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IWC 90

Rich ruby red with a tawny rim. On the nose it is intense with notes of Oriental spices, violets, incense and secondary fruit aromas. In the mouth it is silky and elegant with great refinement. The back-taste is long and persistent.

- International Wine Cellar
WA 91

The 2011 Dulce Monastrell was bottled at 16% alcohol with 195 grams of residual sugar. Produced with fruit from ungrafted, 50-year-old Monastrell vines that were hand-harvested in late October/early November, the wine starts fermenting with indigenous yeast and fortified to stop fermentation. It's bottled completely unoaked the June after the harvest and aged for two years in bottle before being sold. It has a complex nose of black olives, tomato vine and balsamic herbs. The palate is sweet but keeps fluid and while it could do with a little more freshness it has enough acidity. Quite pleasant.

- Luis Gutierrez, Wine Advocate (Dec, 2014)
WS 92

Thick, solid and balanced, this red delivers plum, cola and tarry flavors. Ripe but savory, supported by muscular tannins and balsamic acidity. Rich and a bit austere now, but has depth. Decant. Drink now through 2028. 75 cases imported.

- Thomas Matthews, Wine Spectator (Sept, 2016)
IWC 93, WE 92, WA 91

There is a new top-of-the-range produced in Toro starting with this vintage, the 2012 Vatan, made from older vines on different soils, clay and sand mainly; it fermented in open top stainless steel vats with indigenous yeasts and matured in brand new, luxury French oak barrels for some 21 months. Curiously enough, this 2012 feels oakier and warmer than the 2013, while it has 1.5% less alcohol. There are some aromas of esparto grass and plenty of smoky, earthy, peat-like notes and other Mediterranean herbs (thyme, rosemary) alongside attractive balsamic notes. It is developing pungent, smokier, roasted nuances (coffee, dark chocolate) with time in the glass. The wine is named after a small river in Toro; it's not at all related to the cult-producer from Sancerre. The palate is full-bodied with some dusty, slightly drying tannins. It ends dry. It might need a little bit more time, but the quality of the tannins does not seem to reach that of the 2013. The oak is much more noticeable in the 2012 than in the 2013. 9,000 bottles were filled in September 2014.

- Luis Gutierrez, Wine Advocate (Oct, 2015)
WA 91

The 2009 Finca Valpiedra Reserva had something of a Bordeaux air to it, with tobacco leaf aromas intermixed with blackberries and a minty touch. It must have been the 4% Maturana Tinta that complemented the 92% Tempranillo and 4% Graciano that made up the blend. Save that, the rest is quite updated classic Rioja, the spiciness from the oak and the polished mouthfeel. It matured in French oak barrels for some 22 months. Cleaner and fresher than previous vintages I tasted.

- Luis Gutierrez, Wine Advocate (Aug, 2016)
WA 93, WS 93

The 2014 Les Terrasses Velles Vinyes is a blend of 60% Garnacha and 40% Cariñena from different villages. The 2014 vintage was a high yielding, warm vintage and the grapes from the nine villages of Priorat fermented in a combination of oak and cement vats with natural yeasts and matured in oak barrels for ten months. This is always a characterful wine, with the unmistakable signature of the Cariñena with the rusticity of the dusty roads of Priorat. The palate is really lively, with some dusty tannins and high acidity. It's long and it finishes with a mineral sensation. Despite my references to some rusticity, this is very elegant, much more elegant and refined than the wines from the 1990s and 2000s. Elegant rusticity, that is!

- Luis Gutierrez, Wine Advocate (Oct, 2016)
JS 95, WS 93, WA 92

This red has a firm backbone and a solid texture, with harmonious flavors of plum, blackberry, licorice, cocoa and espresso. Concentrated yet graceful, showing alluring mineral and floral notes on the finish. Drink now through 2026.

- Tim Fish, Wine Spectator (March, 2017)
WS 94

This inky red is ripe and concentrated, with currant, kirsch and boysenberry flavors, framed by espresso, licorice and black pepper notes. Well-integrated tannins support the fleshy texture, while citrusy acidity keeps this lively. Expressive and balanced, in the modern style. Best from 2018 through 2028.

