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Bodegas 501 was founded in 1783 in El Puerto de Santa Maria. Their unusual and charming cream sherry — Zurbaran — does not date back that far, but no one seems to know how old it is! The solera had not been tapped for 20 years (and maybe more) before this wine was bottled and the results are fascinating. Aromas are rich and botanical, with halvah, ginseng, cocoa powder, fennel seed, pencil shavings, peanut skins, and cracker jacks. The sweet palate is not cloying like some cream sherries, but clear and bright: pretty fresh figs and chewy raisins, salty roasted peanuts, gentian root, milk chocolate, and more of those beguiling halvah and ginseng notes. This gets a rare rating of "Yummy!" and is highly recommended as a fresh alternative to port for cheese plates, desserts, or simply for drinking in repose. Ariana Rolich
From Equipo Navazos: 'The very thin skin of the Pedro Ximénez variety favors the fast dehydration of the berries during the asoleo (sundrying) process, which makes it ideal for the production of raisiny sweet wines. The Montilla-Moriles region (especially in Montalbán, Montemayor, and Puente Genil) concentrates today virtually all the production of sweet PX musts that will later be aged in the different Andalusian winemaking areas. Casa del Inca, in Montilla, is the former residence of the Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, where he wrote most of his literary production. Its present functions—after restoration—are related to the city’s winemaking tradition. Late-harvested grapes, several full turns of exposure to the late summer sun, and careful extraction at different pressure levels by means of powerful hydraulic presses are the key to the musts’ original quality. Another key element is the subsequent fortification with top-quality wine-based spirits. Third and last as far as vintage PXs not undergoing barrel ageing are concerned is time: one and a half years resting in tinajas or conos, the traditional cone-shaped vessels used in Montilla-Moriles for centuries now.'
From Equipo Navzos: 'This is an extremely old, powerful and superconcentrated wine that belongs to the same cathegory as the noblest and oldest reliquias and sacristías of the Sherry District, including our releases no. 5 “NPI”, no. 14 Oloroso, no. 47 Palo Cortado or no. 49 Amontillado, among others. Barely 900 units bottled from a combination of two half-emptied casks (one the number one or “bota punta”, and the other the number 5 in the row) selected from an ancient small solera of Oloroso very carefully looked after by Chano Aragón in his bodega located at Calle Olivo in downtown Chiclana. The age of La Bota de Palo Cortado 63 “Bota NO” is extreme, surely close to 80 or 90 years old, one of those very dry and concentrated, highly acidic wines, with notable bitterness and remarkable dry extract, which sometimes is not precisely the cup of tea of certain wine lovers, while others simply love them. We are of course of the latter, although we reckon this is not a wine to drink in a careless way but one to revere. Enjoy it as an awesome perfume as well as reflectively sip it with utmost temperance and, hopefully, immoderate delectation.'
From Equipo Navazos: 'Gaspar Florido used to market two very old wines sourced from their soleras at their old cellaring facility at calle Rubiños, in the heart of the “Barrio” in Sanlúcar de Barrameda. When they decided to seize the real estate fever and sell their urban bodegas they had to move those butts to a shabby facility on the road from Sanlúcar to Trebujena. There is where we had the opportunity to sample them for the first time, on a visit with Álvaro Girón to already old Gaspar in June 2006. We were very positively impressed by their quality and consistency, especially in contrast with the lack of distinction–to put it mildly–of the context there and then. There were quite a few butts of the outstanding GF-25 and only a few of GF-30, a very old and absolutely spectacular wine. It is precisely from the latter that this La Bota de Palo Cortado nº 48 “Bota Punta” is sourced. In fact it comes from a sister cask of the one from which we extracted our La Bota de Palo Cortado nº 41 “Bota NO” ten months before. Only a few months later, early in 2007, Bodegas Pedro Romero purchased Gaspar Florido, and since then they have remained marketing GF-25 under the usual label “Jerez Viejísimo”. In Gaspar’s opinion–perhaps questionable but not lacking solid ground–such wines see how the distinctive features of amontillado, palo cortado and oloroso are blurred by their very age. That is why he used to label it simply “Jerez”, which after all merely honors the sanluqueña tradition of referring to the local palo cortado as “jerez cortado”. It is indeed a very old palo cortado, and so we have labeled it as such.'
From Equipo Navazos: 'Gaspar Florido kept in his cellars an amazingly older wine than his very old GF-25 and than its even more extremely old GF-30 (from the casks of the latter we have sourced two editions of La Bota de Palo Cortado, namely those numbered as 41 and 48). A true gem of a wine, an extraordinarily essential beverage that was marketed under the brand name “Ansar Real” almost with an eyedropper and at a very high price, nevertheless proportional to its rarity and to its outworldly quality. There still survive a couple casks of this wonderful wine in the hands of Bodegas Pedro Romero. One of them has a marked character of palo cortado, and this is the one which we have selected for the present edition, in the interest of its immediate comparison with his “younger” brother, bottled in parallel as La Bota de Palo Cortado 48 “Bota Punta”. ' We cannot find proper adjectives to describe La Bota de Palo Cortado 47 “Bota NO”. Anyone who may have been impressed by the concentration and sharpness of the edition number 41, will now be incredibly amazed by the wild nature of this number 47. A powerful wine, perhaps excessive we admit, but it is precisely for this reason that it fascinates us so much. Any true wine lover should grab the opportunity to try a gem like this while we can still enjoy the increasingly improbable privilege of having access to them.'
This wine is in the warehouse and will not be available for pick-up or delivery until after Labor Day.
