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 a quintessential and exhilarating wine of terroir, one that we rarely experience in red wine. Ariana Rolich
Pepe Luis is a special wine made from several tiny parcels on the Atlantic coast of Rías Baixas, distinguished from the other Albamar Albariños in that it is fermented and raised for one year in neutral French oak. You will not taste any oak on this wine; barrel aging gives Albariño softer texture and rounder flavors of orchard fruit and golden apple, supplementing the familiar citrus oils and acidic mineral essence of the grape. Don't hesitate to experiment with pairing Pepe Luis with heartier seafood, sashimi, carpaccios, pork... Ariana Rolich
Xurxo’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 6 months spent on the fine lees. This is Albarino 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
Xurxo Alba makes some of the most interesting wines in Rías Baixas today. A descendant of a long line of Albariño growers, his instinct and respect for the grape shine through. His elegant, expressive cuvée from his family's Finca O Pereiro Vineyard stands out each year and transmits a sense of unique site. Pereiro's low-yielding Albariño vines were planted in 1984 on clay-heavy, sandy soils just 50 meters from the sea. Subtle aromas of chamomile, salty minerals, and graphite contrast with the steely, acidic palate of grapefruit, lemongrass and a hint of smoky mineral tone. Leaner and longer than ever, 2015 Finca O Pereiro is a supremely elegant and pure example of the Albariño grape. Ariana Rolich.
Elegant and focused compared to the unfettered flair of Tio Uco, Aciano is made from Alvar de Dios' grandfather's own-rooted vineyard of Tinta de Toro planted nearly 100 years ago on pure sandy soils at 700 meters altitude in El Pego, on the southern limit of the Toro DO. Deep brambly aromas with black currant, raspberry liqueur, almond cake, sweet pink florals, blueberry, balsam, blood orange, and cinnamon flow onto the palate of intense black currant, almond oil, savory tropical fruits like papaya and pomegranate, cherry bark, plum vinegar, bitter herbs, and long, lilting minerality. For its balance and beauty, I cannot recommend this wine highly enough. 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
Salmonido is tart, supple, and sultry rosado of Pinot Noir, from a 1 hectare vineyard on poor, stony soils in the Sierra Nevada foothills of Granada. Savory, oxidative, and acidic, with tension between red currant and sour cherry with softer strawberry and musky raspberry fruit, united in a peppy, mineral, smoky depth. Pear with smoked salmon or tuna steaks with roasted red peppers. Ariana Rolich
Saiar is a certified organic vineyard of Albariño grown on granitic soils. Fermented with wild yeasts in tank, with aromas of citrus zest, jasmine tea, and orange blossoms and a dry, focused, mineral-driven palate of lemon-lime, peach skins, white flowers, papaya, and a hint of anise. A classic with oysters and a stellar apéritif! Ariana Rolich
The vineyards around the town of San Martin de Valdeiglesias (the eastern edge of the Gredos Mountains, just west of Madrid) boast very old Garnacha and Albillo vines in granitic sandy soils, interspersed with intensely fragrant lavender, thyme, and exotic local wild flowers that smell like curry, peaches, and honey. Bernabeleva's Camino de Navaherreros is a fresh and perfumed Garnacha from a blend of organically farmed vineyards at 500-1000 meters. Clear and floral, much lighter on the palate than the alcohol suggests, with vivacious acidity, substantial tannins, and flavors of bold raspberry and blueberry fruit, rosey florals, rosemary and mint with telltale granitic length and minerality. What a wine! 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.
