Classifying Wines on their Origin and Production

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When speaking about Spanish wines, we´re used to hearing about the “Denominación de Origen”, or DO. Sometimes, we also classify wines as Vinos de Pago or Vinos de Calidad, but what do these classifications actually mean?

In Spain, there are 5 official classifications to help define the quality and origin of a wine: Vinos de Pago, Denominación de Origen, Vinos de Calidad, Vinos de la Tierra and Vinos de Mesa.

denominaciones origen

Let’s begin with Vinos de Pago, perhaps the highest distinction that a wine can be awarded in Spain. This classification is a geographical indication that indicates that the wine is made exclusively with grapes from a specific terroir, home to specific soil compositions and climate. It is a classification that that aims to highlight the personality of a particular terroir and its reflection in the wine.

All of the grapes used for produce a Vino de Pago wine must come from the same estate (Pago in Spanish) or vineyard. The wine must also be produced and stored separately from other wines produced by the same winery, and the origin of the other wines must be different that the same Pago, or plot. Currently, there are 14 wineries in Spain that are able to boast the Vino de Pago classification. Some of the most well-known include Dominio de Valdepusa, Pago Florentino and El Terrerazo.

The next step in classifying the origin of a wine are the known “Denominaciones de Origen”, or DO for short. A DO is a kind of geographical indication which certifies that the grapes come from a specific region, and that the winemaking process is carried out following the regulations and guidelines set by the Regulatory Council of said region. In Spain, there are currently 69 Denominations de Origen, including the Ribera del Duero, Rueda, Bierzo, Toro, Rías Baixes and Jerez.

It is worth noting that two of Spain’s most famed regions are missing from the list, Rioja and Priorat. This is because although they too are technically “Denominaciones de Origen”, they have also infact been awarded slightly higher recognition with the Denominación de Origen Calificada” (DOCa) classification. The main difference between the regular DO’s and a DOCa, is that all of the grapes produced under a DOCa must be used for bottled wine, while grapes cultivated under the DO classification can still be used to produce wine in bulk. Also, a DOCa must set boundaries and distinguish the municipalities that are allowed for produce grapes for winemaking under the DOCa classification.

Following Denominacións de Origen”, the next classification of wine is Vinos de Calidad, which is used for wines that are produced in a specific area with grapes from said area. These regions aspire to be Denominacións de Origen”. There are currently 7 areas that have been awarded this distinction, including, Cangas, Canary Islands and Grenada.

The next classification we have is Vinos de la Tierra, wines that are produced in a region, but without following the winemaking demands of a “Denominación de Origen”.

Finally there are Vinos de Mesa, used for wines that do not have any geographical indication. Winesfromspain has this interesting map where you can find all of the different Denominaciones de Origen, Vinos de Pago y Vinos de Calidad, and their geographical locations in Spain.

mapa-winesfromspain

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New Parker Points for Bierzo wines – May 2016.

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This week another set of Parker Points were awarded by Luis Gutierrez, head of Robert Parker for Spanish wines, to wines from El Bierzo. We say another because this is the third time that Luis Gutierrez has awarded wines from the El Bierzo in less than two years. But this is no coincidence, given that Bierzo is currently one of the most interesting and upcoming names on the Spanish wine scene.

viñas-bierzo

As Luis himself states in his article, the D.O Bierzo is one of the Spanish winemaking regions, along with the Priorat, that according to him are the best at doing things. Both Demoninaciones de Origin are working on increasingly smaller scales, in small villages, or perhaps working from individual vineyards. Because of this interest to reflect the personality of the terroir and environment in its wines, some are even beginning to refer to El Biezo as the new Burgundy.

El Bierzo has a peculiar landscape, marked by valleys around the basin of the river Sil and its tributaries, with rugged mountains of an average altitude of 800 metres above sea level, some reaching as high as 2000 metres. The region is home to a continental Mediterranean climate, although the climate suffers large variations depending on the differing altitudes, meaning that wines made with grapes from the mountains differ greatly from those in the valleys.
In addition to this diversity, Bierzo is also known as home to the Mencía grape variety. Often grown on very old vines, in small plots with steep slopes, cultivated by hand. The Mencía grape usually makes way for fresh wines, with a strong fruity presence, which usually undergo a light ageing that doesn’t seek to mask the variety, rather Cuenta con un clima mediterráneo continentalizado, aunque sufre grandes variaciones en función de las diversas altitudes.refine its nuances.