From Equipo Navazos: 'By the end of 2010, on occasion of the fifth birthday of our adventure at Equipo Navazos, we were lucky enough that our friends of Pérez Barquero allowed us to celebrate it with a super limited release: a racy Amontillado from Montilla. An extremely old “NO” wine of exceptional intensity and concentration, and spectacular complexity, sourced from one of the row-end butts that rest in Pérez Barquero’s Los Amigos cellar for many decades. Very few bottles with which we wanted to thank the support and acknowledge the contribution of the friends who walk with us on this fascinating trip. For La Bota de Amontillado Viejísimo 73 “Bota Aniversario” we have revisited the same tonel de cañón number 8 of the bodega Los Amigos, together with its sister the tonel number 3, in order to complete the contents of a whole bota without emptying any of them. It is one of those truly impressive amontillados from Montilla, at the level of the greatest traditional wines from Andalucía. Its average age is difficult to establish, but certainly older than fifty years old. In any event this wine has been sourced from from some of the oldest casks of this producer, belonging to the set of primitive soleras of the house.'
From Equipo Navazos: 'With this release number 74 we are revisiting the same solera in Montilla from where our release number 46 was sourced. Again Pérez Barquero, where Rafael Cordoba, co-owner of Pérez Barquero, has been controlling with exceptional care the vineyards and vintages for decades. He is a master in obtaining truly outstanding musts, both yema (first press) and color (second press). With these second press musts, locally called “vino de color”, the expert winemaker Juan Márquez produces their Olorosos. Very fragrant and strongly bodied wines, wines that very noticeably show the rotundity of the pedro ximénez grape. La Bota de Oloroso #74 “Montilla” comes from a selection of casks from the Solera Diógenes, located in third row at the Bodega El Puente. The main difference is that, this time, all the casks selected belong to the solera itself, while for the release number 46 we picked some vessels from younger criaderas as well. This fact, together with the elapsed time and with the fact that the withdrawals from these casks have been small, explain why this wine is almost five years older than its predecessor, La Bota de Oloroso nº 46. Its estimated average age is therefore close to 30 years.'
From Equipo Navazos: 'Gaspar Florido used to market two very old wines sourced from their soleras at their old cellaring facility at calle Rubiños, in the heart of the "Barrio" in Sanlúcar de Barrameda. When they decided to seize the real estate fever and sell their urban bodegas they had to move those butts to a shabby facility on the road from Sanlúcar to Trebujena. There is where I had the opportunity to sample them for the first time, on a visit with Álvaro Girón to already old Gaspar in June 2006. We were very positively impressed by their quality and consistency, especially in contrast with the lack of distinction--to put it mildly--of the context there and then. There were quite a few butts of the outstanding GF-25 and only a few of GF-30, a very old and absolutely spectacular wine. It is precisely from the latter that this La Bota de Palo Cortado nº 41 "Bota NO" is sourced. Only a few months later, early in 2007, Bodegas Pedro Romero purchased Gaspar Florido, and since then they have remained marketing GF-25 under the usual label "Jerez Viejísimo". In Gaspar's opinion--perhaps questionable but not lacking solid ground--such wines see how the distinctive features of amontillado, palo cortado and oloroso are blurred by their very age. That is why he used to label it simply "Jerez", which after all merely honors the sanluqueña tradition of referring to the local palo cortado as "jerez cortado". It is indeed a very old palo cortado and so we have labeled it as such. Today these butts are stored at the Sacristía of Pedro Romero, back to the heart of the "Barrio" and actually very near their original location. There is where we had the opportunity to revisit them and sample them exhaustively and, ahem, exhaustingly, in order to select our favorites for this edition of "La Bota": it is a truly extraordinary wine for its unlikely balance between sheer authenticity, concentration, and finesse; genuinely amazing, with so much character and personality.'
Gonzalez Byass' Palmas series is an exploration of the most extreme and elegant expressions of the soleras that feed Tio Pepe - arguably the world's most consistent, classic, and popular fino sherry. Tres Palmas 2015 is a selection of a single cask in a ten year-old (average) solera, which stood out as the only cask among 150 where a small amount of flor had survived. A dramatic and drop-dead delicious pairing for rich smoked fishes, duck, and roes, Tres Palmas exhibits immense complexity from spicy aromas hinting at cinnamon oil and bark, to the intensely savory, shape-shifting, palate that showcases autolytic flavors and textures, umami and rancio, as Gonzalez Byass puts it: "the limit between life and death, the agony of the flor." Ariana Rolich
I visited Bodegas Grant this past March, and I was struck with the accessibility of the sherries here. This bodega is located in the center of town in El Puerto de Santa Maria. Attached to the bodega is a fabulous bar to quaff these delicious sherries. The Amontillado is soft, floral, and gently spicy. The aging process is not especially lengthy with this wine; which makes it somewhat fruitier and appealing. This is a sherry to drink! — cb
A beautiful small bodega/almacenista and tavern in the barrio bajo section of San Lucar de Barrameda. This solera has 8 criaderas which results in a wine with a real edge to its very saline and crunchy herbal flavors. A favorite at the shop and an astounding pairing with boquerones. cb
Xurxo Alba does it all! A miniscule amount of red wine is produced in Rías Baixas (it is hardcore Albariño and crustacean country!) and even less of it comes to our shores. Fans of red wines that taste like acid, rocks, and dirt will be delighted by O Esteiro Tinto, Xurxo's blend of (roughly equal parts) feral and earthy Caiño, austere and mineral Espadeiro, with the brambly bright berries of Mencia. This is an exhilarating wine of a terroir that we rarely experience through red wine. Ariana Rolich
Xurxo Alba’s entry level cuvée is made from grapes sourced from multiple sites with mainly sandy soil. The fruit from each parcel is vinified separately (some in stainless steel, some in barrels) gaining structure and complexity of flavor from six months spent on the fine lees. This is Albariño the way we love it: crisp, mineral, saline, with great texture and a long finish. Ideal on its own or paired with salty snacks, or better yet, any and all crustaceans and shellfish. Eben Lillie