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
Champagne Method Blanc de Noirs made of 100% Sumoll from a biodynamically-farmed single vineyard planted in the 1930s in the Garraf National Park, with more sandy calcareous soils compared to the Gentlemant Pet Nat, which has more clay. 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
With nearly 30 years of experience making sparkling wines, Manel Avinyó is an undisputed master of the craft. And yet he continues to present novel and surprising bubbly from his single vineyards of biodynamically farmed Malvasia de Sitges, Carignan, Xarello, Sumoll, and more. Gentlemant is a Petillant Naturel from a Sumoll vineyard planted in the 1930s on calcareous and clay soils in the the Garraf National Park, just south of Barcelona near the beach town of Sitges. Pale blood orange in color, with funky red berry aromas and cool, inviting froth. Dry and savory on the palate, with tart red currant and apple skins, hints of hibiscus and cayenne, tangy tangerine, gentle Alpine strawberries, and mineral earth. No added sulphur, as always. Cheers to Gentlemant! Ariana Rolich
It is impossible not to be seduced by the aromas and clarity of Garnacha wines from the Sierra de Gredos, a majestic mountain range west of Madrid. Comando G is the dynamic duo of Dani Landi and Fernando Garcia (Maranones), who have risen to fame for securing some of the most nail-bitingly high and remote Garnacha vineyards in the world and vinifying them into some of the most extreme and beautiful Garnacha wines we have had. Rozas Primer is made from several old vineyards around the town of Rozas de Puerto Real in the Valle del Tietar, planted on granitic sandy soil at 900m altitude. Aromas are heady with perfumed berry sap, purple/blue florals, hints of licorice and savory earth. The wild fragrance gains focused on the palate, which is powerful but lithe, a balanced rush of Garnacha fruit and Gredos garrigue: ripe raspberry, lavender, licorice, oregano, and saturated mineral length. A lunch of rich but delicate roasted lamb brought out this wine's tension between power and elegance, which is quintessential Gredos experience! Ariana Rolich
In the Gredos it is said that Garnacha is of the sky and Albillo is of the earth. Daniel Ramos' Viento Zephyros highlights the earthy, rock-driven side of Albillo Real, fermented in stainless stell and blended with 20% Sauvignon Blanc from dry-farmed, head-trained vines planted in decomposed granite sands atop the village of Cebreros (Sierra de Gredos, Avila province). Inviting, golden aromas of apricot and honey, with flavors of earthy chestnuts, dried apricot, wild flower honey, and soil. A soulful white pairing for cheeses, poultry, game, and fish in sauce. 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
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
Ester Nin and Carles Ortiz combine rigorous biodynamic farming, prime terroir in Porrera (one of the two coolest villages in the Priorat), and an oddity - Cargnan Blanc - to achieve this eleagant outlier among Priorat whites. Unusually lithe, clear, and cool-tempered relative to the big, sometimes boozy whites of the region, with heady aromas of wild herbs, lemon balm, mustard flower, kefir lime, citrus peels, and white pepper. The palate is supple, long, and mineral, one of the most restrained and pretty Priorat whites to date, displaying delicate tropical and tree fruits with bitter piths, mineral earth, and sea salts. Pair with rich seafood and herbed poultry. Ariana Rolich
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 and fermented with native yeasts! Ariana Rolich
Goyo Garcia summons the power and elegance of old-fashioned Ribera del Duero. Finca el Peruco is a vineyard of Tinto Fino and Albillo Mayor planted on chalky, calcareous and clay soils at 1000m altitude. After 3 years in old barrels and one year in bottle, this wine is luscious and open, displaying sumptuous, soft leather, deep purple fruits, and sweet tarragon leaves on the nose, with flavors of tart plum, ripe black fruits, soy umami, and a long earthy finish. Roasted lamb and Sunday roasts are the best way to showcase this seethingly beautiful Duero. No added sulphur. Ariana Rolich
In addition to rapturous Ribera del Duero wines, Goyo Garcia Viadero make s a small amount of wine from his mother's home region of Cantabria. 70% Mencia and 30% Palomino from old vines planted in broken black slate soils, co-fermented in stainless steel and raised in neutral oak for 26 months, Cobero Tinto is lithe and mineral, delicious with braised meat and game or salty pork and cheeses. Ariana Rolich
Graciano in the Ribera del Duero? Goyo thinks it was planted by accident, after the farmer received Graciano cuttings instead of Tinto Fino. We're all for a happy accident if it leads to a wine this delicious! From 35 year old vines planted on red sands with river stones at 850 meters. A dense and vivid blue/purple hue in the glass, full and fun on the palate with deep, driving acid buffered by ripples of floral black and purple berries, salty plum, black pepper, and purple florals. Cellar with abandon or drink now with venison or lamb. Ariana Rolich
Tenerife native Borja Pérez González comes from a long line of winemakers. Under his own label, Ignios Origenes, he is leading the young generation of Canary Island winemakers with fresh, nuanced and unique wines in the region. His reds have developed a great fan base here at Chambers Street, so we are pleased to welcome his white wine back to the shelf! Made from 100% Marmajuelo (one of only two grapes that cannot be traced to any varieties outside of the Canaries), this exotic white offers contrast between silken tropical aromas of pineapple, aloe, lemon curd, and banana leaf with lip-smacking acidity and salinity on the palate of crisp stone fruit, with rich minerality, almond notes, a shake of white pepper, and bitter volcanic earth lacing the long, minerally finish. Ariana Rolich
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 familyy 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.