- Thomas Matthews, Wine Spectator (Dec, 2017)
The Coleccion wines from Dinastia Vivanco are limited-production wines that capture the essence of traditional Rioja grape varieties and their cultivation in extraordinary terroirs. The personality of each wine is distinguished on the label by an original piece of art from the family’s collection on display at the museum. A late harvest blend of Tempranillo, Graciano, Garnacha, and Mazuelo, yields are extremely low. Intense aromas of crystallized fruit, dried peaches, orange marmalade, and quince jelly are framed by delicate floral and cocoa notes. The sweetness is balanced by fresh acidity. Each varietal is vinified separately in large French oak vats, then aged 12 months on the lees in French oak barrels.
IWC 92, WE 92, WS 91

This red is expressive, racy and dense, delivering black raspberry, licorice, garrigue and mineral flavors, with a nice balance of sweet and savory. Harmonious and alluring, in the modern style. Mazeulo, Garnacha and Syrah. Drink now through 2020. 700 cases made.

- Thomas Matthews, Wine Spectator (Sept, 2013)
WA 94

There is one more exceptional red with an extended aging in barrel that was only produced in 1998, 2001 and 2003, and now in this 2009 Señorío de P. Peciña Gran Reserva. It is the usual Tempranillo with 3% Garnacha and 2% Graciano, but in this case from 50-year-old vines from their Finca Iscorta vineyard in the Sonsierra zone. The wine is aged in well-seasoned American oak barrels for four years with manual and gravity racking twice per year. If the nose could somehow remind you of the 2009 Reserva, this is more open and aromatic, more nuanced, and the palate also shows a level of complexity and refinement that makes it much more enjoyable, with polished tannins and great length. While it's not a wimp, it doesn't overload your senses. A great and classical Gran Reserva. 15,000 bottles were filled in September 2013.

- Luis Gutierrez, Wine Advocate (Aug, 2016)
JS 92

Some bell pepper, but a lot of spice too. This is a cool wine with a nice freshness alongside the ripe flavors and tannins. Good length. Drink now.

- James Suckling

70% Monastrell, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine exhibits a glass-coating opaque purple color with an expressive nose of pain grille, underbrush, brier, mineral, blueberry, and blackberry fruit leading to a plush, opulent wine with great density, savory flavors, and a lengthy finish.

- Winery
JS 94, WE 93

Full-throttle oak, vanilla, tobacco and smoky blackberry aromas feed into a full, grippy but surprisingly fresh palate. Toasty oak, blackberry and spice flavors finish long and steady. Drink this excellent Tempranillo from a powerful vintage through 2025.

- Michael Schachner, Wine Enthusiast (Aug, 2017)
WA 93, WE 91

It's very interesting to see the four varietals separate (although not from the same vintage) and then blended as is done in this 2012 Colección Vivanco 4 Varietales. It is made with the same proportion as the 2010, 70% Tempranillo, 15% Graciano, 10% Garnacha and 5% Mazuelo all fermented with indigenous yeast and aged separately with the lees for 16 months, The ripe and hedonistic nose is showy with violets and blueberries making it much more aromatic (it perhaps resemble more the Mazuelo, but curiously enough is the minority in the blend) with subtle spices. The palate shows sophisticated, velvety tannins that are laced with texture, good acidity and balance. A great showing for this wine.

- Luis Gutierrez, Wine Advocate (April, 2015)
WA 96

The 2011 Clos Mogador feels ripe, serious and young. Rene Barbier likes to pick ripe grapes but without any raisins making it into the vats. The wine is a blend of the different grapes in his Clos Mogador vineyard (it’s just one of a handful of wines officially awarded the single-vineyard label by the Catalan wine institutions): Garnacha, Carinena, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. But the wine speaks more of the place than the grapes, with notes of slate, thyme, rosemary, sage, lavender, black cherries and a supple palate, full-bodied, with pungent flavors, round, velvety tannins and a long aftertaste. This is a superb effort for such a warm vintage, the warmest and driest in Priorat since 2003, and great value for the quality. 30,000 bottles are produced of this prodigious, powerful but balanced Priorat. Drink 2015-2025.

Clos Mogador and the Barbier family should require no introduction to any Priorat aficionado, as they are the pioneers and catalysts of modern day Priorat. To understand low yields (and high prices) it should be enough to say that from their 40 hectares of vineyards they produce 45,000 bottles of wine per year. The wines are not cheap, but for the quality they offer they represent good value and are all highly recommended.

