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K&L Monthly Newsletter - Featuring Spain - 03/27/2017 - Monthly Newsletter

It is hard to find another region that can deliver the same combination of value, variety ageworthiness, ready-to-drink vintages, and the sheer class and caliber that you'll find in modern day Spain. Take this month's newsletter for example. Starting with sparkling wines, we delve into one of our favorite direct imports in Can Mayol's Loxarel. Next up, Rioja delivers three tremendous sub-$20 reds - two of which nabbed 95-point scores, while the other is a K&L best-seller and over a decade old. Priorat follows with one of the most unique and critically acclaimed projects in the world of fine wine in Terroir al Limit. Their wines beautifully represent what's new and exciting in Priorat with a sense of place, tradition - leaving many seeing the region in a whole new light. Our exploration of Spain continues through Rioja Blanco, Albarino, Cava, and even a bright and refreshing Malvasia from the Canaries. There's truly something for everyone in this month's newsletter.

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Highlights this month include...

Vintage Item Name Score Retail Link
2014 Mas Que Vinos "Ercavio" Tempranillo Roble Tierra de Castilla 90 $9.99 View
Mas Codina Cava Brut Reserva Penedès $12.99 View
2010 La Rioja Alta "Viña Alberdi" Reserva Rioja 95 $17.99 View
2005 Bodegas Casa Juan Señor de Lesmos Reserva Rioja 92 $19.99 View
2010 Can Mayol Loxarel "Reserva Familiar" Brut Nature Penedes Price: Hidden View
2012 Marqués de Murrieta Reserva Rioja 95 $19.99 View
2010 Cune Gran Reserva Rioja 95 $24.99 View
2007 La Rioja Alta "Viña Ardanza" Reserva Rioja 94 $29.99 View
2011 Bodegas Muga "Selección Especial" Reserva Rioja 95 $34.99 View
2013 Hacienda Monasterio Ribera del Duero Crianza 95 $34.99 View
Honorío Rubio "Añadas" Blanco Rioja (Elsewhere $50) 93 $39.99 View
2012 Bodega Numanthia "Numanthia" Toro 95 Price: Hidden View

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2014 Mas Que Vinos "Ercavio" Tempranillo Roble Tierra de Castilla ($9.99)

90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Ercavio Roble is pure Tempranillo that followed a classical vinification, fermentation in stainless steel, malolactic fermentation in cement and a short aging (six months) in used French barriques. The nose is very classic, too, nicely crafted, fine with a nice combination between berry and spice with subtle oak. It has a commercial profile in a very pleasant way. The palate shows very good volume and a fine texture with elegant tannins. It tastes like a much more expensive wine. This is superb value and a faithful representation of Tempranillo from La Mancha in a good vintage. (LG)" (06/2016)

K&L Notes: In La Mancha, Ercavio clearly rules the roost in the production of top quality Tempranillo, known locally as "Cencibel." In this huge wine production area where volume producers far outnumber quality ones, Ercavio is a notable exception, focusing on careful viticulture and time tested, artisanal methods including ageing in amphora, to produce genuinely interesting, delicious, well priced wines that really immediatley impress for their intensity of flavor and terrific value.

Staff ImageHeather Vander Wall | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 11, 2017

While I was a fan of the 2013 vintage of Ercavio, the 2014 is even better! With riper, more generous fruit, this vintage strikes a great balance between soft, luscious fruit, good toasty oak, and a hearty structure. This is a big, bold style of Tempranillo, that is well-composed and drinks beautifully now.

Staff ImageJoe Manekin | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 10, 2017

This is the most serious Tempranillo I've seen from La Mancha. It is generously dark fruited, with hints of savory, wet tobacco underlying in the background and an impressive mineral thread running through the wine. Under $10 wines are occasionally tasty, even delicious, but rarely are they delicious and as seriously put together as this wine. I was impressed by the 2013, but this 2014 ratchets up the intensity while maintaining even more balance between the fruit, tannins and wood. The Wine Advocate review states "It tastes like a much more expensive wine," I wouldn't fault someone for finding that cliché, but if Luis Gutierrez says it then this praise is truly earned. I'm very impressed.

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Mas Codina Cava Brut Reserva Penedès ($12.99)

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 2014 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% hand riddled as well! Since we direct import this delicious Cava, it is arguably one of our best values in bubbly. (Joe Manekin, K&L Spanish wine buyer)

Staff ImageMorgan Laurie | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 29, 2018

This truly is one of the best values in sparkling wine we have. It's fresh, crisp and drinks well above it's price. Dry with small bubbles and an elegant mouth feel, it goes down (almost) too easily. Notes of green apple, stone fruits and a slight nutty richness make this an easy choice for any occasion!

Staff ImageElsa Baez | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 25, 2017

By far the best Cava I have ever tasted! Mineral and green apple notes with a crisp and dry finish. A perfect bubbly option for any occasion, especially for upcoming holiday gatherings.So much greatness at a fantastic price. Stock up for the holidays!

Staff ImageIvan Diaz | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: February 02, 2017

For my money, Cava like Mas Codina stands head-and-shoulders above more popular, expensive, but less polished sparkling wines. The bubbles are finer, creating a mousse-y texture on the palate, while the flavors of nectarine, baked apple, and subtle flowers are balanced and restrained in a way that avoids any cloyingness. At only $12.99, this is an incredible value with truly romantic expression perfect for any intimate occasion.

Staff ImageAndrew Stevens | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: May 09, 2016

This is one of the best bottle of bubbles in the store for its price. The fact that we directly import this sparkler and that it is from Spain means that it drinks far and above its price point. This Cava is very clean and enhanced by bright acid while still having some weight and richness on the mouthfeel. A lovely balance of ripe fruit and citrus make this one that can easily turn heads at a party and is priced to keep a case around the house.

Staff ImageJeff Garneau | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: February 29, 2016

Everyone loves a good value in sparkling wine. We would all love to drink Champagne every night, but sometimes you want to spend a little less without compromising quality. For that reason, our buyers here at K&L strive to provide a broad range of alternatives at affordable prices. Over time certain of these have become so popular among our customers and staff that they have achieved an almost iconic status, the kind of wine people buy by the case among others the Louis Bouillot Cremant de Bourgogne "Perle d'Aurore" Brut Rosé, the Deligeroy Cremant de Loire Brut, and the Mas Codina Cava Brut Reserva Penedès. This classic Spanish cava combines traditional grape varieties like Xarello and Macabeo with those more likely to be found in Champagne like Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. 24 months on the lees adds richness and weight. At this price you can treat yourself whenever you like.