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
We don't see much Grenache from the Duero. Neither does Alfredo Maestro! He painstakingly identifies and plucks Garnacha grapes from amidst his dozens of tiny vineyards, most of which are planted to the local Tempranillo with multiple other varieties like Ganrnacha Tintorera, Bobal, Albillo Mayor, Dona Blanca, Moscatel, and more. Alfredo harvests his diverse plantings 3 times: First, for Albillo and Garnacha Tintorera; 2nd, for Tempranillo; and 3rd, for Garnacha. Our favorite Garnachas display aerial and mineral dimensions that create a bond between sky and soil in our glasses, mouths, and minds. This wine is serene and sylvan, with aromas of purple and black berries, graphite, forest floor, and salty black licorice that open into a delicious palate of tart black currants, brambly, bursting wild blueberries and blueberry stems, black cherries and woody cherry pits, wild herbs and flowers, sasaparilla, bitter chocolate, and gunmetal on the end, with breathtaking clarity, fresh and juicy acidity, and a tear-jerking level of quality and pleasure. Pair with venison and mulberries, cookouts, and cheese plates. Ariana Rolich
There is a powerful vibration inherent to Amanda Rosado, which is felt by just about everyone who tastes it. The moment I laid eyes upon the organically-farmed, 60-year-old vines of Garnacha Tintorera on an isolated parcel of chunky limestone soils, perched high above the Valle de Botijas at 850m altitude in Segovia, I understood why! Garnacha Tintorera is a deeply pigmented and wildly acidic grape, therefore ideal for rosado. Aromas of spicy, rose florals and strawberry-rhubarb are followed by a bolt of bright acidity on the palate, with tart red and black raspberries, wild strawberry, crunchy salt, and rocky minerality. A thoroughly exciting aperitif, also delicious with grilled fish or squid, tacos, and spicy food. Ariana Rolich
The 2015 vintage of Alfredo Maestro's Almate might be the most delicious yet! 100% Tinto Fino (Tempranillo), organically farmed, primarily from high altitude vineyards in Valtiendas, near Maestro's home town of Peñafiel (the heart of the Ribera del Duero). Fermented with whole clusters in stainless steel, bottled with no SO2 additions whatsoever; aromas of wild berries, plum, bramble, and herbs open up into sweet and spicy black licorice, and blackberry sap. Juicy, jubilant wild cherry and red berry flesh fill the mouth, with bursting acidity, ripe and rustic tannins, dark earth and tobacco notes, and a very long finish. Outrageously good and unusually complex at this price point, Almate is a perfect pairing with lamb. 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
Combate Pink is an addictive, fuschia-hued, 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 winter sipping and an inspired pairing for any cured or smoked pork products, dark poultry, Chinese fare, roasted winter squashes, cheeses, and fruity or chocolatey desserts. One barrel produced. Ariana Rolich
Albillo Real is the great white grape of the Sierra de Gredos mountain range, west of Madrid. Floral and big-boned, with moderate acidity, Albillo is often compared to Rhone whites like Viognier or Marsanne. The comparison is useful, since lovers of Rhone whites will also enjoy Albillo. In most cases, however, Albillo is more aromatic than Marsanne or Roussanne, the fruit and florals and less cloying than Viognier's, with intense earth and mineral expression across terroirs. On to Combate! Guillermo and Carlos, the team behind Maldivinas, harvest their Albillo in mid-August, from 60 year-old vines on granitic sandy soils at 650m in San Martín de Valdeiglesias. A pale, brothy gold in the glass, with subtle, minerally aromas and a cool, stony palate of spicy pear, peach skins, invigorating citrus rinds, tingly ginger, honey, bitter herbs, and crunchy, salty, mineral length, redolent of granitic terroir. A special white wine to build a meal around, Combate Albillo is perfect for fish, poultry, pork, seafood, and goat cheeses. One barrel produced. Ariana Rolich