Speaking of Parker Points for the wines from El Bierzo, we should really mention two names above the rest: Raúl Perez and Ricardo Perez Palacios.

Raúl Perez was involved in the production of many of the wines awarded Parker Points, such as Ultreia de Valtuille with 96 Parker Points, Ultreia Cova de la Raposa with 95, Las Gundiñas with 94, Ultreia Petra also with 94, Rapolao with 93 and Ultreia Mencía with 92.

From Descendientes de J.Palacios, Ricardo Pérez Palacios’ winery, Las Lamas scored 96 Parker Points, Corullón scored 95, while Pétalos del Bierzo was awarded 93.

As well as the wines from these two wineries, the Akilia winery was also succesful. Their wine Akilia Villarín was awarded 93 Parker Points at under €20, while their Akilia Villa de San Lorenzo was awarded 91 points, priced at around €11.

Then there is the Luna Beberide winery, which achieved 92 Parker Points for their wine Luna Beberide Art and 90 for their Luna Beberide Mencía, a wine that costs little over €5 which we are sure will just fly of the shelves.

Finally, we have El Castro de Valtuille Mencía Joven, one of our favourite Mencías, which was awarded 90 points at a price lower than €6.

We hope you enjoy them all!
Cheers!

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New Wines at Decántalo, May 2016!

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We are now entering into the month of May, the month of flowers that brings us into the months of summer, and as ever, brings us a new list of wines at Decántalo!

Prepare yourself as this month has come packed with new products. New vintages of classic wines, as well as new wines that we are sure you are going to love.

We will begin with La Comedia, a wine from the Celler Comunica winery, a new winery that we has taken our fancy here at Decántalo. Celler Comunica is a winery from the D.O Montsant that produces wines following the principles of organic agriculture, with the aim of producing wines that reflect the character of the terroir from where they come from.

Next we have El Rey del Glam, a Garnacha wine, made with grapes from the Sierra de Gredos planted at an 1,000 altitude by Alfredo Maestro under the VT Castilla León classification. The winery carries out all of its agriculture manually, along with a careful vinification process, both giving way to this fresh and attractive wine.

Then we find an old classic, Solanera. This wine is from the D.O Yecla, whose previous vintage flew of the shelves, so we are sure this vintage won`t be too far behind. With 92 Parker Points, and around €11 makes this a very attractive wine for those who follow the American critic.

Now we have Tarima Hill. The new vintage of this classic Monastrell is from the D.O. Alicante, this wine is produced by the Volver winery at the hands of Jorge Ordoñez. This wine is made with grapes taken from low-yield vines that are over 40 years old. This is a potent wine with a strong body.

Following Rebels de Batea (Blanco y Tinto) and El Senat del Montsant, from the D.O. Empordà we have Somiadors, the 4th wine in the 7 wine collection 7 Magníficos. 7 Magnificos is a collection of wines from different zones which looks to express the character of each terroir with each vintage. This wine is a blend of Cariñena and Garnacha, a true representation of the region in the north of Catalonia.

From the D.O Empordà, we go to Castilla-León, where we will find our next wine. Abadía Retuerta Selección Especial. This classic wine is aged for 16 months in French and American oak barrels by the Abadía Retuerta winery. The 2012 vintage of this wine scored an impressive 93 parker points, and we are sure that this will too be one of the wines of the year.

Our next wine is the new vintage of Cims de Porrera Vi de Vila, a wine produced by the Cims de Porrera winery. Vi de Vila (Vino de Pueblo in Catalán), is a classification granted by the D.O. Priorat for wines for have been produced and come from a single town, Porrera in this case, and therefore are able to express and respect the character of the local terroir.

Finca Torrea is a wine that comes from the most renowned Spanish wine region, La Rioja, and is produced by perhaps one of the most well-known wineries in the world, Marqués de Riscal. This wine spends 18 months in French oak barrels, with the intention of refining the wine, but without masking its marked fruity character, a trademark in modern Riojan wines.

