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Spain Wines

Spain Wines

Spain Wines

Spain Wines

Great wines tell a story of not just the soil they come from, but the people whose hands did all the work. Spain is an incredibly rich and important country when it comes to wine, with plenty of stories to tell. Whether you’re a fan of the wonderful Tempranillo varietal and its myriad expressions among Spanish vintners, or you prefer a touch of classy white Albariño, Spain offers something for everyone. It’s a joy to immerse yourself in the culture and explore all the diverse styles and blends.

Picture a virtuosic guitar performance in the street. Listen to the urban noise that accompanies such a performance, and then focus on the strings. Imagine watching them pulsate with what seems like boundless energy, as the performer seems to effortlessly create entire melodic pieces on the fly. That awe you feel is captured in every great Spanish wine, and it resonates within each glass and every sip. That fiery passion is the same passion that burns in the hearts of Spanish winemakers as they devote their life to viticultural excellence. The spirit of the people lives on in the wine, and its presence is felt in every layer of texture, every aromatic. It’s all there, waiting for someone who can deconstruct and appreciate it.

If this sounds appealing to you, then you should treat yourself to at least one of Spain’s finest wines, and lose yourself in its complexities and pleasures. You will almost certainly walk away from that experience as a changed person, and your passion for wine will be set ablaze like never before.

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1994 r. lopez heredia vina tondonia gran reserva Spain Red

Extremely intense aromas of dried lemons, apples, limes and chalk. Full body, wonderful depth of fruit and density with bright acidity and a layered and rich palate. Yet remains vivid and fresh. Drink or hold.James Suckling | 97 JS(aged for nine years in American oak barrels and then held in bottle for a minimum of eight years before release) Brilliant red. A highly complex, expansive bouquet evokes cherry liqueur, pipe tobacco, incense, vanilla and woodsmoke, accompanied by hints of five-spice powder and licorice in the background. Sweet, expansive and seamless in texture, offering intense cherry-vanilla, spicecake and rose pastille flavors that deepen slowly as the wine opens up. Fully mature but with plenty of life left in it, this wine finishes impressively long, supple and sweet, displaying discreet tannins, resonating spiciness and suave florality. I reviewed this wine five years ago and am very happy to say that it has improved with additional bottle age.Vinous Media | 95 VM

96
RP
As low as $295.00
1995 Alvaro Palacios L'Ermita Priorat

Such a powerful mouthful of wine that after swallowing, it’s almost hard to talk. Explosively aromatic, with jam, tar, licorice and exotic spices, it leads with concentrated fruit, then follows with a sledgehammer of polished tannins that somehow dissolve on the finish, where the fruit reemerges like a rainbow. With a slab of well-aged, chargrilled beef--paradise. Drink now through 2005. 450 cases made.Wine Spectator | 97 WSSaturated ruby. More perfumed, more floral, fruit-driven aromas of blackcurrant, black cherry, black raspberry, mocha and clove; vibrant and youthful. Huge, sensual and deep on the palate, with great creamy depth of flavor. Still a bit youthfully tight but has the structure and concentration to develop over the next decade or two. Great persistence on the finish; huge, dusty, noble tannins coat the entire palate.Vinous Media | 95+ VMA clone of the 1994, the 1995 L’Ermita does not reveal quite the power and density of its older sibling, but that is a tough call ... especially at this age. The color is an opaque purple, and the wine displays more pain grille, grilled jus de viande, blackberry, and floral notes in its aromatics, which seem slightly more evolved than the 1994’s. In the mouth, the 1995 is deep, powerful, and rich, with low acidity, better sweetness and integration of tannin (only when compared to the massive 1994), layers of extract and flavor, and a 40-second finish. It is a remarkable wine with formidable style, intensity, and flavor. Anticipated maturity: 2002-2020.Robert Parker | 94 RP

As low as $505.00
1997 Alvaro Palacios L'Ermita Priorat

Irresistible fruit meets immovable structure. It’srare that such a juicy, ripe fruit-bomb, lush withblackberry and blueberry flavors, is also soconcentrated and well structured, but this richred effortlessly marries power and grace. Abenchmark for the appellation. Drink now through 2010. 300 cases made.Wine Spectator | 96 WSBright ruby. Highly nuanced aromas of blackcurrant, pungent minerals and spicy, toasty oak. Large-scaled yet light on its feet. Terrific fruit carries through to a very long, ripely tannic aftertaste. Kept fresh and lively by a flavor of licorice and very good acidity. A great showing for a vintage with a modest reputation for red wine in Spain. Palacios used more heavily toasted barrels following the rainy harvest of ’97, but eschews charred oak in richer years like ’98.Vinous Media | 92 VM