Staff ImageScott Beckerley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: August 31, 2015

This is one of our greatest "value" sparkling wines in the company. It is very well balanced and has a lingering finish. The overall character of golden apple fruit, with a hint of nuttiness and tart cherries, is balanced by a very clean finish that contains citrus notes and minerals. It has 10 grams per liter dosage, enough to keep it dry but, to add some light fruitiness, as well. Something here to please nearly everyone!

Staff ImageDiana Turk | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: July 17, 2015

Clean and bright with a soft, elegant mouthfeel, this gorgeous Cava evokes stonefruit without being cloyingly aromatic - more crisp nectarine than peach - and finishes dry. A bottle of this quality goes down so easily, you'll be amazed (and your wallet grateful) that it's less than $14. Time to celebrate!

Staff ImageJim Boyce | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: May 31, 2015

The Mas Codina Cava is easily a top sparkler in the store at $14. It is the house sparkling wine for most of our staff and has even been the wedding sparkler of choice, which speaks to the quality! Well balanced with a touch of red fruit from the pinot, green apple skin, beautiful mineral qualities, and a dry finish.

Staff ImageKirk Walker | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: May 30, 2015

This is no ordinary Cava. There is a good percentage of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are used in the blend. What that means is that there is breadth and depth to this sparkler that you do not find in similarly priced Cavas. Mix that with clean fruit tones, a moderate amount of yeastiness and a classic Brut finish and you get one of K&L's best sparkling values.

Staff ImageJoe Manekin | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: May 20, 2015

Mas Codina is a humble family operation, and man do they make delicious sparkling wine! They have been slowly ramping up the amount of Pinot Noir in their otherwise traditional cava blend, in order to gain a bit more in color and mid-palate presence. These are very drinkable cavas, wines that strike a great balance between ripe, bright, snappy fruit, weight, and texture. For under $14, the detail and value of this wine is undeniable.

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2010 La Rioja Alta "Viña Alberdi" Reserva Rioja ($17.99)

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 berry aromas and spicy oak, quite harmonious. The palate is lively, balanced and polished, with tasty flavors and bright acidity. Delicious. (LG)" (08/2016)

Wine & Spirits: "A rich vintage of Viña Alberdi, this packs a lot of blackberry and black cherry flavor into its long, juicy finish. The wine is warm and gamey, and a little hard edged with bitter oak, but it should stand well with food, especially lamb sausages." (12/2017)

K&L Notes: Founded in 1890, La Rioja Alta is one of the most experienced and universally respected wineries in Rioja. Viña Alberdi is La Rioja Alta's juiciest, most approachable Rioja to drink on the younger side. That said, it still is one of the standard bearers of great quality, affordable, traditional Rioja, aged for two full years in barrels produced on site by the company's own coopers. Based on 100% Tempranillo, this is always quite tasty, but in a vintage as strong as 2010, it elevates itself to top value category.

Staff ImageJoe Manekin | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: August 28, 2017

Upon first whiff, the 2010 Viña Alberdi is spicy, with the cedary oak notes nearly stealing the show. There are of course baking spices and pretty fruits as well, which both become more evident on the palate, where they combine with the oak for a nicely balanced, "bien clasico" expression of Rioja. This level of quality and traditional craftsmanship at under $20 makes this a must in your regular rotation!

Staff ImageJoe Bruno | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: July 18, 2017

The 2010 vintage in Rioja was an exceptional one, and this Viña Alberdi Reserva is a great expression of the respective year. Comprised of 100% Tempranillo, this wine is aged for 2 years in American Oak barrel. The first year of aging is in new oak and the second year is in older aged barrels. The wine was manually racked four times by the light of a candle. Ripe red fruit aromas intermingle with notes of vanilla, dill and seasoned leather. Medium body, with silky tannins on the palate. Juicy ripe cherry, spiced plum, and tomato jam qualities reveal themselves on the finish. This wine is a quintessentially approachable Rioja. A fantastic choice to accompany various pasta dishes and meat-based paellas

Staff ImageAndrew Whiteley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: July 18, 2017

I tasted this bottle after it had been opened for our staff for 2 days (the good stuff always seems to get opened on my weekends...). It is still tasting great. The lovely nose is full of cedar box and deep dark blackberries. There is a strong mineral component to the lithe body. Somewhat unusual for being 100% Tempranillo, this is a perfect wine to explore the classic markers of the famous Spanish grape for those who wish to study. At under $20 bucks, its the perfect wine to enjoy any day you need a great bottle of red without fail.

Staff ImageGary Westby | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 17, 2017

If you like medium bodied, earthy reds that go with food, this is a wine to buy a case of. Last night, Cinnamon and I had the Vina Alberdi from La Rioja Alta with a winter beef stew that I made. It was a stunning wine and a great combination. The savory dark Tempranillo fruit had just the right amount of rose like aroma to contrast its frame of cake like American oak and plenty of good acid to cut the rich stew. We found the 750ml size a bit small for something so easy to drink!

Staff ImageDavid Driscoll | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: December 15, 2016

The most important fact to know about the 2010 Alberdi is that it needs to breath. The difference between this wine thirty seconds after opening the bottle and thirty minutes is night and day. I decanted this beauty and was absolutely spellbound once the initial intensity blew off and the fruit opened up underneath. This is classic Spanish food wine, full of dark berries and chewy tannins. It's not a big juicy garnacha by any means, but rather an old school Rioja with finesse and style. It has restraint and on the finish there are lingering notes of wood and dark berries. Cook up a steak or a rack of lamb and dump a bottle of this in the decanter for some mighty fine living!

Staff ImageAlex Schroeder | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: December 15, 2016

Pours a beautiful deep brick red color, and offers dense aromas of raspberries, ripe strawberries, and aged leather with a hint of salinity. On the palate, robust but fully integrated and silky tannins combine with a vibrant acidity for overall outstanding structure, underlined by the slight influence of vanilla and spice notes from the oak. A powerful and well-balanced Rioja from an outstanding vintage.

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2005 Bodegas Casa Juan Señor de Lesmos Reserva Rioja ($19.99)

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." (05/2013)

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 pungent fruit as well as a real spicy and wild quality. In a vintage as good as 2005, this wine is likely to improve for quite a long time. As with many of the best Riojas, though, this wine is quite delicious right now if you want to drink some bottles while you wait for other bottles in your cellar to mature.

