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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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 | Pre-arrival, 12+ available
PRE-ARRIVAL
$39.95
$50.00
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95 points Wine & Spirits: 'Inocente is Valdespino s flagship... It ferments in 600-liter wooden casks without added yeasts, a practice that has become increasingly rare in Jerez. The intensity of the wine s salinity is remarkable--iodine and salt--coming together with ripe white fruit, scents of… ...

W&S 95
WA 94
PG 93
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Valdespino Dry Fino Sherry Inocente Single Vineyard NV  (#323412)

Sherry from Jerez-Xeres-Sherry, Spain

750ml Bottle | In stock, 1 available
W&S 95
WA 94
PG 93

91 points James Suckling: Bright, brambly appeal on the nose with redcurrant and raspberry fruits. The palate has a plush, fleshy and saturated feel to it, with succulent tannins. Drink now. (7/24/17) ...

JS 91
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Ateca Garnacha Calatayud Honoro Vera 2016  (#701848)

Grenache/Garnacha from Calatayud, Spain

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available

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
NEW ITEM

94 points James Suckling: This is a fragrant and gritty Pingus with a ton of tannins which give it a lot of depth and length. This wine deserves some patience. It needs two or three years more of bottle age to be at its best, but should keep for some years following. (7/24/17) ...

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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89 points Wine & Spirits: This is juicy, firm and tense in notes of spicy sour cherries with hints of black pepper. As an aperitif, it is delicious, but also has enough body to accompany marinated sardines. (Aug 2017) ...

W&S 89
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Raventos i Blanc Conca Del Riu Anoia De Nit Extra Brut Rose 2015  (#701641)

Vintage Rosé Sparkling Wine from Penedès, Spain

750ml Bottle | In stock, 11 available

94 points Luis Gutiérrez (Wine Advocate): ...a blend of Monastrell with 15% Syrah and 15% Garnacha... 2012 could be the finest vintage to date, as there was no 2012 Pie Franco, as quantities were really short and those grapes are in this blend. It starts off with some notes of smoke, toffee, fresh… ...

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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96 points Tim Atkin, MW: (13.5%) Reflecting the excellence of the vintage, as well as its power, this is the latest in a superb run of 904 Gran Reservas. Combining Tempranillo with 10% Graciano for added backbone and grip, it s a wine that is (as ever) supremely drinkable on release, but will reward… ...

TA 96
WA 95
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La Rioja Alta Rioja Gran Reserva 904 2009  (#701930)

Tempranillo/Tinto Fino from Rioja, Spain

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available

WHWC Staff Notes: ...Txakolina is medium weight, brisk, and bright with a bit of spritz and a wonderful lime and lemongrass character...The grape used to make the Antxiola Txakolina is Hondarribi Zuri, although other versions can include Folle Blanche. It's dangerously easy to drink, and from… ...

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Antxiola Getariako Txakolina 2017  (#332751)

Other White Blends from Basque Country (Txacolí), Spain

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available

94 points James Suckling: Complex, layered and enticing nose of ripe strawberries, dried flowers and meat as well as porcini undertones. Full and velvety with ripe and soft tannins that follow through to a long, soft and slightly sweet finish. Harmonious and classy. Old-style. 65% garnacha, 20%… ...

JS 94
JG 93
WS 90
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Vinos del Atlantico Rioja La Antigua Clasico Reserva 2008  (#701716)

Other Red Blends from Rioja, Spain

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
JS 94
JG 93
WS 90

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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