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K&L Staff Recommendations
95 points James Suckling: "Terrific aromas of currants, berries, cinnamon and perfume. Full body, ultra-fine tannins and a dense palate. Superb length and refinement. Compact. Super length. Superb quality considering the price. More delicate and refined than the 2010. Precise." (12/2016) 92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The blend of the 2012 Rioja Reserva is significantly different from previous vintages, with more Graciano and Garnacha. The blend was approximately 77% Tempranillo, 10% Garnacha, 8% Graciano and 5% Mazuelo. After a very dry growing season, the harvest was saved by some rains at the end of September, ...Read More »
As is the case with so many other great spots in Spain, Bodega Casa Juan is located opposite the village church, in the beautiful walled pueblo of Laguardia. The winery is a converted flour mill, featuring concrete tanks for fermenting and blending the wine; and for ageing, barrels that are used for up to seven years. These are traditional Riojas in elaboration and spirit, though the site specificity of their Laguardia and Villabuena vineyards confers a fruit character all its own to these wines. And what fruit! This crianza is a potpouri of mixed berrie... Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2004 Gran Reserva leans more towards the black fruit, with some notes of leather, ink and spices. It is a full-bodied wine, with perfumed flavors, meaty, whose tannins are still there and will require some powerful food. A young and powerful Gran Reserva. (LG)" (12/2013)
Mas Codina is a 40 hectare estate in Penedès which dates back to 1681. This Brut Reserva Cava was hand-harvested from 20 to 30-year-old vines and estate bottled. Though it does not say it on the label, the current disgorgement is based entirely on the 2013 harvest. Vines are planted in calcareous and sandy clay soils which keep the wine minerally and lively. The wine undergoes secondary fermentation in the bottle, and is aged on its lees for a minimum of two years before disgorgement. Varietals include Macabeo, Xarel-lo, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. 100% ... Read More »
95 points James Suckling: "Ripe and intense aromas of strawberries and blackberries with hints of black ink. Savory notes, too. Full-bodied, chewy and focused with linear fruit and character. Very finely crafted. Drink or hold." (12/2016) 91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2010 Viña Alberdi is a Tempranillo blend from different vineyards from what they consider an extraordinary vintage. This wine is matured in American oak barrels built by their own coopers, the first year in new barrels and the second one in third-year barrels with four manual rackings. This is the younger of their wines, with even some red berr ...Read More »
A K&L Direct Import! Jesús Puelles is one of the most talented vignerons in Rioja. Hailing from a long line of vineyard worker/owners, Puelles knows the terruño in his little slice of land in the Rioja Alta town of Abalos. All of the grapes for his red wines come from his own 26 hectares, which are generally north facing and located between 300 and 600 meters in altitude, all within the village of Abalos, very rare in a region where sourcing from various villages and even sub-zones is more the norm. Produced from primarily estate fruit (Tempranillo, with... Read More »
95 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* Certain wines exude a sense of elevated excellence. This one gets to that level via aromas of spice cake, baked plum and tobacco aromas. A stocky saturated palate is structured and built to age, while this tastes of cool blue fruits, herbs, coffee and chocolate. A smoothly textured finish deals cocoa and mocha notes. Drink through 2040. (MS)" (4/2017) 94 points Wine Spectator: "*Top 100 of 2016, Highly Recommended* This generous red shows a traditional character, with leafy, dried herb, tea and spice notes framing dried cherry, licorice and leather flavors. Firm ta ...Read More »
94 points James Suckling: "Beautiful and aromatic with red cherries and cranberries plus slate undertones. Medium to full body, a super-soft texture, silky fine-grained tannins and a long, savory finish. A wonderful and elegant wine. Drink now or hold." (12/2016) K&L Notes: Fredi Torres has been steadily making a name for himself in the Montsant and Priorat regions. A leader of the new school in Priorat, Fredi prefers to let the fruit in the vineyard do the talking, playing around with some whole clusters and preferring that the oak imprint be dialed back in his wines. In this case, 85% of th... Read More »
