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): 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
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$36.00
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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, 12+ available
JS 94
PG 93
WA 91
$26.95
$40.00
Save $13.05 (33%)40.00
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92 points Peñín Guide to Spanish Wine: (85% garnacha tintorera, 15% monastrell). Colour: deep cherry. Nose: ripe fruit, dried herbs, creamy oak, cocoa bean, varietal. Palate: powerful, ripe fruit, spicy, round tannins. (2018) ...
PG 92
WA 91
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Atalaya Almansa La Atalaya del Camino 2015  (#701856)

Other Red Blends from Spain

[ 92 points Peñín Guide to Spanish Wine: (85% garnacha tintorera, 15% monastrell). Colour: deep cherry. Nose: ripe fruit, dried herbs, creamy oak, cocoa bean, varietal. Palate: powerful, ripe fruit, spicy, round tannins. (2018) ] 92 points Peñín Guide to Spanish Wine: (85% garnacha tintorera, 15% monastrell). Colour: deep cherry. Nose: ripe fruit, dried herbs, creamy oak, cocoa bean, varietal. Palate: powerful, ripe fruit, spicy, round tannins. (2018)

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
93 points and 'Highly Recommended,' Wine Spectator: Plum, blood orange, black olive, toast and mineral notes mingle in this tight, bright red. Juicy acidity keeps this lively, while firm tannins impart focus. Graceful, with good intensity. Drink now through 2025. Tasted twice, with consistent notes.… ...
WS 93
V 91
W&S 90
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Palacio del Burgo Rioja Reserva 2010  (#325831)

Tempranillo/Tinto Fino from Rioja, Spain

[ 93 points and 'Highly Recommended,' Wine Spectator: Plum, blood orange, black olive, toast and mineral notes mingle in this tight, bright red. Juicy acidity keeps this lively, while firm tannins impart focus. Graceful, with good intensity. Drink now through 2025. Tasted twice, with consistent notes. 3,000 cases made. (12/15/15) ] 93 points and 'Highly Recommended,' Wine Spectator: Plum, blood orange, black olive, toast and mineral notes mingle in this tight, bright red. Juicy acidity keeps this lively, while firm tannins impart focus. Graceful, with good intensity. Drink now…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
WS 93
V 91
W&S 90
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
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
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95 points Luis Gutiérrez (Wine Advocate): ...a young-vine blend of Garnacha and Cariñena... It starts as a closed and serious red, with great detail, poise and elegance, incredibly fresh for the conditions of the year, challenging the 2014 with freshness. It's fresh and mineral, elegant and perfumed… ...
WA 95
W&S 93
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Nin-Ortiz Planetes de Nin Priorat 2015  (#332448)

Other Red Blends from Spain

[ 95 points Luis Gutiérrez (Wine Advocate): ...a young-vine blend of Garnacha and Cariñena... It starts as a closed and serious red, with great detail, poise and elegance, incredibly fresh for the conditions of the year, challenging the 2014 with freshness. It's fresh and mineral, elegant and perfumed, floral and nicely balanced on the palate. This has to be the finest Planetes to date. Bravo! 9,070 bottles were filled in April 2017. Drink: 2018-2022. (Apr 2018) ] 95 points Luis Gutiérrez (Wine Advocate): ...a young-vine blend of Garnacha and Cariñena... It starts as a closed and serious red, with great detail, poise and elegance, incredibly fresh for the conditions of the year, challenging the 2014 with…

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$39.95
$50.00
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98 points and 'Top 100 Wines of 2017 (#10),' James Suckling: This is very Asian with black tea, mushroom and bark aromas, and ripe fruit undertones. Full body, round and polished. Edgy structure with blackberry, mushroom skin and cedar. Fantastic finish. Just a baby. Stock up for the cellar. Better… ...
JS 98
WA 94
V 94
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Contino (Cune) Rioja Gran Reserva 2010  (#701843)

Tempranillo/Tinto Fino from Rioja, Spain

[ 98 points and 'Top 100 Wines of 2017 (#10),' James Suckling: This is very Asian with black tea, mushroom and bark aromas, and ripe fruit undertones. Full body, round and polished. Edgy structure with blackberry, mushroom skin and cedar. Fantastic finish. Just a baby. Stock up for the cellar. Better in 2020 but already excellent. (1/18/18) ] 98 points and 'Top 100 Wines of 2017 (#10),' James Suckling: This is very Asian with black tea, mushroom and bark aromas, and ripe fruit undertones. Full body, round and polished. Edgy structure with blackberry, mushroom skin and cedar. Fantastic…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 6 available
$49.95
$95.00
Save $45.05 (47%)95.00
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95 points Luis Gutiérrez (Wine Advocate): The 2005 Viña Tondonia Blanco Reserva is a fine and elegant wine inspired by the vineyards of Graves in Bordeaux. 2005 was an excellent vintage, when 154 hectares of vineyards from the 170 they own were in production. The grapes were picked before the rains… ...
WA 95
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Lopez de Heredia Rioja Blanco Vina Tondonia Reserva 2005  (#332906)

