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Based in the Southern Rioja Alta village of Badarán, Martínez Alesanco is bodega producing expressive, regionally specific wines at very reasonable 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 snow-covered peaks are even more dramatic than the Sierra Cantabria range to the north. Martínez Alesanco's Blanco is made from equal parts Viura, White Tempranillo, Malvasi...
Price: $10.99

Finca Garabato is a parcel of Valtea's oldest wines. You will notice that it says "2o Año" on the label, which refers to the fact that it ages in tank on its lees for a year following fermentation. This gives the wine a lovely richness, which really ramps up the flavor and textural qualities of the wine. Still refreshing, only richer than the regular Valtea bottling and ready to take on a meal.
Price: $23.99

91 points James Suckling: "Aromas of violets, white pepper and blueberries with some sappy notes, as well as blackberries. The palate has a very fresh, lively and fleshy core of blueberries and blackberries with good richness, depth and build into the flavorful, long finish. Drink or hold." (11/2020) K&L Notes: Vinos del Viento is our most recent addition to our Direct import portfolio from Spain. It is a project that focuses on Garnacha and Cariñena (Grenache and Carignan) from the region that is the origin for both varieties, Aragon. All of the DO’...
Price: $9.99

92 points James Suckling: "From a single parcel of old bush-vine grenache on red-slate soil, this has aromas of dried red flowers and raspberries with leaves and gentle pastry notes. The palate has a very plush and ripe core of raspberry flavors with some red plums and redcurrants The tannins finish very ripe. " (11/2020) 90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The top Garnacha is the 2017 La Ermita de Santa Bárbara, produced with grapes from a vineyard in the village of Tabuenca in Campo de Borja, low-yielding 50-year-old vines on red soils. The gra...
Price: $19.99

93 points James Suckling: "Blackberries and black cherries on the nose with walnuts, cedar and some sweet tobacco. Medium to full body with creamy texture and a juicy, deliciously ripe red. But balanced and soft. Drink or hold." (11/2020) K&L Notes: Based in the Southern Rioja Alta village of Badarán, Martínez Alesanco is a bodega producing expressive, regionally specific wines at very reasonable 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 vineyar...
Price: $29.99
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Native South African Bryan MacRobert grew up in a farming family and has been quietly making some of that country's best value wines. He fell in love with a girl from Rioja as well as the region's wines (we forget in which order) but quickly became fascinated with the inimitable terroirs and endless potential for wines in the region. A proponent not only of organic viticulture, but also a strong believer in the importance of legacy organically cultivated vines on top quality sites, Bryan is picky about where he grows and sources vines. The winemaking is ...
Price: $19.99

2014 Miguel Merino Gran Reserva Rioja
Top Pick!
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Like the Reserva, the 2014 Gran Reserva also shows brilliantly, complex, nuanced, polished and elegant, showing the essence of traditional Rioja in a clean and expressive way. They selected grapes from old vines (planted between 1918 and 1960) that fermented in stainless steel with indigenous yeasts and matured in new French oak barrels. The wine has absorbed most of the new oak by now and feels quite classical, perhaps a little creamier than the old-timers, with fine tannins and developed flavors. 4,821 bottles ...
Price: $44.99

Jancis Robinson: "Garnacha Blanca, Viura. Vineyards planted between 500 and 550 m above sea level in Briones. Old vines between 40 and 70 years old. Sustainable viticulture. Hand-harvested with selection of each variety separately for fermentation in French oak barrels of 500 litres. Temperature was controlled by moving the vats out of the winery during the nights. Blended and aged in the same vats for 11 months, then bottled. 2,600 bottles. Tasted blind. Fluid, saline, delicate with a lot of flavour and freshness thanks to notes of fennel and pear. On t...
Price: $39.99

A 50-50 blend of Tempranillo and Garnacha, with great structure, fruit and minerality, particularly for a sub-$20 bottle of red. Native South African Bryan MacRobert grew up in a farming family, and has been quietly making some of that country's best value wines. He fell in love with a girl from Rioja as well as the region's wines (we forget in which order) but quickly became fascinated with the inimitable terroirs and endless potential for wines in the region. A proponent not only of organic viticulture, but also a strong believer in the importance of l...
Price: Hidden

Luis Gutierrez of Wine Advocate writes: "There is a generational change at Miguel Merino, as Miguel Merino Jr. returned home in 2016 to join his father, after more than 10 years away from the family winery. I found wines cleaner than ever and an improved range that got me excited. This could very well be a brand new project. In the last couple of years, they have purchased four hectares of old vines in Briones, their village, have released two new wines and revamped the existing range. They now control close to 13 hectares in 24 small plots (six owned, s...
Price: $21.99

2015 Miguel Merino Reserva Rioja
Top Pick!
92 points Decanter: "Juicy, rich, deep, expressive, showing elegant American oak hints and a suave tannic architecture. Benchmark reserva, which could be taken as a gran reserva. Old-style Rioja, with a touch of extra fruit, and class. (SJ)" (11/2021) K&L Notes: 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 vineyards (Miguel is a fan of his slopes) within the cooler climate Rioja Alta town of Br...
Price: $34.99

96 points Decanter: "Arana commemorates one of La Rioja Alta's historic families. The Tempranillo (95%) and Graciano (5%) are aged separately in American oak barrels for three years before blending, then for three years in bottle (two years less than the 904, and six years less than the 890). The winery's keynote to this Rioja is 'freshness'. I agree. (SJE)" (08/2020) 96 points James Suckling: "Lots of mushroom and walnut aromas with plum and leather, too. It’s full-bodied, but very soft and creamy-textured with lots of old wood, mushroom and ripe frui...
Price: $41.99


