Decantalo Wine Blog

Wines from Villa and Finca: The identity of the Priorat is taken a step further

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For some weeks we have discussed the possibility that an important group of Alava wineries, led by Bodegas Artadi, are planning to leave the Rioja to create a new wine region, focused around the town of Laguardia and its surroundings, as in the words of the wineries themselves, “to belong to such a broad term as “Rioja” confuses consumers and dilutes the message.”

Certainly, the current classification of Rioja may not fully aligned with the times, the consumer looking more than ever for specific terroir and identity in their product. Bordeaux, for example, recognizes 58 specific names within a generic indication. The same happens in the Priorat, which despite being much smaller in area than the previous two, has recognised since 2010 wines from Villa and wines from Finca.

gratallopsVinyards in Gratallops (Priorat) © D.O.Q Priorat

It is the first time that Spain goes beyond generic names or, at most, giving legal recognition to municipalities which are members of the denomination.

There is a special mention for those recognised as “Wines from the country”, although in this case, vineyards belong to no superior entity, being considered as an appellation of origin itself.

D.O.Q Priorat has 11 different sub-regions in Vinos de Villa (vi de vila in Catalan). So that a wine can be labeled as such, if it meets certain conditions, such as a controlled origin of the grapes and the presence of a minimum of 60% Grenache and Carignan in the final blend of wine.

The rating of wines from Finca go a little further, yet still more restrictive. The yield per hectare is much lower than allowed in the denomination itself and winemaking with grapes from a single vinyard is required.

This decision by the Catalan DOQ has been an important step in strengthening linkages between a line of wines and their origin, on the basis that there are oenological, historical, social and economic differences between various subfields of the name.

Below we offer some of our favourites wines from Villa Finca:

La Carenyeta de Cal Pla 2012. A sweet wine of the town of Porrera prepared by Celler Cal Pla. A varietal Carignan from vineyards of very low performance. Very fruity and pleasant. Only 1,000 bottles are produced each year.

Manyetes 2010. A unique wine from Gratallops produced by one of the most iconic wineries in the appellation: Clos Mogador. Small contributions of Syrah and Grenache accompany Carignan to give us a very mineral and concentrated wine.

Torroja Vi de la Vila 2012. From the town of Torroja del Priorat, the winery Terroir al Límit presents this intense and enveloping blend of Grenache and Carignan prepared according to the guidelines of biodynamic viticulture. A magnificent example of the baptised “new Priorat”.

Clos Mogador 2012. The first wine from Finca in the DOQ Priorat wine is thrilling. It is a protagonist and leader together with other great wines such as L’Ermita or Clos Erasmus del renacimiento del Priorato in the early nineties. Immense. Wonderful.

Vall Llach Finca Mas de la Rosa 2012Celler Vall Llach produces the second and last Finca wine in DOQ Priorat. A great blend of Carignan to be enjoyed slowly with some contribution from Cabernet Sauvignon. Concentration and minerality in abundance.

What’s stopping you from trying them?

Written on Sin categoría |

Spain beats Italy and France as the largest exporter of wine in the world

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Good news for the Spanish wine industry! And according to the latest news, Spain has become the largest exporter of wine in the world, ahead of even France and  Italy, which has been the leader in exports in recent years.

Between September 2013 and September 2014, Spain sold  a total of 2,168 million litres of wine (+ 19.9%), compared to 2.035 million litres in Italy (-1.7%). France remains the third largest exporter in terms of volume, but it stands as world leader in terms of value.

faustinoBodegas Faustino, the greatest exporter in the world for Grandes Reservas from Rioja

It is precisely this aspect that blurs the news, since the average price of a litre of Spanish wine is still too low, at only € 1.16 per litre. Spain is definitely an export model based on the sale of wine in bulk, it is necessary to give attention to the good work of the Spanish wineries with the highest exports.

These are some of the wines from top exporting wineries in Spain:

Faustino I Gran Reserva 2001Bodegas Faustino is nothing more and nothing less than the leading export winery in Rioja Gran Reserva wine. This Faustino I represents all the typical and classic wines of the region. An example of good marketing strategy along with a wine of great quality

Segura Viudas Aria Brut Nature. A friendly, fresh and balanced cava, very easy to drink, and available in many countries around the world. Segura Viudas Cavas belongs to the Freixenet Group, the leading exporter of Spanish wines.

Tío Pepe. One of the most famous and praised wines in the world, belonging to González Byass, the eighth largest wine group in Spain in terms of exports. Tio Pepe offers everything expected of a Jerez fino. Freshness, sharp acidity and salinity.

