93+/100 Punkte Robert Parker Dec 2019 I also tasted the 2017 Victorino, from a year that was very different from the warm and dry 2017, as 2016 was cold and wet and saw a very late and slow picking because of the slow and late ripening of the fruit. Fermentation and élevage were the same (20 months in 100% new oak), so the differences are due to the vintage conditions. I was very surprised by this 2017 (as with the rest of the 2017s from this address), as I found a fresh and balanced wine, perhaps a little lighter, with round and fine tannins. There are still oak-related aromas and flavors, but there is less toast (they use a different toast for the barrels), and the wine should integrate it with a little more time in bottle. But it should be approachable while you wait for the 2016.
91/100 Punkte Robert Parker August 2016 I also tasted the 2014 Finca Valdepoleo, from a riper and warmer vintage than 2013. It also fermented in stainless steel and was raised in French oak for 14 months. This vineyard has a lot of clay and can give fruit-forward grapes in warmer years. The nose is ripe, with black fruit and feels a bit heady, with some spicy notes. As I've seen with other 2014s, the palate feels fresher than the nose, with a fine thread of acidity going through the core. This is an accessible, ripe Rioja. This wine will be released in April 2017.
94/100 Punkte James Suckling July 2017 Tight and linear wine with blackberry, blueberry and mineral character. Medium to full body, and stone and slate undertones to the bright fruit. Bright acidity. Drink now.
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.
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.
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
94+/100 Robert Parker Aug 2016 The 2014 Norte comes from a warmer and riper vintage than the previous one, but curiously enough, the wine had higher acidity and lower pH. The explanation from Carlos San Pedro is that 2014 is a very complete and balanced vintage, with good ripeness and very good acidity. It fermented in stainless steel and matured in French barrels for some 14 months. This is very different from the 2013, and as I've seen with other wines from the year, the nose shows higher ripeness and darker fruit aromas. The palate shows fresher and the liveliness of a cooler, northeast-facing vineyard, where the influence of the north wind is very intense at 720 meters altitude. I think this will age nicely. In the long run, I believe the two vintages are of similar quality; though perhaps this 2014 will prove to be a better, more complete wine, hence the + on the score.
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.
92/100 Punkte Robert Parker June 2019 The red 2017 Horizonte de Exopto is a traditional blend of Tempranillo with 10% each Garnacha and Graciano, but now not all of grapes come from the village of Ábalos#since 2016, they have added two plots in San Vicente de la Sonsierra. The destemmed and lightly crushed grapes fermented in concrete vats with indigenous yeasts, and the wine matured 50/50 in 600-liter demi-muids and 225-liter barriques for one year. The wine is surprisingly fresh, expressive and aromatic and has a touch of black pepper, perhaps because there are more grapes from higher-altitude vineyards that didn't suffer the frost, and the result might be fresher than some wines from 2016 or 2015. The move to bigger barrels and less oak seems to have paid back with much better integration of the wood and additional nuance. A great effort for the vintage and a bit of a surprise#lighter and less concentrated but more drinkable. 9,000 bottles were filled in November 2018.
94/100 Punkte James Suckling, July 2019 This is a beautiful play between fresh blackberries, violets and lavender and dried meat, vanilla and spices. Iodine, licorice and tar all in there, too. Full body, muscular yet grainy tannins and layer after layer of plush fruit, wrapped up neatly in tangy acidity. Drink in 2022.
93/100 Punkte Robert Parker, August 2018 The 2016 Malleolus is a generous old-vine Tempranillo fermented with yeasts they have selected and aged in French oak barrels for 18 months, showcasing the ripe and deftly oaked style of the house. There is more freshness and better balance here compared with 2015; it's juicy, a little chewy and with fine-grained, abundant tannins. There is contained ripeness and moderate acidity. As with many of the wines here, I felt it could do with a little more acidity.
93/100 Punkte Robert Parker Dec 2019 The 2017 Malleolus is also pure Tempranillo, in this case from small parcels (in Spanish "majuelo" and in Latin "malleolus") of vines aged between 25 and 75 years of age. Yields were reduced by 50% in 2017, so it's a very unusual vintage. It matured in French oak barrels for 18 months. As I found with the rest of 2017s, this is very expressive, aromatic and fresh, floral, aromatic, happy and expressive, without excess ripening and with fruit in the foreground and the oak neatly folded into the fruit. It's juicy, medium to full-bodied, perhaps not as concentrated as others, but balanced, with fine-grained tannins; it's very pleasant and representative of the grape and zone. Very good for the conditions of the year.
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.
93/100 Punkte Robert Parker August 2018 The exceptional NV Adorado is a product of the past, as it's a wine that is said not to have been touched since 1967. It's a blend of the three classical grapes from Rueda#Verdejo, Palomino and Viura. There is more volatility, more intensity and pungency here, but also more finesse and depth and even more elegance. It matured in a solera system for a very long time, and initially, it must have been aged under flor yeasts. It's 16% alcohol but was originally fortified to 17%, and it's very dry and tasty. There are some 2,000 bottles of this, apparently only magnums. Wines like this are almost eternal.
93/100 Punkte James Suckling July 2019 A solera that delivers such complex and richly nutty, leathery aromas leading to a dry, minerally palate that has a very rich, layered and crisp, salty build to the finish. Drink now.
91/100 Punkte Vinous, Jan 2017 (fermented in stainless steel tanks and aged for a year in used French and American oak casks of varying size) Ruby-red. Ripe blueberry, incense and potpourri on the perfumed nose, joined by woodsmoke and allspice nuances that build in the glass. Sweet and seamless in the mouth; intense red and blue fruit liqueur flavors deepen and spread out slowly on the back half. Discreet tannins come in late to shape the long, spice-tinged finish.
95/100 Punkte Robert Parker August 2019 The 2017 Planetes de Nin comes from the four hectares of 20-year-old Garnacha and 11-year-old Cariñena in the Planetes vineyard in Porrera at 450 meters in altitude. It's 60% Garnacha (some of it Peluda) and the rest Cariñena, harvested early. It fermented with indigenous yeasts and matured in 3,200-liter oak vats and one 1,000-liter amphora for 17 months. It has depth and harmony, and the vines are getting older and seem to be better and better balanced. This is not that different from the 2016; it feels quite stable and has its style and character, especially since the 2015 vintage.
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.
91/100 Punkte Vinous Feb 2019 Vivid ruby. Aromas of ripe red and blue fruits, pipe tobacco and cedary oak develop a smoky element as the wine stretches out. Sweet and penetrating on the palate, offering lively cherry and boysenberry flavors and subtle licorice and spice nuances. Finishes on a chewy note, delivering sneaky tannins, a lingering suggestion of dark chocolate and strong persistence.
91/100 Punkte Vinous Jan 2016 Brilliant ruby. Pungent and complex, redolent of smoke- and mineral-accented cherry liqueur and cassis, with emerging pipe tobacco, dark chocolate and licorice notes. The palate opens up slowly, revealing bitter cherry and violet pastilles, along with spicecake, coconut and a sharpening peppery nuance. Fine-grained tannins and a sexy floral edge give shape to a long, incisive finish.
92+/100 Punkte Robert Parker April 2018 A similar blend of 65% Garnacha, 25% Cariñena and 10% Syrah resulted in a 2015 Salanques with higher ripeness and notably lower acidity, reflecting a much warmer and drier year. It's ripe and with lots of earthiness, mineral and characterful, with ripe fruit without excess, elegant tannins and a polished, sleek texture within the rusticity of the zone.