93/100 Punkte Falstaff Mai 2018 Altersgerecht verschlossene Frucht, Kirsche, passend (dezent) holzbeeinflusst, weicher Auftakt, mollige Gaumenmitte mit viskos eingebetetem, kräftigem Tannin, Kalk-mineralisch, kompletter und ganz und gar ungekünstelter Wein mit ausgezeichneter Entwicklungsperspektive.
92/100 Punkte Wine Spectator, November 30, 2017 Firm and balanced, this red has a sleek texture, with restrained but harmonious flavors of black cherry, licorice, mineral and smoke. Well-integrated tannins impart backbone, while balsamic acidity keeps this fresh. Drink now through 2025.
92/100 Punkte James Suckling, July 2017 Lots of blackberries and blueberries and mineral undertones. Some touches of grape skin. Medium to full body, chewy tannins and flavorful finish. Needs a year or two to soften. Drink in 2019.
93/100 Punkte Robert Parker August 2019 The most approachable of the reds is the young 2018 Les Crestes, produced with fruit from their younger vines. The fact that this is mostly Garnacha also adds to the (relative) lightness and drinkability in a cool-ish year like 2018, and it has more red fruit and fantastic freshness, with fine tannins and very integrated oak. It was bottled in June 2019 after eight months in French oak barrels.
91/100 Punkte Wine Spectator October 2019 This red is dense yet plush, with blackberry and espresso flavors, accented by licorice, wild herb and mineral notes. Well-integrated tannins and balsamic acidity keep this focused. Harmonious, in a savory style. Garnacha, Merlot, Cariñena, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. Drink now through 2027.
91/100 Punkte Robert Parker Dec 2019 The second wine in the price hierarchy is the 2017 Almirez, produced with vines aged 10 to 35 years old from their 72 hectares of vineyards in the villages of Valdefinjas and Toro. It fermented in stainless steel and matured in French oak barrels, 30% of them new, the rest second use, for 14 months. 2017 is one of the driest years with one of the earliest harvests ever, but surprisingly enough, the wines feel lighter, fresh and aromatic, expressive and open and do not show any heat. Furthermore, it feels like a fresher year in the sense that the wine integrates the oak quite well. The change here, as Marcos Eguren explained, has been in the toast of the barrels, something they started in 2015; they have lighter toasts, from a long and slow toasting of the oak, and the barrel respects the fruit a lot more. Fine-tuning continues...
93/100 Punkte James Suckling July 2019 This has a deep and dark center palate of ripe yet fresh fruit and lots of spices and smoked meat. Medium to full body. Polished and chewy tannins. Yet focused and vivid. Needs two or three years of bottle age. But all there. Try after 2021.
92/100 Punkte Vinous April 2019 Opaque ruby. Oak-spiced black/blue fruit scents are complemented by suggestions of candied licorice and mocha. Concentrated and seamless on the palate, offering plush blueberry, cherry-cola and fruitcake flavors that are underscored by a building peppery nuance. Finishes smooth and broad, with harmonious tannins, a hint of smokiness and strong, dark fruit-driven persistence.
93/100 Punkte James Suckling July 2019 Impressive blueberry and flinty, graphite-like aromas here with ripe plums, too. The palate has a super smooth, sleek and deliciously juicy feel, delivering plenty of ripe yet fresh blue-fruit flavor. Fine, long tannins. Drink or hold.
92/100 Punkte Robert Parker June 2019 A varietal Garnacha from Riva de Tereso, the 2017 La Dula comes from a small 80-year-old plot planted in 1944, so production is extremely low. It's bottled unoaked and matured in amphorae to see what the pure grape delivers. It's fruit-driven and shows some ripeness from a warm and dry year. This tends to have very high acidity, so the grapes are picked late to achieve good ripeness. It fermented in tinaja (amphorae), where it's kept for a few months and then is bottled early. There are perfumed notes, and something herbal/wild that I like. The palate reveals fine-grained tannins and clean flavors. Only 670 bottles produced. It was bottled in November 2018.
93/100 Punkte Vinous Feb 2019 Brilliant ruby-red. An exotically perfumed, expansive bouquet evokes ripe red and blue fruits, cherry liqueur, vanilla and pipe tobacco, energized by a smoky mineral overtone. Sweet and seamless on the palate, offering sweet, concentrated boysenberry, spicecake and mocha flavors that are given spine and lift by a core of juicy acidity. Rich yet energetic in style, displaying excellent finishing clarity, harmonious tannins and a lingering licorice note.
94/100 Punkte Robert Parker Aug 2016 The Pujanza 2013 Norte is Tempranillo cropped from the Finca Norte vineyard. It's really called San Román, but they couldn't use that name; the nickname people apply to it is north, because of the strong north winds that make it very healthy and somehow cool. It's a 2.7-hectare plot on clay and limestone soils, where the limestone mother rock is at some 50 centimeters from the surface. The vineyard is north-facing and located at an altitude of 720 meters. Fermentation was in stainless steel with indigenous yeasts, the same as malolactic. There are notes of beef blood intermixed with wild red acid berries and flowers, with good freshness. The upbringing was 14 months in French barriques. The palate is extremely fresh, but combining high acidity with incredible power. There is less difference in the vintages in this Norte than in the Finca Valdepoleo, here it feels like the vineyard-besides being smaller-is more consistent. The character of the p
93/100 Punkte Robert Parker June 2019 The single-vineyard red 2016 Camino de Santa Cruz is a wine she wanted to call Rivas de Tereso, but she was not allowed, so she named it after the plot where the grapes grow. It's an aromatic red with intense aromas of violets and the hallmark signature of 2016, and has a surplus of minerality because of the high limestone content of the soils, with some Mediterranean undertones. With time in the glass, it reveals some classical Rioja notes of forest floor, truffle and mushrooms. It fermented in 300-liter amphorae and matured in well-seasoned, neutral 500-liter oak barrels for 12 months. The medium-bodied palate is elegant, and the tannins are round and make it very pleasant and approachable.