Sangre de Toro 2013. The flagship of Bodegas Torres winery in Spain, the 6th winery in terms of foreign exports. A blend of Grenache and Carignan from Catalonia, direct and friendly. A classic.

Marqués de Riscal Reserva 2010. We return to the Rioja to present a great champion of wineries: Marqués de Riscal, the 12th in Spain in terms of world exports. A guarantee of quality vintage after vintage!

Quality does not always reflect price … Do not miss these great wines!

Written on Designations of Origin, Sin categoría, Spain wine regions, Wine news, Wineries | Tagged , , |

Winning wines in the 2015 Grenaches du Monde Competition

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On Monday 9th May, the award-winning wines were made public at one of the wine competitions that, despite its short history, it has reached the international spotlight with force in recent years: Grenaches du Monde 2015.

This is a competition which, above all, pays homeage to the Garnacha, one of the most cultivated grape varieties in the world, present in many countries. Also, it comes at a time where knowledge of this variety is expanding. It is an opportunity to discover possibilities, the richness and diversity of wines made from Garnacha.



The results obtained by Spanish Garnachas have been excellent, dominating the wine list, more than 70 medals were awarded, 4 more than France. Regarding different regions, Catalan and Aragonese Garnachas have been the most widely awarded.

This latest Grenaches du Monde 2015 competition closes with a total of 32 gold medals, 30 silver medals and 8 bronze medals for Spanish wines.

These are some of our favourite award-winning wines.Do not miss them!

Vía Edetana Negre 2012. Gold for this sweet red wine made by Bodegas Edetària under the protection of the DO Terra Alta. An interesting blend of Garnacha Fina and Garnacha Peluda  with a touch of Carignan. Sweet, spicy and intense.

Rebels de Batea Blanc 2013. No change of region, but grape variety, since this Rebels de Batea Blanc 2013 by Bodegas Torres received a Gold in the Garnacha Blanca category. A very interesting white wine, it is a faithful reflection of the variety and terroir of Terra Alta.

Borsao Selección 2013. We traveled to the Campo de Borja to highlight the Silver won by a wine with an excellent RRP. A well thought out and easy to drink wine. Ideal for carefree moments at this excellent price!

Honoro Vera 2013. Silver for another great value Spanish wine. A fleshy, sweet and fresh wine from DO Calatayud. We love it.

Furvus 2011. We finish this short list of featured wines by traveling to the DO Montsant to highlight the Silver obtained by Furvus 2011. A formidable blend of Grenache and Merlot with  intense, elegant and very persistent flavours.

Click on the following link to see the rest of the winning wines in Grenaches du Monde 2015.

Written on Decantalo, Designations of Origin, News, Spain wine regions, Wine news | Tagged , , , |

The History of Scotch Whisky

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The exact origins of the first “wee dram” of Scotch whisky have unfortunately been lost over the years, however, there are records of the ancient Celts referring to a potent amber liquid as “uisge beatha”, which means “aqua vitae” or “the water of life”.

The earliest written records referring to Scotch whisky production occurred in the Exchequer Rolls, written by one of the earliest governmental departments, which oversaw the royal finances. A 1494 entry reads “Eight bolls of malt to Friar John Cor, by order of the King, wherewith to make aqua vitae.” It has been estimated that that 8 bolls of malt would have produced around 1500 bottles of whisky, insinuating that a fairly large distillery was operating successfully by this time.

From the reign of the Celts up until the present day, Scotch has by and large been viewed as a panacea, an omnipotent and divine nectar, capable of curing anything from the common cold to swine flu. A Scot’s relationship with whisky truly can begin soon after birth, with some mothers opting for a drop of whisky to sooth the gums of their teething children!

BARRILESColours and Barrels at the Ardbeg Distillery (Islay, Scotland). Winterriot (CC BY 2.0)

There are two basic types of Scotch whisky, from which different blends are produced. Single malt whisky refers to a single distillery Scotch whisky produced only with water and malted barley using batch distillation in pot stills. However, whereas single grain Scotch whisky also refers to a whisky which has been distilled at a single distillery using water and malted barley, other whole cereal grains may have been added during the process.

Nutritionists in Norway recently revealed that, if consumed in regular amounts, whisky can in fact provide health benefits by helping remove blood clots in veins and arteries and substantially reducing the risk of stroke!

Here we highlight a few of our favourites:

Talisker 10 years- A classic Island whisky from the Isle of Skye. Consistently well received, this was an Editor’s Choice at Whisky Magazine. On the palate, it gives hints of spices and fresh, tangy, peaty notes.