Back to the D.O Priorat, but this time with a spectacular white, Nelín, from the Clos Mogador winery. This wine is a blend of 4 different grape varieties, Viognier, Garnacha Blanca, Macabeo, Escanyavella, all of which are cultivated organically. This wine is aged for 16 months in large wood and concrete tanks. This is an unusual, authentic and expressive white wine.

And to close our list we have a really great wine for you that will really make an impression. 200 Monges Reserva. This is a wine from La Rioja that is half way between a classic crianza from this region, and a slightly more modern version in search for a fruiter profile. Smooth, delicate, but well bodied and with personality. A marvel.

We hope you enjoy them as much as we do. Cheers!

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At what temperature should you serve your wine?

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The right temperature to serve wine is a fairly common question, and not always, or perhaps almost never, do we manage to agree on an answer. Or worse, we only agree on one thing: white wine should be served ‘cold’ and red wine at ‘room temperature’.

But what do we mean by cold? Our perception of cold can vary greatly depending on the time of year. A wine could seem not very cold in summer, but very cold in winter. And what do we mean when we refer to room temperature? What really is room temperature? Obviously the temperature will differ greatly if we refer to the ambient temperature of the cellar or the temperature our living room.

temperatura-vinos

Before attempting to answer the question of at what temperature is best to serve wine, it is important to understand how it affects our perception when tasting a wine. On one hand, we know that if you drink a wine that is too cold, you will mask the flavour, i.e, the aromas will be much more difficult to perceive and identify. Also, a wine served at lower temperatures promotes sour, salty, bitter and astringent flavours, flavours in most cases we do not want to encourage. We recommend that the minimum reasonable temperature for the service of a wine is 4-5ºC. Below this temperature the wine begins to lose all of its aromas.

On the other hand, as a wine is served at higher temperatures, the more volatile the aromas become, therefore a greater perception of them. However it is important to remember that everything has a limit. If the wine is served too hot, the perception of the alcohol is accentuated and the wine becomes too ardent. Also it is worth noting that with higher temperatures, sweet flavours are accentuated, something that we do not want, especially if you are drinking a wine that is already sweet. The maximum temperature that we recommend serving wine is 21°C, as this is the temperature at which the ethanol compounds begin to volatize, a compound formed during fermentation which is responsible for alcoholic aromas.

So now we know we have a range between 4 – 21°C, where do we go from here? Well, it really depends on the style of wine and what you are looking for on each occasion.

Well, white and rosé wines with fruity and floral aromas are best served at the lower limit of 4-5ºC, as these wines exhibit strong and volatile aromas, even at low temperatures. However, for white wine that has been aged, with roasted and reduced aromas, we recommend serving these wines at a slightly higher temperature to 10-12-14ºC, which will enable you to enjoy all of its nuances.

As for red wines, they should never be served at the low temperatures of whites and rosés, as this would only promote the astringency and bitterness of the tannins. Red wines that have undergone carbonic maceration, which are young and light, and generally fruitier, can be served at a lower temperature of 12-14 ºC, temperatures which will allow us to enjoy and perceive the fruity aromas and the tannins will reduce. For a more structured red wine with aromatic complexity, we recommend serving at around 17-18ºC, with the intention of enjoying all of the aromatic complexity, but without reaching 21ºC, where we would begin to emphasize alcoholic notes.

A brut Cava or aperitif wines, such as a fino or manzanilla should be served at around 7-10ºC. A cool temperature that still allows us to enjoy all of the aromas. For other Sherrys, such as Olorosos and Amontillados, which are more complex wines, should be enjoyed 12-14ºC.

Simple dessert wines, sweet or semiseco Cava again should be served cold, at around 5ºC, in order not to promote their excess sugars. For more complex dessert wines, the temperature should be raised a little to 10-12ºC as to not waste their aromas, but bearing in mind that higher temperatures will enhance the perception of sugar.

It is also important to bear in mind that the temperature of a wine can vary by 2-3ºC while in the class, depending on the temperature of the room. It is also important to always reach the desired temperature in a gradual manner, ie, never place a wine in the freezer to cool, or a heat source to raise the temperature, as sudden changed in temperature can spoil a wine.

Now that you know what temperature to serve your wines, we recommend that you give this a little test! If you are going to consume two bottles of the same wine, serve one at its ideal temperature, and the other at room temperature. Experience the results, and you will see that the two different wines have nothing to do with each other!