92 points Vinous: "Bright violet color. Heady, exotically perfumed bouquet of ripe red and dark berries, incense and candied flowers, with a smoky mineral overtone and a hint of Asian spices. Intense, deeply pitched raspberry liqueur and cherry-cola flavors stain the palate while displaying a distinctly vibrant quality. Blends power, depth and finesse in a way that's uncommon at anywhere near this price point. Closes sweet, supple and very long, with velvety tannins coming in late to add shape and gentle grip. These bush vines date back to the early 1920s and yield less th ...Read More »
92 points James Suckling: "This has a beautiful depth of fruit with spice and dark fruits. Hints of parsley and cilantro. Full and super silky with a long and beautiful finish." (5/2013) K&L Notes: Composed of the same grapes in the same percentages as the Crianza, the Reserva is a barrel selection of wines that Angel feels can undergo longer aging in barrel and then in bottle. Aged a total of 27 months in barrels, then into concrete for more than a year, the Reserva also sees bottle aging until Angel deems it ready for release. This wine ramps up the intensity of the Crianza, with more pungen... Read More »
Albarino is the perfect summer white, but its naturally crisp acidity and peachy citrus flavors make it enjoyable year-round as an aperitif or paired with a variety of foods, particularly shellfish and seafood. It hails from the Rias Baixas zone of Gallicia, on the northwest coast of Spain. Walk through any given fishing village along the "rias" (fjords) in this beautiful, cool, maritime-influenced region and you will find fresh grilled "pulpo" (octopus) vendors at every corner! A classic Albarino nose of white peach, citrus and mineral aromas gives way ... Read More »
*A K&L direct import! This is our latest arrival from Miguel Merino, whom we like to call "the hardest working man in Rioja." Having begun his humble "retirement project" in the early 1990s by restoring an older bodega just down the hill from the historic town of Briones, Miguel either owns or rents to own a total of around 8 hectares of vines, all of which are located in Briones; not only is this village specific Rioja, but it happens to come from one of the most sought after villages in all of Rioja Alta, where many top bodegas have some of their most ... Read More »
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "I’ve loved this wine in the past and the 2013, a blend of 90% Tempranillo and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon aged 12 months in French oak, is stunning, simply over-delivering in so many different ways. This wine, which offers up copious quantities, of blueberry, black raspberry and black currant fruit, licorice, graphite and meaty notes, offers fabulous aromatics, medium to full-bodied mouthfeel, beautiful, pure texture and a long, heady finish with subtle oak. What’s amazing is the French oak is all two-year-old, super-expensive Darnajou barrels. For $20 this i ...Read More »
91 points Wine Spectator: "*Top 100 of 2016, Smart Buys* A thick texture carries plum tart, orange peel, toasted vanilla and anise flavors in this ripe version, balanced by juicy acidity. The spicy, berry-scented finish is long and pure. (TM)" (12/2016) K&L Notes: Alvaro Palacios has roots that run deep into the soil of Rioja. He was born into one the region's most prestigious winemaking families, the force behind Palacios Remondo, yet his interests have always been grander. Rather than slide simply into a position at the family winery, Alvaro decided to go out and do his own thing for a while... Read More »
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* Since its inception, Numanthia has never once bottled a disappointing Termes. Aromas of lemon peel and orange rind mix with blackberry and cassis notes. This feels tight and tannic, but structured and appropriate. Dark-berry and chocolate flavors finish tannic but healthy. This is true-to-form Toro. (MS)" (8/2016) 91 points Vinous: "Bright violet color. Powerful, smoke-accented aromas of ripe black and blue fruits, floral pastilles and minerals. Delivers a suave blend of richness and vivacity, offering juicy boysenberry and mulberry flavors and a building n ...Read More »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The Ordoñez family, Jorge and his sister Victoria, were the first to try and produce a dry, crisp wine from 100% Muscatel de Alexandria in Malaga. This area is known for historic, sweet wines, with ancient history stretching back to 600 B.C. for viticulture. These steep, almost unreal hillside vineyards are planted in decomposed red slate, with a mixture of white quartz. They are complex soils, but the Botani has turned out to be an incredible success story and a great value. The 2014 Botani is light-bodied, shows flowery, fragrant notes with hints of fl ...Read More »
