red wines from Garnacha, Cariñena, and Monastrell. The rustic, hilltop villages of Priorat are especially known for ripeness, power, and longevity. The nearby Penedès produces prodminantly white wines, most notably Spain's answer to Champagne, the sparking Cava wines.

Moving south, the climate warms significantly, and the central regions of Spain, like Jumilla, Yecla, and La Mancha all depend on the harda Garnacha and Monastrell grapes to produce their sometimes massive, rustic, bold reds. The Jerez region in the Andalucían south produces Spain's utterly unique Sherry wines. From the dry Fino and Amontillado styles to the richer, more decadent Oloroso and Pedro Ximénez, these wines are some of the most singular styles in the world. While their styles are not friendly to mass consumption, the connoisseur inevitably finds in the finest examples character and complexity that are unmatched.

Spain's wine tapestry is as ancient as anywhere in Europe, and just as varied. While the country has been slow to jump on the modernization wave, it's now well on its way to a bright future.

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96 points James Suckling: Very fresh and vivid 2009 with berries, dark spice and hints of walnuts. Full-bodied, reserved and so held back and muscular, but you don t feel the tannins and the strength. A great wine. Give it two or three years. Try in 2020. (8/2/18) ...

JS 96
WA 93
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La Rioja Alta Rioja Vina Ardanza Reserva 2009  (#702056)

Tempranillo/Tinto Fino from Rioja, Spain

750ml Bottle | Pre-arrival, 6 available
NEW ITEMPRE-ARRIVAL

95 points Luis Gutiérrez (Wine Advocate): The amazing 2015 Planetes de Nin is a young-vine blend of Garnacha and Cariñena that fermented in 3,200-liter French oak vats with indigenous yeasts and matured in a 3,000-liter oak vat for some 18 months. It starts as a closed and serious red, with great… ...

WA 95
W&S 93
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Nin-Ortiz Planetes de Nin Priorat 2015  (#332448)

Other Red Blends from Spain

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
NEW ITEM
$39.95
$50.00
Save $10.05 (20%)50.00
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90+ points Luis Gutiérrez (Wine Advocate): ...75% Cariñena, 19% Garnacha and 6% Syrah that fermented with natural yeasts and with only 20% of the volume put in new oak barrels for 12 months. This feels more elegant than the other reds here, representative of the house style, with character and… ...

WA 90
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Celler Cecilio Black Slate Gratallops Vi de la Vila Priorat 2016  (#702026)

Rhone Blends - Red from Priorat, Spain

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available

94 points Luis Gutiérrez (Wine Advocate): ...Monastrell with 15% Syrah and 15% Garnacha... 2012 could be the finest vintage to date... It starts off with some notes of smoke, toffee, fresh fruit and orange peel in harmony with well-integrated oak and a stony profile that develops more and more… ...

WA 94
V 92
JS 92
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Casa Castillo Jumilla Las Gravas 2012  (#701830)

Other Red Blends from Jumilla, Spain

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available

94 points Peñín Guide to Spanish Wine (2015). 92 points Luis Gutiérrez (Wine Advocate): ...starts with reductive aromas (energetic decanting is not out of the place) and also closed, with lactic notes and ripe fruit. With a very dark, concentrated and ripe full- bodied palate, it is serious and… ...

PG 94
WA 92
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Casa Castillo Jumilla Las Gravas 2011  (#701896)

Other Red Blends from Jumilla, Spain

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
$24.95
$30.00
Save $5.05 (17%)30.00
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94 points Wine & Spirits: Clos Mogador is an amphitheater of vines overlooking the Siurana River. The site was originally planted to garnacha and some cariñena more than 80 years ago. The Barbier family added syrah and cabernet when they arrived in the late seventies. This new vintage, a blend of… ...

W&S 94
WS 93
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Clos Mogador Priorat 2014  (#701571)

Other Red Blends from Priorat, Spain

750ml Bottle | In stock, 4 available

93 points James Suckling: Aromas of red licorice with green olives, sage bush and plums. Full body, chewy and round tannins. Lots of fruit. From a vineyard planted in the occidental part of Rioja Alavesa in a village called Lanziego. Structured. Drink or hold. (7/16/15) ...

JS 93
V 92
WA 92
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Telmo Rodriguez Rioja Lanzaga 2010  (#328218)

Tempranillo/Tinto Fino from Rioja, Spain

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
$34.95
$40.00
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91 points Luis Gutiérrez (Wine Advocate): The unoaked red 2016 LZ is produced with a blend of head-pruned Tempranillo, Garnacha and Graciano from the village of Lanciego. It fermented with indigenous yeasts in concrete vats for 15 days and matured in tank for four to six months. This is super… ...

WA 91
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Lanzaga (Telmo Rodriguez) Rioja LZ 2016  (#701972)

Tempranillo/Tinto Fino from Rioja, Spain

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
$14.95
$18.00
Save $3.05 (17%)18.00
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94 points James Suckling: This is very layered with so much dark berry, walnut, aged tobacco, cedar box and just a hint of bitter chocolate. Full-bodied, dense and rich, yet energetic and driven on the finish. Tight still. Give this two or three years to open up. Try in 2020. (8/2/18) ...

JS 94
PG 93
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Pingus Psi Ribera del Duero 2015  (#701786)

Tempranillo/Tinto Fino from Ribera del Duero, Spain

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
$26.95
$40.00
Save $13.05 (33%)40.00
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94 points John Gilman (View From the Cellar): ...The deep and complex bouquet wafts from the glass in a riper mix of red and black cherries, spices meats, a fine base of soil, smoke, toasted coconut, allspice, clove and a delicate topnote of cigar wrapper... full-bodied, focused and velvety on the… ...

JG 94
WA 94
DE 91
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Senorio de P. Pecina Rioja Gran Reserva 2009  (#701212)

Tempranillo/Tinto Fino from Rioja, Spain

750ml Bottle | In stock, 3 available
JG 94
WA 94
DE 91
$39.95
$45.00
Save $5.05 (11%)45.00
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94 points James Suckling: A classic and tightly knit Rioja with dried berry, spice and cedar character on the nose and palate. Medium body, very fine tannins and a flavorful finish. Acidity carries the wine and then the tannins. Gorgeous. Drink now. (7/24/17) ...

JS 94
W&S 91
WA 90
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La Rioja Alta Rioja Vina Alberdi Reserva 2011  (#701831)

Tempranillo/Tinto Fino from Rioja, Spain

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
JS 94
W&S 91
WA 90

91 points James Suckling: Always a delicious white with sliced apple, melon and green pear character. Medium body, bright acidity. Lively finish. Drink now. 100% Viura. ...

JS 91
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Cune Rioja Blanco Monopole 2016  (#331895)

Other White Wines from Rioja, Spain

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
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