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10 top Wines for under 10€!

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Today we have for you of 10 brilliant red wines. 10 wines all at less than €10.

One of the major strong points in Spanish wine when compared to countries such as France or Italy, is without a doubt the fantastic value for money on quality wines. Because of this, its posible to find really good quality wines, at an accesible price! Here we have a wide range of wines for you from many different Spanish winemaking regions such as Rioja, Toro, Ribera del Duero, Priorat, Montsant and Ribera Sacra, all produced with varying grape varieties. We have it all, from the classic Tempranillos, Tinto Finos from Ribera del Duero, Tinta de Toros from Toro, as well as the lesser-known and upcoming Mencía wines from the north of Spain.

Well, lets begin then! Don’t miss out!

Let’s begin with Cal Pla Negre. This wine is produced by the Celler de Cal Pla winery in the D.O. Priorat. This wine is a blend of two different grape varieties: Garnacha and Cariñena, and aged for 12 months in the barrel. This is an intense wine, complex and well bodied with attractive and toasted aromas, special and delicate roasted notes.


Next up we’re moving from Priorat across to Ribeira Sacra, with our second wine Guímaro. This is an excellent wine produced using artisan techniques by the small winery Bodega Guímaro. This wine is made exclusively with the Mencía grape variety, an up and coming variety within the world of Spanish wine. This is a fresh wine, delicate with hints of red fruits and sweets.

Also made with the Mencía variety is our next wine Gaba do Xil Mencía. This wine, from the D.O Valdeorras, is produced by Telmo Rodríguez. This is a fresh and fruity wines with marvellous mineral notes.

Our fourth recommendation is Finca Resalso. This is a typical wine of the Ribera del Duero, made with Tinto Fino grapes by the Emilio Moro winery. This wine is aged for 4 months in French and American oak barrels, which gives way to a well balanced wine between fruity and woody notes. A great wine at a fantastic wine.

Now from the Ribera del Duero, we move over to the neighbouring región of D.O Toro. Our next wine is Románico, produced by the Teso la Monja winery which is often considered as one of the best wineries in Spain. This wine is made exclusively with Tinta de Toro grapes and aged for 6 months in French oak barrels. An intense and well bodied wine, but elegant at the same time.

Also from the D.O Toro we have Terra d’Uró Finca la Rana. This wine is too made exclusively with Tinta de Toro grapes, like many of the best wines from this región, and is cultivated and produced following the princeples of organic agriculture. This wine is aged for 8 months in French Oak barrels and is a potent, flavourful and meaty wine, with a long and persistant finish.

Now we couldn’t go through the list and not mention the most well-known region in Spain, the infamous La Rioja. From here we have the Sierra Cantabria Crianza, a single variety red made with Tempranillo grapes, a classic variety of La Rioja. This wine is aged for 14 months in French and American oak barrels. The impecable work by the Sierra Cantabria winery gives way to a light, flavourful and well balanced wine.

Remaining in the D.O Rioja region we have our next wine Finca la Emperatriz Crianza. This wine is too made with Tempranillo grapes, with a small presence of Viura and Garnacha. This wine is aged for 14 months in French and American oak barrels, before resting and refining for another 12 months in the bottle. The result, a profound yet refined wine with a pleasent mineral backdrop. The 2011 vintage of this wine scored a highly impressive 91 points on the Parker Scale, together with its brilliant price and made this one of our best sellers!


Now from the lesser-known region of D.O Alicante, our penultimate wine if Tarima Hill. This wine is made exclusively with Monastrell grapes taken from vines that are between 40 and 75 years old. Warm, powerful, flavourful, fleshy, full-bodied, this wine scored an impressive 91 points Parker points for its 2012 vintage.

Now the final wine on our list is the l’Efecte Volador. This wine is produced in the D.O Montsant by Josep Gau Viticultor. l’Efecte Volador is a blend of 3 different grape varieties: Garnacha, Samsó and Syrah, taken from old vines dating between 30 and 80 years. This wine is warm, potent and very flavourful.

 

 

 

 

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New Wines at Decántalo for April 2016!

