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K&L Staff Recommendations
91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "(raised entirely in concrete): Brilliant ruby. Pure, high-pitched aromas of redcurrant, strawberry, blood orange and fresh rose, plus a bright mineral overtone. Vibrant and precise on the palate, offering sappy red fruit and floral pastille flavors lifted by spice and mineral nuances. Closes spicy, nervy and long, with silky tannins making a late appearance. Finding a wine with this much clarity and precision is a tough job at double and even triple the price of this one." (9/2014)90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Made from vines planted in 1915, the 2013 Garnacha Negra comes from the vil ...Read More »
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The basic offering from proprietor Ramon Castano Santa, who owns a whopping 1,000 acres in Yecla, is the 2012 Hecula, which is sourced from a non-irrigated, single vineyard planted with 100% Monastrell. Aged in both tank and French oak, it comes from 60-80-year-old vines planted in limestone soils at a relatively high elevation of over 1,600 feet. Its opaque purple color is followed by copious aromas of blueberries, black raspberries, camphor, licorice, white flowers and a chalky limestone/dusty character. Full-bodied, rich and well-balanced, it is an in ...Read More »
Based in the Rioja Alta village of Badarán, Martínez Alesanco is a truly original bodega producing tasty, characterful wine for laughably low prices. They are entirely self reliant in grapes, all of which are grown in their home village of Badarán, one of the coldest zones of Rioja Alta. The vineyards are closer to the Sierra de la Demanda mountains, a range whose elevation and visible snow covered peaks are even more dramatic than the Sierra Cantabria range to the north. This is made from Tempranillo grown in iron rich clay soils. In fact, this red tin... Read More »
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Inky purple. Spicy cherry and dark berry aromas are deepened by notes of bitter chocolate, vanilla and espresso. Peppery, sharply focused cherry and blackberry flavors show a slight bitterness but possess good energy. Finishes with a strong cherry skin quality and good length." (9/2012) K&L Notes: The Eguren family is a well-known name in Spain, having made successful reds at everything from the $5 level on up to collectible Riojas. Produced from a 25-year-old Cabernet vineyard in the Vino de la Tierra de Castilla appellation (a large swath of land in the autonom... Read More »
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Yields for the 2013 Monastrell (100% Monastrell aged six months in neutral French oak barrels, concrete and foudres) were 16 to 25 hectoliters per hectare, which is about half of that permitted in Burgundy. An amazing value, this wine boasts a dense blue/purple color as well as a sumptuous nose of blueberries, blackberries, scorched earth, licorice and forest floor. Stunningly pure and medium to full-bodied with oodles of fruit, this is a remarkable value to drink until the cows come home. Consume it over the next 2-3 years. Considered by many observers ...Read More »
In the region of Cariñena, the Garnacha grape variety seems to find a lovely expression, one which is less high octane and lighter on its feet than in some of the neighboring regions. And, as ever, this is a terrific red wine bargain for anyone looking for an inexpensive house red or wine for any party, wedding, or other event.
Lora is a blend of certified organic Tempranillo and Syrah from one of the cooler parts of La Mancha (high up on the plateau not too far from the UNESCO heritage city of Cuenca). This is a delicious red - full of fresh fruited drinkability, but surprising structure from the minerality and balanced acidity. The winemaker and person who carefully sources this great organic fruit is none other than our friend Miguel Merino Navajas, son of Miguel Merino of Rioja fame! (Joe Manekin, K&L Spanish wine buyer)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2010 Crianza displays a bright ruby color and a somehow shy nose of red cherries with a touch of fennel. The palate is soft, with sweet tannins. A nice everyday wine. What is remarkable is that they produce 2.4 million bottles of this wine, so it should be readily available. (LG)" (12/2013) Wine Spectator: "Aromatic, with berry, floral and spice notes, this silky, light-bodied red offers raspberry, candied cherry and vanilla flavors that show a hard-candy character yet remain fresh and appealing." (2/2014) K&L Notes: LAN produces as consistent a value crianza as anyone in Rioja. Th... Read More »
In the southeast of Spain sandwiched between Jumilla and Alicante, wines from Yecla have most prolifically come from what happens to be the largest co-op in Spain. However the Castaño family stands as the most important and ambitious privately owned winery in the D.O., and they have gone to great lengths to push the quality from the often coarse wines for which this region was previously known. Bodegas Castaño started small and has nurtured their old vine plantings, which has done much for their Yecla renaissance. Their four prime estate vineyards now co... Read More »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2011 Vina Zaco changed labels and profile to a more modern style a few years ago and displays a darker shade of cherry color, ripe notes of red and black berries, flowers and a meaty palate where the wood is perfectly integrated with the fruit, which finally feels more classical than what the label makes you think. It is very good value. Drink 2014-2017. (LG)" (12/2013) Wine Enthusiast: "Ripe, welcoming berry, smoke and floral aromas lead the bouquet of this modern Rioja. This is no wallflower; there’s kick to the palate, lots of oak, then robust black cherry and plum f ...Read More »
Always a bargain, the Las Rocas Garnacha comes from an excellent co-op in Spain's Calatayud region. Aged in a combination of French and American oak barrels for 10 months. Hearty, medium-bodied with boisterous dark fruit and an undercurrent of cocoa and vanilla spice.
Here is another excellent value from the Egurens. While we have been working consistently with their under $10 Cab, this Tempranillo comes from neighboring vines and it is also similarly delicious, with loads of bright dark cherry and red fruit flavors. Juicy, soft fruit make this a gulpable wine. Given the Eguren family's extensive acreage of mature vineyards and their experience, it is no surprise that their wines consistently over deliver year after year. Awesome bargain red and house wine candidate.