Contributing Editor


Reviews wines from Argentina, Chile and Spain.

Spanish Wines

Spain remains one of the world’s great wine-producing countries, sporting nearly 3 million acres of grapevines, more than any other country in the world.

Among red varieties, Tempranillo is by far Spain’s most recognized grape; second in the hierarchy of Spanish wine is Cava, a sparkling wine made using the classic Champagne method.

While the best wines in Spain hail from the northern third of the country, where the climate is not as hot and dry as in the south and where there is elevation from various mountain ranges and oceanic influences, grapes are grown throughout the Spanish wine regions, from Palomino in the southwest to Monastrell (another name for Mourvèdre) in the southeast to Garnacha in Aragón and Priorat to almost everything under the hot Spanish sun in sprawling La Mancha in the dead center of Spain.

As a highly regionally diverse wine nation, the Spanish wine region has well over 50 denominated regions including Rioja, Ribera del Duero, Navarra, Priorat, Rías Baixas and others.

Our Spanish wine guide includes thousands of Spanish wine ratings and Spanish wine reviews; sort by region, price, variety or producer.

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100
points

Viña Sastre 2006 Pesus Tempranillo Blend (Ribera del Duero)

  • Cellar Selection
  1. $750
If there’s any such thing as the perfect Spanish red, Pesus is it. A blend of 80% Tempranillo with other grapes including Cabernet Sauvignon, this wine sees 200% new oak, resulting in a thick, dark, tannic beauty that bubbles over with toast, cola, mint, chocolate and spice aromas. The mouth is sheer heaven; a mile deep in terms of berry flavor and more, but…  — M.S.  (10/1/2010)
98
points

Emilio Moro 2009 Clon de la Familia Tinto Fino (Ribera del Duero)

  • Editors' Choice
  1. $450
Luscious prune and blackberry aromas come with complex notes of graphite, toast and tobacco. The palate on this 80-case, high-end Tinto Fino is about as full as they come while still maintaining impeccable balance. Roasted berry, cassis and salty leather flavors are delicious but also challenging, while baked berry flavors, raw power and ripe tannins define the…  — M.S.  (10/1/2013)
98
points

Viña Sastre 2005 Regina Vides Tempranillo (Ribera del Duero)

  1. $195
From vines that are between 80 and 100 years, this is a marvelous example of top-notch Spanish red wine, regardless of region and grape variety. Hails from four vineyards, and the product is dark, concentrated, sultry, masculine and impressive. Giant black fruit flavors, texture, richness, coffee and cola make it truly special. Drinkable now; best in 3–5 more years.  — M.S.  (10/1/2010)
98
points

Alvaro Palacios 2003 L’Ermita Red (Priorat)

  1. $440
Super pricey but this is a knock-your-socks-off wine with a gorgeous bouquet that shows not even a hint of syrup or jam. The palate is like a nova; it bursts with plum, blackberry and cinnamon. No harshness, not too tannic, and splendid on the finish, where toast and chocolate appear and stick around for a long time. It’s 80% old-vines Garnacha and 20% Cabernet…  — M.S.  (10/1/2005)
97
points

Emilio Moro 2006 Malleolus de Valderramiro Tinto Fino (Ribera del Duero)

  • Cellar Selection
  1. $180
Beautifully composed, with power and just as much precision and pizzazz. The nose offers lightly baked berry fruit notes, leather and spice, while the palate is loaded with tobacco, exotic spices and the finest natural berry flavors Spain has to offer. Smooth, elegant, finessed and potent, with integrated tannins and bold acidity that will keep it going for at…  — M.S.  (6/1/2010)
97
points

Bodegas Gutiérrez de la Vega 1999 Casta Diva Fondillón Sweet Monastrell (Alicante)

  • Editors' Choice
  1. $88
Fondillón represents the pinnacle of red Spanish dessert wines, and the 1999 vintage just might make your jaw drop. Subtle but expansive on the nose, with a blend of baked dark-fruit and cinnamon aromas, it is liquid heaven in the mouth, with excellent balance and flavors of roasted plums, black cherry, nutmeg and chocolate. This is pure, structured and outstanding…  — M.S.  (10/1/2012)
97
points

Bodegas Roda 2009 Cirsion Tempranillo (Rioja)

  1. $250
Solid as a battleship, with lemony oak, marzipan and layer upon layer of black fruit aromas. Almost syrupy in its richness but not fully; it’s chewy and creamy, with vital acids. The flavors are mega ripe and rich, emphasizing blackberry, black cherry preserves, fudge and fig paste. Yet at the same time it’s an ethereal wine; the epitome of modern Rioja. Drink now…  — M.S.  (4/1/2012)
97
points

Aalto 2006 PS Tempranillo (Ribera del Duero)

  • Cellar Selection
  1. $115
A beautiful but enormous style of red wine with char, leather and saturated black fruit aromas. There’s also some lemony oak that will shed itself with time. Overall, it’s rich, delicious and a real fruit bomb with chocolate, vanilla, caramel, coffee and mocha, all of which are reflections of the oak aging it sees. PS stands for s seleccionados, and it’s really an…  — M.S.  (10/1/2010)
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