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April is here, bringing with is good weather, spring, the trees are beginning to Bloom and most importanty of course, new wines at Decántalo! We wines ranging from Rias Baixes to Priorat, Rioja and through to Almansa. A floral month, expect some floral wines! Juan Gil 4 meses. From the historic Juan Gil winery, founded in 1916 in the D.O Jumilla. The region is home to a very dry and hot climate that experiences very little rainfall during the year. An expressive wine, with character, that really expresses the best that the Monastrell grape variety has to offer. A nice little wine from a big family, the Juan Gil family.

novedades-abril

Cune Crianza. Aged for 12 months in American oak barrels for this classic Rioja, a true reflection of the wines produced in the region. This wine is a blend of Mazuela, Grenache and Tempranillo, although the latter variety dominates. Bodegas Cune derives from the historic Compañía Vinícola del Norte de España, which was founded back in 1879 in the town of Haro, which has the town with the highest concentration of wineries in the world.

Martín Códax Albariño. A single variety Albariño, the iconic variety of the DO Rías Baixes. Owes its name to a Galician troubadour whose poems were written between the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Premiado en varios certámenes, este vino comenzó a elaborarse en 1986. Un blanco fresco y equilibrado, con un agradable carácter cítrico. This wine was first produced in 1986, and has since been awarded in several competitions. A fresh and balanced white with a pleasant citrus character.

Romanic. A red from D.O Toro made exclusively with Tinta de Toro grapes, the name given to Tempranillo in the area. The wine was born between the municipalities of Valdefinjas y Toro, in the province of Zamora. This wine is produced by the Teso La Monja winery, which needs no introduction. The winery also produces wines such as Alabaster and Teso La Monja, which are undoubtedly some of Spain’s best wines.

Acústic Blanc. Conceived and produced by Albert Jané, this white wine from the D.O Monstant also has a red wine counterpart. This wine is a blend of 4 different grapes varieties: Garnacha Blanca, Macabeo, Garnacha Roja and the native Pansal variety, from vines that are between 40 and 80 years old. Fermentation is carried out in French oak barrels for 3 months. Intense with a long finish, this wine is well balanced with a good acidity.

Marqués de Murrieta Capellanía. A white wine from the Marqués de Murrieta winery, a historic winery in La Rioja, located in Logroño founded back in 1852. This single variety wine is made with Viura grapes that rest for 17 months in new French oak barrels. A good body, this wine is intense and balanced with a large finish.

Viña Tondonia Reserva Blanco. Another white wine from La Rioja. This is an expectional and unique white, that is aged for 6 years in Bordeaux oak barrels. This wine is produced by the renowned Viña Tondonia winery, the oldest in Haro and third oldest in La Rioja. The winery even houses its own cooperage.

Viña Tondonia Reserva. Like its white counterpart, this wine too is aged for 6 years in the barrel, and is one of the emblematic wines of La Rioja. This wine is a blend of 3 different grape varieties: Mazuela, Graciano and Garnacha. A great entrance, this is wine is ample and flavourful. Smooth tannins, this dry wine with a large finish. A truly great wine.

Alaya Tierra. From the DO Almansa, in the province of Albacete. This wine is aged for 15 months in French and American oak barrels, and is a potent and elegant red, dense with character that truly represents the terroir from where it comes from. Produced by the Atalaya winery, which is part of the Juan Gil family group, a guarantee of quality.

Clos Martinet. This wine comes from the D.O Priorat and is a blend of 4 different grape varieties: Grenache, Cariñena, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. All the grapes are come from vineyards that are home to licorella soils, a slate characteristic of the region. Silky and with great presence of red fruit in the mouth. A masterpiece of the Mas Martinet winery.

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The Bacchus Awards 2016.

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It´s that time of year again, the Bacchus Awards are here! Once again, several Spanish wines have been successful and awarded by the jury.

Bacchus is the only international wine competition in Spain recognized by the International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV). The gala, organized by the Spanish Tasters Union (Unión Española de Catadores), brings 80 of the world’s best experts and tasters, including various Masters of Wine.

bacchus2

The competition took place over four days, turning Madrid into the world capital of wine. Of the 1854 wines competing, 13 of achieved the highest award of the Gran Bacchus de Oro. Here are some of the wines awarded at the Bacchus Awards 2016, all of which of course can be bought at Decántalo …

Pedro Ximénez Tradición VOS. This product is brought to you by the renowned Tradición winery. Aged for over 20 years using the solera method. Thick, silky and easy to drink. Pedro Ximénez Tradición VOS was awarded the coveted Gran Bacchus de Oro.

