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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94+ points Luis Gutiérrez (Wine Advocate): ...Tempranillo with 3% Garnacha and 2% Graciano, sourced from 50-year-old... single-vineyard... This feels very harmonious, combining some primary notes with more-developed tertiary aromas. The palate also reveals a rare mix of power and elegance that only… ...
WA 94
JG 92
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Hermanos Pecina Rioja Gran Reserva Finca Iscorta de Pecina 2010  (#702010)

Tempranillo/Tinto Fino from Rioja, Spain

[ 94+ points Luis Gutiérrez (Wine Advocate): ...Tempranillo with 3% Garnacha and 2% Graciano, sourced from 50-year-old... single-vineyard... This feels very harmonious, combining some primary notes with more-developed tertiary aromas. The palate also reveals a rare mix of power and elegance that only the very best vintages are capable of. It has polished tannins, good volume, freshness and length. Drink or hold, there should be no rush. Drink: 2018-2030. (Feb 2018) ] 94+ points Luis Gutiérrez (Wine Advocate): ...Tempranillo with 3% Garnacha and 2% Graciano, sourced from 50-year-old... single-vineyard... This feels very harmonious, combining some primary notes with more-developed tertiary aromas. The palate also…

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$50.00
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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
WA 91
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Pingus Psi Ribera del Duero 2015  (#701786)

Tempranillo/Tinto Fino from Ribera del Duero, Spain

[ 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) ] 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…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 7 available
JS 94
PG 93
WA 91
$26.95
$40.00
Save $13.05 (33%)40.00
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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

[ 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) ] 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…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
95 points Jeb Dunnuck: The 2015 Aalto is a gorgeous wine, and even at the retail price of $50, is a value. Loaded with notions of blackberry and cassis fruits, vanilla, graphite, and high-class oak, it hits the palate with medium to full-bodied richness, has beautiful concentration, and ripe,… ...
JD 95
WA 94
WS 93
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Aalto Ribera del Duero 2015  (#702119)

Tempranillo/Tinto Fino from Ribera del Duero, Spain

[ 95 points Jeb Dunnuck: The 2015 Aalto is a gorgeous wine, and even at the retail price of $50, is a value. Loaded with notions of blackberry and cassis fruits, vanilla, graphite, and high-class oak, it hits the palate with medium to full-bodied richness, has beautiful concentration, and ripe, polished tannin. It certainly has a modern slant, yet is balanced, has terrific purity, and a great finish. Give it a few years. Drink: 2020-2030. (2/21/18) ] 95 points Jeb Dunnuck: The 2015 Aalto is a gorgeous wine, and even at the retail price of $50, is a value. Loaded with notions of blackberry and cassis fruits, vanilla, graphite, and high-class oak, it hits the palate with medium to full-bodied…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
JD 95
WA 94
WS 93
$39.95
$55.00
Save $15.05 (27%)55.00
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94 points Wine & Spirits: 'From notes of candied tangerines, this develops scents of mint leaves and flowers. It offers pure sensory pleasure, but also a little intellectual challenge--setting out to recognize all the aromas that emerge from the glass. Eladio Piñeiro, former owner of Mar de Frades,… ...
W&S 94
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Eladio Pineiro Albarino Envidiacochina Rias Baixas 2016  (#701863)

Albariño from Rías Baixas, Spain

[ 94 points Wine & Spirits: 'From notes of candied tangerines, this develops scents of mint leaves and flowers. It offers pure sensory pleasure, but also a little intellectual challenge--setting out to recognize all the aromas that emerge from the glass. Eladio Piñeiro, former owner of Mar de Frades, makes Envidiacochina ('dirty envy') from 30-year-old vines in Salnés. (Aug 2018) ] 94 points Wine & Spirits: 'From notes of candied tangerines, this develops scents of mint leaves and flowers. It offers pure sensory pleasure, but also a little intellectual challenge--setting out to recognize all the aromas that emerge from the…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
$21.95
$27.00
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Dark amber in color with copper highlights. Very complex aromas, combining the delicacy of an Amontillado and the intensity of an Oloroso. Dry, elegant and persistent on the palate. Finessed and balanced. ...
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Cruz Vieja (Faustino) Palo Cortado en Rama NV  (#324592)