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A new kid on the block, the pure Garnacha 2013 El Molar carries the name of the vineyards where the vines were planted in 2006 on sand and chalk soils covered with gravel. It was foot trodden and fermented in cement vats and aged for nine months in used 500-liter oak barrels. In 2013 the vines worked until the very end as it was a year where there was more rain than average and a relatively cool summer (sometimes ripening occurs because of dehydration rather than true ripening) resulting in a perfect ripeness but quite contained. It is light ruby color, ...Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "All bottles from the new Classic Penedès category for sparkling wines have to carry a vintage, so what used to be non-vintage wines have been transformed into vintage ones, as is the case with the 2013 999 Rosado Brut Nature. This is a blend of an obscure clone of Xarello called Xarello Vermell and Pinot Noir that matured in bottle for a minimum of 15 months. The carbonic gas feels quite powerful and invaded my nostrils as soon as I put my nose in the glass, denoting youth. The aromas combine rose petals and red berries, not terribly complex, but clean a ...Read More »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2007 Reserva showed a strong reduction when uncorked and should benefit from decanting in advance. Pure Tempranillo, it matured in barrels for 20 months. The nose, after the reduction has blown off, is quite classical but clean showing roasted aromas and hints of dark spices, balsam and perhaps leather. The palate is quite lively, with good, refreshing acidity and fully resolved tannins. (LG)" (4/2015) K&L Notes: Jesús Puelles is one of the most talented vignerons in Rioja. Hailing from a long line of vineyard worker/owners, Puelles knows the terruño in his littl... Read More »
This crisp, bright, tangy yet ultimately fresh and appley cider really hits the spot. The balance between rich, phenolic, fine bitter notes, and bright, sour apple high tones is spot on. In Asturias they drink more sidra than anywhere else in Spain (possibly in Europe?) and judging by the quality of this bottling, I can see why! (Joe Manekin, K&L Spanish & Portuguese wine buyer)
A longtime participant in the wine business, Miguel decided that rather than retire, he wanted to fulfill his dream of owning vines and making wine. Based in the Rioja Alta town of Briones, Miguel Merino makes, as he likes to put it, an "updated classic" style of Rioja, all from his own 2 hectares of vines and several hectares of vineyards owned by a close friend. All the fruit is from sloped, primarily chalky clay vineyards (Miguel is a fan of his slopes) within the cooler climate Rioja Alta town of Briones, which makes these wine a terrific showcase o... Read More »
Amats is both the brand name of the Txakoli as well as one of Zudugarai's vineyards. It's a beautiful vineyard, a sandy substrate covered in naturally growing green cover between the rows, with the Cantabrian Sea in full view to the north. Produced from Hondarribi Zuri grapes, this is classic Txakoli: zippy, crisp, tart green apple flavors are enlivened by a lovely sparkle from the CO2 retained in tank during fermentation. Try this refreshing, vibrant, low in alcohol white wine with a wide range of foods, from obvious choices such as seafood (grilled sar... Read More »
93 points James Suckling: "Opened and beautiful nose of pure blackberries and blackcurrants with hints of white truffles and wet slate. Full body and supple and concentrated tannins. So polished and refined. A beauty. Drink now." (12/2016) 91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The red 2012 Reserva is sold as Crianza or Reserva depending on the market, but it's always a blend of Tempranillo with some 20% Garnacha, 10% Graciano and 5% Mazuelo from the lower part of the valley of the Oja-Tirón river. The varieties are fermented and aged separately until most of it (around 80%) is blended the summer after. Even when they do ...Read More »
Raventos i Blanc was founded in 1986 by Josep-Maria Raventos, a member of the Codorníu family who wished to create a small, quality-oriented winery that would stand apart from the larger wineries in the area. Today they own about 300 acres of vineyards (with a high percentage of chalk in the soil, like Champagne) planted mostly to local varieties such as Macabeo (Viura), Xarel-lo and Parellada. All three of these grapes, as well as a small portion of direct-press Monastrell, are found in this delicate, beautiful rosé bottling.