Victoria Torres farms two hectares of vines in Fuencaliente at 800m altitude in the south of La Palma, the dramatically steep, western-most Canary island where her family has tended vines for 5 generations. The nearby Volcán St. Antonio erupted in 1677, which coated the south side of the island with black ash rock and gave way to a unique form of viticulture. Diego is a productive local variety that does not always result in wines of distinction, but in Victoria's hands it is as ravishing and subtle as the Canary Islands' best whites. Some maceration on the skins contributes texture and enhances the ashy Canarian mineral tone. Crunchy mineral aromas, with lime zest, white pepper, and peach blossom; the palate has breadth and viscosity that is balanced by brisk acidity with musky tropical fruit (papaya, banana leaf), tea leaves, and mineral salt, wound together with tendrils of grey ashy smoke and wafts of brine. Ariana Rolich
Prior to 1981, Rioja producers were not required to designate vintages for Reserva and Crianza bottlings. "5° Año" indicates that the wine was aged for 5 years. Thus, as far as we can tell, this wine is from 1975 or earlier and may be a blend of vintages.
Alberto Nanclares combines fruit from a number of vineyard sites for this cuvee, with vines averaging 30-40 years old and planted in a variety of exposures and soil types (sandy loam, alluvial, decomposed granite). Restrained aromas of lime seed and salty air are followed by a rush of racy Albarino acidity, with sheer, minimal lime, notes of tingly ginger and cardamom spice, opening over several hours to reveal more fruit: lemon, stone fruit, and tangy pineapple, along with hints of beeswax and honey (not sweet). Fermented with native yeasts and raised in stainless steel for 9 months with weekly batonnage before moving to used 500L French barrels until bottling. Ariana Rolich
From 30-year-old, west-facing vines of Albarino on granitic sandy loam, Paraje Mina is savory and pure, fiercely mineral, intensely acidic and clearly age-worthy with flavors of grapefruit, white and yellow flowers, and persistant length. Fermented with native yeasts and raised for 9 months in 500L used French barrels with weekly batonnage. Only 603 bottles were produced (we received six). Snag one for your cellar and send us a report when you drink it! Ariana Rolich
An exotic, botanical expression of Albarino, from 35-year-old vines in Manzaniña vineyard, southwest-facing on sandy loams of granite and clay. Fermented with native yeasts in 2000L used French oak barrels and raised for 10 months with weekly batonnage. Aromas of savory green herbs, heather, and moss waft from the glass; the palate is powerful, broad, and long, with ripping acidity cushioned by slightly plusher fruit - apricot, lime, and tangerine flesh -with orange blossom honey, bee pollen, sweetly smoky peat, and sea salt. An Atlantic sort of garrigue... Delicious paired with roasted or smoked fish with plenty of herbs and lemon. Ariana Rolich
An eye-opening blend of 70% Pansa Blanca and 30% Pansa Rosada from 75-year-old vines planted on on the granitic "sauló" soils of Alella, north of Barcelona, just one kilometer from the coast. Intense, exotic aromas of coriander, white flowers, aloe, and mint float from the glass, followed by a bold, mineral bolt on the broad, textured palate, with refreshing notes of citrus, sea brine, Asian pear, fruit blossom florals, and salty, savory earth. We are occasionally asked the difference between wines from old vines and wines from young vines. Concentrated, mouth-filling, multi-dimensional, yet defiantly weightless, Peça d'en Blanch demonstrates the difference in every sip. Ariana Rolich
Before joining forces with Rubén Díaz to start RuBor, Orly Lumbreras was making wine solo in some of the Sierra de Gredos' most extreme and awe-inspiring vineyards on granitic soils around the austere mountain town of Navarredondilla. He is still producing Punto G, which was his first wine, made from 70 year-old Garnacha at 1,100 meters altitude, fermented with whole clusters with native yeasts, and raised in used French oak for six months. Fuller, more dense and brawny than Groove, with many years of life ahead, Punto G displays luscious dark cherries, ripe berry skins, and savory black currant fruit, full of rich earth, dried oregano, and notes of sweet spice. The complexity of this wine builds with hours and days of air. Yearning for stewed lamb or grilled steak on a cold night is activated! Ariana Rolich