96
WS
As low as $1,445.00
2003 Benjamin Romeo La Vina de Andres Romeo

A real blockbuster, the 2003 La Vina de Andres Romeo (100% Tempranillo) is exquisite, but, again, a mere 200 bottles will make it to America. Lucky readers who run across a bottle, and have the financial resources to purchase it, are in for a decadent treat.Robert Parker | 95 RPDeep violet. Bright, pungent scents of cherry, floral oils, exotic oak spices, incense and minerals. Fresh and crisp, with no excess fat, just vibrant, pure, explosively sweet dark berry flavors. Seemingly weightless on the finish, where the blackberry, boysenberry and blueberry flavors display uncanny lift and persistence. Tangy mineral nuances contribute even more vivacity.Vinous Media | 94 VMThis bold, tightly wound red shows keen acidity, with expressive plum, cranberry and orange peel flavors framed by vanilla and toasty oak notes. Sharp now, but food should moderate the acidity, and time should bring it into harmony. Drink now through 2012. 17 cases imported.Wine Spectator | 90 WS

95
RP
As low as $105.00
2008 artadi rioja el pison Spain Red

The 2008 Vina el Pison comes from a single vineyard planted in 1945 on pure limestone. It is the epitome of elegance with a sensual bouquet, a silky texture, already complex flavors, and a lengthy, pure finish. It will offer at least a 20 year lifespan, just long enough for the 2009 to be hitting its stride.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 97 RP

97
RP
As low as $265.00
2008 vega sicilia unico Spain Red

A style on its own, redolent of olive, cacao, sweet spice, truffle. Unique. Smooth velvety texture, showing gradually fine grain and a finish with lots of complexity: cedar wood, curry, pepper, dry berries. A jewel. Drinking Window 2019 - 2058Decanter | 97 DEC2008 was a challenging vintage in Ribera del Duero, a vintage marked by a severe frost on September 24th. The vineyards of Vega Sicilia were saved by some anti-frost burners that really made the difference. Even though, there are only some 70,000 bottles of 2008 Único, a wine that will be released around March 2016 after the 2007, and before they sell 2005 and 2006. It’s a fresher, more mineral version of Vega, and very much Vega in character. It has a certain aroma that I cannot define that I also found in the 2011 Valbuena. The palate is surprisingly polished; the wine is quite accessible from now on, with fine tannins and a subtle thread of acidity going through the core. This is a lighter version of Único, but one style I like very much; it’s a wine that should drink well throughout its life. A triumph for the vintage conditions.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 96 RPOpaque ruby. Powerful, expansive aromas of cherry liqueur, cassis, pipe tobacco, incense and pungent flowers show outstanding clarity and pick up a smoky mineral quality with air. Stains the palate with concentrated dark berry, bitter cherry and rose pastille flavors that are complicated by notes of mocha, cola and Indian spices. Distinctly generous in style but there’s outstanding energy here as well. The gently tannic, dark-fruit-dominated finish emphatically echoes the spice and floral notes and lingers with striking persistence. Production for this bottling was cut by over half in this challenging vintage and the result shows what can happen when severe selection is applied in the vineyard and cellar. Speaking of tough years, the 2002 version of this iconic wine, from a vintage that has been ignored at best and vilified at worst, is drinking beautifully right now. In fact, it appears to have just entered its drinking window: its fruit is still a bit on the youthful side while its tannins have begun to recede. Like this 2008, it’s a textbook example of what great vineyards, diligent farming and serious winemaking can accomplish under difficult circumstances.Vinous Media | 96 VMSavory flavors of tobacco, mineral, smoke and spice frame a core of cherry and pomegranate in this red. Harmonious and graceful, supported by well-integrated tannins and fresh acidity. Has deceptive depth and complexity. Drink now through 2028. 9,800 cases made.Wine Spectator | 94 WS

