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Bodegas Montecillo Gran Reserva 2007 (750 ml) Bodegas Olivares Dulce Monastrell 2011 (500 ml) Compania de Vinos Telmo Rodriguez Gago, Toro 2013 (750 ml)
WE 91

Dry, leafy aromas of tobacco, herbs, wood smoke, raspberry and cherry are classic Rioja. This has a mature, smooth, silky feel to it, although acidity is present and accounted for. Flavors of spiced tomato, vanilla, berry, brine and tobacco finish earthy and loamy. Drink through 2019.

- Michael Schachner, Wine Enthusiast (Nov, 2014)
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)
Vatan Tinta de Toro 2012 (750 ml) Finca Valpiedra Reserva 2009 (750 ml) Alvaro Palacios 'Les Terrasses' Velles Vinyes, Priorat 2015 (750 ml)
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 2013 Les Terrasses Velles Vinyes, from a rainy year and a late harvest that resulted in perfect ripeness and low yields, is a blend of 55% Garnacha and 45% Cariñena. You might find labels and literature referring Cariñena to as Samsó, something that is wrong and creates confusion since Samsó is the Catalan name for Cinsault. The grapes are sourced from different villages (Gratallops, La Vilella Baixa, Bellmunt, El Lloar, El Molar, Porrera, Scala Dei, Torroja and Poboleda) all of them grown on schist llicorella soils, fermented in a combination of oak and cement vats with natural yeasts and matured in barrique for one year.

It has a meaty nose with aromas that transported me to the Northern Rhône, showing smoky bacon intermixed with violets and really well-integrated oak resulting in a very fine and elegant impression. It seems more refined than other vintages of Les Terrasses, lighter and more elegant with none of the volatility or oak of yesteryear. It is really fine, polished and is without edges. Somehow within the Atlantic vintage you can see the Mediterranean character. Awesome Terrasses and good value for Priorat.

- Luis Gutierrez, Wine Advocate (June, 2015)
Bodegas Muga Rioja Selección Especial Reserva 2011 (750 ml) Bodegas LAN Edicion Limitada 2013 (750 ml) Vivanco Coleccion Vivanco Dulce de Invierno 4 Varietales, Rioja 2013 (375 ml)
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.
Bodegas Hermanos Pecina Senorio de P. Pecina Gran Reserva, Rioja 2009 (750 ml) Albet i Noya Reserva Marti, Penedes 2009 (750 ml) Bodegas Protos Gran Reserva, Ribera del Duero 2011 (750 ml)
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

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)
Vivanco Coleccion Vivanco 4 Varietales, Rioja 2012 (750 ml) Bodegas Mas Alta La Basseta Priorat, Priorat 2012 (750 ml) Vivanco Coleccion  Rioja Parcelas de Garnacha 2011 (750 ml)
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 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)
Clos Mogador 'Manyetes' Vi de Vila Gratallops, Priorat 2013 (750 ml) Bodegas Muga Torre Muga, Rioja 2011 (750 ml) Marques de Murrieta Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Especial 2007 (750 ml)
WS 92

Firm and dense, this energetic red delivers blackberry, licorice, tar and mineral flavors, with muscular tannins and vibrant acidity. Ripe and concentrated, heady but balanced. Drink now through 2023.

- Thomas Matthews, Wine Spectator (Oct, 2016)
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)
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)
Dominio de Pingus Flor de Pingus 2015 (750 ml) Bodegas Muga Torre Muga 2009 (1.5 Liter) Dominio de Pingus 'Pingus', Ribera del Duero 2015 (750 ml)
JS 95

Almost black-purple color. Dense black fruits aromas, fine oak and elegant dry tannins that are beautifuly integrated in the rich body. The long finish is already graceful thanks to the spot-on balance.

- James Suckling
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)

JS 97

Extremely deep black-purple color. Concentrated and tannic, but also super-fresh. This needs a few years to open up fully, but the balance is already very impressive. The finish is long and very polished. Leave four or five years to soften.

- James Suckling