A burst of flamboyant flavors, Tío Uco is an exciting young wine from an exciting young winemaker! A native of southern Toro, Alvar de Dios honed his skills working with Fernando García at Bodegas Marañones (a longtime Chambers Street favorite) before returning to Toro to farm family vineyards and acquire others. Tío Uco comes from 25 to 40 year-old, organically farmed vines of Tinta de Toro on a variety of terroirs (clay, limestone, sand, and gravel), destemmed and raised in neutral oak barrels. Aromas are wild and heady, full of fermenting berries, black cherry compote, incense and clove, with a jazzy, light spritz upon opening, dissolving into the fun and full-flavored palate of cassis, cranberry, cola, salt plums, balsamic, wild rose, and bitter herbs on the finish. Substantial and spicy, but light on its feet, this is an offbeat and slightly wild foil to the Thanksgiving feast. Ariana Rolich
Multi-talented vigneron Fredi Torres turns grapes to mouth-watering potions across such diverse regions as Montsant, Priorat, Ribeira Sacra and Emporda. La Deva is a single vineyard in the Montsant, composed of Grenache with some Carignan and Macabeo. Intoxicating aromas of ripe raspberry, funky berries, floral lavender, and tea leaf, with a mouth-watering and silky palate of ripe strawberry, black cherry, fresh green herbs, lavender, blue flowers and peppercorn. Serve with a chill with anything from the grill. Ariana Rolich
An utterly delicious bargain, made of 95% Tempranillo and 5% Viura from Artuke's organically farmed family estate in the Rioja Alavesa. Made in the traditional, refreshing (pre-barrel aging) style of Rioja, whole cluster fermented and raised in concrete tanks for a pure, juicy, floral, and thirst-quenching young red that begs to be chilled and downed over lunch (or on the couch). Alluring wild rose and ripe cherry aromas and flavors, with crushed red and purple berries, soft earth, wild green herbs, salty licorice, and cherry cola. Keep a bottle chilling in the fridge to pair with everything from pizza to paellas! Ariana Rolich
Valle del Rio is emblematic of the focus and depth of the Casa Aurora project, where idiosyncratic swatches of land, planted to previously unimaginable mixtures of vines, are translated into utterly singular sensory combinations that excite intellectual pleasures as well as hedonistic ones. In winegrower Germán Blanco's words: "From little things, big things grow. If I blend these special things into each other, you can't taste it. And you may not like it... but it's special!" Well, Germán, we like it a lot! Valle del Rio is a .58 hectare parcel of 40-100 year old vines at 820 meters altitude, composed of approximately 60% Garnacha Tintorera, 10% Garnacha, 10% Mencía, and 17% Palomino and the rest Godello, planted on a south-facing slope of red clay and decomposed granite. 2015 is marked by mouth-watering, forward purple berries and violet florals, in balance with the typically dominant notes of crunchy blackberries, damp clay, rocks, and ink. Ariana Rolich
2015 Poula was made in the old style of the village of Albares ("My neighbors love it!" winemaker Germán Blanco proclaimed), composed of Garnacha Tintorera, Mencía, Portuguesa (Trousseau), and 40% white grapes Jerez (Palomino), Godello, Doña Blanca, foot-trodden in stone lagars and raised in amphora for 12 months. Poula is the only Casa Aurora wine made from a blend of parcels, most of which are too tiny to vinify on their own (they are listed on the front label). Lively, joyful, teeming with mouth-watering scents and flavors of wild berries, fermented grapes, mountain herbs, silky florals, and a pleasing tickle of tannin. Serve chilled. Ariana Rolich
Castellroig is one of the few Cava producers working with organic methods (not certified), harvesting by hand, and even fermenting with native yeasts. They have a remarkable understanding of their vineyards and have mapped out every shift in terroir on their property; this fanatical approach to quality shows in the bottle. The focus of this cuvée is Xarlel-lo, a favorite amongst Cava grapes for its refreshing mineral qualities and notes of mountain herbs. A light-on-its-feet bubbly for everyday occasions.
This Garnacha Blanca orange wine has a beautiful light peachy hue reminiscent of ocean sunrises. On the nose, the wine smells of almonds, lemon zest, mango, anise flowers and chamomile tea. On the palate, the wine has a nice velvety texture, with great acidity, stony minerality and light phenolic bitterness. Organically farmed, this natural wine is fermented on its skins in stainless steel tank and aged on its lees for about a year with no added sulphur. The combination of the terroir and natural wine making results in an orange wine full of energy, roundness and vibrancy. A fun wine to say the least. Pair it with sushi, Vietnamese fare and vegetable curries. Caroline Coursant
Tinc Set is organic and biodynamically farmed Xarello and Parellada, two of the great local grapes of Penedès. Calcareous and clay soils speak loudly through tiny firm bubbles, with vibrant flavors of golden pear, green apple skins, crisp peach, salty yeast, and crunchy mineral length. Exuberant and fresh, with creamy, earthy underpinnings, vinified and bottled with no added SO2. Tinc Set is a perfect holiday apéritif, alongside grilled oysters and charcuterie, or to keep spirits bright throughout the long Thanksgiving feast! Ariana Rolich
Fragrant and fresh, inexpensive and certified organic, Vegas Altas white is one of the most complex and delicious Spanish values in recent memory. Inviting and dry, medium weight, with flavors of crisp ripe pear, green melon, lavender, almond, and apple blossoms, this is our first experience with Eva de Los Santos, a local grape from Extremadura (the dramatically beautiful region bordering Portugal in western Spain). Enjoy with seafood, fish in sauce, poultry, cheeses, and vegetarian meals. Ariana Rolich
Sumoll is enjoying a resurgence in Penedès. Raw and wild in its youth, but rapturously beautiful when given proper time to integrate, the red wine from Sumoll we love to drink the most is Els Jelipins, which Gloria Garriga and her daughter Berta patiently age for several years before bottling. Manel Avinyó's Sumoll is cut in this mold - fluid and floral, with silky ripe red cherry, hibiscus spice, sweet florals, sea salt, a hint of wool, and lingering mineral length. The label on the bottle is a reincarnation of one of his grandfather's designs from the 1920s. The wine has a similar old-fashioned, unhurried feel to it. Linger with a glass of perfectly resolved Sumoll and enjoy. Ariana Rolich