Laphroaig 10 years- Produced on the island of Islay off the west coast of Scotland, Laphroaig 10 years must be one of Scotland’s most characterful whiskies. The flavour is intensely smoky and rich in peat and iodine.

The Macallan Amber- An amber coloured whisky by Macallan, part of the popular 1824 series. This malt is matured in sherry casks and the palate shows fresh green apples together with cinnamon. Subtle oak lingers throughout the journey. An example of what Macallan can do with good quality oak.

Aberlour A‘Bunadh- A single malt from the Aberlour Distillery. It is released in limited batches blended from barrels ranging from 5 to 25 years old, each batch carries a unique number. This whisky is exclusively aged in Spanish Oloroso sherry butts and therefore has interesting aromas of roasted nuts, old leather, black pepper, old oak and dried fruit.

To benefit from maximum taste and flavour, we recommend drinking Scotch whisky either neat, adding a few drops of water, or using whisky stones. Putting ice directly into your whisky will only reduce its temperature, freezing its aroma and smell and dulling the taste.


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New Wines on Decántalo for the month of February!

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We begin cold February, by taking the opportunity to propose a selection of new wines that have become part of our broad portfolio of Spanish wines.

Do not miss this news, which is especially filled with new references, as always available from now on on our website. Enjoy!novedades1

Borsao Tres Picos 2013. The new 2013 vintage  of a major grenache from DO Campo de Borja. This vintage comes with the blessing of the guru Robert Parker, Tres Picos qualifies as the best  value wine of 2014.

Navazos-Niepoort 2012.  We welcome to our website a very special white wine, made from the union of the Navazos team and Dirk Niepoort. 100% Palomino aged for five months under a veil of flowers, marketed unfortified. A risky wine, special and different, very interesting.

Heredad Red 2011. We return again to the DO Campo de Borja, this time to present Heredad Red. A project born from the collaboration between the Carlos Valero winery and the winemaker Norrel Robertson MW. A very serious Garnacha, juicy, large and persistent.

La Bota de Palo Cortado 48 “Bota Punta”. Last month we got to know the Parker points for Jerez wines, amongst which we highlighted this special wine, rediscovered by Team Navazos. This wine is a good example of their work. Parker awarded it 98 points for being a superlative, unique wine.

Locations E3 2013. The new “year” of one of the most unorthodox Spanish wines, curious, yet pleasant. Locations E3 brings together in one bottle a selection of grapes from Priorat, Rioja, Jumilla, Ribera del Duero … This experiment, though oddly strange, works- and very well! A tribute to the good selection of grapes!novedades-2

Quinta Sardonia 2010. The new vintage of this charming wine. Fifth Sardonia 2010 is a red wine, a pure expression of terroir and great example of minerality. A complex blend dominated by Tempranillo, it is expressive, powerful and very, very smart.

Raúl Pérez Sketch 2013. January 2015 marked the visit of Robert Parker not only to Jerez, but also to other areas, such as Galicia. Among the Galician wines rated and added to our portfolio, we found this Sketch 2013. A wine signed by the winemaker Raul Perez, and awarded 93 Parkerpoints , and only 900 bottles were created. Do not miss this opportunity!

Les Crestes 2013. We travel to Priorat to debut the new vintage of Les Crestes, by the small family winery Celler Mas Doix. A traditional blend of Grenache and Carignan with Syrah notes, very mineral, sweet and lively. Wide expression of Priorat at a more than competitive price.

Arcán Albariño 2013. We welcome to our website Arcan 2013, one of the big winners of the passing of Parker through Galicia. A pure expression of Albariño and authenticity on all four sides. We were very pleasantly surprised.

Chivite Colección 125 Rosado 2012. If anyone thought that rosé wines did not know how to age, they were wrong. Introducing the  2012 vintage of Chivite 125 Rosado: A splendid rose wine made from 100% Tempranillo, balanced, elegant and rich in nuances.

These are just some of our new wines of the month. We encourage you to try them, you will like them!

Written on Decantalo, New wines, News, Parker | Tagged , , |

The top 25 Rioja Wines currently on the market, according to Decanter magazine.

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The well-known wine magazine, Decanter, has devoted much of its recent issue to Rioja wines in a special article entitled “The Many Faces of Rioja”.