Other White Blends from Rioja, Spain

[ 95 points Luis Gutiérrez (Wine Advocate): The 2005 Viña Tondonia Blanco Reserva is a fine and elegant wine inspired by the vineyards of Graves in Bordeaux. 2005 was an excellent vintage, when 154 hectares of vineyards from the 170 they own were in production. The grapes were picked before the rains of October 12th. This is mostly Viura (Macabeo), but it always contains some 10% Malvasía Riojana, and the white varieties are always planted on whiter, limestone-rich soils. It matured in used oak barriques for six years before bottling. María José and Mercedes López de Heredia told me their Viura, with the low yields they get (often 2,000 kilograms per hectare), shows less of the vintage differences, and even in torrid years like 2003, the wines do not show heat. It's very interesting comparing this with the Gravonia from 2008, as this showed higher ripeness and a lot more developed aromas, nuttier with hints of hay and straw, honey and also chamomile and dried flowers. But the oak is never obvious in the wine, it only adds spiciness but no wood aromas. 2005 was also a warmer, riper and more powerful vintage, which shows more in the palate, which is round and powerful with pungent flavors. 20,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in May 2013 over two consecutive days. Drink: 2018-2030. (Feb 2018) ] 95 points Luis Gutiérrez (Wine Advocate): The 2005 Viña Tondonia Blanco Reserva is a fine and elegant wine inspired by the vineyards of Graves in Bordeaux. 2005 was an excellent vintage, when 154 hectares of vineyards from the 170 they own were in…

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91 points Wine & Spirits: De Nit is based on monastrell and comes from the vineyards of La Barbera, La Plana and Viader, where the soils are deep loamy clay. This sparkler is focused on sour cherry flavors, seeming to deliver those flavors in the bubbles, pointed and firm. This is refreshing, juicy,… ...
W&S 91
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Raventos i Blanc Conca Del Riu Anoia De Nit Extra Brut Rose 2016  (#702041)

Vintage Rosé Sparkling Wine from Penedès, Spain

[ 91 points Wine & Spirits: De Nit is based on monastrell and comes from the vineyards of La Barbera, La Plana and Viader, where the soils are deep loamy clay. This sparkler is focused on sour cherry flavors, seeming to deliver those flavors in the bubbles, pointed and firm. This is refreshing, juicy, crystalline in its fruit expression. (Aug 2018) 42% Macabeo, 37% Xarel.lo, 14% Parrellada, 7% Monastrell. ] 91 points Wine & Spirits: De Nit is based on monastrell and comes from the vineyards of La Barbera, La Plana and Viader, where the soils are deep loamy clay. This sparkler is focused on sour cherry flavors, seeming to deliver those flavors in the…

375ml Half Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
96 points James Suckling: A staggering range of aromas, from dried mango and papaya through toasted nuts to dried flowers. Powerful and concentrated, but not at all fat, this has a stunning texture, due to the interplay of tannins and richness. Very long, intense finish. Drink or hold. (8/2/18) ...
JS 96
DE 96
WA 93
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Lopez de Heredia Rioja Vina Tondonia Reserva 2005  (#701718)

Tempranillo/Tinto Fino from Rioja, Spain

[ 96 points James Suckling: A staggering range of aromas, from dried mango and papaya through toasted nuts to dried flowers. Powerful and concentrated, but not at all fat, this has a stunning texture, due to the interplay of tannins and richness. Very long, intense finish. Drink or hold. (8/2/18) ] 96 points James Suckling: A staggering range of aromas, from dried mango and papaya through toasted nuts to dried flowers. Powerful and concentrated, but not at all fat, this has a stunning texture, due to the interplay of tannins and richness. Very…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 1 available
JS 96
DE 96
WA 93
$36.95
$50.00
Save $13.05 (26%)50.00
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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, 3 available
JG 94
WA 94
DE 91
$39.95
$45.00
Save $5.05 (11%)45.00
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