An ardently autumnal Blanc de Noirs from our friends at Clos Lentiscus, made of 100% Sumoll from a biodynamically-farmed single vineyard planted in the 1930s in the Garraf National Park, just south of Barcelona, on sandy calcareous soils. The second fermentation is spurred by rosemary honey from Clos Lentiscus' estate apiary, which adds a heady, honeyed component (with no sweetness whatsover) to the palate of tart red fruit skins, gently gingery spice, with bold structure and complex umami notes from aging 30 months on the lees before disgorgement with no dosage. Zero added sulphur. Ariana Rolich
We are very proud to work with Corisca ("storm" in the local dialect), a certified organic Albariño made by Natalia Rodríguez and her father José María, pioneers in the region (the first in Rías Baixas to be certified organic) who work tirelessly to perfect the balance of this wine - the only one that they make. Corisca displays pure Albariño character and heightened refreshment at an everyday price. Salty, stony aromas with hints of orange oil and green herbs precede the elegant palate, full of twinkling citrus and stone fruit, bright sea spray, minerals, and a long, complex finish. An invigorating apéritif and easy pairing for poultry, fish, and vegetables. We cannot imagine a more delicious "house" Albariño! Ariana Rolich
El Altar is a singular Garnacha, from old vines planted on granitic sandy soils with large chunks of quartz, north-facing at 800 meters near the town of El Barraco in the Sierra de Gredos. Daniel Ramos is one of a handful of Gredos producers with a formidable understanding of and respect for the profound and varied terroirs of the region. In a region full of brilliant Garnachas, El Altar is particularly purely red-fruited, from one of the coolest parts of the region, with strawberry, cherry, red currant, and raspberry preserves, interwoven with rock rose, bergamot, resinous thyme, wild flower honey, and rainwater.Ariana Rolich
Tasting this wine for the first time, I was immediately fascinated (and hooked). The Gredos Mountains, west of Madrid, are home to the most awe-inspiring and balanced Garnachas in the world. Power, perfume, tannin, and acid meet subtle layers and terroir-expression in this unique, high-altitude region that is largely unknown to wine lovers, but will be acknowledged one day soon as the source for the world's highest expressions of the Garnacha grape. Del Tiemblo Los Chorrancos is a fierce and floral cuvée from a north-facing schistous vineyard (with some granite) at upwards of 900m altitude in Avila's Alberche River Valley. Aromas are deep, floral, and botanical, with cherry blossoms, roses, resin, lavender, and sweet clover honey. The palate is anchored by rich tannins, acidic spine, and gripping mineral depth, with shimmering raspberry, rich kirsch, rosemary, and savory forest floor. This wine is sure to change the way you think about Garnacha. Ariana Rolich
Winemaker Daniel Ramos said that when he and his wife drink a bottle of Pizarra, they frequently open it 3-4 days in advance. Only made in exceptional years, Pizarra is 100% Garnacha from a 60-100+ year old vines on south-facing slate/schist vineyards at 900-975m (3000 feet) elevation in the town of Cebreros. It is brawnier and darker than Ramos' Chorrancos cuvee, with sappy wild berries, sandalwood, and musky citrus oils alongside subtle oxidative notes, spicy wild "garrigue" of lavender, and thyme (which coincidentally grow around the vineyard), and a clear core of slatey minerals. An exceptional wintry Garnacha for roasted meats and root vegetables. Please decant! Ariana Rolich
On Monday, December 4th, at Racines NY we are thrilled to be joined by Jesús Barquín and Eduardo Ojeda of Equipo Navazos. Chef Frederik Duca will prepare a multi-course pairing menu designed to pair precisely with a wide range of Equipo Navazos wines, presented by Barquín and Ojeda themselves. $175 ticket includes dinner, wines, tax, and gratuity. With guests such as these, enlightening company and inspiring wines are guaranteed!
Nicolas Marcos comes from a winemaking family in Toro but found himself drawn to the polar opposite, cool northern coastal region of Cangas in Asturius, where very old vines of Mencia and autochthonous varieties like Carrasquin, Albarin Blanco, Verdejo Tinto, and more cling to steep, rocky slopes of slate and quartz. Farming is biodynamic and the wines are alive and exciting, with the perfect balance between freshness and depth to play well with everything on the Thanksgiving table. The Cadario cuvee is cool and exotic, with broad, brambly black fruit and soft mulberry, with deep and dark minerality like crushed coal, with an acidic rush and bright blue and purple florals. Ariana Rolich
*This wine is in the warehouse and will not be available for pick-up or delivery until after Labor Day.* A perfect year for Els Jelipins, the 2010 is earthy and a touch feral, with abundant raspberry and cranberry fruit, accented by tea leaf (Earl Grey), and burdock root.
2011 Els Jelipins has taut tannins and delicate angles, tender strawberry and cranberry fruit, lime zests, and sweet florals.
The Espelt family has been growing grapes for centuries on the sandy granite, limestone, and slate soils of Empordà. In the early 2000s, they began bottling under their own name, resulting in some of the best values coming out of Catalonia. Espelt's vineyards are certified organic and dedicated primarily to native varieties like Lledoner (Catalan Grenache) and Carinyena. This wine is 100% Garnatxa Blanca from 50 year-old vines, fermented and aged for 3 months in neutral French oak barrels. Medium bodied, with pure, fluid flavors of white peach, lemon-lime, tropical fruit, and golden apple, flecked with white pepper and silky florals, anchored by a firm mineral spine. Fresh and versatile. Ariana Rolich
It is a rarity to find Ribeiro wines from organically farmed vineyards. Liliana Fernández and Iago Garrido's 2.5 hectares of native Ribeiro varieties are Demeter certified Biodynamic! Ollos de Roque is a deep, minerally, and herbaceous white, a combination of 80% Treixadura, 10% Albarino, and 10% Godello, planted in decomposed granite soils on southeast-facing slopes, and raised in amphora. Ariana Rolich
Xavi Soeanes' organically farmed, unadulterated Ribeira Sacra wines (non-DO) rank next to our favorites from Silice and Laura Lorenzo for clarity of expression and purity of process. BRZ is a veritable ode to Brancellao, a native red grape of Galicia that gives freshness and complexity to many of our favorite Mencia-based blends from Ribeira Sacra. Pradio's Brancellao is planted on sandy soils over granite at 300m altitude in A Peroxa. Aromas of sweet, breezy florals, waft into the delicately built, acid- and mineral-driven palate of tart cherry, tea leaf and spicy hibiscus.