Native South African Bryan MacRobert grew up in a farming family, and has been quietly making some of that country's best value wines. He fell in love with a girl from Rioja as well as the region's wines (we forget in which order) but quickly became fascinated with the inimitable terroirs and endless potential for wines in the region. A proponent not only of organic viticulture, but also a strong believer in the importance of legacy organically cultivated vines on top quality sites, Bryan is picky about where he grows and sources vines. The winemaking is...
Price: $19.99

97 points James Suckling: "Sweet berries, cherries, cedar and dried flowers on the nose. Some lemon and lime zest, too! Medium-to full-bodied with tight, integrated tannins that show wonderful length and reserve. So fresh and vivid. Lots of energy. A wonderful, classic wine." (09/2021) 93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "As with many wines this time, I had two vintages to taste of the Reserva from the Tondonia vineyard, 2009 and 2008, two very different, almost opposite vintages. The 2009 Viña Tondonia Reserva, a blend of 70% Tempranillo, 20% Gar...
Price: $54.99

2015 CVNE "Cune Imperial" Gran Reserva Rioja
Top Pick!
97 points James Suckling: "This is very ripe with blackberries, dried fruit, toasted oak and black licorice on the nose. Full-bodied with ultra-fine, linear tannins and a racy, refined finish. This has fantastic structure and length. It goes on for minutes. It needs time to open and refine even more. One of the best Imperiale Gran Reservas in a very long time. Drink after 2023." (09/2021) 95 points Vinous: "Deep, brilliant ruby. Offers sharply defined, mineral-inflected red and dark berries, cherry liqueur, pipe tobacco, vanilla and exotic spice scents...
Price: $79.99

98 points Tim Atkin MW "Wow! How good is this! La Loma is a 1.4-hectare parcel of co-planted Tempranillo and 10% Garnacha in Briones on red clay and limestone soils. It's always been a special vineyard, but Miguel Merino Junior has taken the resulting wine to new heights. Subtle and refined, with barely noticeable 50% new wood, svelte tannins, red berry and blackberry fruit and a ferrous undertone."
Price: Hidden

94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The regular red 2018 Planetes de Nin was produced with grapes from the four hectares of vines they planted on their Les Planetes property in Porrera with a massal selection of indigenous grape varieties in 2008. It's a blend of 45% Garnacha and 16% Garnacha Peluda, ... and 39% Cariñena. There are different kinds of llicorella slate, some harder, some more decomposed and with different percentages of elements like iron, silica or black clay. ...They used around 40% full clusters and the rest destemmed but uncrushe...
Price: $49.99

Bizkaiko Txakolina is the Txakolina region closest to Bilbao, more than an hour west of the more popular, and larger, Getariako. The vineyards here are inland, while the climate is 100% Atlantic it is a touch warmer, and you see that in the wines with their increased body, fruit and alcohol (a relative high alcohol content of their wines, 12.5%). This is a blend of 80% Hondarrabi Zuri and 20% Petit Courbu. The latter is an obscure varietal that is sometimes found in the blends from the wines in and near the Basque regions of France. While just a little...
Price: $25.99

95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The wine that represents the traditional and serious reds from Haro, the 2012 Imperial Gran Reserva is a classical blend of Tempranillo with 10% Graciano and 5% Mazuelo that matured in barrel for two years. It has a textbook serious Haro nose, with dark spices, ripe fruit, something balsamic and a round, full-bodied palate within the straight and serious style of the wine. 2012 was a warm year, but the wines are fresher than those from 2011. This has fine, slightly grainy tannins with good grip. A textbook Imperi...

2016 Loxarel (Can Mayol) "Reserva Familiar" Brut Nature Classic Penedes (Previously $32) (Previously $32)
Top Pick!
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...
Price: Hidden

The family owned Bodegas Hidalgo la Gitana was founded in 1792 and has been passed down through 8 generations. This is their first ever release of Single Malt produced entirely in Spain. The malt comes from the hills of Sierra Nevada in Granada, Spain. Fermented for 72 hours before being double distilled on specially hand crafted copper stills. The spirit was filled into two American Oak Butts that had previously spent over 200 years in the famous Napoleon Amontillado VORS solera system and aged for 12 long years in the Hidalgo's historic cellars. The tw...
Price: $64.99

94 points James Suckling: "A fine-tuned and polished gran reserva with lots of finesse and linear character. Medium body. Refined and beautiful." (07/2019) 94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "There is a developed and subtle nose reminiscent of petrol (is it mineral?), hints of iodine and sweet spices. The palate is powerful and still a little tannic, as the wine was released even earlier because they skipped one vintage. Serious, austere, faithful to its character. (LG)" (10/2020) 94 points Vinous: "Shimmering ruby-red. An intensely perfumed no...

Can Mayol, which bottles under the trademarked name "Loxarel," is a winery that has been farming organically for more than a decade. 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 as well. In their chalky, high altitude vineyards (above 2,400 feet for their highest vines, among the highest in the Penedès D.O.), Xare...
Price: Hidden

95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "I'm glad I had time to pay a quick visit to the vineyard where Bryan MacRobert grows the grapes for the 2016 Barranco del San Ginés. It's a 1.18-hectare plot in the village of Laguardia that was planted in 1935 (or at least registered that year) with an old selection of Tempranillo on small terraces on a slope at some 570 meters in altitude following the contour lines. The vineyard has been organically farmed for the last five years, and it's full of life; it's a vineyard like the old Rioja used to be, intermixed...
Price: Hidden

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