Our second vintage of this DI Albariño, this wine shows everything we like in the grape: hints of lemongrass, lively stone fruit and a brisk, saline tinged palate. Located in the sub-zone of Condado do Tea, where the days are a bit warmer and evenings are slightly cooler, there is a wonderful mid-palate presence to complement the typically lean and mineral qualities of Albariño. A classic with any shellfish, especially Dungeness crab!
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The non-vintage Dry Amontillado Los Arcos Solera Reserva reveals a medium amber hue along with a nutty, honeyed, dry personality with great acid... The portfolio of under $25 a bottle selections represents remarkable value for their complex, well-made personalities. Lustau includes a bottling date code as purchasers would want to buy Finos and Manzanillas as young as possible. It is difficult to describe the glories of sherry, but I’ll try. These Solera Reservas are all great reference points at a low price point from Lustau. (RP)" (8/2012) 90 points Wine Spectator: "Walnut, halva, ...Read More »
This is as elegant an example of Garnacha (a.k.a. Grenache) as you are likely to find. Catalan winemaker Marc Isart Pinos is taking old vines, applying excellent viticultural work, fermenting in foudre (with some whole clusters used, as well as long maceration on the skins for further complexity/elegance), and bottling with a minimum of sulphur to create this beautiful, expressive wine. A good bit more tangy, racy and serious than most Grenache at this price, the Camino de Navaherreros is sure to please those who prefer layered nuance and energetic flavo... Read More »
Can Mayol, which bottles under the trademarked name "Loxarel," is a winery that has farmed organically for 15 years. The Mitjan family, owners of Can Mayol, also employ some biodynamic treatments. They keep animals, including chickens, a horse and a donkey named Garnatxa. While the focus is on "Brut Nature" (no dosage added) sparkling wine production, they also produce some very interesting still wines. In their chalky, high-altitude vineyards (above 2,400 feet for their highest vines, among the highest in the Penedès D.O.), Xarel-lo, Macabeo, Parellada,... Read More »
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 L'Hereu Brut is produced from what Pepe Raventós considers a great vintage that will be considered historic in the future. That year they harvested 25 days later than the recent average, so the grapes had time to ripen slowly to perfection with a long cycle that also held acidity and the wines are very fresh. This is sourced mostly form the Viña de la Plana, which has plenty of clay on the chalky mother rock (120 centimeters below) and quite deep soils that produce wines of good freshness and balance. They also use part of purchased grapes from ...Read More »
An excellent value from Spain. Monastrell grapes for this wine came from 45-year-old parcels on their estate vineyards. Shallow, chalky soils on a bed of limestone and rock combine with an arid climate to produce the low yields required for wine of this complexity. After harvesting, the deep purple grapes are whole-cluster macerated for 25 days and aged for 12 months in French oak barrels. The wine possesses a very dark cherry color with purple tones. In the nose it has powerful aromas of red berries and smoky tones. The palate displays excellent fruit a... Read More »
92 points Wine & Spirits: "From the owners of Bodegas Muriel, in Rioja, this is the second vintage of Pazo Cilleiro. Made from a selection of vines in Salnés, it feels fresh and alive, moving throughout the mouth with graceful acidity (the wine did not undergo malolactic) and a fine leesiness that tap dances on the tongue. Its citrus flavors are layered with herbal notes that predominate in the end, leaving a fresh and crisp memory." (8/2016) K&L Notes: This is a delicious, new Albariño from the heartland of the Rias Baixas region, the strongly Atlantic influenced Salnes Valley. Juicy, very ta... Read More »
"Costers" is Catalan for slopes, and this single-vineyard wine from the folks at Celler de Capçanes in Montsant comes from vines planted on old terraces carved into granitic slopes. The wine is made from Cabernet Sauvignon plus two clones of Garnacha - Garnacha del Pais (an indigenous Catalan clone) and Garnacha Peluda from the south of France - and a dash Cariñena. It boasts lots of ripe red and blue fruit, with a smoky undercurrent, soft tannins and fresh acidity. Delicious!