This incredible bargain is a full-bodied blend of bush-trained Bobal with a splash of young-vines Cabernet Sauvignon from 1000 meters up in the Utiel-Requena region of Spain. Dense and layered on the palate — rich cherry, tart plum, and ripe raspberry fruit, with velvety tannins, soft earth, and a hint of violet flowers. Certified organic. Ariana Rolich
Baboso Negro (better known as Alfrocheiro in Portugal) has a powerful and flamboyant personality, making every vintage of this wine is a new adventure. Ignios Baboso comes from a 20-year-old single vineyard on volcanic clay loam in northwestern Tenerife, converted to organic farming by intrepid Tenerife vigneron, Borja Pérez González. The 2015 is very fresh and balanced, displaying Baboso's distinctive perfume and acidity, along with a full, beguiling palate of sweet wild cherry, brambly black raspberry, blackberry sap, and musky blood orange, lifted by notes of apricot, citrus peels, celery seed, and grounded by clear minerality and pungent volcanic earth. Ariana Rolich
Listan Negro is ubiquitous in the Canary Islands, but Ignios' rendition is unique. From a one-half hectare, 30-year-old single vineyard planted on iron-rich clay loam on a coastal banana plantation, the 2015 is tart and salty, with herbal raspberry and reductive aromas feeding into flavors of sour cherry, plum peels, red beets, salty soy, pepper, iodine, and smoky, funky earth. This wine evolves wonderfully with air as well as age in bottle. Decanting recommended. Ariana Rolich
As the sun goes down and the fogs roll over Tenerife, there is no better pleasure than to sip a glass of Ignios Marmajuelo alongside local shell fish and fresh mojo (Canarian pesto made of herbs, garlic, and plenty of vinegar - email us for recipes!). Marmajuelo plantings are rare. In 2011, Borja Perez Gonzalez recuperated two tiny 20-year-old parcels, perched above the Ignios Baboso vineyard, amounting to a mere 700kg of grapes. The wine is equally unusual, combining forceful salty and savory volcanic island elements - ocean air and smoky soil - interwoven with juicy (dry!) tropical fruits, accented by mellow notes of banana leaf, lemon balm, green almond, and aloe, with long, ashen mineral notes on the finish. The complex braid of flavors is lifted by invigorating acidity. This Marmajuelo displays significant natural tannin and viscosity, endearing it to adventurous cooks in search of special white wine pairings. Ariana Rolich
Vijariego Negro (aka Sumoll) from a single vineyard at 780m on volcanic sandy loam in the foothills of Mount Teide, abandoned at a young age, but meticulously resuscitated by winegrower Borja Pérez González. 2015 is an elegant, floral, and approachable vintage for this typically dense and structural mountain wine. Aromas of rose, orange honey, grapefruit, and cherry blossom accent flavors of black cherry, tart raspberry, orange peel, salty brine, watermelon rind, black tea, and bitter sandy earth, with buoyant acid, moderate tannins, and pleasing length. A brilliant introduction to the complex Ignios reds, delicious paired with lamb burgers, confit, and spicy fare. Ariana Rolich
La Vizcaina is a project from Raul Perez that focuses on vineyard sites around his hometown of Vatuille de Abajoin northern Castilla y Leon. The “La del Vivo” blanco is made from Godello sourced from two single vineyards planted in 1940 and 1925, one on clay and one on sand. 80% of the grapes are fermented and raised in large oak barrels for a year, while the remaining 20% is vinified on the skins in amphorae, where it ages for a year, before both cuvees are blended together. On the nose this wine is meaty, smoky, like rendered lamb fat. Underlying notes of pine cones, lemon, grilled lemon and hazelnuts. The palate is rich, with medium acidity and a long, persistent finish. Grilled citrus is even more present, along with a strong note of wet stones and wet earth. A faint whiff of dried white flowers and chamomile rounds out this complex white. Oskar Kostecki
This is serious Rioja: no new oak, extended pre-release bottle aging, and exquisite vineyard sites (for the Tondonia, vines dig deep through fine-grained alluvial soils overlooking the Ebro River that were first planted almost 140 years ago). Don Rafael López de Heredia y Landeta founded Lopez de Heredia in 1877, and the wines continue to serve as a benchmark for the region (the family business is now led mainly by his grandson Pedro, and great-granddaughter Maria Jose). The bodega comprises four distinct vineyard areas and extends to a total of 170 hectares, with Tondonia being the largest and most famous of the holdings. Jancis Robinson considers 2004 "a very good year, with wines that should last well," and the Tondonia Reserva is certainly that: powerful, lean, and layered with gorgeous, generous fruit and all the cigar box, cedar, and leather notes a lover of classic Rioja could wish for.
