93/100 Punkte Robert Parker May 2020 One of the benchmark reds from Ribeira Sacra is the 2016 Lalama, a blend of Mencía with 10% Brancellao, Mouratón, Sousón and Garnacha Tintorera that is very expressive and fresh in the cooler 2016 vintage. It shows the more floral and pretty face of Mencía (even if it has some 10% other varieties) produced in a very approachable and attractive way that is easy to understand by a wide audience. It has a nice combination of aromas, fruit, herbs, flowers and spices, with judicious oak that gives it a creamy touch. It's nicely textured and has a soft and balanced mouthfeel, fine tannins and balanced acidity. Delicious!
92/100 Punkte Robert Parker Feb 2019 The nose of the 2015 Lalama reveals a warm and dry year with good ripeness. Yields were also low because they lost some 62% of the grapes to hail, and the wine is concentrated and powerful, quite fruit-driven and expressive, juicy and chewy. It has some spicy and smoky undertones and a dry, long finish. This is a modern and luxurious style of Ribeira Sacra.
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.
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.
93/100 Punkte Robert Parker August 2017 A champion in quality-to-price ratio, the red 2013 Lalama wants to replicate the traditional wine produced as a field blend that is mostly Mencía with some 10% a myriad other varieties#Brancellao, Mouratón, Sousón and Garnacha Tintorera#from many different vineyards on different soils, altitudes and expositions. The destemmed and crushed grapes fermented in 2500-3500 and 4500-liter oak vats with indigenous yeasts followed by malolactic in 300-liter barriques where it was kept for 13 months followed by a further seven months in oak vat. It has an explosive and captivating nose, an explosion of wild berries and herbs, with just a creamy touch and some spices. It's redolent of acid berries, with an electric-like sensation in the palate revealing great freshness, focused flavors, very fine tannins and a clean, long and refreshing finish. This is plain delicious<(>,<)> the best Lalama I remember. 65'0 00 bottles produced. This combines quality, p
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 James Suckling August 2018 Offers some riper fruits, in the prune and plum-paste zone, with a hint of black tea and some tarry flourishes. The palate has cool, sleek flavors of dark-fruit and licorice, supple tannins and a long, smooth finish. Seamless. Drink or hold.
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 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.
90/100 Punkte Robert Parker Dec 2019 Even if they are not quite from the Duero zone but from Bierzo, I also tasted their whites produced with Godello grapes, including the 2018 El Zarzal, which has 13% alcohol, very good acidity and low pH. It was produced with fruit from vines averaging 15 years of age, and it fermented in oak at controlled temperature. It matured in French 2 ,500-liter oak foudres with lees for eight months. It's expressive and aromatic, with some grape-pulp aromas, somehow floral and with a spicy touch. It's varietal and clean, with integrated oak, a medium-bodied palate and a refreshing finish, serious and with a mineral twist.