Staff ImageStephanie Vidales | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: March 31, 2017

There's a good reason why so many of my colleagues have given praise to this wine. Not only is it a fantastic Rioja value, it has plenty bottle age and is drinking beautifully right now. Black tea, fresh herbs and earth is intertwined with lovely red fruits, firm tannins and a long, dry finish.

Staff ImageJoe Manekin | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: March 21, 2017

So, so, good, this 2005 Lesmos Reserva! Having recently re-tasted the wine, I can say that it still shows intense, bright fruit, all the while with great aged nuances as well. Piercing dark cherry fruits and dark chocolate aromas on the nose lead to some terrific flavors on the palate. Adding to the strong attack and mid-palate intensity is a lengthy finish, tinged with salinity and a subtle woodsy,/littoral quality. Rich, layered, and begging another sip, this tastes like it should be, conservatively 2-2.5x more expensive than it is. Drink now or cellar with confidence for another decade.

Staff ImageHeather Vander Wall | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: March 21, 2017

Consistently one of my favorite wines in our Spanish selection! This small winery in Laguardia is one of the gems that buyer Joe Manekin brings in directly from Rioja Alaveza. Thankfully for us, they have deep cellars, with plenty of older vintages like this 2005 to charm drinkers! 2005 was one of the greatest Rioja vintages in recent history, and this little Reserva wears its bottle age beautifully. The wine is full bodied with dark fruits and softened tannins, the aromas are of leather, exotic spice, and blackberry. On the palate the wine has great length, and still shows fresh vibrant fruit, with just the right amount of softening and mellowing influence from its time in the cellar.

Staff ImageLilia McIntosh | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: August 19, 2016

One of my absolute favorite Riojas! Dry, savory and spicy. It has predominantly red fruit red plums), bright acidity, low but firm tannins, incredibly long finish that just never quits. Amazing wine to pair with lamb.

Staff ImageKirk Walker | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: August 11, 2016

Over ten years old, with lots of potential and only $20, I love this wine! A very complex nose that you just keep going back to over and over. On the palate it is medium full with much more intensity than you would expect for any wine in this price point.

Staff ImageDiana Turk | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: February 05, 2016

Classic Rioja from a celebrated vintage, this lush Tempranillo shows some cherry and earthiness on the nose but finishes with deep elegant fruit, leather, fennel, softer spice, and that caskiness Spanish fans love from a good Reserva. I am always in the Lesmos camp but this release in particular impressively over-delivers unbelievable value for less than twenty bucks!

Staff ImageAlex Schroeder | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: December 29, 2015

What happens when you combine great flavors of rich, fleshy dark fruit, leather, and cocoa with great tannins and decent age? You charge an arm and a leg, right? Not so, with Señor de Lesmos Reserva Rioja! This gem is drinking great, and you wont have to skimp on the perfect steak to accompany it!

Staff ImageIvan Diaz | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: August 10, 2015

With a decade of age, it is remarkable how much complexity and depth has developed in this decidedly underpriced bottling from Rioja. Maybe it's the excellent vintage, or maybe it's the traditional winemaking technique of the producer, but either way, this is a phenomenal effort that continues to reveal its layers of flavor (red currants, dried cherry, fennel, mushroom, and thyme to name a few) by the minute. While this could easily age another 5-7 years, it is in a superb window right now for pairing with lamb or Spanish morcilla. The price point is just stupid - it might be the best $20 wine in the store right now.

Staff ImageAndrew Stevens | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: August 05, 2015

This wine at this price almost seems to be a mistake. Beautiful and balanced the wine greets the nose with ripe dark fruit and hints of smoke and chocolate. The palate is full and lush, with a little tobacco spice blending into the ripe berry notes. Fine tannins complement the body and lead to an excellent lingering finish. A delicious Rioja from an amazing year and at a price that allows you to drink a few.

Staff ImageDulcinea Gonzalez | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: August 03, 2015

Rioja fans take note! When "wine geeks" say that great bargains can be found in Spanish wines, this is exactly what they are taking about. At 20 bucks, you'll get a delicious example of a reserva from the excellent 2005 vintage! The wine is the color of deep maroon and radiates the scent of cherry soda and sandalwood. On the palate, the flavors are more restrained, with notes of dark fruit reminiscent of fig and plum. Slightly peppered with clove and hints of tobacco, the body is medium, silky, and round with just enough fine tannin to keep everything delicately in balance. This is super drinkable tonight, and definitely worth putting a few bottles in your cellar for years to come. Super recommended!

Staff ImageIllya Haase | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: February 26, 2015

I love Rioja! With a vintage like 2005 you can't go wrong. This is very traditional bottle with wonderful earth and spice. The oak is very well integrated, so it is not over powering the plush fruit and spice on the palate. Rounded out by good acidity and super dry finish. Perfect for lamb or the next taco truck you hit.

Staff ImageJim Boyce | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: August 29, 2013

A great deal in traditional Rioja, this wine is full of red fruit, spice and earthy undertones. This wine has the structure to last quite a while, yet it is drinking beautifully now. All for $20!

Staff ImageRyan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: March 02, 2013

Absolutely classic old-school Rioja! Earthy goodness with concentrated fruit and spice. The wine is very food orientated, dry, structured and with bright acidity. If a rack of lamb is in your future, this wine should be too!

Staff ImageJacques Moreira | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: December 05, 2012

Stunning value for a fantastic Rioja. Very classic, soft spices, incense, raisins. Medium tannins, delicious and ready now, but it will age beautifully still.

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2010 Can Mayol Loxarel "Reserva Familiar" Brut Nature Penedes Price: Hidden

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, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir thrive and pick up an incredible minerality, which makes these wines wonderfully distinctive and very exciting to drink. Featuring some of the property's oldest, most prized parcels of Xarel-lo grapes, the Reserva Familiar sees over six year on its lees. This is very impressive bubbly that we can honestly say gives a lot of Champagne at twice the price a real run for its money.

Staff ImageJoe Bruno | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: August 29, 2017

This wine really surprised me in all the right ways. First off, this Cava is 7 years old; aged 6 years on the lees. Beautiful straw gold in color, this wines aromatics keep revealing more each time you go in. Spiced Madeleine cookies, baked apple, marzipan, and preserved lemon are the initial notes that I got. Other tertiary characteristics reveal themselves later, including a really fun truffle and mushroom bouquet and noted saline quality. On the palate, this Cava possesses great acidity. Baked and fresh orchard fruit, brioche, button mushroom, and a crisp, mineral driven finish. This wine is perfect as a starter wine with Spanish tapas or at a large summer party. It can even be laid down and cellared to allow for more secondary flavors to develop. A true hidden gem!