A blend of 65% Tempranillo, 25% Garnacha and small amounts of Mazuelo and Graciano, with three years in barrel and extended bottle age prior to release, the very good 2008 vintage has yielded a classic and satisfying Cubillo. Ripe, forward aromas of black cherry, blueberry sap, and raspberry, with tarragon, sweet black licorice, leather, and peppery earth; the palate is initially quite juicy with blackberry flesh and skins, tart black plum, and tangy acidity, opening with air to reveal sour cherry, plum skins, subtle herbal and smoky flavors, and soft sweet leather. Ariana Rolich
La Asperilla is an 80 year-old, .5 hectare majuelo (small family vineyard) in Penafiel, Alfredo Maestro's home town in the Ribero del Duero. A placid parcel of 80 year-old vines within view of the castle of Penafiel, La Asperilla is composed of clay and sandy soils, planted to Tempranillo (around 80%) with Garnacha, Bobal, and white grapes Albillo Mayor and Moscatel (and more). The vineyard is horse-ploughed and organically farmed; the grapes are co-fermented and aged in a large chestnut barrel (a traditional vessel in the area). Heady florals (violets, soapy white lily, piquant lavender) and resinous herbal garrigue fill the nose alongside cinnamon sticks, fresh vegetal stalks of rhubarb, and damp soil; the palate is a cool pool of pink and purple berries, with crunchy red delicious apples and skins, a scratch of sandy tannins, birch bark, almond oil, cherry cola, chewy wheat berries, cinnamon, and clove. An informal poll of Alfredo Maestro's biggest fans might reveal that Asperilla is his best wine yet! Pair with lamb, like they do in Penafiel. Ariana Rolich
Maisulan is 100% Tempranillo from organically and biodynamically farmed vineyards around the village of El Villar in the Rioja Alavesa. Aromas of dusty purple berries and plums, rose hips, and tendrils of sweet smoke combine on the dense, full-flavored palate of wild cherry, dense boysenberry and raspberry, with red apple skins, spicy cinnamon, gritty tannins, and a long finish of savory minerals and smoky earth. Affordable and versatile. Ariana Rolich
La Movida Laderas is a steep plot of 70-year-old Garnacha vines planted on rocky schist soils, 958 meters above sea level on the mystical south-facing slopes of Cebreros in the Gredos Mountains. Too precariously steep, rocky, and jagged to be plowed either by animals or machines, the vineyard is fragrant and wild, full of fennel, lavender, clover, poppies, and roses, with rows of quartz rocks ringing the vines, crickets chirping, and vultures soaring in wide circles in the sky above. With miniscule yields of .5kg of fruit per vine, it takes two plants to produce one bottle of wine. Aromas erupt from the glass: lavender, resin, black cherry, spicy cranberry, and crumbly warm earth. Intense Garnacha fruit fills the palate with crushed red raspberries, red currant, and crisp cranberry, with tingly young tannins, exotic sandalwood, and dense, dark schistous minerality. The intensity of these flavors is balanced by sizzling, high acidity that characterizes red wines from the Gredos Mountains . This is a beautiful and rare wine, pulsating with the raw wild force of the mountains. 1000 bottles produced. Ariana Rolich
It is tradition for me to serve a richer, more deeply pigmented at Thanksgiving dinner and it never fails to thrill our family and guests! Last year, a number of customers reported that Combate Pink was a favorite at their feast (as it was at mine), so we're offering it anew! This is an addictive, fuschia-hued, slightly off-dry rosado of Garnacha from Maldivinas' prime vineyards in Cebreros, the heart of the Sierra de Gredos. Two-thirds of the fruit comes from vineyards on schist and one-third from granitic soils. The perfumed nose of hibiscus, wild flowers, and damp brown earth continues onto the wild, juicy palate of strawberry preserves, raspberry patch, and black tea. Lots of bright, tangy acidity is present to balance the rich, wild fruit and the touch of sugar that remains in the wine. An explosively delicious rosé for sipping and an inspired pairing for any cured or smoked pork products, dark poultry (like turkey of duck), Asian fare, cheeses, and fruity or chocolatey desserts. One barrel produced. Ariana Rolich
Las Machuqueras is a single vineyard of Listán Blanco from the stunning southern zone of La Palma island, Fuencaliente, where Victoria Torres' winery is located. Half of the vines are 40 years old and half are over 100 years old, trained mere centimeters from the ground in long, snaking rows. Ten months on the lees in stainless steel tank and large chestnut foudre gives a gracious texture to this spirited and aromatic rendering of a typically reticent grape. Anise, orange oils, sandalwood, and rich stone fruit aromas fill the nose; flavors are deep, an electric core of acid and mineral ash, encircled by exotic notes of cinnamon, roasted fennel and cumin seeds, ocean brine, citrus leaf and tarragon, with bitter, salty, and herbal length that resonates for minutes after each sip. With air, it develops a soft, lilting saltwater texture: like ocean water lapping onto your taste buds. A magical vintage for Machuqueras. Ariana Rolich
Equipo Navazos is doing very interesting work in Jerez. Their "young" white wine is their flagship. It is produced with in collaboration with the famed Dirk Niepoort. 100% Palomino fermented with wild yeasts in old 600 liter barrels and then aged under the flor yeast for 8 months, it is a downright stunning wine with knockout aromatics of lime zest, herbs, fennel a touch of fleshy apricot. Quite round and elegant on the palate, there is plenty of saltiness, for those that love that (I am one of them), mouthcoating chalkiness, and just a touch of old-barrel funk. This wine sets the stage for other bodegas to consider making younger flor-aged wines to get to the market quicker, and then producing longer aged wines as Reserva Finos and so on. Brilliant 'En Rama' deliciousness. cb
Indigena is Garnacha Blanca from higher altitude vines in Penedes, the heart of Cava country, farmed organically and biodynamically. A relatively acidic and lean rendering of Garnacha Blanca, typically associated with rounder, fleshier wines, but recognizable in its floral notes of apple, pear, crunchy peach, and salty, earthy minerality. Thirst-quenching, attention-getting, and versatile among food groups and relatives alike. Ariana Rolich