Noé Pedro Ximénez VORS. Produced by the same winery as the previous wine, winning them their second Gran Bacchus de Oro. Sweet and very silky, this sherry was also awarded 91 Parker and 95 Peñin Points.

Arzuaga Crianza. The third and last Gran Bacchus de Oro winner on our list. This wine is aged for 16 months in French and American oak barrels from the Arzuga Navarro winery in the Ribera del Duero.

Pétalos del Bierzo. A winner of the Bacchus de Oro. It is not the first time this wine has won this award. Intenso y graso, de muy buena acidez. Intense with a good acidity. Un clásico del Bierzo. A classic Bierzo.

Perelada Finca Espolla. Dos Bacchus de Oro se lleva Castillo de Perelada.The Castillo de Perelada took home Two Bacchus de Oro awards. 15 meses en barricas de roble francés de Allier para este vino. 15 months in French oak barrels Allier for this wine. De entrada suave, es fresco y afrutado y presenta un inmejorable final. Soft entry, it is fresh and fruity and has a superb finish.

Finca La Garriga Samsó. The second red Empordà from the list prepared by Castillo Perelada. En este caso, envejecido en roble americano durante 14 meses. In this case, aged in American oak for 14 months. De gran frescor y paso por boca altamente agradable. Great freshness and highly enjoyable step by mouth.

Les Terrasses. Produced by Gratallops in the infamous Priorat region. Prepared by Alvaro Palacios, spends 12 months in French oak barrels. Paso cremoso, muy buena acidez y atractivo final largo. Step creamy, good acidity and attractive long finish.

See the full list of winners here: Winners at the Bacchus Awards 2016.

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Conde San Cristóbal : Enjoy a wine served to the Obamas.

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54 years later and relations between the United States and Cuba are finally beginning to normalise. Together with his family, the President of the United States visited the largest island in the Antilles, symbolising the beginning of the end of the hostility between the two nations that has lasted for over half a century. To celebrate this historic event, the Obamas decided have a meal in one of the best restaurants in Havana, the Paladar San Cristobal. Their dinner was accompanied by a very special guest, the Spanish red wine …. El Conde de San Cristobal!

conde-san-cristobal

 

The story goes that Michelle Obama, the First Lady of the United States, had originally ordered a French Pinot Noir, but the waiters at the restaurant suggested that it this wine from the D.O Ribera del Duero would be the best option to accompany the steak fillet in a red wine sauce. A decision she thoroughly enjoyed.

Conde de San Cristobal is a red wine that is aged for around a year in barrels of various kinds. This wine is a blend of 3 different grape varieties: Tinto Fino, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, and stands out for its power, elegance and good structure. This wine has already been the recipient of many major awards, including 3 stars at the Premium Select Wine Challenge Prowein 2015, a Silver Medal at the Brussels World Competition 2015, Bronze Medal at the Decanter 2015 and  IWC 2015 at the International Wine Challenge.

The Marqués de Vargas Group, who currently own the winery, has shown that how happy they are with this revelation. This wine has been on the market for 10 years now in Cuba, and to be served and enjoyed to the First Lady on such a historic event is definitely a great milestone.

If one day you want to dine like the presidential family of the United States, don’t you wait! At Decántalo we have Conde San Cristobal available for sale for only €14.55.

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Raúl Pérez chosen as the best winemaker in the world for 2015!

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Last week, Raúl Pérez was chosen as the best winemaker in the world for 2015 by the trade publication Bettane+Desseauve at “Le Grand Tasting Shanghai”, an event that lasts for 2 days that brings professionals from around the globe together to the most populated city in China.

tasting-shangai

This type of recognition is not new for Raúl Pérez, having been selected as the best winemaker in the world by the specialist German magazine ‘Der Feinschmecker’ last year.