Sherry from Jerez-Xeres-Sherry, Spain

[ Dark amber in color with copper highlights. Very complex aromas, combining the delicacy of an Amontillado and the intensity of an Oloroso. Dry, elegant and persistent on the palate. Finessed and balanced. ] Dark amber in color with copper highlights. Very complex aromas, combining the delicacy of an Amontillado and the intensity of an Oloroso. Dry, elegant and persistent on the palate. Finessed and balanced.

750ml Bottle | In stock, 4 available
$31.88
$42.00
Save $10.12 (24%)42.00
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95 points Jeb Dunnuck: The 2015 Laurel comes from the younger vines of the estate and is 80% Garnacha, 15% Syrah and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon... it boasts a deep purple color as well as perfumed notes of resinous herbs, blackberries, liquid violets and pepper. It’s rich, concentrated, and voluptuous,… ...
JD 95
WA 95
PG 92
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Clos I Terrasses Priorat Laurel 2015  (#701867)

Other Red Blends from Priorat, Spain

[ 95 points Jeb Dunnuck: The 2015 Laurel comes from the younger vines of the estate and is 80% Garnacha, 15% Syrah and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon... it boasts a deep purple color as well as perfumed notes of resinous herbs, blackberries, liquid violets and pepper. It’s rich, concentrated, and voluptuous, yet pure and elegant on the palate. It’s undoubtedly the finest vintage of this cuvée I’ve tasted, and the good news is that there are close to two thousand cases produced! Drink: 2018-2028. (2/21/18) ] 95 points Jeb Dunnuck: The 2015 Laurel comes from the younger vines of the estate and is 80% Garnacha, 15% Syrah and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon... it boasts a deep purple color as well as perfumed notes of resinous herbs, blackberries, liquid violets and…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 8 available
JD 95
WA 95
PG 92
93 points John Gilman (View From the Cellar): ...beautiful and refined complexity on both the nose and palate. The bouquet jumps from the glass in a mix of cherries, red plums, cloves, gentle notes of cigar ash, salty soil tones, a touch of wild fennel and a topnote of toasted coconut... pure, full… ...
JG 93
WA 91
JS 90
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Senorio de P. Pecina Rioja Reserva 2011  (#702011)

Tempranillo/Tinto Fino from Rioja, Spain

[ 93 points John Gilman (View From the Cellar): ...beautiful and refined complexity on both the nose and palate. The bouquet jumps from the glass in a mix of cherries, red plums, cloves, gentle notes of cigar ash, salty soil tones, a touch of wild fennel and a topnote of toasted coconut... pure, full-bodied and shows excellent mid-palate depth, with impeccable focus and balance, modest, buried tannins, bright acids and great soil signature on the very long, very refined and complex finish... 2020-2055. (Jan/Feb 2017) ] 93 points John Gilman (View From the Cellar): ...beautiful and refined complexity on both the nose and palate. The bouquet jumps from the glass in a mix of cherries, red plums, cloves, gentle notes of cigar ash, salty soil tones, a touch of wild…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 3 available
JG 93
WA 91
JS 90
$26.95
$30.00
Save $3.05 (10%)30.00
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95 points Luis Gutiérrez (Wine Advocate): The red flagship 2006 Viña Tondonia Reserva was inspired by the vineyards of the Médoc but produced with local grapes, 70% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha, 5% Graciano and 5% Mazuelo, which achieved 13% alcohol in 2006. It always matures in used American oak… ...
WA 95
JS 94
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Lopez de Heredia Rioja Vina Tondonia Reserva 2006  (#702176)