97
JS
As low as $1,039.00
2009 vega sicilia unico Spain Red

The elevage is complex, building from smaller barrels to larger barrels over a period of six years, finishing in larger vats. Then four years in bottle. Non-sequential releasing with the 2005 and 2006 being released after the 2007 and 2008. This 2009 has good ripeness and deep fruit-presence on the nose with rich red and dark plums, subtly earthy spice, cedar and fresh tobacco. There’s terrific concentration on the palate and very ripe dark-plum, blueberry and cherry flavors. The tannins are fresh, very long and carry flavors deep. Natural freshness and effortless power, too — a hallmark of Unico! Very open-knit and approachable now, this will age for two decades easily, and then some more.James Suckling | 98 JSI tasted a bottle of the 2009 Único blind and was taken by the freshness, the red fruit notes and the Burgundian-like characteristics of this vintage, which on paper was quite warm and dry. I also tasted the 2009 Valbuena, which is always more approachable, and was blown away by its aromatics. With time in the glass the Único opened up and got closer to the character of Valbuena but with more depth and clout, while showing extremely elegant. I tasted it again in the context of all the wines from the group, and it delivered all that I saw when I tasted it blind. It takes some time to unfurl its aromatic palette, and it feels young and somewhat undeveloped, younger than it is. It has a touch that made me think of the old vintages of Único on the nose but with very polished tannins and a soft mouthfeel that provides elegance. This is a wine that ages for no less than ten years before it’s released. 2009 seems like a great vintage for Vega Sicilia, much better than what I anticipated. It should develop nicely in bottle. 74,274 bottles, 3,390 magnums, 209 double magnums and 22 imperials were produced. It has been in bottle since June 2015.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 98 RPInky ruby. An assertively perfumed, highly complex bouquet displays powerful, mineral-accented dark berry preserve, exotic spice, vanilla, potpourri and incense aromas, along with suggestions of cola and mocha. Broad, focused and deeply concentrated, offering palate-staining black and blue fruit liqueur, violet pastille and spicecake flavors that show remarkable clarity and are given spine and lift by a core of juicy acidity. The spice, mineral and floral notes resonate emphatically on the strikingly long, sweet finish, which features harmonious tannins and building, resonating dark berry character.Vinous Media | 98 VMThe great eternal Unico, with a touch of extra fruitiness and spiciness. Made after very long ageing in different oak vats and barrels, from selected plots (including 6% Cabernet Sauvignon) within Vega Sicilia’s estate, in the (rightly named) Unico method (72 months’ oak). Probably too young now, it should ideally not be opened in the next 10 years. Spain’s flagship, and very difficult for me to taste without passion. Drinking Window 2025 - 2045.Decanter | 97 DEC(Vega Sicilia “Único”) The 2009 vintage is the newest release of Único and it is just now entering the market here in the US. The wine looks to be an absolute classic in the making and in due time, it seems very likely to take its place amongst the finest vintages of the last twenty-five years here. The blend this year is ninety-four percent tempranillo and six percent cabernet sauvignon and the wine comes in listed at fourteen percent octane. The bouquet is still youthfully sappy and adolescent, offering up a blend of black cherries, blueberry, gentle balsamic tones, cigar wrapper, dark chocolate and new oak. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and rock solid at the core, with beautiful balance and grip, ripe tannins and impressive nascent complexity on the very long and focused finish. Much more complexity on both the nose and palate will emerge with further bottle aging, but all of the constituent components are in place here for future greatness. (Drink between 2033-2100)John Gilman | 95 JGThis red is rich yet vibrant, dense yet graceful. Cherry and plum flavors are backed by forest floor, cedar, tobacco and mineral notes, supported by muscular, well-integrated tannins that give way to a spicy, slightly bitter finish. Complex and harmonious. Tinto Fino and Cabernet Sauvignon. Drink now through 2029. 6,190 cases made, 570 cases imported.Wine Spectator | 95 WSUnico is a selection from Vega-Sicilia’s top benchland parcels of tempranillo and cabernet sauvignon, both varieties part of the original plantings at the estate in the 19th century. The contemporary vines, now an average of 35 years old, are rooted in rocky limestone and quartz gravels at the south end of the estate, with a cool northern exposure; the fruit of those vines ferments spontaneously in wooden vats, then ages in oak barrels for five years, and for more time in bottle. With ten years of age, this 2009 is youthful and dynamic. Beyond the initial scents of oak, you’ll find brisk, tart red cherry and boysenberry fruit energized by the Mediterranean warmth of the tannins. Complex and savory, it’s compelling to drink now, yet will gain beauty with age.Wine & Spirits | 95 W&SThe warmth of the 2009 vintage is apparent from the start—the nose is warm and murky, with raisiny fruit. On the palate, this is thick and rich, with prune notes. Flavors of cassis, prune, raisin and chocolate are smooth and rich, while this is dense on the finish. If you’re looking for suave elegance, it’s not here.Wine Enthusiast | 90 WE

98
RP
As low as $515.00
2010 r. lopez heredia vina tondonia reserva Spain Red

This is as complex and savory as the rest of the Viña Tondonia wines, but also shows a tad more depth, with a hint of black plum and blue fruit on top of the orange rind, iron, tobacco and earthy spices. Expect some cedar and truffle to develop in the future. Juicy, zesty and tight, with a dusty tannins and bright berry fruit on the medium-to full-bodied palate. Drink or hold.James Suckling | 97 JSThe 2010 Viña Tondonia Reserva has all I expect from a Reserva from Tondonia, complexity, elegance and evolution, a developed nose with notes of forest floor and wild berries, herbs and flowers, a touch of iodine, brick dust and very fine, polished tannins. It has the seriousness and elegance of Tondonia. This is a blend of 70% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacho (they use the masculine form of the name of the grape) and 5% each Graciano and Mazuelo that fermented in the ancient oak vats from when the winery was created 144 years ago and matured in well-seasoned, American oak barrels for six years. It has 13% alcohol, a pH of 3.4 and 6.6 grams of acidity. 260,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in May 2017.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 96 RPThis elegant red is fine and creamy on the palate, with notes of sun-dried cherry, iron, spiced orange peel, graphite and mocha that slowly unfurl. A bit high-toned on the nose as well as loaded with mineral aromas. Muscular tannins are deftly integrated, while savory dried mint and eucalyptus notes play on the lasting finish. Tempranillo, Garnacho, Graciano and Mazuelo. Drink now through 2030. 12,500 cases made.Wine Spectator | 93 WS