An interesting and extensive article by the master of wine, Sarah Evans, a great fan of Spanish wines, which, as you can guess, highlights the diversity of characters and profiles of wines from Rioja.

riojaCertification note for DOCa Rioja. LB y Roberto Serna (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The British magazine article ends with a selection of the 25 best wines from Rioja currently on the market. Here are some of our favourites among those selected by Sarah Evans. As always, they are available on our website. Do not miss:

Marqués de Murrieta Capellanía 2009. Who said that Rioja only produces reds? Capellania 2009 is a superb Viura which can offer a lot,  after a prolonged aging of 22 months in oak barrels. A great white wine full of personality and nuances.

Marqués de Riscal Finca Torrea 2007.  An excellent modern Rioja produced by one of the most traditional wineries. This Finca Torrea 2007 promises power and an expression loaded with fruit, more than other components of the Riscal saga. A fantastic approach to the character of the new Rioja.

Viña Cubillo 2006. Here is a more traditional Rioja. This Viña Cubillo 2006 from the López de Heredia winery offers all the style and character of the Tondonia philosophy. A wine with vocation of aging which improves over the years.

Remírez de Ganuza Reserva 2007. One of the first great wines from Rioja. The reward for painstaking and careful work, and love for detail, from work in the vineyard to bottling. Deep, expressive and delicate. A great wine.

Palacios Remondo La Montesa 2011. From the hand of Alvaro Palacios comes this modern style Rioja with a superb value. A blend of Grenache and Tempranillo, it is very pleasant, energetic and warm.

Can’t wait to try them? Discover the best Riojas on Decantalo!

Written on Decantalo, Red wine, Rioja, Spain wine regions | Tagged , , |

Biodynamic wines- What are they? How are they made?

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Up until recently, we have watched as the wine industry experiences a revolution in traditional winemaking methods. A return to basics in many cases, with the ultimate objective of obtaining wines with identity, personality, which are environmentally friendly and less standardised.

Today we want to talk about an increasingly recurrent concept in the sector: Biodynamic viticulture. What is it? What are the processes involved? And most importantly, how is the wine affected?

cuernoCow Horns are used in the preparation process for the wine “preparado 500″.

Biodynamic viticulture is a method of agriculture based on the ideas of the Croatian philosopher Rudolf Steiner, born in the nineteenth century and founder of a school of philosophy called “anthroposophy”.

The main difference between this method and other methods of agriculture is summarised by the fact that biodynamic farmers see the farm as a single organic entity which in turn is made up of several independent organisms. This idea pursues and defends ecosystem recovery and balanced operations, regenerating the bacterial biological activity of soils, strictly without the use of industrial pesticides and fertilisers.

Instead, a series of natural elaborations are used, which may be seen as surprising. A good example is the famous “preparado 500″ which consists of burying a cow horn full of manure during the summer, only to dig it up later and dilute its content with water. The liquid is then used to spray the vineyard, first clockwise and then anticlockwise.

And that is why biodynamic viticulture complies strictly with the requirements of organic viticulture, and has an important credential component, which considers the astral biodynamic calendar, lunar influences and constellations.

Although beyond methods and beliefs, the true question is: Does biodynamic viticulture positively influence the quality of wine?

Many consider these practices as absurd, and many others strongly defend its benefits. What is clear is that this idea of viticulture is built with the utmost respect and care for the vineyard, which almost always translates into good raw materials with which to produce great wines.

Although these practices are becoming more widespread, few wineries possess Demeter certification, the international body that accredits the good practice of biodynamic viticulture. This is often due to the high cost and bureaucracy involved in obtaining this accreditation.

We take this opportunity to recommend three excellent biodynamic wines from wineries with accredited certification. Do not miss them- you will love them:

Celler Can Credo Aloers 2013. A 100% Xarel·lo with overflowing personality which comes from Recaredo Creed Celler. A distinctly varietal wine. Fresh, serious and structured.

Parés Baltà Mas Irene 2012. A good blend of Cabernet Franc and Merlot from the Pares Balta winery. Intense, elegant and juicy. Well structured, with a good balance between fruit and oak.

Recaredo Subtil Gran Reserva Brut Nature 2007. And finally, a major Cava from Recaredo Cava, a Penedes benchmark winery with cellars synonymous with high quality. A subtle, complex and fresh cava.

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Gutiérrez farewells Jerez, Bierzo and Galicia, awarding them 100 precious Parker points.

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Luis Gutierrez, the Spanish delegate for the prestigious magazine The Wine Advocate, led by the guru Robert Parker, said farewell to 2014 with a long awaited number of wine tastings from Bierzo, Galicia, aswell as new editions and Jerez wines.