Staff ImageJeff Garneau | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: May 30, 2017

Imagine. This is the wine you discovered in that tiny little tapas bar tucked away in the Gothic Quarter in the old city of Barcelona. You remember. The one you raved about to all your friends? When you returned home you found out it wasn't available for sale in the US and you complained about how all the best local wines are never imported? Yes. That one. This is the real deal. Zero dosage, bone dry cava made from the traditional trio of Xarello, Macabeo, and Parellada grapes. There is a complex, leesy character here from six years in the bottle prior to disgorgement. Exotic notes of wildflowers and honey, anise and chamomile. You have to enjoy this with food. Why not splurge on some jamón ibérico and toast up some pan con tomate? Vale.

Staff ImageJohn Majeski | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: April 05, 2017

If this sensational organic Cava were a human child today it would be all of seven, in first or second grade, which is a good estimate of how many years it has educated itself on its lovely lees since it was first bottled. A complex schooling in what can be achieved when terroir, wine and time cohere, this seriously dry sparkling wine delivers an arresting array of white flowers, fleshy apricot, quince and marmalade fruit, with a creamy, buttered croissant-encrusted note and limestone, mineral-driven finish. There is really little to compare it to, as this is an homage to nature.

Staff ImageChristina Stanley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: March 27, 2017

Made from a high percentage of old vine Xarel-lo, this is is a fine bubbled refreshing Cava at an even finer price point. Although refreshingly bone dry, this wine has a rich texture and aromas of orange creamsicle and baked meringue. Delicious!

Staff ImageHeather Vander Wall | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: March 14, 2017

Consistently one of the best values in bubbles in the store! Loxarel follows the traditional methode champenois, and spares no effort to create some of the best sparkling wines in the area. The Reserva Familiar rests on its lees for over six years, far more than the minimum in most Champagne houses, and with old vine fruit, grown in high-altitude chalky soils, this is a very serious product, which would hold up to the scrutiny of any Champagne aficionado. What I love about Loxarel is that though they follow the methode champenois, they feature classic Spanish grapes such as Xarel-lo, and the result is a thoroughly exciting wine with an exotic and aromatic quality all its own.

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2012 Marqués de Murrieta Reserva Rioja ($19.99)

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, which allowed the grapes to reach perfect ripeness. The wine also had a slightly longer upbringing, 23 months in American oak barrels and at least nine of those months were in new oak barrels. However, it seems like the oak is better integrated than in the 2011, and the fruit is fresher. The palate has one extra point in depth, with very fine tannins and especially good freshness that gives it a sense of great harmony. (LG)" (08/2016)

92 points Wine Enthusiast: "Murrietas wines have been on a good run in recent years, as evidenced by this saturated,fleshy Reserva. The nose delivers berry and cherry aromas, with ample oak. The palate is a full volumebonanza of berry flavors framed by briary spice and toasty oak. A naturally spicy, ripe finish confirms its excellence; drink 2018-2026" (06/2017)

K&L Notes: One of the two oldest Rioja bodegas, with a history dating back to the mid-19th century, Marques de Murrieta is not resting on its laurels. Rather, they continue to produce excellent wines, big hits with their customers and critics alike. They are fully self sufficient in grapes, taking advantage their large, contiguous vineyard just outside of Logrono, which boasts plenty of old vines, a variety of terroir from chalky clay to very stony parcels, and a climate that particularly favors not only Tempranillo but some of the region's finest Mazuelo. Marqués de Murrieta's 2012 Reserva is an overachiever, surpassing the overall quality of the vintage and perhaps even beating out the fantastic 2010.

Staff ImageAlex Schroeder | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 25, 2017

This reserva rioja is really starting to hit its stride. It is showing an explosion of well integrated flavors like cherries, redcurrant, cola berry, ripe strawberries, licorice and violets. The body is full and rounded by thick, silky tannins with a solid acid to reign everything in. 5 years in and great potential for further aging, this has edged its way to the top of my sub-$20 bang-for-my-buck category.

Staff ImageHeather Vander Wall | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 24, 2017

Always one of my favorite values from Rioja, the 2012 Murrieta Reserva is perhaps the most compelling vintage I've ever tasted. This wine walks a perfect balance between being open and accessible, with ripe fruit, and yet being well-structured and serious in tone. On the nose the wine shows subtle blackberry fruit and plum, and on the palate a tinge of American oak spice adds to the mix of savory, earthy flavors to present a beautiful and complex whole. While this wine is built to age for the long haul, it is already showing quite well.

Staff ImageShaun Green | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 24, 2017

Thank goodness sanity still reigns supreme in the pricing of some regions' wines. The 2012 Murrieta Reserva is a perfect example. They beautifully navigated the 2012 vintage to bring us this lovely sub-$20 age-worthy wine with a nod to Old World Rioja and New World purity. I've been a fan of the Marques de Murrieta for years and this shows me why. It's a wine not to pass up.

Staff ImageJoe Manekin | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 18, 2017

While we certainly have come to expect increasingly great wines from the venerable Marqués de Murrieta (their 2010 Reserva was one of our best selling wines of 2016) this 2012 maybe even tops that great wine. On the nose, rich cherry compote, red fruits, saddle leather, sweet spices and hints of new oak and cedar, combine for a classic Murrieta profile. Flavors of fresh and firm, bright fruits are more poised and bright than even the beautiful nose suggests - this must be the Mazuelo and Garnacha talking! Fantastic Rioja to buy/hold, buy and drink, or ideally, to buy/drink/hold! I would load up on this one. Despite the production volume this one never lasts us nearly as long as we would like.