97
JS
As low as $52.99
2011 vega sicilia unico Spain Red

Very ripe with plum, spice and dried-flower aromas, as well as chocolate, fresh flowers and sandalwood. Coffee and hints of meat. Sort of decadent. Full-bodied with round, creamy tannins and an intense, juicy feel. Unique cedar and walnut undertones. So delicious now, but one for the future, too.James Suckling | 98 JSThe Único released in 2021, 10 years after the harvest, is the 2011 Único, selected from 40 of their 210 hectares of vineyards. 2011 is a concentrated and ripe vintage, and they selected 95% Tinto Fino (Tempranillo) and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon that were cooled in a cold room for 24 hours before being sorted; the bunches and grapes macerated at 9 to 10 degrees Celsius for three to four days, and then it was inoculated with a pied de cuve to ferment with pumping overs. Malolactic was in stainless steel, and the wine was put through a long aging, 10 years between oak and bottle, using new and used French and American oak barrels and 20,000-liter oak vats. For Vega Sicilia, 2011 was a fresher year than 2010, not the common idea about those vintages in Ribera del Duero. The wine has a developed nose with some notes of ripe black fruit, meat and underbrush, somewhat herbal and perfumed. There is something about the nose of the Únicos that I cannot quite describe but is quite distinct, and it’s in this vintage and also in the Reserva Especial. 88,288 bottles, 3,505 magnums, 318 double magnums, 60 Imperial and 3 Salmanazar were produced. The wine was bottled in June 2017.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 96 RPDeep, shimmering ruby. An intensely perfumed bouquet evokes ripe black and blue fruits, vanilla, pipe tobacco, exotic spices, cola and potpourri. Deeply concentrated and energetic on the palate, offering smoke-laced black currant, cherry liqueur, spicecake and mocha flavors that display outstanding clarity and pick up a candied violet nuance on the back half. Polished, steadily building tannins frame the finish, which hangs on with outstanding, mineral- and floral-driven tenacity.Vinous Media | 96 VMA challenging vintage of Unico, this grew out of a hot season in Ribera del Duero that produced a stalwart, powerful wine. The warmth of the season shows in the initial scents of Moroccan spices and flamed orange zest, the structure powerful, muscular and aggressive when you first pull the cork. Give it time, measured in days, and the layers begin to show, the somber black fruit yielding notes of red, opening to refinement and, ultimately, elegance and restraint. It’s a grand wine with delicacy that carries through into the lasting flavors. A week after the bottle was opened, the wine is completely transformed, its unveiled freshness suggesting decades of life ahead.Wine & Spirits | 96 W&SThis concentrated, harmonious red packs in a lot of flavor, with plum, mountain herb, leather and spice notes woven together with cedar and vivid mineral elements tracing along the finish. The tannins are nicely integrated, with good balance and finesse overall. Tinto Fino and Cabernet Sauvignon. Drink now through 2031. 8,350 cases made, 128 cases imported.Wine Spectator | 95 WSVibrant primary aromas of roses, oranges and fresh herbs lead into a wine full of redcurrant freshness. While 2011 is a more concentrated vintage, the wine is impressively elegant and delicate. Can be enjoyed soon for its structure, yet it will undoubtedly improve with age.Decanter | 95 DEC

98
JS
As low as $510.00
2012 Marques de Murrieta Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Especial

So much dried flower, mushroom, iron, rust, sweet berry, and grilled orange. Full-bodied with very elegant and refined tannins that melt in the mouth and give a real sense of place and integrity. Balanced and harmonious. The finesse and finish is endless. Production was 30% less than in 2011. Already so drinkable. A wonderful future. This is the new 1934 or 1964, two legends. Drink or hold.James Suckling | 100 JS