The Serea Albariño is made using Pedralonga's younger vines, but there is nothing entry-level about this wine. The grapes are farmed organically and hand-harvested before being fermented and aged in stainless steel. The 2016 is a bit richer than previous vintages, but still wonderfully balanced. The Serea bursts with notes of white flowers, citrus zest, grapefruit, nectarine, and sea breeze. Coupled with that are richer notes of mirabelle plum, apricots, and a textured, long finish. Pair with grilled fish and autumn salads.This would be a beautiful wine to grace your Thanksgiving table. Oskar Kostecki
This is the first rosé made by Juan Antonio Ponce, who is the master of Bobal in his high-altitude home region of Manchuela. At a recent tasting with Juan Antonio, he explained that this wine was made at the request of his brother, a blend of red Bobal with 10% white Albilla, pressed all together and aged for 6-7 months in neutral barrel. Light and textured, with creamy tropical notes, blood orange, and gritty minerality, Las Cañadas is a beautiful new value in the rosé department. Ariana Rolich
Quinta Milú offers unrivaled quality, value, and sheer deliciousness among affordably-priced Ribera del Dueros. For this cuvée, German Blanco thoughtfully combines fruit from ten high altitude, organically farmed Tinto Fino (Tempranillo) vineyards averaging 45-50 years old in the village of La Aguilera. The wine displays the fresh side of Tinto Fino, with juicy purple berry and earthy plum, vivacious acid, and just the right amount of tannin to make it a perfect pairing for casual weeknight meals. Ariana Rolich
Pepe Raventos stepped outside of the Cava appellation in 2012 to create the Conca del Riu Anoia designation, which is committed to prioritizing the area's indigenous varieties, estate fruit, longer elevage, and biodynamic methods. The de Nit rosé was the first Conca wine and continues to sate and impress us with its lively aromas of pert pink lemonade, tart cranberry, and a hint of pepper; the palate is dry and elegant, with refreshing, bright acidity, flavors of strawberry seeds, musky ripe raspberries, and orange zests, flanking the complex saline and mineral core, stemming from Raventos' calcareous soils, rich with marine fossils. This is an incredibly versatile rose sparkling wine for apéritifs, snacks, richer seafood, and spicy fare. Ariana Rolich
Protocolo Zero is RuBor's first "vin de coupage," or blended wine, named for the absence of protocol in approaching each vintage. "Solo sensaciones fugaces" - only fleeting sensations - determine the contents of the wine, which is 100% Albillo Real, the great white grape of the Gredos Mountains. Rubén and Orly explore a wide range of expressions between their two old-vine Albillo parcels - La Peguera and SADE - through strategic harvest dates, skin contact, and vinification style. Protocolo Zero allows them to marry the fresh, youthful, and bright wines with rich, spicy, and aromatic ones, in proportions of their choosing. This succulent white explodes with exciting granitic texture and length, with flavors of Bosc pear, butterscotch, musky peach, minerals and a hint of fresh ginger. Pair with roasted poultry, seafood stew, chicken liver mousse, or pâtés and cheeses. Seriously delicious on its own as well! Ariana Rolich
Protocolo Zero is RuBor's first wine from a blend of vineyards -- an exuberant and supple Garnacha, with exotic perfume of rose, raspberry, hibiscus, cinnamon, and resinous herbs wafting from the glass. Spicy raspberry and stewed strawberry fruit share the stage with honeyed wild flowers, deep mineral earth, and fine tannins that stick to the tongue. This wine continues to open for days, taking on rich chocolate-raspberry, blackberry liqueur, tobacco and earth with tart skins of black cherry and cranberry and crunchy berry seeds. The Sierra de Gredos' trademark acidity and minerality are energizing foils for this extravagantly delicious and affordable, full-bodied red. Ariana Rolich
Orly Lumbreras of RuBor Viticultores described Groove as "un cañón" in its youth. With a little bit of time in bottle, it has mellowed into a veritable laser beam! This is singular Garnacha, utterly fabulous, from a single vineyard that inspired the partnership between Ruben Diaz and Orly Lumbreras in the first place. 50-year-old vines with southeast exposition on very fine granitic sandy soils at 900m altitude (the highest granitic vineyard in Cebreros, a village known for old-vine Garnacha on steep, schistous slopes). High-toned with intense, almost vertical acidity, taut black cherry, herbal black raspberry and purple berry fruit, chewy dark cherry skins, rhubarb, pink peppercorn, lots of violet, lavender, and rose florals, hints of thyme, and a taut, long, granitic mineral force. A wine to observe and celebrate over many years. Ariana Rolich
Eric Asimov included Chass! in his Thanksgiving lineup this year, noting that he would serve it with a cheese course or for wine fanatics, but cautioned that it is not for a general crowd. Given that most Chambers Street customers fall safely into the fanatic category, we feel confident in this recommendation! A fresh and pretty entree into the world of RuBor Viticultores, our good friends Ruben Diaz and Orly Lumbreras, this is 100% Chasselas from two small plots of 70+ year-old vines on decomposed granite soils in Cebreros, the heart of the Sierra de Gredos. With 3-4 days of skin contact, then raised entirely in stainless steel with occasional batonnage, this is a new experience of Chasselas. Bright and salty, textured and expressive, with subtle stone fruit, white grapefruit pith, orange blossom, beeswax, and crunchy minerals, with a tickle of tannin from time on the skins. An irresistible choice for adventurous apéritifs, poultry, and seafood! Ariana Rolich
Lovers of white Rioja, Jurancon Sec, and Bordeaux Blanc will swoon over this unique (and uniquely delicious) white Priorat. Sara Perez and Rene Barbier Jr are the team behind the delicious and popular Venus La Universal wines from the Montsant. Both are Priorat natives and, as children of the great Jose Luis Perez of Mas Martinet and Rene Barbier of Clos Mogador, heirs to winemaking history. It was very exciting to taste a pair of Priorats from their "Sara i Rene" label that illuminate the influence of amphora aging on Garnatxa-based wines, a practice enjoying a resurgence in the region. Exotic, rich, and wild, the Partida Bellvisos Blanco is 90% Garnatxa Blanca and 10% Trepat Blanc (only 2 hectare of which are known to exist in Spain), fermented in locally-made, unlined amphora and raised partly in 15 year old 600L foudre before being moved back to amphora to complete its elevage. Full, sultry fragrances of elderflower, butterscotch, chlorine, jasmine and sweet golden fruit perfume the creamy, nutty, oxidative palate of orange, tamarind, almond oil, and tangy apricot peel; a voluptuous wine, perforated by tensile tannins. Ariana Rolich
