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…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
$44.95
$50.00
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96 points Luis Gutierrez (Wine Advocate): ...Tempranillo with 10% Graciano... The nose is very balsamic with notes of camphor, hints of mint, leather and hung game wrapped around a core of cherries in liqueur. Together it is balanced, subtle, truly elegant and classical. The palate is only medium… ...
WA 96
WE 96
JS 95
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La Rioja Alta Rioja Gran Reserva 904 2005  (#325834)

Tempranillo/Tinto Fino from Rioja, Spain

[ 96 points Luis Gutierrez (Wine Advocate): ...Tempranillo with 10% Graciano... The nose is very balsamic with notes of camphor, hints of mint, leather and hung game wrapped around a core of cherries in liqueur. Together it is balanced, subtle, truly elegant and classical. The palate is only medium-bodied but with great concentration of flavors that are very tasty, mineral, almost salty and framed by ultra-fine tannins and smashing balance. A great classic... At this quality level this is a bargain. (Apr 2015) ] 96 points Luis Gutierrez (Wine Advocate): ...Tempranillo with 10% Graciano... The nose is very balsamic with notes of camphor, hints of mint, leather and hung game wrapped around a core of cherries in liqueur. Together it is balanced, subtle, truly…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
WA 96
WE 96
JS 95
95 points James Suckling: Very sexy wine with blueberry, blackberry and floral aromas and flavors. It s medium-to-full bodied, with wonderful finesse and depth. All about polish. Give it three or four years to show you it all. Try in 2021. (8/2/18) ...
JS 95
WA 94
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Pingus Ribera del Duero Flor de Pingus 2015  (#701841)

Tempranillo/Tinto Fino from Ribera del Duero, Spain

[ 95 points James Suckling: Very sexy wine with blueberry, blackberry and floral aromas and flavors. It s medium-to-full bodied, with wonderful finesse and depth. All about polish. Give it three or four years to show you it all. Try in 2021. (8/2/18) ] 95 points James Suckling: Very sexy wine with blueberry, blackberry and floral aromas and flavors. It s medium-to-full bodied, with wonderful finesse and depth. All about polish. Give it three or four years to show you it all. Try in 2021. (8/2/18)

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
97 points James Suckling: This is a driven and super tight Gran Reserva with dark berries and hints of spice and cedar. A spicy red-pepper undertone and some dried flowers. Full to medium body, integrated tannins and a superb finish. A great wine. Available in September 2018. A wine for the cellar,… ...
JS 97
TA 96
WA 95
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La Rioja Alta Rioja Gran Reserva 904 2009  (#701930)

Tempranillo/Tinto Fino from Rioja, Spain

[ 97 points James Suckling: This is a driven and super tight Gran Reserva with dark berries and hints of spice and cedar. A spicy red-pepper undertone and some dried flowers. Full to medium body, integrated tannins and a superb finish. A great wine. Available in September 2018. A wine for the cellar, but why wait? (8/2/18) ] 97 points James Suckling: This is a driven and super tight Gran Reserva with dark berries and hints of spice and cedar. A spicy red-pepper undertone and some dried flowers. Full to medium body, integrated tannins and a superb finish. A great wine.…

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JS 97
TA 96
WA 95
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94 points Wine Spectator: Rich and focused, this red delivers ripe fruit flavors of currant and blackberry that mingle with espresso, mineral and licorice notes. The firm tannins are well-integrated and crisp acidity keeps this focused. Concentrated and harmonious. Drink now through 2030. 2,500… ...
WS 94
JS 94
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Valderiz Ribera del Duero 2015  (#702035)

Tempranillo/Tinto Fino from Ribera del Duero, Spain

[ 94 points Wine Spectator: Rich and focused, this red delivers ripe fruit flavors of currant and blackberry that mingle with espresso, mineral and licorice notes. The firm tannins are well-integrated and crisp acidity keeps this focused. Concentrated and harmonious. Drink now through 2030. 2,500 cases made. (9/30/18) ] 94 points Wine Spectator: Rich and focused, this red delivers ripe fruit flavors of currant and blackberry that mingle with espresso, mineral and licorice notes. The firm tannins are well-integrated and crisp acidity keeps this focused. Concentrated…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 5 available
$29.95
$45.00
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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

[ 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 attack, with a lovely core, great focus and grip, modest, seamless tannins and a long, tangy and perfectly balanced finish of excellent complexity and grip... old school Rioja of the highest order... 2018-2045+. (May/Jun 2018) ] 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…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 1 available
JG 94
WA 94
DE 91
$39.95
$45.00
Save $5.05 (11%)45.00
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94 points Luis Gutierrez (Wine Advocate): ...Tempranillo with 20% Garnacha... The nose is very fresh, with notes of beef blood, iron, cherries in liqueur, some subtle leather and spices plus notes of autumn forest and truffles. The palate is more lively and has some tannins that would feel better… ...
WA 94
PG 93
V 92
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La Rioja Alta Rioja Vina Ardanza Reserva 2007  (#702017)

Tempranillo/Tinto Fino from Rioja, Spain

[ 94 points Luis Gutierrez (Wine Advocate): ...Tempranillo with 20% Garnacha... The nose is very fresh, with notes of beef blood, iron, cherries in liqueur, some subtle leather and spices plus notes of autumn forest and truffles. The palate is more lively and has some tannins that would feel better integrated with some food or a little bit of time in bottle It was bottled in November 2011. Drink: 2016-2027. (Apr 2015) ] 94 points Luis Gutierrez (Wine Advocate): ...Tempranillo with 20% Garnacha... The nose is very fresh, with notes of beef blood, iron, cherries in liqueur, some subtle leather and spices plus notes of autumn forest and truffles. The palate is more…