100
JS
As low as $279.00
2012 vega sicilia unico Spain Red

I like the intensity to this, with dark tar and smoky notes followed by graphite, tobacco, bitter cacao and dark fruit. Powerful yet tight and compact, with firm and polished tannins. Structured and so long. Tasted from magnum. Try after 2023.James Suckling | 97 JSMilk chocolate, butterscotch and black cherry dominate the nose on this deep-violet-colored wine. Rich flavors of black plum, black cherry, chocolate-covered espresso bean and lavender are nestled into a framework of deep-set tannins that drop off into a spice-filled finish. Drink now through 2052 Wine Enthusiast | 97 WEThis is at once fresh and elegant on first impression, with lovely hints of fragrant Turkish bazaar spices, game and dried mint lacing the crème de cassis, violet, and black and red licorice notes. Gliding across the palate, buoyed by fresh acidity and sculpted tannins, this expands to show deep notes of tarry smoke, fig cake, espresso and iron alongside the appealing fruit and spice. Long and creamy, offering both power and grace. Tinto Fino and Cabernet Sauvignon. Drink now through 2037. 7,349 cases made, 601 cases imported.Wine Spectator | 96 WSA dry year in Ribera del Duero did not diminish the epic nature of Unico. There’s a delicate side to this vintage, with floral notes of violets and honey, touches of capsicum spice in the tannins and plenty of bold, luscious fruit to draw your attention. The tannins keep the wine tightly focused without any aggression, even as they may completely dry all the juiciness out of your mouth. It leaves a lasting impression of the textural grace of spicy old-vine tempranillo—a fascinating sensation of refined power, rooted in earthy depths that will reward long aging.Wine & Spirits Magazine | 96 W&SThe 2012 Único from magnum showed less ripe tannins in the context of other vintages like 2014 or 2004, as the year was very warm and dry and the plants got blocked and the tannins didn’t ripen perfectly. There is a little more alcohol, and it’s powerful but will always have a bit of rusticity. 3,537 magnums were filled in June 2018.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 95 RPBright red cherry aromatics combine with delicate sensations of oak. In the mouth, the keynote red fruits remain, while the palate is tighter and the tannins are firm and bold. A wine that needs time to integrate and soften the grip. Rainy spring, dry and warm summer, September rains. 24.5-25.9 hl/ha. Spent one year in new oak barrels, one year in used barrels and three years in large-format tanks. Bottled June 2018. 88,188 bottles, 3,537 magnums, 328 double magnums, 55 Imperials and five Salmanazars. Tasted from magnum.Decanter | 95 DEC

98
TA
As low as $999.00
2014 vega sicilia unico Spain Red

The 2014 Único was produced with grapes from 40 hectares of vines selected from the 210 hectares the winery has. The grapes were picked between September 20th and October 3rd, and the blend was 94% Tinto Fino and 6% Cabernet Sauvignon. It fermented in oak vats with indigenous yeasts, with malolactic in stainless steel. The first part of the aging was in 225-liter barrels and the second one in 20,000-liter oak vats, and the élevage lasts 10 years between oak and bottle. It’s a year that combines power and elegance; it’s concentrated but has subtleness. I had a unique opportunity to taste it from magnum one year ago and was truly impressed. This tasting was consistent with those sensations. 2014 was a good vintage in the zone, a year with good rain and a big crop, not as powerful as 2012 or 2015 but a year with finesse. The wine feels very balanced, lower in alcohol and with integrated oak, crunchy, fresh and still young. It feels quite classical; it’s fine-boned, elegant but also powerful, more like the Únicos from yesteryear. It has to be one of the finest vintages of recent times. It has 14% alcohol, a pH of 3.85 and five grams of acidity measured in tartaric acid per liter of wine. One of the largest vintages of Único, 104,606 bottles, 3,612 magnums, 356 double magnums, 50 imperials and five Salmanazars were produced. It was bottled in June 2020. It seems like years ending in four—94, 2004, 2014 (but not 84, that was not produced)—are very good here. We’ll have to wait and see about the 2024...Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 98 RPA refined, ethereal and elegant Unico. Streamlined layers of mixed peppercorns, smoked paprika, blackberries and spiced dark fruit. Hints of orange zest and flowers. Spicy, with tightly wound tannins. The length is impressive. 94% tempranillo and 6% cabernet sauvignon. Tasted from magnum. Coming along nicely. Try on release in 2026 or after.James Suckling | 98 JSThe 2014 Unico is primarily composed of Tempranillo with an additional 6% dash of Cabernet Sauvignon, both sourced from the eponymous property in Ribera del Duero. Aged at length in barrels and large oak vats, the combination of aging methods brings out the wine’s nuances in what was a generous year. A dark garnet-red in the glass. The aromas offer licorice and cedar notes alongside hints of orange peel, petit four, cola and pine. There’s a background of ripe dark fruit. The palate is dry and plush with a chalky texture and supple tannins, contributing to the complex character. A nuanced red just at the beginning of its life.Vinous Media | 97 VMPowerful aromas of fine oak. Arrives crisp, fresh and smooth, swelling to redcurrant and red cherry. Very youthful still, full-bodied and round, but always remaining crisp and fresh. Tannins are firm but well-balanced. Promising a long life ahead but remarkably approachable now. 2014 followed a mild winter with a warmer spring and summer. Yield 25.2hl/ha. One of the first years with the influence of new technical director Gonzalo Iturriaga. One year in new barrels, six months in used barrels, then three and a half years in large-format tanks. Bottled May 2020. Tasted from magnum.Decanter | 97 DEC