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2010 Cune Gran Reserva Rioja ($24.99)

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)" (04/2017)

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 tannins and balsamic acidity impart structure, and this shows plenty of depth, with a juicy, spicy finish. Drink now through 2025. (TM)" (06/2016)

92 points Vinous: "Brilliant ruby-red. Textbook Rioja scents of cherry, cedary oak, vanilla and candied rose, joined by a smoky nuance that builds in the glass. Sweet and focused on the palate, offering cherry liqueur, vanilla bean, licorice and floral pastille flavors that are lifted and braced by juicy acidity. The smoke and cherry notes echo strongly on the gently tannic finish, which shows excellent clarity and strong persistence. (JR)" (05/2017)

91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2010 Cune Gran Reserva is a blend of 85% Tempranillo 10%, Graciano and 5% and Mazuelo, which matured in barrel for two years and in bottle for three. There is more American oak here with sweet spices, some roasted and tar aromas, with hints of leather and less finesse than in other Gran Reserva from the house; Viña Real, Imperial and Contino play in a different league. (LG)" (08/2016)

K&L Notes: Cune is one of the historic wineries located in the famed "barrio de estación de trenes." Their Imperial bottlings still are some of the best examples of classic, ageworthy Rioja. That said, this entry-level Gran Reserva has hit all the right notes of late, particularly with two great vintages in 2009 and the current 2010.

Staff ImageStephanie Vidales | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: March 10, 2017

This is a super solid bottle of wine from Cune. Black cherry, blackberry and plum fruit fill the nose along with dried herbs, tobacco and bittersweet chocolate notes. On the palate, the fruit and earth notes are generous and balanced with fine tannins. This is drinking deliciously now!

Staff ImageDavid Driscoll | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: March 10, 2017

The Cune is a far more restrained and serious Rioja than the price gives it credit for. This isn't that soft and sultry little Tempranillo that loads up the fruit and oak up front for a short finish on the back. No, no, no! This is a structural, brooding, mouthful of everything we love about Rioja's rustic roots. There's a lovely amount of dried cherry fruit to bolster the wine, but it's accented with firm, but chewy tannins and secondary flavors of earth and spice. I keep telling Bordeaux drinkers that Rioja is their next great adventure (and it's a helluva a lot cheaper). Wines like the Cune show you can still find serious selections with age and depth that are cellar-worthy and will only get better with time. The 2010 Reserva has a lot in common with some of the medium-bodied Bordeaux blends at twice the price.

Staff ImageJason Marwedel | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: March 10, 2017

Hailing from the excellent 2010 vintage, this Gran Reserva will scratch your deepest Rioja itch! Poised and balanced, it offers loads of red fruit on the nose plum and fig with notes of herbs, cedar and exotic spice. Medium weight and full of life, this wine will be incredibly versatile at the table year round. Another classic offering from one of my favorite Rioja producers!!!

Staff ImageHeather Vander Wall | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: March 10, 2017

This is a classic bottling from an iconic producer! I never fail to be impressed by the Cune wines, and this new vintage of their Gran Reserva is a steal at this price! The wine opens with aromas of red berry, plum and baking spices, accented by a subtle game-y note. On the palate the wine still shows plenty of structure and bright berry fruit, though tempered and softened with the time in barrel and bottle. This wine will no doubt age for years to come, but at the same time is opening up rather beautifully just now.

Staff ImageScott Beckerley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: March 07, 2017

I tasted this yesterday (3/6/2017) and it was the best of both worlds. It has the savory notes and earthy spice that I expect of traditional Rioja but, the overall character also has juicy, dark red fruits, supple tannin, and an unexpected smoothness. It was opened about two hours before I tasted it. At this price, a real bargain! Will also be super versatile at meals. Pair with pork, chicken, lighter beef and hearty vegetarian dishes.

Staff ImageJoe Manekin | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: March 06, 2017

It's tough to get an authentic Gran Reserva Rioja for this price for a simple reason: Gran reservas cost! A minimum of two years' barrel ageing and three years in the bottle means that a winery must taste and manage the wine in barrel, then sit on inventory for a total of at least five years before selling it. With this release, Cune is cementing their reputation as a winery that can produce delicious, yet authentic and convincing, entry level Gran Reserva for a value price. As you've often heard us say, 2010 was amazing in Rioja and this wine shows it: expressive aromas of dark and red fruits on the nose, with subtle hints of cedar and vanilla, lead to an open knit, precise palate of fresh, lively fruits. The bright, intense quality to this wine speaks to the vintage and Cune's know how. This is nearly pitch perfect for drinking now, though it will improve mid-term if you would like to cellar. Delicious!

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2007 La Rioja Alta "Viña Ardanza" Reserva Rioja ($29.99)

94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2007 Viña Ardanza Reserva is a blend of Tempranillo with 20% Garnacha, the Tempranillo from 30-year-old vineyards La Cuesta and Montecillo in the villages of Fuenmayor and Cenicero, and the Garnacha from old head-pruned vines at 600 meters altitude in Tudelilla, in Rioja Baja, from plots next to their Finca La Pedriza. Those should soon be mature enough to go into the wine (they were planted in 2004 and they will make it into the Ardanza blend from 2007-2008). The grapes are fermented separately with natural yeasts and the Tempranillo then matured in American oak barrels averaging four years old for 36 months, while the Garnacha matured in second- and third-use American oak barrels for 30 months. The nose is very fresh, with notes of beef blood, iron, cherries in liqueur, some subtle leather and spices plus notes of autumn forest and truffles. The palate is more lively and has some tannins that would feel better integrated with some food or a little bit of time in bottle It was bottled in November 2011. This will be released around September/October 2015, so by the time it hits the shelves it will be more polished. Great value for money. (LG)" (04/2015)

92 points Vinous: "Brilliant red. Lively, oak-spiced raspberry and cherry scents are complemented by candied rose and vanilla, with a smoky mineral topnote providing added lift. Sappy and seamless on the palate, offering juicy red fruit, mocha and coconut flavors plus a suggestion of sweet chewing tobacco. In a graceful, approachable style, finishing with strong, thrust and silky, late-arriving tannins. While this suave Rioja is quite enjoyable now, I'd give it some more time in the cellar so that the American oak is able to integrate with the wine's fruit. (JR)" (11/2015)

90 points Wine Enthusiast: "Dry, leathery, slightly nutty aromas are more earthy than fruity. This mature Rioja is fresh and light on the palate, with leafy, spicy flavors of plum, tobacco and wood grain. Spicy berry and cocoa flavors grace a fading finish. (MS)" (06/2016)

Wine Spectator: "Tar, tobacco and tea flavors give this red a savory character, but the core of dried cherry keeps this balanced and lively. Focused and firm. (TM)" (08/2015)