Varietals: Garnatxa Blanca, Picapoll Blanca, Xarel.lo
91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Vivid purple. Fresh cherry, blackberry and incense on the highly perfumed nose. Lush, sweet and broad on the palate, offering fleshy blueberry and floral pastille flavors that turn spicier with air. Closes on a sweet note of spicy oak, with supple tannins, very good tenacity and a touch of fruitcake. (JR)" (9/2014) 90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Tres Picos is the bodegas top cuvée of 100% Grenache from older, head-pruned vines planted on the hillsides of the Moncayo Mountains. Yields were less than two tons of fruit per acre. This was the first of the Grenaches to spend some ti ...Read More »
93 points James Suckling: "This shows asphalt-like aromas with some red fruit to boot. White pepper, too. Cool wine on the palate with spice and subtle berry flavors brought to the fore with high acidity. A blend of vijariego negro, tintilla, baboso negro listran negro (mission) and malvasia rosada. Drink now." (12/2016) 92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The regular 2014 7 Fuentes is a village blend of some 35 separate plots, situated from 300 to 700 meters altitude on a diversity of volcanic soils and expositions; the wine wants to represent the Orotava. 2014 was an easy, healthy harvest without rains or excessive ...Read More »
Angel Rodriguez Leal produces what is hands down the best wine in Rueda: Martinsancho. A family-owned bodega since 1784, holding some of the best real estate in the D.O., their land boasts Verdejo vines which average 40 years of age and stand in a bed of rounded river stones. Wine is fermented in enamel tanks and aged in very large, neutral oak "cubas." The resulting wine is generous, with delicious peach, melon, and guava notes, textural, as well as mineral, focused, and age-worthy.
Here is a Priorat that is not at all shy or trying to hide its Mediterranean origins, a richer, fuller bodied style especially considering its modest price. This is on the darker-fruited side, generous and slightly savory, a well-balanced, tasty blend of Garnacha, Carignane, and just a tiny amount of Cabernet Sauvignon. Try this with your favorite recipe for braised or stewed lamb. (Joe Manekin, K&L Spanish & Portuguese wine buyer)
Jancis Robinson: "Chewy, rounded, bright, soft. (RH)" (2/2016) K&L Notes: The wines made by brothers Joan and Josep d'Anguera have changed dramatically in the past three years. Altaroses is relatively younger vine Garnacha, farmed organically (and in fact, Demeter certified biodynamic), and picked relatively early. Trodden by foot periodically for a few days, fermented with its own yeast, and allowed to age in old barrels, there is a delicacy, purity and freshness to this wine that makes it so drinkable. A perfect window into the style here. Another indicator of the rising quality at ... Read More »
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The NV Fino Inocente must be one of the few wines in Jerez that is still fermented in 600-liter American oak botas, which is an incredible amount of work compared with fermenting tens of thousands of kilos of grapes (or even more) in a big stainless steel tank. This method was the norm of yesteryear, but is so labor intense that it was discontinued in most wineries, and gives a big diversity of wines, as each barrel has its own character, which contributes to the complexity of the blend. Furthermore, the bottled wine is on average 8 to 10 years old. One ...Read More »
Wine Spectator: "Blackberry, pomegranate and orange peel flavors mingle in this lively red. Sweet-tart acidity imparts a slightly candied character, while chewy tannins keep this grounded. (TM, Web-2016)"
Emporda is a small Catalan D.O. located along the Costa Brava, in the heart of Salvador Dali country! Espelt is a leading producer for value oriented Garnatxa (grenache). Always a popular favorite, this 2015 is fantastic. Floral and mixed berry aromas lead to a juicy and racy palate, with blackberry and floral notes, subtle candied and floral aspects and a pleasing, subtle bitter snap to the finish. A lot to like in this Grenache!