98
RP
As low as $479.00
2016 bodegas ugalde felipe ugalde rioja reserva Spain Red

An ethereal and classic style with tertiary semi-dried plum, strawberry, cedar, mocha and coffee oak aromas and flavours, silky tannins and well-integrated zesty acidity. A magnificent wine that needs spicy lamb chops.Decanter | 97 DEC

97
DEC
As low as $42.99
2017 dominio del aguila picaro del aguila clarete Spain Rose

I tasted three vintages of the pink clarete, starting with the 2017 Pícaro del Águila Clarete. It was produced with a field blend of red and white grapes, approximately 35% Tempranillo, 35% Albillo Mayor and the rest a mixture of many different varieties (Garnacha, Bobal, Bruñal, Monastrell, Tempranillo Gris, other Albillos, Garnacha Blanca, Pirules, Jaén, Moscatel, Malvasías...) from different old vines in the village of La Aguilera. It’s a wine with aromas of a white and the soul of a red, really different from a rosé. It fermented slowly in oak casks for eight to nine months in a very cold underground cave and matured in cask for some 23 months. Despite the warm and low-yielding year (2017 was a year of terrible spring frost in the region), the wine keeps a moderate alcohol and very healthy pH. This has already developed the beautiful spicy perfume that makes me think of the rosé from López de Heredia. The 2017 is open and seems to have developed a little faster. The wine is balanced and tasty, without the chalky and fresh sensation of the 2019, perhaps a little like the 2012 (the first vintage released). Even if this is developing a little faster, the color is very stable. Even a vintage like this should drink well for a decade. 9,676 bottles and 12 magnums were filled in September 2019.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 93 RPOrange-pink color. Aromas of sour cherries, orange zest, dried lemon and salted almonds. It’s medium-to full-bodied with bright acidity and phenolic texture. Concentrated, smoky and toasted layers. Interestingly firm and oaky for a rosé. More like a light red. Drink or hold.James Suckling | 92 JS

93
RP
As low as $31.99
2018 dominio del aguila picaro del aguila clarete Rose

The 2018 Pícaro del Águila Clarete is riper, comes from a cooler and slow-ripening year and had a shorter élevage, 16 months in French oak barrels. 2018 is one of the greatest vintages in the zone in recent years but perhaps not as fresh as 2016 was. It was a textbook harvest, and all the clarete was bottled without malolactic to keep the vibrant acidity. This combines power and elegance, and it’s still young and only starting to develop the perfume that, to me, is the giveaway for this wine, which I found when tasting the 2017 next to this. This is a very pretty and pleasant wine, tasty and easy to drink. A crowd-pleaser. 9,821 bottles and 456 magnums were filled in February 2020.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 93+ RPIn a distant corner of Ribera del Duero, Dominio del Aguila is producing wines of exceptional finesse. This clarete, a variety-hunter’s delight, also including Bobal and Tempranillo Gris. It is excitingly fresh and textured. No simple rosado – this is a wine to savour. Drinking Window 2021 - 2027.Decanter | 93 DEC

93+
RP
As low as $33.99
2018 dominio del aguila ribera del duero reserva Spain Red

2017 was a low-yielding year, so I also tasted the 2018 Reserva, their flagship red wine that wants to be a representation of the village of La Aguilera—fine, serious and elegant. It’s 95% Tempranillo with the remaining grapes found interplanted in their oldest vineyards at an average of 880 meters in altitude on limestone, clay and sandy soils. All the clusters ferment together with indigenous yeasts in concrete, where they are foot trodden, and malolactic was carried out very slowly (11 months) in oak barrels where the wine matured for a total of 27 months. It has a somewhat shy nose but is very elegant. The wine was recently bottled, and that can make it a little closed and subtle, and it clearly improves with air as it sits in the glass. It’s still young, and the palate reveals lots of energy; the flavors are very pure and the wine precise and delineated. The tannins are very fine and provide for a chalky texture and an almost salty twist in the finish. This is very in line with the 2016. 15,250 bottle and 101 magnums produced. It was bottled in February 2021.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 97 RP

97
RP
As low as $87.99
2018 jose luis ripa rioja rosado Rose

The rosé 2018 RIPA Vino Rosado follows the same path as the 2017, 60% Garnacha and 40% Tempranillo aged and matured in 225- and 500-liter oak barrels where the wine matured for 30 months. The vintage was quite cold, and the grapes were picked on October 20. The wine has a more vibrant palate and a lower pH, with more freshness. It’s quite marked by the long élevage, so it takes on a specific profile with more nutty and spicy notes and a hint of nutmeg and cinnamon. It’s spicy, vibrant, still round and lush, with a dark color, very different from the pale Provençal examples... 6,200 bottles were filled in December 2021.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 91 RP