Suertes del Marqués' entry level white is a delicious introduction to the authentic, terroir-driven wines of the historic Valle de la Orotava, located on the slopes of Mt. Teide in the north of Tenerife. Trenzado (named after the local vine training system - el cordon trenzado, or "braided cordon") is 95% Listán Blanco, with small amounts of Pedro Ximénez, Gual, Marmajuelo, and more, from five vineyards, made in a combination of concrete and used oak vessels. Grapes from certain vineyards receive a week of skin contact, for a subtle and structured palate that combines fresh musky stone fruit with tart, savory tropical notes and abundant saline and volcanic mineral character. Drink with seafood dressed with garlic and herbs. Ariana Rolich
As with most serious rosés, Roc d'Aubaga is really coming into its own with some time to evolve in the bottle. Dominik Huber of Terroir al Limit continues to defy expectations with bold, unique, yet relatively light wines from the sun-baked Priorat, famous for dense and powerful reds. Roc d'Aubaga is a whole cluster co-fermentation of Grenache Noir, Grenache Gris, and Grenache Blanc, with aromas of red currant, wild rose, and hibiscus, flowing onto the subtle yet exuberant palate of wild cherry and creamy berries, with watermelon pith, cherry pits, rose hips, tea leaf, chiseled minerality, fresh acid, and lots of length. Technically a clarete (blend of red and white grapes), this is a beautiful all-season rose, shining with richer duck dishes as well as grilled shrimp and summer vegetables. Ariana Rolich
Dominik Huber is a bold and innovative force in the Priorat today, challenging convention and expectations with his steady progress toward lower alcohol and extraction in his fascinating single-vineyard/village/variety bottlings for Terroir Al Límit, centered around his adopted home town of Torroja. Huber's new label, Terroir Historic, offers a macro view of the Priorat by combining fruit from organically-farmed vineyards all around the Priorat's nine villages into a regional wine. Vinification is simple and traditional with whole cluster, native yeast fermentations, six months in large concrete tanks and a minimum of SO2. The white is Garnatxa Blanca and Macabeu, from both young and old vines and a mix of Priorat terroirs. Fiesty and bright, with orange rind, bee pollen, honey, and a hint of petrol on the nose; effusive tannins frame the medium-bodied palate, with orange oil, watermelon rind, apricot, and salty mineral notes. An incredibly interesting and delicious wine that will change the way you view the Priorat. Ariana Rolich
Priorat natives Sara Perez and Rene Barbier Jr. balance freshness with great complexity in all of their wines for Venus La Universal. Upon first sip of "La Solucio" rosé, we were hooked! A blend of red and white grapes from the Montsant -- Garnacha, Carignan, and Syrah, plus Macabeu, Garnacha Blanca, and Garnacha Gris -- are pressed all together, co-fermented, and aged for approximately 10 months in very old barrels before bottling. Pale, twinkling, rosy coppery peach in the glass, with orange peel, cherry, and watermelon; textured with tender tannins and lots of length, supporting sultry apricot, wild berries, bitter citrus, creamy florals, and salty mineral and earth tone. It will only get better with some age, so don't be afraid to stock up. Ariana Rolich
Zorzal takes the Graciano grape to new heights with this inexpensive but outrageously delicious 35-year-old, organically-farmed vines in Spain's Navarra region (Rioja's overlooked neighbor). This is a generous, crowd-pleasing, and thirst-quenching red on the fuller side of medium-bodied. It is pretty and perfumed, with flavors of juicy purple plum, ripe red raspberry, and dark cherry, violet flowers, soft funky earth, spearmint leaf, cinnamon spice, smooth tannins, rich texture, and just enough acidity. Unfined, unfiltered, and fermented with native yeasts. Ariana Rolich
Viña Zorzal offers some seriously delicious wines from old vines for very little money (as fans of their delightful red Graciano can attest). This one honors the traditional wine of the Navarra region - rosado of Garnacha. The 2016 is lighter and fresher than ever, while retaining traditional deep hue and Garnacha spice! Fragrant red currant, raspberry, and pink peppercorn aromas lead to crunchy cranberry and strawberry fruit flavors, with zesty pink grapefruit and tropical and herbal undertones on the finish. The label features a popcorn kernel pattern because Xabi Sanz of Zorzal recommends it as an accompaniment to popcorn and a movie. We look forward to giving that pairing a try! Ariana Rolich
Rufete is the fascinating red grape of Salamanca, found throughout the Duero/Douro basin in Spain and Portugal. Often blended with meatier grapes, its delicate, floral, essence is easy to obscure; it is highly expressive of terroir, however, and enjoying a surge of interest from winemakers who want to vinify Rufete on its own. Daniel Ramos is our go-to authority on the Sierra de Gredos, a true master of Grenache. When he mentioned that he made this 100% Rufete from a single vineyard of very old vines on decomposed granite sands at 890m altitude in Salamanca, I had to check it out! After several hours' drive west from Gredos toward the Portuguese border, we reached Sierra de Salamanca. Alternating between pastoral verdant terraces of decomposed granite sands and severe, swirling valleys of schist, with vines poking out of sheer rocky cliffs, this was yet another varied viticultural treasure of Castilla y Leon! El Maton is a graceful medium-bodied choice for Thanksgiving. Enticing aromas of spicy florals, ripe wild cherries, and berry skin funk are followed by deep flavors with racy but delicate acidity: red plum, raspberry, cranberry, clove, violet florals, savory umami, and bitter, salty earth. Now 5 years old, this wine is really starting to shine! Ariana Rolich
This is classic, natural cider from the Basque region of Spain! Plenty of tart citrus and apple flavors with a subtle earthiness are found on the nose and the palate, with a gentle salinity, sharp acidity, and a touch of effervescence. Serve chilled, but not cold, with the following instructions from the Zapiain website: “Once the cork has been removed, pour the cider from a certain, not excessive height of about 20 cm into a tumbler glass, and consume the cider poured into the glass in one go. The glass should be emptied. The cider should be either in the bottle or in our stomach, as the less time it remains in the glass, the better.” Tim Gagnon