Raúl Pérez has become one of Spain’s most famous and well known winemakers. He is a tireless character who began his career producing wine in the early 90´s in his native Bierzo, working at the family Castro Ventosa winery with masters of the Mencía grape variety. Years later, still in El Bierzo, Pérez collaborated with Ricardo Pérez and Alvaro Palacios to help develop the first vintages of the Descendientes de J.Palacios. He later became technical director of the Bodegas Estenfanía, where he produced the wine Tilenus. Pérez has collaborated with many different wineries, working in many different areas, from El Bierzo, Rías Baixes, Monterrei and even South Africa, using his own grapes as well as purchased grapes.

The wines produced by Raúl Pérez are expressive, with low sulphur contents, unfiltered and not stabilised. He is known for producing wines that make the best of each terroir. Producing on a small scale, he has been able to experiment without big risks, which means his wines has become true pieces of worship for consumers, due to the hard work and dedication that has been applied to get them into the bottle.

So what wines by Raúl Pérez would we recommend? Starting with the family winery Castro Ventosa, where Pérez began his career as a winemaker, we recommend El Castro de Valtuille and Valtuille Cepas Centenarias, two spectacular mencías. Ultreia de Valtuille, another great Mencía wine, but this time produced at his own winery. Another Mencía, but this tiem from the DO Ribeira Sacra, we would recommend El Pecado.

But Raúl Pérez does not only produce red wine, he has also produced some superb white wines. A perfect example of this is Sketch, an Albariño that is aged under the sea.
Now his wines are made in limited production and are always sought after, so if you want to try any then you better hurry, because we simply don´t know how long they´ll last!

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New Parker Points for Grenaches from Sierra de Gredos – March 2016.

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Last week ended on a high and news that always gets us excited: new Parker scores for Spanish wines. Again Grenache wines from Gredos have been a point of interest that Luis Gutierrez did not want to overlook.

So what do we mean when we speak about grenaches from Gredos? Because Gredos, unlike La Rioja or Priorat, is not a ‘Denominación de Origen’. We are referring to wines made using Grenache grapes that were planted in the Sierra de Gredos, a mountian range located in the centre of Spain, which is divded between the provinces of Salamanca, Cáceres, Ávila, Madrid and Toledo.

gredos

Although these wines come from the different regions of D.O Méntrida, D.O Castilla y León and D.O Vinos de Madrid, between them they have certain characteristics in common. Due to the Sierras de Gredons location, the grapes used to make these wines are a grown at high altitudes between 600-1200 on granite soils. They usually come from old vineyards that are cultivated by hand given the peculiarity of the plots, as their location on steep slopes prevents from any kind of mechanical work being used. Small scale winemakers work in the region with the utmost care, producing fresh wines that manage to convey the interesting terroir of the Sierra de Gredos.

Assesing the scores given by Luis Gutierrez, it is fair to say that the region has managed to take full advantage of its potential. Here are some of the scores achieved by our favourite wineries:

We will start with wines from the Marañones winery. Their Peña Caballera scored 94, while their Marañones scored 92, two fantastic grenache wines cultivated from small plots. The winery also scored an impressive 93 points for Piesdescalzos, a white wine made using the native Albillo grape variety.

Another winery that faired equally well was the Bodega Bernebeleva. Their Garnacha de Viña Bonita was awarded 95 points, made using grenache grapes taken from 80 year old vines. Their Arroyo del Tórtolas then scored an impressive 92, made using grenache grapes from small plots on low fertile and granitic soils. Finally their Navaherreros Garnacha de Bernabeleva scored 91 points.

Another success story was the Bodega Canopy. Firstly, La Viña Escondida, a grenache made using grapes from 65 old vines on granite soils, was awarded 93. Malpaso, a Syrah wine grown on sandy soils, scored 92+. Finally their wine Kaos scored an impressive 91, another grenache from 60 years old vines that grow on slate soils.

Then finally we have 4 monos, who also enjoyed a successful year. A young winery that focuses of working with great passion and respect for the local earth and terroir. They achieved 92 points for La Danza del Viento, a grenache made from a single plot located at 750 metres altitude. Then they scored 91 points for 4 Monos Cariñena and 90 for 4 monos Tinto, made using mainly Grenache grapes with a small percentage of Syrah and Cariñena.

Practically all of the wines mentioned above are produced in limited quantities. So if you want to try them, I wouldn´t wait around, they could be gone before you know it!

 

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