94
JG
As low as $29.99
2018 marques de murrieta reserva Spain Red

The flagship red 2018 Rioja Reserva was produced with a blend of 86% Tempranillo, 8% Graciano, 4% Mazuelo (a.k.a. Cariñena) and 2% Garnacha selected from their 300 hectares of vineyards that exemplifies the character of the vintage and the place. 2018 was a year with good rain and a cool season that resulted in a late harvest, which started on October 1 and was slow and delivered grapes with good freshness. Each variety and plot fermented separately in stainless steel. and the wines aged separately in American oak barrels for 21 months and then settled in concrete until bottling. It follows the path of the 2016, where I noticed a change that is taken further in this, controlling the power and increasing the freshness. It’s very aromatic, a year completely different from the 2017; it has less structure and more freshness and subtler balance and enough oomph, concentration and power neatly compensated by freshness. I believe 2018 was a very good vintage to implement this change. It’s perfumed, fresh, elegant and medium-bodied, with a velvety texture. Superb! 960,000 bottles produced.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 94 RPSavory cured-meat, tobacco and grilled-spice notes to the bright plum, red-date, cherry and green-olive aromas. Quite a juicy, medium-bodied Rioja with fresh and extremely silky tannins caressing the zesty orange and crunchy red-berry flavors. Nuanced, fluid and effortlessly drinkable. Long and extremely elegant. A vintage that highlights layering and freshness, rather than power and depth. 86% tempranillo, 8% graciano, 4% mazuelo and 2% garnacha. Delicious now, but will hold well.James Suckling | 94 JS(Rioja “Reserva”- Marqués de Murrieta (Rioja Alta)) The 2018 Reserva from Marqués de Murrieta has not been released yet, but the bodegas kindly sent me a sample for inclusion in this article. The wine is excellent on both the nose and palate, offering up a ripe and complex bouquet of black cherries, raspberries, cigar wrapper, clove-like spice tones, a beautiful base of soil, incipient notes of nutskin and cedary oak. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied, focused and complex, with a fine core of fruit, lovely mineral drive and grip, fine-grained, buried tannins and a long, ripe and well-balanced finish. The ripeness of the 2018 vintage is evident here, but it is handled seamlessly and the wine is really going to be lovely. I suspect it will age very much like a top 1982 Rioja. (Drink between 2028 - 2075)John Gilman | 93 JGFresh and elegant, with a mouthful of ripe, crushed cherry and red currant fruit, this medium-bodied red is framed by crisp tannins and a minerally underpinning. Enticing hints of eucalyptus, dried fig and cigar box play on the finish. Tempranillo, Graciano, Mazuelo and Garnacha Tinta. Drink now through 2028. 80,000 cases made, 14,000 cases imported.Wine Spectator | 91 WS

94
RP
As low as $28.99
2018 sierra de tolono rioja la dula garnacha de altura Spain Red

No written review providedIn 2012, Sandra Bravo settled in the high altitudes of Rioja Alavesa, where she found small parcels of old-vine garnacha that reminded her of vineyards she had worked with in Priorat. This 2018 is the first release of her Garnachas de Altura, from a collection of small parcels in Rivas de Tereso, a village of 21 people in the northern reaches of Rioja, above San Vicente de la Sonsierra. The vines average 70 years of age and grow at elevations of 2,300 feet in a mix of clay and limestone soils; Bravo has purchased some of the parcels, and farms them all, converting them to organics. She allows the wine to ferment spontaneously in old casks, then ages it in clay pots. You can taste the influence of the altitude and the limestone in the bright, zesty coolness of the fruit, in the light intensity of the strawberry flavors and crushed-black- peppercorn crunch. It’s a lithe Rioja delivering the beauty of the hills, a wine to enjoy fresh and young.Wine and Spirits | 94 W&SThere is a new 2018 La Dula Garnachas de Altura produced with grapes from high-altitude vineyards in the village of Rivas de Tereso, small plots of old vines at 650 meters in altitude. It fermented with indigenous yeasts in 300-liter amphorae at low temperature, which means a very slow fermentation. The wine has a bright ruby color that is quite attractive and a perfumed and floral nose. It’s medium-bodied and textured with very fine chalky tannins, and it has good freshness and very good balance, purity of flavors and length. It matured in foudre for eight months, but the oak is perfectly integrated and not noticeable. This is plain delicious. 3,650 bottles were filled in August 2019.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 93 RPThere’s an apple and pear mix here that has fresh allure on the nose and delivers a zippy and attractively fresh palate that has good weight, flesh and a gently creamy, apple sorbet-like finish. Drink now.James Suckling | 93 JS

