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Jerez-Xeres-Sherry, 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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90 points Wine Spectator: Offers a relatively open-knit feel, with notes of singed orange peel, date and toasted sesame mixed together, backed by a dried-walnut thread on the finish. Drink now. (6/15/17) ...
WS 90
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Yuste Oloroso Sherry Aurora NV  (#701623)

Sherry from Jerez-Xeres-Sherry, Spain

90 points Wine Spectator: Offers a relatively open-knit feel, with notes of singed orange peel, date and toasted sesame mixed together, backed by a dried-walnut thread on the finish. Drink now. (6/15/17)

500ml Bottle | In stock, 7 available
92 points Wine & Spirits: At first sip, this feels buttery, with aromas of toasted nuts and sweet spices. Little by little, the flavors head toward a drier place, the wine becoming less aromatic with air, but more structured. It ends up feeling austere, vertical, powerful, the sort of Sherry to… ...
W&S 92
WS 90
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Yuste Amontillado Sherry Aurora NV  (#701622)

Sherry from Jerez-Xeres-Sherry, Spain

92 points Wine & Spirits: At first sip, this feels buttery, with aromas of toasted nuts and sweet spices. Little by little, the flavors head toward a drier place, the wine becoming less aromatic with air, but more structured. It ends up feeling…

500ml Bottle | In stock, 6 available
94 points and 'Top 100 Spirits 2018,' Wine Enthusiast: This pale gold, Sherry-based vermouth is made from fino, sweetened with Moscatel wine. Mild, grassy aromas lead into a sweet and citrusy palate, with mouthwatering acidity and a fresh, grassy exit accented by a floral hint. Alcohol 15%. (Mar… ...
WE 94
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Emilio Lustau Vermut (Vermouth) Blanco NV  (#331134)

Other Fortified Wine from Jerez-Xeres-Sherry, Spain

94 points and 'Top 100 Spirits 2018,' Wine Enthusiast: This pale gold, Sherry-based vermouth is made from fino, sweetened with Moscatel wine. Mild, grassy aromas lead into a sweet and citrusy palate, with mouthwatering acidity and a fresh, grassy…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 1 available
93 points and 'Best Buy,' Robert Parker: The non-vintage Dry Amontillado Los Arcos Solera Reserva reveals a medium amber hue along with a nutty, honeyed, dry personality with great acid. (Aug 2012) ...
RP 93
WS 91
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Lustau Solera Reserva Dry Amontillado Sherry Los Arcos NV  (#110189)

Sherry from Jerez-Xeres-Sherry, Spain

93 points and 'Best Buy,' Robert Parker: The non-vintage Dry Amontillado Los Arcos Solera Reserva reveals a medium amber hue along with a nutty, honeyed, dry personality with great acid. (Aug 2012)

750ml Bottle | In stock, 4 available
94 points and 'Best Buy,' Robert Parker: If you are looking for a dry sherry made in a slightly more oxidized style, the non-vintage Dry Oloroso Don Nuno Solera Reserva is your choice. Again, a nuttiness (in this case, walnuts) intermixed with a hint of Chinese black tea combine with salty,… ...
RP 94
WE 92
WS 91
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Lustau Oloroso Don Nuno Solera Reserva NV  (#3547)

Sherry from Jerez-Xeres-Sherry, Spain

94 points and 'Best Buy,' Robert Parker: If you are looking for a dry sherry made in a slightly more oxidized style, the non-vintage Dry Oloroso Don Nuno Solera Reserva is your choice. Again, a nuttiness (in this case, walnuts) intermixed with a hint…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 4 available
RP 94
WE 92
WS 91
92 points and 'Top 100 Spirits of 2016,' Wine Enthusiast: An interesting newcomer to the U.S. market, the base of this vermouth is rich, nutty Sherry--80% amontillado and 20% Pedro Ximenez, to be precise. It has a coffee-brown hue and a bright dried-herb scent. The palate wows with sticky toffee,… ...
WE 92
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Emilio Lustau Vermut (Vermouth) Rojo NV  (#331133)

Other Fortified Wine from Jerez-Xeres-Sherry, Spain

92 points and 'Top 100 Spirits of 2016,' Wine Enthusiast: An interesting newcomer to the U.S. market, the base of this vermouth is rich, nutty Sherry--80% amontillado and 20% Pedro Ximenez, to be precise. It has a coffee-brown hue and a bright dried…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 1 available
93 points Wine & Spirits: Although part of Lustau’s basic line, this Solera PX shows great depth of flavor, a complex network of caramelized aromas mingling with notes reminiscent of dried plums, chocolate and exotic spices. Sweet and opulent, this is creamy and rich in all its aspects. (Oct 2015) ...
W&S 93
WS 91
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Lustau Solera Reserva Pedro Ximenez Sherry San Emilio NV  (#110191)

Sherry from Jerez-Xeres-Sherry, Spain

93 points Wine & Spirits: Although part of Lustau’s basic line, this Solera PX shows great depth of flavor, a complex network of caramelized aromas mingling with notes reminiscent of dried plums, chocolate and exotic spices. Sweet and opulent, this…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 3 available
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96 points and 'Best Buy,' Robert Parker: A mind-blowing sherry is the non-vintage Palo Cortado Peninsula Solera Reserva. Like all Lustau sherries except for the East India, it is made from the Palomino varietal. A dry, crisp, full-throttle, intense sherry offering incredibly complex, nutty aromas,… ...
RP 96
W&S 91
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Lustau Palo Cortado Solera Reserva Peninsula NV  (#10626)

Sherry from Jerez-Xeres-Sherry, Spain

96 points and 'Best Buy,' Robert Parker: A mind-blowing sherry is the non-vintage Palo Cortado Peninsula Solera Reserva. Like all Lustau sherries except for the East India, it is made from the Palomino varietal. A dry, crisp, full-throttle, intense…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 1 available
NEW ITEM
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