An awaited series of articles that curiously coincided with the first anniversary of Gutierrez as the Parker strongman in Spain, left us with great news- the admittance of a new Spanish wine to the exclusive 100 Parker points club.


This wine is La Bota de Amontillado 49 “Bota AR”, a very old amontillado from the old wine cellar of Gaspar Florido, rescued from its long slumber by the Navazos Team.

Team Navazos, a project created in 2005 by Jesus Barquin and Eduardo Ojeda, mainly aims to market to the general public a small variety of old Jerez wines from different batches and points in history. In addition, they also produce magnificent finos and manzanillas, and collaborate on other Jerez projects, such as their production of sparkling wine in collaboration with Cavas Colet.

To them we owe the pleasure of enjoying La Bota de Amontillado 49 “Boot AR”, the new owner of 100 Parker points.

A wild wine of high concentration, it presents a disturbingly intense, nuanced nose with a radically saline mouth. An extremely long and spectacular acidity.

The team responsible for a this wine have said that they will never be beaten on such a find, at least at this price!

We sincerely hope that they are mistaken!

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Parker points for Galician wines- January 2015

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The long awaited delivery of the Christmas issue of The Wine Advocate, edited by the renowned Robert Parker, recently completed tastings of Jerez and Bierzo with a special section dedicated to the four denominations of Galician wine.

On this occasion, Parker scores the wines of Galicia, which left bittersweet feelings for some of the largest wineries in the area, whilst the smaller wineries and winemakers, more committed to preserving the identity of the wine region and its terroir, have been rewarded.


The vinyards of Rías Baixas © Ruta do Viño Rias Baixas

Above all, Luis Gutierrez, Parker delegate for Spain, Argentina and Chile gave a warning to wines from Rias Baixas, where he believes there is a strong danger of standardising wines in this region.

Gutiérrez goes as far as to describe the overall business strategy of these wineries as wrong. A strategy, in his own words, in which profit is pursued at the expense of quality, resulting in standardisation and a lack of originality.

Fortunately, he also praises the winemakers of the area who have been brave enough to bring forward projects such as the recovery of old varieties and maximisation of the land. These are wines of great quality and personality.

Among the Top Rated Galician wineries Parker highlights Adegas Guímaro, in Ribeira Sacra: Finca Pombeiras 2012 received 95 Parker points and stands as the highest rated. Also, Guímaro 2013 received 91 Parker points and is confirmed as one of the best value wines.

Among the Galician wineries rated, Parker finds names that we recommend you follow closely. Do not miss the wines from the Forges of Salnes, Adega Algueira, Zárate, Muradella and Adega Quinta de Pombal wineries.You’ll love them!

Click the following link if you want to see the rest of wines from Galicia rated by Parker available on our website.

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Parker Points for Jerez Wines

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The expected Parker ratings  for new wines and vintages from Jerez and Manzanilla de Sanlúcar have arrived, allowing fans of these special wines to have the new scores by the end of 2014. 

There is no doubt that these are extraordinary vintages, not solely due to the hype that surrounds these wine, but because their release took place one year after Luis Gutierrez, the emissary of Robert Parker for Spain, Argentina and Chile, took office, replacing Neal Martin.

soleraA Jerez wine cellar, with its traditional system of “criaderas y soleras”. © DO Jerez –  Manzanilla

It seems that this ‘gap year’ has not changed in any way the quality of Jerez wines, nor those of Gutiérrez, since again, the assessments of these wines are more than excellent.

The average quality of the wines is spectacular, with 75% of the wines achieving over 90 Parker points, but the big news is that one wine has seized a precious 100 Parker points .

This is the La Bota de Amontillado 49 “Bota AR”an amontillado more than 80 years old, marketed by Team Navazos. This wine takes us directly into the past. A piece of history.

It is the Navazos Team wines which have become frontrunners in reviews by Gutierrez. Their project involving the recovery and the marketing of forgotten Jerez wines has been a great success- Parker scores 98 points or more for 4 of their wines.

In addition to La Bota de Amontillado 49 with 100 Parker points , La Bota de Palo Cortado 47 “Bota NO” has come close to perfection with 99 Parker points, whilst La Bota de Palo Cortado 48 “Bota Punta” and La Bota de Palo Cortado 51 “Bota GF ” both received a spectacular 98 Parker points.

A fitting tribute to the work  and ‘archeology’ of Team Navazos, and further evidence of the immense quality of world-class Jerez wines.

Click the following link if you want to see the rest of Jerez wines rated by Parker available on our website.

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