94
W&S
As low as $25.99
2019 hermanos pecina senorio de p pecino cosecha Spain Red

The juicy and chewy unoaked red 2019 Señorío de P. Peciña Cosecha Tinto has bright ripe fruit and an earthy touch, a medium body and soft tannins that give it a supple texture. It’s a blend of Tempranillo with 3% Garnacha and 2% Graciano fermented with indigenous yeasts and kept in tank until bottling.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 90 RP(Rioja “Cosecha”- Bodegas Señorío Pedro Peciña (Rioja Alta)) The 2019 Rioja “Cosecha” from Bodegas Peciña is a lovely wine, with plenty of black fruit informing both the nose and the palate. The bouquet is bright and jumps from the glass in a mix of black cherries, dark berries, cigar smoke, just a touch of Rioja spice tones and a good base of soil. On the palate the wine is vibrant, full-bodied and tangy, with a fine core of ripe fruit, good focus and grip, moderate tannins and a long, well-balanced finish. This is still a young wine, but it is eminently drinkable already and will only get better with a bit of bottle age. This augurs extremely well for the Crianzas, Reservas and Gran Reservas we will see down the road from the 2019 vintage, as this wine is really excellent for its level! (Drink between 2021-2040)John Gilman | 90 JG

90
RP
As low as $13.99
2019 sierra de tolono rioja la dula garnacha de altura Spain Red
97
TA
As low as $29.99
2019 vinedos del jorco las cabanuelas cebreros Spain Red

The entry-level red 2019 Las Cabañuelas is a surprise. They looked for freshness through blending different vineyards. It’s 13.5% alcohol, aromatic, floral and expressive with some herbal hints. This has more tannin than the 2018, and the tannic structure is quite serious; there’s also vibrant acidity and a long, tasty, almost salty finish. This is a bargain; it really over-delivers. 7,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in May 2020.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 91 RP

91
RP
As low as $14.99
2020 alegre valganon tinto rioja Spain Red

The house red 2020 Tinto showed superbly. It’s a blend of Tempranillo from the Obarenes Mountains (Sajazarra and Fonzaleche) with 20% Garnacha from Cárdenas on clay and some 5% white that has 14.2% alcohol but feels perfectly balanced and integrated. It has a serious, harmonious nose with complexity and depth but also youth. It has a soft and juicy texture with focused and clean flavors, finishing with an almost salty twist. Super tasty and easy to drink! Great value too. It matured in a mixture of 1,000- and 3,000-liter oak foudres and 225- and 500-liter barrels. 22,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in February 2022.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 93+ RP

93+
RP
As low as $20.99
2020 bodegas exopto horizonte de exopto Spain Red

A traditional red blend of 80% Tempranillo with 10% each Garnacha and Graciano, the 2020 Horizonte de Exopto combines grapes from Ábalos and, since 2016, also San Vicente de la Sonsierra, as he cannot produce village wines from there as his winery is in Laguardia! This year he also added the new plots from Baños de Ebro that represent 15% of the blend and which he feels add fresh red fruit notes and silky tannins. It showcases the Sonsierra zone with fresher Tempranillo with balance, length and the chalky sensation from the limestone soils. It fermented in concrete vats with indigenous yeasts and matured 50/50 in 600-liter demi-muids and 225-liter barriques for 12 months. It follows the path of the 2019 with a little more freshness. 12,000 bottles were filled in November 2021.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 93 RPHibiscus, blackberries and some cherry compote and spiced dark fruit. A full-bodied Rioja, loaded with juicy yet resolved tannins that seal off the palate, before a delicious, peppery finish. Tempranillo, graciano and garnacha. Drink now.James Suckling | 93 JS

93
RP
As low as $19.99
2020 clos i terrasses clos erasmus Spain Red

The still young and primary 2020 Clos Erasmus feels very floral and ethereal (within Priorat and Clos Erasmus); it’s a fresher and lighter expression but without being weak. It’s still a baby that needs to burn the baby fat (there are still some lactic notes from the malolactic in barrel). The wine is always around 3.2 or 3.3 pH and has some 15% to 15.5% alcohol, but the sensation this year is of a much fresher, more balanced and elegant wine. This should make an elegant bottle of mature Priorat with a decade in bottle, and I guess it will be long lived. Glorian mentioned that a small lot that normally goes to Laurel was added to the blend of Erasmus, resulting in a lot of added freshness and a note of orange blossom, which makes sense to me with the floral character of the wines and the extra freshness I perceived. This is really beautiful. It’s a very special vintage of Erasmus that unfurls incredible complexity and tantalizing aromas with time in the glass—blood orange (talk about freshness!), curry and cassis. It has great purity, complexity, elegance and finesse... A very different Clos Erasmus. Bravo! There are some 3,600 bottles. It was bottled in May 2022.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 100 RP

100
RP
As low as $699.00

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