375ml Half Bottle | In stock, 5 available
93 points Luis Gutiérrez (Wine Advocate): ...Tempranillo with 15% Cabernet Sauvignon plus 10% Syrah, and other varieties... balanced and fresh, with the oak perfectly integrated in the wine... very representative of the place and vintage... In 2013 the difference is that they used some more Merlot… ...
WA 93
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Abadia Retuerta Sardon de Duero Seleccion Especial 2013  (#702016)

Tempranillo/Tinto Fino from Tierra de León, Spain

[ 93 points Luis Gutiérrez (Wine Advocate): ...Tempranillo with 15% Cabernet Sauvignon plus 10% Syrah, and other varieties... balanced and fresh, with the oak perfectly integrated in the wine... very representative of the place and vintage... In 2013 the difference is that they used some more Merlot and a touch of Petit Verdot, which provided some extra punch. This is a great success over the vintage conditions, very accessible and drinkable, with contained alcohol... 2017-2021. (Feb 2017) ] 93 points Luis Gutiérrez (Wine Advocate): ...Tempranillo with 15% Cabernet Sauvignon plus 10% Syrah, and other varieties... balanced and fresh, with the oak perfectly integrated in the wine... very representative of the place and vintage... In 2013…

375ml Half Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
94 points Luis Gutiérrez (Wine Advocate): The first white I tasted was the 2008 Viña Gravonia Blanco, a true bargain traditional oak-aged Rioja from very old Viura vines (90 years old!) on gravel soils. 2008 was a healthy vintage, which resulted in a slightly smaller crop than 2007, and the white… ...
WA 94
DE 94
JS 94
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Lopez de Heredia Rioja Vina Gravonia Crianza Blanco 2008  (#332907)

Other White Wines from Rioja, Spain

[ 94 points Luis Gutiérrez (Wine Advocate): The first white I tasted was the 2008 Viña Gravonia Blanco, a true bargain traditional oak-aged Rioja from very old Viura vines (90 years old!) on gravel soils. 2008 was a healthy vintage, which resulted in a slightly smaller crop than 2007, and the white grapes were picked starting on October 9th. They have never added yeasts to their wines, and this fermented in centenary oak vats and matured in used barriques for four years. It was bottled unfiltered. It has the right balance between youth and freshness and the more-developed aromas. The notes of dried flowers, honey, nuts and petrol are intermixed with aromas of quince, medlar and other yellow fruit, with hints of saffron and spices, quite developed. The palate is very tasty, and it ends with a salty finish. This is a cool vintage, where the wines show very good freshness. They do their blends to achieve a homogeneous style that shows the fresh and mineral character of the Gravonia vineyard. Year in, year out, this is one of the greatest bargains in Rioja and Spain. They produced some 17,800 bottles, which were filled in November 2013. (Feb 2018) ] 94 points Luis Gutiérrez (Wine Advocate): The first white I tasted was the 2008 Viña Gravonia Blanco, a true bargain traditional oak-aged Rioja from very old Viura vines (90 years old!) on gravel soils. 2008 was a healthy vintage, which resulted in a…

750ml Bottle | Pre-arrival, 12+ available
WA 94
DE 94
JS 94
PRE-ARRIVAL
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

[ 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) ] 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)

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
90 points James Suckling: The most normal and satisfying wine from this producer. Full, dry tannins and quite fresh acidity, but the best thing is the fresh fruit. Drink now or in 2018. (7/24/17) ...
JS 90
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Atalaya Almansa Laya Old Vines 2016  (#701648)

Rhone Blends - Red from La Mancha, Spain

[ 90 points James Suckling: The most normal and satisfying wine from this producer. Full, dry tannins and quite fresh acidity, but the best thing is the fresh fruit. Drink now or in 2018. (7/24/17) ] 90 points James Suckling: The most normal and satisfying wine from this producer. Full, dry tannins and quite fresh acidity, but the best thing is the fresh fruit. Drink now or in 2018. (7/24/17)

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
89 points Jeb Dunnuck: The 2016 Burgans Albariño (100% Albariño aged 3 months in tank) is a richer, medium-bodied white that has exotic notes of lime, peach, and honeyed minerality all soaring from the glass. It has rock solid purity and freshness, ample texture, and is going to shine on the dinner… ...
JD 89
PG 89
DE 87
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Burgans Albarino Rias Baixas 2016  (#330691)

Albariño from Rías Baixas, Spain

[ 89 points Jeb Dunnuck: The 2016 Burgans Albariño (100% Albariño aged 3 months in tank) is a richer, medium-bodied white that has exotic notes of lime, peach, and honeyed minerality all soaring from the glass. It has rock solid purity and freshness, ample texture, and is going to shine on the dinner table. Drink it over the coming year. Drink: 2018. (2/21/18) ] 89 points Jeb Dunnuck: The 2016 Burgans Albariño (100% Albariño aged 3 months in tank) is a richer, medium-bodied white that has exotic notes of lime, peach, and honeyed minerality all soaring from the glass. It has rock solid purity and freshness,…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
JD 89
PG 89
DE 87
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