91/100 Punkte Robert Parker June 2019 There is a new red from the village of Villabuena de Álava, a warmer place that tends to deliver more Mediterranean wines than the cooler Rivas de Tereso, and the wines are gentler and rounder, with a touch of aromatic herbs. The 2016 Raposo is the first vintage produced from some old plots planted with old vines, Tempranillo with intense flavors (the old vines have other grapes, but they represent a very small percentage) fermented with indigenous yeasts and matured in 3,000-liter oak vats for some 12 months.
92/100 Punkte Vinous Feb 2019 (raised in large, used French oak barrels) Deep, lurid ruby color. An expansive, highly perfumed bouquet evokes ripe red fruits, baking spices, tobacco and potpourri and smoky minerals, with a hint of licorice in the background. Sweet, seamless and penetrating on the palate, offering concentrated raspberry, cherry-cola and spicecake flavors that are underscored by a vein of juicy acidity. Smooth, even tannins build slowly on the impressively long finish, which strongly echoes the red fruit and floral notes.
93/100 Punkte James Suckling August 2018 Plenty of spicy saffron and clove aromas hover over ripe red plums and mulberries. The palate has nice fruit-focus and depth with good tannin-weight and detail. Drink or hold.
92+/100 Punkte Robert Parker Feb 2018 The red 2015 Rivas de Tereso will be the last vintage with that name (the name of the village where the majority of vineyards are located). It will be called Camino de Santa Cruz from the 2016 vintage onward. This was the first vineyard-designated wine, from very shallow soils at high altitude. It fermented in amphorae to preserve freshness and then aged in 500-liter oak barrels for one year. There is good ripeness of fruit with an earthy and mineral touch plus aromas of herbs and wild flowers, a medium-bodied palate with dusty, chalky tannins and a very tasty finish.
93/100 Punkte James Suckling July 2017 Assertive and convincing style with black fruit aromas and flavors in a very slick, layered and flavoursome palate. Very impressive balance and depth. Long, smooth tannins with peppery edges. Powerful and delicious. Best from 2020.
94/100 Punkte Robert Parker December 2018 The 2014 El Terroir has a little more depth and complexity than the previous year, even if both vintages were cold and rainy, but this 2014 seems to have more complexity, depth and nuance. It's medium bodied with fine-grained tannins and has very good balance. This cuvée seems to be improving vintage after vintage, they keep working their same vineyards, they keep improving their knowledge, and they are more experienced. The barrels are older and the integration is better. This is earthier and a little wilder than La Dama.
94/100 Punkte Robert Parker, Feb 2019 The 2015 Lacima is really impressive. It's a serious, balsamic and reticent red with a faithful expression of rocks through its blend of 70% Mencía with 20% Brancellao and 5% each Mouratón and Sousón. The grapes were very healthy, and the crop was quite small and concentrated. It fermented with natural yeasts in open-top 500-liter French oak vats and had a long élevage of 17 months in used barriques followed by no less than 14 months in bottle before it was released. It combines power with elegance, and it has concentration and nuance and feels quite young and lively. It's tasty, clean and long, and it seems to have good balance and all that is needed for a long and positive development in bottle. This has to be one of the finest vintages of Lacima so far.
94+/100 Punkte Robert Parker June 2019 The 2015 San Vicente was produced with 18 hectares of Tempranillo Peludo, a particular strain of Tempranillo planted from a massal selection in 1985 in the village of San Vicente de la Sonsierra. The destemmed grapes fermented in French oak vats, and the wine matured in new oak barrels (90% French, 10% American) for 20 months. This really reminds me of the initial vintages of this wine, 1991 and 1994, but with the wisdom of the older vines, it feels very integrated and compact, in line with the 2005. It's a serious and balanced wine that's harmonious and has incipient complexity, with aromatic herbs and spices and a mixture of red and black fruit. It's elegant and medium-bodied, with fine-grained tannins, good grip and a remarkable finish. This has oak, but it feels quite integrated. It has the stuffing and balance to develop nicely in bottle. 2015 is behaving much better than expected.
94/100 Punkte Vinous Feb 2019 (raised in 90% French and 10% American oak barrels, all new, for two years) Youthful violet color. A highly perfumed bouquet evokes oak-spiced dark berries, potpourri, vanilla and incense, along with a smoky mineral overtone. Sappy, plush and seamless on the palate, offering deeply concentrated raspberry, boysenberry and spicecake flavors that deepen steadily on the back half. The impressively long, spice-tinged finish displays sneaky tannins, outstanding clarity and an echo of candied rose.