Tempranillo/Tinto Fino from Rioja, Spain

[ 95 points Luis Gutiérrez (Wine Advocate): The red flagship 2006 Viña Tondonia Reserva was inspired by the vineyards of the Médoc but produced with local grapes, 70% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha, 5% Graciano and 5% Mazuelo, which achieved 13% alcohol in 2006. It always matures in used American oak barriques for some six years. The oldest of all the reds I tasted, it was also the one with more freshness, which speaks to the quality of the vineyard. Drink: 2018-2028. (Feb 2018) ] 95 points Luis Gutiérrez (Wine Advocate): The red flagship 2006 Viña Tondonia Reserva was inspired by the vineyards of the Médoc but produced with local grapes, 70% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha, 5% Graciano and 5% Mazuelo, which achieved 13% alcohol in…

375ml Half Bottle | In stock, 12 available
93 points James Suckling: A modern and densely-fruited expression that has a wealth of concentrated dark chocolate, plum and black licorice as well as strong toasty oak emanating through the finish. Drinking well, but best from 2020. (7/24/17) ...
JS 93
WS 91
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Orowines Priorat BlueGray 2015  (#701935)

Other Red Blends from Priorat, Spain

[ 93 points James Suckling: A modern and densely-fruited expression that has a wealth of concentrated dark chocolate, plum and black licorice as well as strong toasty oak emanating through the finish. Drinking well, but best from 2020. (7/24/17) ] 93 points James Suckling: A modern and densely-fruited expression that has a wealth of concentrated dark chocolate, plum and black licorice as well as strong toasty oak emanating through the finish. Drinking well, but best from 2020. (7/24/17)

750ml Bottle | In stock, 4 available
$16.95
$20.00
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94 points Peñín Guide to Spanish Wine (2018). 90+ points Luis Gutiérrez (Wine Advocate): ...The nose is very balsamic, redolent of bay leaf with some medicinal notes and aromas of waxy apples. This wine is always clean and focused, and 2016 is no exception. The palate is supple and very tasty, with… ...
PG 94
WA 90
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Pazo de Barrantes Albarino Rias Baixas 2016  (#701859)

Albariño from Rías Baixas, Spain

[ 94 points Peñín Guide to Spanish Wine (2018). 90+ points Luis Gutiérrez (Wine Advocate): ...The nose is very balsamic, redolent of bay leaf with some medicinal notes and aromas of waxy apples. This wine is always clean and focused, and 2016 is no exception. The palate is supple and very tasty, with an almost salty, long finish. It feels saltier than other vintages. It was bottled in March 2017. (Aug 2017) ] 94 points Peñín Guide to Spanish Wine (2018). 90+ points Luis Gutiérrez (Wine Advocate): ...The nose is very balsamic, redolent of bay leaf with some medicinal notes and aromas of waxy apples. This wine is always clean and focused, and 2016 is no…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
$16.95
$20.00
Save $3.05 (15%)20.00
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95 points Luis Gutiérrez (Wine Advocate): ...mostly Tempranillo and Graciano... The wines are at the top of a northeast-facing slope at 610 meters in altitude on pure limestone clay that has always produced pure, deep and balanced wines...This is a very fresh plot with more Tempranillo than Garnacha… ...
WA 95
JS 95
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Lanzaga (Telmo Rodriguez) Rioja La Estrada 2014  (#701838)

Tempranillo/Tinto Fino from Rioja, Spain

[ 95 points Luis Gutiérrez (Wine Advocate): ...mostly Tempranillo and Graciano... The wines are at the top of a northeast-facing slope at 610 meters in altitude on pure limestone clay that has always produced pure, deep and balanced wines...This is a very fresh plot with more Tempranillo than Garnacha, and it produces a very elegant and fine wine, which was the backbone of the Altos de Lanzaga bottling from the past. 1,289 bottles were filled in July 2016. Drink: 2018-2028. (Feb 2018) ] 95 points Luis Gutiérrez (Wine Advocate): ...mostly Tempranillo and Graciano... The wines are at the top of a northeast-facing slope at 610 meters in altitude on pure limestone clay that has always produced pure, deep and balanced wines...This is a…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 9 available
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