Wine & Spirits: "Ardanza is an estate-grown blend of Tempranillo from Fuenmayor and Cenicero in Rioja Alta, with 20 percent Garnacha from old-vines in Tudelilla, a high-elevation site in Rioja Baja. Its an opulent wine with chewy tannins and dark, exotic spice. Notes of soy and touches of volatility show this to be ready to drink, a wine for a Moroccan lamb tagine." (12/2016)

Jancis Robinson: "80% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha. Produced from fruit exclusively grown in the bodega's 360-ha vineyard holdings in the Rioja Alta region, and named after one of the region's founding families. Intense, rich, many-layered vanilla-and-toast nose. This is one of Majestics sure-fire bets. Long may this continue! Classic traditional rich Rioja. Attractive freshness on the finish." (02/2016)

K&L Notes: La Rioja Alta's Viña Ardanza has been our most popular Rioja for several years. It is no wonder, as this is the gold standard for traditional bodegas: a winery that ages their wines the old fashioned way, meaning three years in barrel with two rackings a year, followed by three years in bottle. According to the winery, the blend is "80% Tempranillo and 20% Garnacha. The Tempranillo grapes come from 30-year-old vines planted in our Viña Ardanza vineyards in Fuenmayor and Cenicero. The Garnacha grapes come from old, goblet-pruned vines planted at an altitude of 600 m above sea level in Tudelilla (Rioja Baja), in plots adjacent to our Finca La Pedriza estate."

Staff ImageHeather Vander Wall | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: August 25, 2016

I am in love with the 2007 vintage of Vina Ardanza from la Rioja Alta! Upon release the bottle was a bit shy, showing plenty of structure and little fruit, but checking back in a few months later, I find the wine has opened up and become even more elegant and expressive than the well-loved 2005 vintage. 2007 as a rule was a little cooler, and therefore the wine shows a bit more high-toned acidity and structure, but this also lends a more subtle character to the wine. Although it is already showing some savory development, this wine certainly has the structure to age further. Drink some now and save some for a couple of years!

Staff ImageShaun Green | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: August 24, 2016

If you're longing for Rioja like it used to be, look no further, here it is. Continuing a run of great Ardanza vintages, the 2007 will not disappoint.

Staff ImageAndrew Stevens | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: August 23, 2016

Absolutely classic Rioja, this is the kind of wine I can get into over and over again. Dried red fruit and tart cherry are well balanced by the spice and lively acid that give this wine drive. Although the 2007 vintage was a little cooler and did not have the ripeness of 2005 this wine benefits by having a little more elegance and focus. As much as I enjoyed the 2005 vintage I find I am responding as well to the new offering from them.

Staff ImageDulcinea Gonzalez | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: August 23, 2016

Don't let this one fly below your radar. If you are looking for the tried and true taste of a classic Rioja, you will do well to pick up a few of these bottles. The nose is fueled with dried cherry and dusty herbal notes. On the palate is generous red, ripe fruit mixed with all the Riojan hallmarks of dried tobacco leaves and saddle leather. Just add a plate of Spanish cured meats and manchego and it's fiesta time!

Staff ImageJoe Manekin | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: August 23, 2016

The 2007 Viña Ardanza is showing very well right now. While not necessarily a departure from the house style (if you've liked it in the past, I suspect you will continue to with this vintage), I will say that it shows a bit more development than normal, perhaps with a more dark fruited and savory profile. It seems like the Rioja Alta Tempranillo is more dominant in the 07. Vintage characteristics aside, Viña Ardanza is one of the true bargains in the wine world, a wine which spends three years in barrel, another three in bottle, and is produced from fruit which hails from time tested vineyard sources (many owned by the winery). When it comes to Rioja, this is the one that, perhaps more than any other, I can depend upon to be delicious in California, satisfying in Spain, wonderful now or fantastic after aging. A must-have for me.

Staff ImageScott Beckerley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: August 23, 2016

Another fine, traditional Rioja that I was able to taste right after the 2004 Vina Tondonia, which was great. This (also) traditionally styled Rioja has a beef broth nose with dark cherries and dried leaves. On the palate, dried red plums and cherries, cocoa powder and baking spices. Simply wonderful! Traditionalists, rejoice in this under-$30 bargain!

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2011 Bodegas Muga "Selección Especial" Reserva Rioja ($34.99)

95 points James Suckling: "A complex nose of dried strawberries with slate and white-truffle undertones. Hints of Spanish cedar. Full body, juicy tannins and bright acidity that follows through to a long, clean and earthy finish. A great wine that shows structure and complexity. Drink or hold." (12/2016)

93 points Vinous: "(aged for 26 months in French oak casks) Bright ruby. Fresh red berry, cherry, mocha and floral scents are complicated by suggestions of cola and vanilla. Intense black raspberry, bitter cherry and rose pastille flavors deepen and pick up a sweet hint of mocha on the back half. The lively, emphatically fruity, impressively long finish displays very good finishing clarity; dusty, firming tannins lend shape and gentle grip. (JR)" (01/2017)

93 points Wine Spectator: "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. (TM)" (03/2017)

92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2011 Reserva Selección Especial, from a warmer and drier year compared with the average (as well as the previous harvest), has a similar blend as the regular Muga Reserva; it is 65% Tempranillo with 20% Garnacha, 10% Graciano and 5% Mazuelo, and it was fermented in small vats with indigenous yeasts. The different varieties and grapes are fermented and aged separately, the first year in new oak and the second one in used barrels. 2011 is a powerful vintage for this cuvée, which now shows quite marked by toasty aromas. Warm vintages usually need longer in bottle to integrate the oak, but experience shows that it gets absorbed and in fact the evolution of this wine in bottle is very good. Even if the nose recommends to wait, the palate is very balanced, with remarkably ripe tannins for such warm year, which can sometime produce some harsh tannins. Not the case here, where the wine shows good elegance and balance. This is a very reliable cuvée, quite stable across vintages. (LG)" (08/2016)

Staff ImageAlex Pross | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: March 17, 2017

Muga is one of the quintessential Rioja producers and this 2011 dishes up classic Tempranillo flavor in a style that should appeal to just about anyone. The balance of fruit, earth, fine tannins, and cocoa remind me of all the flavors I love in Cabernet as well, making the Muga a potential crossover Spanish option for California or Bordeaux lovers who want to try something new. You'll be impressed.

Staff ImageStefanie Juelsgaard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: March 07, 2017

This Muga offers up an incredible richness and expression and is in my opinion one of the best Riojas in the store. The palate and rich and fruity while the oak adds structure and depth to help round out the wine. The fruit is juicy and deep and is highlighted by some bright acidity that helps balance tannins. This wine has some great weight, not too ripe or grippy, but eloquent and striking. Don't miss this.

