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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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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

97 points Decanter: "Expressive aromas of ripe red cherries with balsamic nuances.This is a superb Garnacha, it has such a generous fruit and lovely texture of sweet integrated tannins. (2019 Platinum, Decanter World Wine Awards)" (04/2019) 91 points James Suckling: "This is ripe and fruity, yet there is linear form to it that gives it length and energy. Lots of smoke and fruit at the end." (07/2019) K&L Notes: Based in the Southern Rioja Alta village of Badarán, Martínez Alesanco is a bodega producing expressive, regionally specific wines at very re...
Price: $35.99

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

99 points James Suckling: "Marvelous aromas of crushed berries, tobacco, cedar and mushrooms. Some dried cheese. Then turns to flowers. Very complex. Full and intense with fantastic depth and power. It goes on for minutes. It is a wine that exudes tradition but gives a sense of modernity with precise winemaking." (07/2019) 97 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "I had very high expectations for the 2010 Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Especial, and the wine delivered as expected. 2010 was one of the finest vintages in Rioja in recent years, and this blend...

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

2015 CVNE "Imperial" Gran Reserva Rioja (1.5L)
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." (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. Chewy and penetr...
Price: $169.99

95 points James Suckling: "A tight and linear red now with very long and direct palate that is driven and intense. Medium to full body, bright blackberry and mineral character. Just a baby now. Give it three to four years to soften. A beauty." (01/2019) 94 points Jeb Dunnuck: "Based on 85% Tempranillo, with the balance Graciano, Mazuelo and Garnacha, the 2015 Imperial Reserva was fermented in larger French oak vats and aged in a combination of French and American oak. Dense purple-hued, with a killer nose of smoked blackcurrants, vanilla, violets, oran...

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...

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