A straightforward and honest expression of old vine Tempranillo from the insuppressible and delightful young winemaker Germán Blanco. Despite the intense heat of 2015, Quinta Milú's “house wine” is fresh, lively, and beautifully composed with notes of warm, dark fruit, violets, black pepper, silty minerality, and a hint of pumpernickel. Robust and solid with a firm yet fluid tannic structure from aging in a combination of used French and American barrels, this utterly quaffable wine works equally well paired with a meal, or as a meal unto itself. Sydney Snyder
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 aperitifs, charcuterie, fish and seafood of all kinds. 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
Olivier Riviere, a Frenchman in Spain, makes clear and elegant Rioja wines from organic and biodynamically farmed fruit, Jequitiba is his white Rioja, composed of Viura, Malvasia, and Garnacha Blanca from 35-70 year old vines. Taut and silky, with Burgundian flare (Riviere studied biodynamics at Domaine Leroy before moving to Spain), subtle aromas of green apple blossom and cut green herbs, and flavors of tart, creamy citrus, tree fruit, and cool mint. I pine for a glass of this wine with a simple yet luxurious meal of Blue Moon's flounder a la meunière, prepared with butter, lemon, capers, and parsley. Ariana Rolich.
Orly Lumbreras of RuBor 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 RuBor partnership. 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 high, 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
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. Arriving just in time to become our new favorite winter white, this bottle 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
RuBor's specialty is single vineyard wines from the Sierra de Gredos, where the idea of "vinos de parcela" takes on added importance because the same grape - old-vine Garnacha - reveals such complex and vivid layers of flavor among wines from individual parcels that the concept of terroir begins to feel too incomplete for explaining them. Mystery is alive! Protocolo Zero is Rubén and Orly's first wine from a blend of vineyards: an exuberant and supple Garnacha, exotic and aromatic, with heady scents 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 omnipresent Gredos acidity is an integral foil for this extravagantly delicious and affordable wine. Ariana Rolich
A fresh and pretty entrée 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, fresh and expressive, with subtle stone fruit, white grapefruit pith, orange blossom, beeswax, and crunchy minerals with a tickle of tannin. An irresistable choice for adventurous aperitifs and fresh seafood! Steam Captain Alex's mussels open with some light beer, shallots, and white peppercorns, toss with a handful of fresh parsley (or microgreens from Lani's Farm!), and crack open a bottle of Chass! Ariana Rolich
It is hard to overstate how awesome Sara Perez and Rene Barbier Jr. are at making rosé! We fell in love with their "clarete" for Venus La Universal, a blend of red and white grapes from the Montsant, co-fermented and aged in very old barrels. Now we have the pleasure of receiving their first rosé from the Priorat - Partida Pedrer Rosat. These are rosé wines to dine with and dream about, with ample depth and elegance to negate any concerns about 14% alcohol rosé. An unusual blend of Garnacha and Monastrell from a single vineyard, fermented for 6 months and aged in 10+ year-old barrels for 9 months. Aromas of watermelon, choke cherries, cinnamon, slate, and rose petals wash onto the palate of raspberry and dark, wild herbs, spicy rose, and soft, rosey cherry. Never has a big rose from a hot region tasted so long, mineral, and cooling. I would love this wine with a curried fish dish or spicy seafood stew. Hearty steamed clams with chorizo, chard, and pink peppercorns is a favorite Saturday dinner in my house as well, with fresh clams from Captain Alex's stand at the TriBeCa Greenmarket. Sara i Rene's rosés would shine with that as well. Ariana Rolich