Staff ImageRachel Vogel | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: March 07, 2017

I have a new obsession with Riojas and this Muga is bringing me in deeper. The prominent nose is filled with fresh red fruit, baking spice and dry earth. The smooth but impactful structure is elongated on the side palate with flavors that match the nose. A mix of dried herbs and deep, engulfing fruit adds a vivid strength to the finish. This is a gorgeous food wine that is easily enjoyed now!

Staff ImageAndrew Whiteley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: March 06, 2017

Deeply concentrated nose of dark cherries, boysenberries, cedar, and stone. The palate is expansive, both bright and complex. It shows layered notes of cola, cherry, blueberry, mocha, cedar box, tremendous minerality and length. The finish is dry, with slightly dusty tannin but lengthy. It definitely leaves you wanting another sip, and perhaps a bite of a succulent roast. If you're not familiar with the incredible value that Muga has to offer - this is the place to start. This is a hugely versatile wine that would make a great cocktail party or complement your favorite meal - not to mention convert all your friends to Spanish wine lovers.

Staff ImageDavid Driscoll | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: March 06, 2017

When I think back to the first great red wines I tasted in my early twenties - the wines that would ultimately shape my palate and send me into the wine business - the reserva Riojas from Muga might have been the most influential. Not only were the flavors rich, robust, textural, and complex, they were within reach of my limit budget back then. There was no way I could ever splurge on a $150 bottle with my elementary school teacher salary at the time, but I did find a way to scrape together thirty bucks or so for the Muga, a wine that I think represents the essence of what makes Spanish reds so attractive: their quality-to-value ratio. The 2011 Especial Reserve is the best of two worlds, in my opinion. It has fine tannins, a bit of earth, and a rusticity that should please Bordeaux lovers, but it has lush fruit, hints of oak, and a fleshiness that should appeal to those who like riper California reds. More importantly, it's a wine that extends over the party lines and unites all drinkers under one umbrella. I'd be hard-pressed to find a cab or merlot lover who didn't enjoy immensely the character of the tempranillo-dominated Muga. It's so versatile and friendly in so many ways. The point, however, is that I think Muga is a gateway wine. It's a wine that expands horizons and opens doors to exciting new worlds. Without Muga, I never would have found my way to K&L, that's for sure.

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2013 Hacienda Monasterio Ribera del Duero Crianza ($34.99)

95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The wonderful 2013 Crianza from Hacienda Monasterio is one of the great successes from a challenging vintage that resulted in a heterogeneous collection of wines, where you can find the best and the worst. 2013 was a shorter vintage and they didn't do a Reserva or Reserva Especial that year, so the very best grapes from their estate vineyards went into this Crianza...The Monasterio vineyards are south-facing, the warmer exposure in the northern hemisphere, so they have an advantage in cooler years such as this 2013. Since 2012, the vineyards are organically certified, even if they have always been worked that way; the only difference is that they are now officially certified. The fruit is red rather than black and the tannins are super fine and elegant, providing for that laser-cut precision. This is clearly among the best wines from the vintage. (LG)" (02/2017)

94 points James Suckling: "So polished and silky with a wonderful texture. Full to medium body, ultra-fine tannins and a fresh and clean finish. Dark berry and hints of mineral too. Hard not to drink now but better in 2017." (07/2015)

92 points Vinous: "Opaque ruby. Deeply perfumed aromas of black raspberry, blueberry, floral pastilles and smoky minerals, with hints of cured tobacco and vanilla in the background. Seamless and appealingly sweet, offering energetic red berry and cola flavors and a touch of five-spice powder on the back half. Gains weight with air and finishes on a smoky note, with sneaky tannins adding shape. (JR)" (12/2015)

K&L Notes: Crafted by mastermind Peter Sisseck of Pingus fame, Hacienda Monasterio is a certified organic, no expense spared Ribera that was originally planted with cuttings from Vega Sicilia 20-plus years ago and is producing some of the region's great bottlings now that those vines are mature. Not only is it the buy of the vintage in Ribera del Duero, but it might take that title for many vintages before and after it in the region.

Staff ImageAnthony Russo | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: April 01, 2017

This dark-colored Ribera packs a lot of punch. Plenty of rich red fruit, earth, spices, chalk, and a soft, round mouthfeel with great texture and an even better tannin profile. Awesome.

Staff ImageDavid Driscoll | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: March 29, 2017

This is the type of bottle you bring to a party where it absolutely destroys every other wine on the table. California fans who appreciate milder Cabs, heavier Pinot Noirs, balanced Zinfandels, and silky tannins from front to back will likely fall head over heels for this lovely little Ribero del Duero. There's a reason the experts have been predicting a Spanish renaissance for years at this point: the quality-to-dollar ratio is absolutely insane (just like partying in Barcelona, you end up getting a carafe of wine, a cheese plate, and endless snacks for like nine dollars). The Monasterio is a seamless wave of absolutely gorgeous red berry fruit that creeps slowly over the palate with precision. I have to imagine the fruit will reside over time and secondary flavors will emerge, but when it tastes this good right now you'd be hard-pressed to lay off. This is beautiful stuff. It's accessible, yet complex. Easy to like, but nuanced and layered. Like I said at the beginning, bring this to a dinner party and set your watch; they'll be oohing and ahhing in a matter of minutes.

Staff ImageGary Norton | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: March 29, 2017

There is often plenty of upside to difficult vintages and this bottle is a prime example of such. I'll roll the dice any day when I know that some incredibly high quality (and generally incredibly expensive) fruit is declassified and blended into an entry-level, or estate bottling. This wine is just seamless, showing notes of dark berries, leather and mocha. This should age gracefully for much longer than your average Crianza. This bottle is definitely worth a hard look but frankly, I don't expect it to be here for long.

Staff ImageDulcinea Gonzalez | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: March 29, 2017

Never mind Napa, here's a Ribera Del Duero to sink your teeth into! This bold Tempranillo shows power and intensity from start to finish. Framed with ripe, red berry fruit and dark flavored spices, this is lush on the palate with a fine tannin finish. What a killer steakhouse wine, that won't break the bank! Recommended!

