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 Wine Spectator Mar 31, 2018 Mountain herb and loamy earth notes frame the core of black cherry, espresso and mineral flavors in this focused red. The texture is plush yet fresh, with tangerine acidity and light, firm tannins. Carignan and Garnacha. Drink now through 2025.
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.
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
94/100 Punkte Robert Parker December 2018 It felt like the 2015 El Terroir was more austere than the 2014, even if the year was more generous, especially on the palate, where the wine shows strong minerality. It's more telluric than 2014, a slightly darker shade of blue, and it opens up with time in the glass. This wine has achieved a very good level, with a rare combination of power and elegance, especially in this 2015. 26,315 bottles were filled in May 2017.
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.
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 August 2019 They didn't produce this wine in 2010, so I tasted the 2011 Serral del Vell from a warm and dry year, which is reflected in the wine. It is slightly more evolved and a little more oxidative, with diesel-like and camphor aromas, keeping the verticality, austerity and minerality typical of this vineyard. It has great complexity and pungent flavors and a long, mineral finish. 15,000 bottles produced.
92+/100 Punkte Robert Parker August 31, 2017 The grapes from the older vineyards are selected to produce the red cuvée 2013 Lacima, which is from different vineyards and with a breakdown of approximately 75% Mencía, 20% Brancellao, 3% Mouratón and 2% Sousón. It fermented in open top 500-liter French oak barrels with indigenous yeasts and punching down of the cap and then was transferred to 300-liter barriques for malolactic and 16 months aging. The élevage was completed with a further five months in one 3,500-liter oak vat. It felt riper and oakier than the Lalama#a constant across vintages#with spices, toast and smoke intermixed with darker cherry flavors. The palate is medium-bodied, with more weight and denser, keeping its poise and balance, with some dusty tannins and oak-related flavors in the finish. It might need some more time in bottle to better integrate the effect of the élevage. 4,600 bottles produced. It's been in bottle since 2015.
18.5 Punkte Vinum Mai 2017 Hierfür wurden 50 bis 100 Jahre alte Mencia-Stücke von sandigem Boden mit einem Zehntel Brancellao assembliert. Duftet sehr intensiv nach frischen Erd- und Himbeeren, Gewürzen und Tabak. Köstliche Frucht am Gaumen, komplex, mineralisch, sehr lang und elegant. 2017 bis 2033.
93/100 Punkte Vinous Nov 2015 Dark ruby. Deeply pitched, smoke-accented dark berry, floral pastille, cured meat and vanilla aromas are lifted by a spicy nuance. Sweet and expansive on the palate, offering intense blackberry and cherry compote flavors plus suggestions of cola and mocha. Dusty tannins build through a very long, spicy, lavender-tinged finish. Aged in all-new French and American oak.
93/100 Punkte Robert Parker Feb 2017 The 2014 Victorino was also bottled and ready for tasting. 2014 was harvested earlier than 2013, it was more of a 'normal' year and the gapes were picked between September 12th and 29th, with slightly higher yields at 16.5 hectoliters per hectare. The aging was shortened to 18 months, still in 100% new French oak barrels, where the wine also went through malolactic fermentation and was racked every four months. They also consider 2014 a cool vintage for the region, but clearly a tad riper than 2013. The fruit gravitates a little towards black fruit, quite spectacular and focused, with nicely integrated spices from the élevage. The palate is medium to full-bodied with fine-grained tannins, perhaps coated by glossier fruit that give it a little more volume. This is accessible already, but should improve in bottle.
92/100 Punkte Robert Parker June 2019 The 2016 El Espinal is a Maturana Tinta produced in a joint venture with Miguel Ángel Mato, who owns the vineyard in San Vicente de a Sonsierra and works with his horse for others like the Eguren family and Benjamín Romeo. This is the first vintage of this unusual wine made from vines regrafted from Garnacha to Maturana Tinta. I also tasted the 2017 next to this 2016 from a higher-yielding year; the wine had a shorter élevage (12 months in barrel), as the wine is a bit lighter. They didn't really want the green pepper the variety can easily deliver and waited a bit longer to pick the grapes and get aromas of white pepper, bay leaf and licorice, and this has less herbal notes than the 2017. It mixes some dark cherries with those varietal notes. This is drinking nicely today and might not be as long lived as the 2017.
93/100 Punkte Robert Parker June 2019 One of two new single-vineyard reds, the 2017 El Espinal comes from a plot in San Vicente de la Sonsierra at 650 meters in altitude, on sandy soils with clay and limestone surrounded by pine trees. The particularity here is that Maturana Tinta (a.k.a. Castests, a relative of Carmenere) was regrafted on Garnacha some 25 years ago, and this is a varietal Maturana, which is quite rare. It fermented in 225-liter barrels and matured in 600-liter barrels for 15 months. There is more concentration and more of everything, including the peppery and herbal aromas, and a pungent note of freshly cracked back peppercorn on the palate. It's a more powerful and long-lived year, and it's impossible to guess as Rioja because the profile is completely Atlantic and would fool almost everybody in a blind tasting. So, it's not for you if you hate the herbal character of the Bordeaux wines. 1,200 bottles were filled in March 2019.
92/100 Punkte Robert Parker August 2016 The eponymous 2014 Exopto has an unusual blend, as it's mostly Graciano with 30% Tempranillo and 10% Garnacha. Sometimes Graciano does not ripen properly in cool vintages, so this cuvée was not produced in 2013. In 2014 they did a green harvest and lowered the yields to ensure proper ripening, even in a late and cooler vintage. It fermented in 1,500-liter oak vats with malolactic in barrel the following spring. The upbringing was in 50% new French oak barrels and lasted 18 months, the first six of which with the fine lees, which were not stirred. They managed a good ripening, harvesting quite late into early October. This wine mixes grapes from the warmer and cooler zones of Rioja, so it mixes the characters with focus in the Graciano. It is balsamic and aromatic, with aromas of peppercorns and a core of black fruit. The palate is serious, with depth and silkiness, as well as polished tannins; it is ready for a long life ahead. It could be d
93/100 Punkte Robert Parker Feb 2018 The eponymous red 2015 Exopto is an atypical blend of 70% Graciano from the south, a grape that can keep very good acidity and ripens nicely in warmer vintages (like 2015) and 30% Tempranillo from old vines. In previous vintages, the wine had less Graciano and some 10% Garnacha, but they didn't like what the Garnacha did to the blend in 2015, so they left it out for the first time ever. It fermented in 1,500-liter oak vats with indigenous yeasts, daily pigéage and malolactic in barrel in the spring. The wine matured in 225- and 500-liter oak casks, and they have reduced the new oak to some 30%. Even though they have reduced the new oak and gone for larger volumes, it's still a little marked by the oak and might need some more time in bottle to finish integrating, because there is very nice stuffing here. It has very healthy acidity that should help it develop nicely in bottle. This is elegant and open, less stressed by tannins, within the power
92/100 Punkte Parker May 2011 The 2008 Trossos Tros Blanc displays a similar aromatic and flavor profile but with slightly less concentration and length than the 2009. It will pair very well with rich fish and white meat courses.