Wine Reviews: Spain

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 10-17-2021

The diversity of Spanish wine never ceases to amaze me. The more I taste (and dream of visiting wine regions), the more I realize there’s how much more there is to explore. Recently, a slew of impressive Spanish wines came past my doorstep, and this week I’m highlighting some goodies.

Galicia’s Virgen del Galir comes out swinging with a complex and inviting Godello and a spicy, delicious Mencia. This was the first time I tasted wines from Enate, a producer in the Aragón appellation of Somontano. And they opened my mind to what Merlot and Cabernet are capable of here.

There’s also some autumn-friendly Riojas at various price points, and a burly but exciting Garnacha from Clos Mogador.

These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted.

White

2019 Ontañón Rioja Blanco Edición Limitada Spain, La Rioja, Rioja
SRP: $14
Medium yellow color. Aromatically, this is quite perfumed, has a lot of mint, celery seed, basil, over top of lemon, quince, orange peels and chalk dust. On the palate, this is zippy, chalky and fresh with lemon and quince fruit, lots of spicy, herbal tones (white pepper, sliced cucumber, daisies, basil). Fresh, fun, with a mineral-infused finish. Simple in the best sense of the word, but plenty of flavor. (88 points IJB)

2018 Bodegas Hermanos Peciña Rioja Blanco Señorío de P. Peciña Cosecha Spain, La Rioja, Rioja
SRP: $18
Pale lemon color. This pops on the nose with chalk and flowers, lemons and orange peel, with a mixing of dandelions, oyster shells and sea salt. Zippy and brisk on the palate, a briny feel but with some depth to the texture as well. Orange peels, lemons and green apple fruit blend well with chalky, floral tones. Focused, fun, fresh, but shows good complexity as well. (89 points IJB)

2018 Virgen del Galir Valdeorras Regueiron Spain, Galicia, Valdeorras
SRP: $50
Light yellow color. The nose exudes peaches and limes, covered in honey, basil, white flowers galore – a really lively, inviting aromatic display. Brisk acidity on the palate meets creamy texture, and a core of orange, lime and lemon fruit. Lots of white flowers, talc, mint leaves, basil, cucumber slices. Fun stuff but really complex, and the depth, texture and finish are delightful. 100% Godello. (91 points IJB)

Reds

2015 Enate Merlot Spain, Aragón, Somontano
SRP: $36
Deep ruby color. Delightful aromas of suave cherries and red currants laced with beautiful violets, smoky earth, chewing tobacco and coffee grounds. Full-bodied, smooth tannins and moderating acidity, there are a lot of cherries and plums to go around. The wine gives off a lot of rose potpourri, clay, smoky charcoal, grilled steak and coffee, with mineral and graphite undertones. A refreshing, pure, vibrant feel throughout, this is holding up wonderfully and I’d love to see what it does with four or five more years. Very nice stuff. Fermented in stainless steel and aged 16 months in new French oak. (90 points IJB)

2012 Enate Cabernet Sauvignon Spain, Aragón, Somontano
SRP: $36
Vibrant purple color. The nose shows a warm yet lively mix of tangy cherries, mulled plums, with complex mesquite, pepper, sage, leather and sage elements – opens up a lot with air to show dynamic floral, earthy elements. Dusty tannins with medium acidity, and the plum and currant fruit is going strong, but shows a lot of nuance and subtlety with age. Complex savory tones exude from this wine, sage, tilled soil, glazed mushrooms, leather, with graphite and mineral elements. Time and air brings out all sorts of dried flower petals and different soil elements. This has aged so well and should continue to do so. An eye-opening Cabernet. (91 points IJB)

2018 Bodegas Mauro Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y León Mauro Spain, Castilla y León, Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y León
SRP: $52
Dark purple color. The nose shows sweet blueberries, currant jams, deep but lively with complex notes of warm, mulling spices, black tea, pork belly and violet petals. Full, chewy with medium-low acidity, saucy and suave with black cherries and currant compote. Notes of campfire, pepper, sage, cocoa and coffee grounds add complexity, and there’s a mineral and scorched earth tone on the finish. I’d give this two-to-four years in the cellar, and then fire up the grill. Tempranillo and 10% Syrah. (90 points IJB)

2018 Virgen del Galir Valdeorras A Villeira Spain, Galicia, Valdeorras
SRP: $50
Deep purple color. An enticing nose of juicy blackberries, saucy cherries, with spicy pepper, paprika, celery seed, smoked meats – lots to love, here. Full-bodied on the palate with dusty tannins and fresh acidity, it all keeps this bright. Tangy cherries and wild blackberries blend with notes of mesquite, charcoal, black tea, sage and pepperoni – there’s a lot to unpack here. Give it air or some time, but this is special stuff.  100% Mencia. (92 points IJB)

2019 C.V.N.E. Rioja Organic Spain, La Rioja, La Rioja Alta, Rioja
SRP: $15
Deep ruby. Aromas of jammy raspberries and plums, with tar, tobacco and chocolate. Ripe and juicy with smooth tannins and medium-plus acidity. A fresh and tangy feel with red plums and cherries. The fruit is juicy and laced with cocoa, mint, tobacco and coffee elements. It’s fun, accessible, crowd-pleasing stuff. (87 points IJB)

2015 C.V.N.E. Rioja Imperial Reserva Spain, La Rioja, La Rioja Alta, Rioja
SRP: $50
Bright purple. The nose sports tangy black and red cherries and currants, with a good amount of sage, clove, tobacco, black pepper. On the palate, this has a tangy, fresh feel with a solid tannic backbone, and a vibrant mix of cherry and currant fruit. Dusty, leatherbound book, pepper, glazed mushroom and grill steak notes add a lot of complexity. A long finish that shows elements of tar, graphite and loamy soil. Lay this down for a few years and let it show its stuff. (91 points IJB)

2015 Bodegas y Viñedos del Contino Rioja Contino Reserva Spain, La Rioja, La Rioja Alavesa, Rioja
SRP: $46
Bright purple color. The nose shows deep, concentrated black cherries and tart red currants. Notes of tobacco, roasted coffee, oregano, leather and smoky earth add a lot of aromatic complexity. Medium/full-bodied with solid tannic structure and balanced acidity. Black cherries and plums, a deep, tangy core of fruit, even some wild blueberry. Laced with pencil lead, chewing tobacco, mint and fallen leaves. Nuanced, fresh, needs air or time but has a lot to show. Some woodsy, mineral, flinty tones on the long finish. (90 points IJB)

2018 Clos Mogador Montsant Com Tu Spain, Catalunya, Tarragona, Montsant
SRP: $52
Medium purple color. Deep aromas of black cherries and figs, with violet petals, cocoa, espresso, with bay leaf and pepper. Full-bodied and burly with solid concentration, chewy tannins and some moderating acidity to keep it going. Juicy raspberries, black cherry and roasted fig jams, along with warm clay, rocky soil, roasted red peppers, espresso, dark chocolate. Complex, deep, needs air to unpack all the subtleties. 100% Garnacha. (91 points IJB)

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