Staff ImageGreg St. Clair | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: March 29, 2017

Impressive, the nose of this wine is a complex blend of concentrated fruit, spice and earth that reaches out to you and beckons you in. It isnt bursting out of the glass, its pooling under the surface. On the palate this is a really focused, well made wine, in a bit of an international style but for someone like me who doesnt like international style its not over the top. The wine is dense yet very linear, not clunky or fat. Its a powerful, yet supple wine; tannin is evident but with its linear axis aligned the tannins elongate and balance. The finish carries through with a savory, complex fruit character, long and balanced.

Staff ImageAlex Pross | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: March 29, 2017

A stunning wine, the 2013 Hacienda Monasterio Ribera Del Duero knocks your socks off from the very first sniff from the glass. Loaded with seductive aromas of raspberry, rose petals and spice notes this elegant, delineated wine displays remarkable finesse and complexity. Red fruits, spice notes and cola subtly weave around a core of fine tannins and bright acidity. This wine is delightful and is the perfect match for pork, veal or lamb dishes with its bright red fruit and great balance.

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Honorío Rubio "Añadas" Blanco Rioja (Elsewhere $50) ($39.99)

93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The NV Añadas is a solera of Viura wines from the 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 vintages, aged for an average of five years in barrel and bottled in July 2012. It's a fascinating, deep golden colored white that reminded me of the whites from Marqués de Murrieta and López de Heredia; it has those diesel-like aromas, hints of chamomile, dry flowers, honey wax, nuts, orange peel and pollen. The wine matured in 225-liter barrels of new and used French and American oak, and 5% Bulgarian acacia wood. The palate is fresh with lively acidity, pungent flavors and incredible richness. This is a great discovery, a wine that goes back to the old tradition of long aging in barrel. 1,500 numbered bottles were filled. (LG)" (08/2016)

K&L Notes: Honorío Rubio is a Riojano white wine specialist. In a land best known for its incredibly age-worthy reds, among many die-hards out there it is undoubtedly the traditional whites which represent Rioja's finest and most original wines. These days, outside of Lopez de Heredia (whose whites are increasingly difficult to find) and the odd older bottles of Ygay Blanco, traditional white Rioja is tough to find. That's why we are so excited to be selling the wines of our newest DI producer, Honorío Rubio. Based in the high-altitude Rioja Alta village of Cordovín, Honorío Rubio has spectacular Viura and Malvasa vine holdings, and chooses to turn them into classic, traditional white Rioja. "Añadas" is a blend of primarily Viura with some Malvasia, and contains several vintages or "añadas" blended together. This wine was bottled in 2012, with several years of aging in barrel followed by another several in bottle prior to release. Think Tondonia for this bottling. (Joe Manekin, K&L Spanish & Portuguese wine buyer)

Staff ImageIvan Diaz | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 26, 2017

A blend of several vintages aged for about five years in barrel, Anadas is a rare example of classically made white Rioja that belongs among the ranks of Lopez de Heredia. Sporting a darker, more traditionally coppery color than most Rioja Blanco found today, it shows equally traditional on the palate. The rich, waxy texture is apparent up front, and the flavors of orange, honey, tea leaves, and salty nuts remind one of the best Viuras this region has to offer. If you miss the Rioja Blancos of old, Honorio Rubio is here to restore your faith in the category.

Staff ImageHeather Vander Wall | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 09, 2016

Probably one of the more interesting white wines I've tasted this year, Honorio Rubio's "Anadas" is a fascinating mix of traditional, age-worthy white Rioja, and Sherry-influenced solera-style blending. With the use of one Acacia barrel, among many oak barrels, and a blend of several vintages, this wine is quite soft and aromatic, presenting both nutty, floral, and beeswax notes. On the palate the wine is certainly soft, but also lacking in a heavy, glycerol-dominated feel. Rather it retains a tangy acidity, probably from the younger fruit in the blend. If you are looking for something completely new in white wine, and quite fascinating, this is the bottle for you!

Staff ImageJoe Manekin | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 09, 2016

This is the big boy, the solera aged Viura which in style and spirit is amongst the most reminiscent of LdH Tondonia Blanco of any white Riojas I have ever tasted. This wine is fantastic, cutting a broad swath across the palate with intense yellow skinned fruit flavors, fresh acidity, and an old time, traditional flavor profile. Like Honorio's other white wines, this is clearly not for everyone but I suspect it will have some seriously loyal fans who quickly gobble up the few bottles we bring in.

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2012 Bodega Numanthia "Numanthia" Toro Price: Hidden

95 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* Deep, dense and pure from the opening bell, this Toro is a winner. Aromas of dark ripe black fruits are cool and moderately oaked. This feels massive on the palate but sensationally balanced. Flavors of blackberry, coffee, mocha and toasty oak finish spicy, smooth and heady. Drink this exemplary Toro through 2023. (MS)" (07/2017)

94 points James Suckling: "I love the dark fruits, licorice and stone character on the nose. Full body with dusty tannins that are firm and silky. Fresh and linear with wonderful length. Pretty clarity." (07/2015)

93 points Wine Spectator: "This rich, generous red delivers plum pudding, dark chocolate and baking spice flavors, with loamy earth and licorice notes. The tannins are muscular. (TM)" (03/2017)

93 points Vinous: "Dark purple. An explosively perfumed bouquet displays scents of ripe dark berries, incense and vanilla, with an intense floral nuance adding lift. Stains the palate with potent black and blue fruit liqueur and violet pastille flavors, with zesty acidity providing spine and lift. Smooth tannins build slowly and steadily through a strikingly long, focused finish, with the dark fruit and floral notes repeating. I was surprised by this suave wine's forward character but suspect that it will be even better with another five-plus years of bottle age. (JR)" (12/2015)

92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The eponymous 2012 Numanthia is sourced from vineyards ranging from 60 to 100 years of age across the Toro appellation (they have around 100 hectares of vineyards... spread across 100 separate plots!). The wine matured in brand new oak barrels for 22 months. The aromas are mostly oak related with some toasted sesame seeds, sweet vanilla and cinnamon, some licorice and chocolate, and a core of very ripe black fruit. The oak is obviously of very good quality, but at the moment it dominates the wine and with time what emerges is still toffee, smoke and coal. The palate reveals a very young wine that is dense, tremendous, with high dry extract, concentrated, powerful, and full of dusty tannins and oak-related flavors. This beast needs a good couple of years to be tamed down by the bottle. This is a bodybuilder of a Toro -- oaky and highly extracted in its style. (LG)" (10/2015)