92 points Wine Spectator: "*Smart Buys* This round white has texture and grip, with rich and focused flavors of apple, almond, green olive and brine. Offers plenty of fruit, but remains grounded thanks to the briny character. Expressive and balanced." (11/2012) 90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The NV La Guita Manzanilla has always had a very strong and marked character of brine, green olives and mustard seeds, with an overall sweet sensation. The medium-bodied palate is precise, very dry and intense, with some brine and rancio flavors and great length. The quality of this wine has increased notably in the last few ...Read More »
Produced by a 25-grower cooperative located in the Condado do Tea sub-zone of Rias Baixas, this is crisp, citrus- and yellow-fruited Albariño from a challenging, but ultimately rewarding, cooler and damper vintage. The results are a very fresh white that has just enough juicy fruit to balance the clean salinity and crisp acids. This is a perfect aperitif and of course, is a seafood-ready white! (Joe Manekin, K&L Spanish & Portuguese Wine Buyer)
A project lead by Eulogio Pomares, famous for his work at Zarate, this Salnes Valley Albariño is crisp, fresh, juicy, and brightly yellow fruited. Impeccably balanced Albariño done just right, it will be sure to hit the spot. Best to hurry on this one as there is not too much more of this wine available stateside.
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Pétalos del Bierzo was already up for tasting as they sell the wine quite quickly even if the volumes are not small, but the wine had only been in bottle for one week and it might have been a little closed, especially when compared with the aromatic 2013. However, the aromas, if subtle, are phenomenal, very complete and balanced, with an extra degree of complexity when compared with the 2013. The harvest was a little healthier without being easy (or dry). There is great volume in the palate, fleshy, juicy and rich without being heavy, medium-bod ...Read More »
Clos Lojen is Ponce's most approachable red, with the lively red and darker fruits showing great purity and generosity, while the precision, fresh acidity and crunchiness all betray Juan Antonio's love of fruit forward, yet structured wines the likes of which his favorite French vignerons produce. 2015 is the best Clos Lojen I have yet to try - delicious, clean fruit Juan Antonio Ponce is one of Spain's leading lights amongst a new, younger set of vignerons who pair their vineyard knowledge with serious discipline and curiosity in the cellar, often borr... Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2015 Montenovo is the entry level white, produced with Godello grapes from back slate soils and bottled early trying to preserve the fruit character of the grape. They consider 2015 a Mediterranean vintage, with a dry summer in July, August and September. The grapes are pressed in absence of oxygen and the must fermented with indigenous yeasts in stainless steel vats, where the wine was kept for three months before bottling. The nose is a bit muted and takes some time to unfurl the white acacia flower and apple aromas. The palate is quite vibrant, cl ...Read More »
This is a delicious Albariño, always one of our top two or three for someone looking for a classic expression of this white wine. A wonderfully mineral nose leads to bright, succulent, yellow stone fruit flavors with more than a wisp of salinity adding freshness and making it pretty difficult to not gulp this one down quickly. Palacio de Fefiñanes is the oldest known brand of Albariño and the first to have bottled their wine. Based in the "birthplace of Albariño," the seaside town of Cambados, the winery purchases fruit from 60 growers, many of whom own... Read More »
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The joint venture between Jordi Vidal and US importer Eric Solomon also produced a custom red, which is the 2014 Black Slate Scala Dei. It is a blend of 90% Garnacha with 8% Cabernet Sauvignon and a 2% pinch of Cariñena. The grapes were harvested at different times and fermented separately in stainless steel and oak vats. The Garnacha matured in 5,000-liter oak vats and the rest in barrique for some 18 months. It's floral and portrays a chalky soil character from the higher altitude parts of the hamlet of Scala Dei, a feature that makes the wines very di ...Read More »
Algueira proves with this wine that they not only excel at making first rate, oak aged wine from their Ribeira Sacra holdings, but a delicious unoaked example as well. This bottling typically shows spicy dark cherry and plum fruit, and a delightfully fresh and crisp palate. Nuanced, layered flavors for a mere unoaked young Mencia based wine. Very highly recommended!