Spain is ideal country for wine growing, but part of the reason for this is that Spain is less densely planted than many other wine producing countries. Rias Baixas, located on Span's northwest coast, is the region that produces Spain's most famous white wine: Albarino. Good Albarino is crisp and lemony with a streak of minerality. It is an ideal foil for seafood of all types. Bierzo, just east of Ribeira is home to the Mencia grape. Mencia has gained significantly in quality and reputation in the last decade with the help of some new winemakers and modern winemaking technology. In Castilla y Leon, wine lovers find Tempranillo featured in the red wine regions of Toro, Ribera del Duero and Rioja as well as some quality whites in Rueda. Further east still, we find Grenache featured in Navarra, Carinena, Calatyud and many of the coastal regions of Catalunya. The middle of Spain is mostly Grenache country and we find that eastern regions near the coast often feature blends. Monastrell finds great success in Jumilla, Bulas and other regions here. Finally, in the south we find Jerez, home of one of the most famous fortified wines in the world, sherry.
Ribera del Duero is located in North Central Spain on the Duero river. It features Tempranillo, often referred to as Tinto Fino or Tinto de Pais here. There are varied soils in Ribera that can challenge viticulturalists, and it is not rare to find even top producers with long-term contracts with growers from other regions. Even so, Ribera arguably produces some of the finest Tempranillo based wines in Spain, many of which are capable of aging for decades.
Northeast of Ribera del Duero on the river Ebro lies Rioja. Rioja is divided into three subregions: Rioja Alta in the west, Rioja Alavesa (the part of Rioja in the Alava region) and Rioja Baja in the hotter, eastern section. Rioja began to gain a reputation with Bordeaux growers after Bordeaux was ravaged by phylloxera in the late nineteenth century. Indeed, Bordeaux producers spurred change in Rioja by introducing the idea of aging wines in small oak barrels. The wines that resulted were superior than the fruity, homespun wines available before. For many years Rioja was aged in American oak barrels and much Rioja still is, though new schools are aging wine in French barrels instead. Though the result has been less ‘traditional' Rioja, the wines are often higher in quality.
Priorat is a tiny Spanish wine region that has garnered high acclaim in the last twenty years or so. Even today, the vineyards of Priorat are planted mostly with Carinena (Carignan), but that is changing. The top Priorat are usually blends with a backbone of old vine Grenache blended with international varietals like Cabernet, Syrah, and Merlot.
"Intense cherry layers and very aromatic in the nose with cherry, red berries, toast, and depth. Very lively in the palate with balanced red fruit, together with hints of cocoa and licorice. Long sustained finish with weight, complexity, and definition."
"The nose reveals enticing aromas of pain grille, pencil lead, espresso, incense, blackberry, and black currant. Layered, concentrated, and still a bit tightly wound, it will benefit from another 4-5 years of cellaring and drink well through 2024."
"Bright lemon yellow with green highlights. Tropical aromas and hints of vanilla lead to intense fruit flavors, with fresh acidity to balance the wine, both persistent and full of character. Expressive, bright varietal, with fleshy fruit and some subtle and elegant notes of smoke from the oak aging."
"A wonderful blend of Garnacha, Cabernet, Syrah, and Merlot. Roasted aromas of berry and black plum. The baked, black fruit flavors grab you, adding an undertone of chocolate and mocha. Jammy and deep on the finish with earthy, chocolaty notes."
"This firm, bright white delivers focused flavors of green apple, orange blossom and beeswax with notes of tart grapefruit and mouthwatering acidity."
"93 Points - Wine Spectator. This polished red is focused and harmonious, with plum, cassis, licorice, tobacco and mineral notes that mingle gracefully over well-integrated tannins. Marries density and freshness, presenting a long, savory finish."
"90 Points- Wine Advocate. It is an excellent value for consumers looking for alternatives to French Champagne. Lemon/lime, crushed rock and white currant notes are present in this crisp, elegant, refreshing, zesty, dry sparkler. Hints of wheat thins and brioche add complexity."
"F?nf Sangria bursts with bright flavors of citrus and ripe summer fruits. Its an easy-to-drink, medium-bodied wine with just the right amount of sweetness and lush flavors to suit any taste. Serve chilled or add ice and fresh fruit for a tropical experience. Perfect for picnics, backyard parties, or lazy afternoons by the pool."
"95-98 WA The 2009 Clos Mogador was tasted from a barrel sample. Asian spices, tapenade, incense, licorice, espresso, and blackberry aromas inform the nose of this structured, dense plush, powerful yet elegant offering. It is beautifully proportioned with exceptional length and incipient complexity. Give it 4-5 years of cellaring and drink it from 2015 to 2029."
"Sangria is the traditional summer drink of Andalucia. Red wine is mixed with fruit, soda and brandy -- sort of a citrus wine spritzer. It is an informal and refreshing way to enjoy good company with friends."