Suriol's bone-dry, certified organic Cava displays complex scents of herbs and honey, green apple, crystallized ginger, orange spice, vanilla bean, and white flowers, carrying through to a bright, tangy,palate of Asian pear, apricots, celery, and marzipan, with a tingle of ginger. Zero dosage and taut, more racy acidity than previous vintages make for a fresh and dry but terrifically substantial and sophisticated wine in the $15-20 price range. We all love Cava as an aperitif, but Suriol's is a flavorful and similarly terroir-assertive match for local fish simply grilled as well as briny, earthy crustaceans. Bravo to Assis Suriol and his family's exemplary vineyard work! Ariana Rolich
Agustín García Farrais is the third generation grower and meticulous force behind Tajinaste, located on the Canary Island of Tenerife in the highlands of the DO Valle de La Orotava. For his rosado, Agustín uses Listán Negro grown at 600m. The elevation along with the constant Atlantic trade winds help to amplify freshness. The 2015 rosado is a stand out at an incredibly good value. Tantalizing aromas of tart blackberries, red cherries and ashy minerals leap from the glass and lead to persistent flavors of lush strawberries, crisp rhubarb and textured with flinty minerals. This rose drinks like a light red and would make an excellent match for flavorful grilled or smoked fish from Blue Moon. Amanda Bowman
60% Tempranillo and 40% Viura, from 65 year old vines grown in clay and gravel soil, this is, relatively speaking, the most easy going of Tentenublo’s single vineyard expressions. Aged in new Burgundy barrels, with the Tempranillo grapes destemmed, the wine is supple and fresh in feel with notes of tangy grapefruit, roses, red berries, chocolate and coffee. Positioned at 450 meters in altitude, the Las Guillermas vineyard is greatly influenced by the Mediterranean which promotes a softer, gentler microclimate, the effects of which are definitely apparent in the wine. Sydney Snyder
A delicious and complex wine, surprising for fans of either Priorat or rose wine, from Dominik Huber of Terroir al Limit, who continues to defy expectations with bold, unique, yet relatively light wines from this sun-baked Catalan region, 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) Roc d'Aubaga is a beautiful winter rose, shining on the holiday alongside duck appetizers, shrimp cocktail, or roasted 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
Balance, purity, and affordability combine in Vega de Tera's organically farmed Verdejo, the great white grape of Spain's Rueda region. Heady aromas of yellow flowers, stone fruit, white pepper, and green herbs, followed by refreshing flavors of crisp apricot, orange oil, lemonade, florals, and a hint of salt. There is earthy, mineral depth and definition in Vega de Tera that is rarely found in Verdejo under $15 (it's also fermented with native yeasts - another rarity for Verdejo in this price range!). I'd love to serve this wine with seared mackerel, garnished with vegetable sprouts and lemon, served over jade rice with Verdejo pan sauce. Ariana Rolich
Priorat natives Sara Perez and Rene Barbier Jr. balance freshness with great complexity in all of their wines for Venus La Universal, which are made from Montsant fruit. Upon first sip of the inaugural vintage of "La Solucio" rose, we were hooked! Now the 2014 vintage has arrived, a blend of red and white grapes -- Garnacha, Carignan, and Syrah, plus Macabeu, Garnacha Blanca, and Garnacha Gris -- pressed all together, co-fermented, and aged for approximately 10 months in very old barrels before bottling. Pale, twinkling, rosy copper in the glass, with peach, orange peel, musk melon, blood orange,and peppercorn aromas; texturally stimulating, with tender tannins and lots of length, supporting sultry apricot, just-ripening wild berries, bitter citrus rinds, creamy florals, and lingering, 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 and well-made red from 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