- Luis Gutierrez, Wine Advocate (Feb, 2014)
WA 94

The 2012 La Basseta has a high percentage of Garnacha from a high-altitude vineyard in Vilella Alta that lends the wine a fresh nose of red fruit, orange peel and Mediterranean herbs that is quite harmonious and elegant, with imperceptible oak. The fleshy and supple palate is medium to full-bodied, has very fine tannins and good freshness, and nothing heavy about it. 2,765 bottles produced.

- Luis Gutierrez, Wine Advocate (June, 2015)
WA 90

The Vivanco Parcelas 2011 Coleccion Garnacha suffered in comparison to the wines from 2012. This 2011 shows riper with hints of Mediterranean herbs (think esparto grass) and the subtle aromas of the grape seems to have vanished with the ripeness, leaving you with notes of dark plums and hints of raisins.

- Luis Gutierrez, Wine Advocate (April, 2015)
JS 98, WA 95+

A worthy follow-up of the 2007, the 2007 Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Especial will be released in late 2015. This is a cuvée of mostly Tempranillo with the balance of Mazuelo (Cariñena), a very important grape for Castillo de Ygay in percentages that vary depending on the vintage, and it's almost 15% in 2007. 2007 was not an easy vintage and in Ygay they had a terrible mildew attack and they lost 50% of the bunches. It's a cold, rainy year, but because of that circumstance the wine is concentrated. This is still a baby, long and with depth and tannins that should melt in a couple of years. Compared with the 2005 it is fresher, perhaps not as concentrated, but for me the extra freshness compensates and puts it at a very similar quality level. And the rule of thumb is to wait at least ten years after the harvest to start uncorking any Castillo de Ygay. Cheap it is not, but very good value it is, for the quality it delivers.

- Luis Guiterrez, Wine Advocate (April, 2015)
WE 96, WA 95

The Mugas are happy with the 2011 harvest. The 2011 Torre Muga is a dark-colored, almost opaque, ripe and concentrated effort. (It contains the Tempranillo that would normally be part of the Aro, and was not produced because they didn't get the Graciano they needed.) They are selling this very young (but still, it will not be released until around September 2015). It is quite heady with aromas of ripe plums, spices, lead pencil, ink and well-integrated oak. The palate is full-bodied, round and lush with plenty of dense and concentrated tannins that feel very young. If you have in mind the Torre Muga from the beginning, this has a lot less oak and is less extracted; it has much better balance. As usual, it's a blend of Tempranillo, Graciano, Mazuelo and others, from a very cold zone close to the Oja-Tirón rivers, which might explain why this wine is so fresh in such warm vintage. There will be no Torre Muga in 2012 or 2013, and possibly very little 2014. So stock up on this if you want a wine like it, because it will keep and develop well in bottle. 32,000 bottles produced.

- Luis Gutierrez, Wine Advocate (April, 2015)
WA 94, V 93

The flagship 2008 Vall LLach is a blend of 65% Carinena, 18% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 17% Merlot aged for 14 months in new French oak. Purple/black in color with a distinguished bouquet of mineral, damp earth, espresso, Asian spices, lavender, underbrush, black cherry, and plum, on the palate it is full-bodied dense, succulent, and brooding. It conceals enough structure to evolve for 6-8 years and will hit its stride between 2015 and 2033.

- Jay Miller, Wine Advocate (May, 2011)
70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Monastrell. Glass-staining purple. Explosive, alluring scents of blueberry, boysenberry, pipe tobacco, licorice and vanilla bean. Lush and broad but juicy and firmly built, with suave candied dark fruit flavors accented by sexy floral and Asian spice qualities. Finishes broad, juicy and impressively long, with echoing boysenberry and spice notes.

- Winery
IWC 94, WA 92+

Raised for 16 months in French oak and inspired by the family’s respect for Bordeaux, the 2009 Torre Muga has a very primal bouquet with creme de cassis, black currant and vanilla with fine delineation, although it is very tight at the moment. The palate is full-bodied with grippy, bold, assertive tannins and layers of dense black, mocha-tinged fruit with hints of white pepper. It has great power and volume without compromising balance, although it requires several years in bottle. Drink 2018-2035.

- Neal Martin, Wine Advocate (Aug, 2012)