Celler del Roure Setze Gallets, Valencia 2011: This funky red from Valencia hails from a revitalized 300+ year old vineyard.  A blend of Garnacha, Monastrell, Merlot, and Mando, the red juicy fruit is balanced by spice and a distinctive earthiness. Playful, unique and really just a joy to drink. $15

Cesca Vicent, Priorat 2011: Francesca Vicent’s ancestors founded this Priorat vineyard in the 15th century, and she carries on the legacy today with a few improvements, like organic farming and detailed ground studies regarding which grapes grow best in each of the 11 different types of soil on her estate. The wine is dark and bold and serious… it’s almost better on it’s second day open.  But the long breath of fresh air brings out its charm, and the higher alcohol (15.5%) will definitely warm you up! $19

CVNE Vina Real Crianza, Rioja 2009: This toasty Tempranillo Crianza, from a vineyard that just won Wine Spectator’s “wine of the year” for their Grand Reserva, is jam packed with black cherry and raspberry fruit, with cinnamon and nutmeg on the finish.  Soft tannins and low acidity up the comfort level.  Drink by the fire or the television.  $18

Inexpensive (for Canada) Spanish plonk; I poured myself a glass and then thought to shoot it before I drank it. A good everyday wine.

I miss Europe for the good, cheap wine. Oddly, beer is as expensive there as it is here, but good wine can be bought at 1/10th the cost I would pay over here.

Masia D'Or, 2009

Denominació d'Origen: Penedès

Salud to Wine and Salute to the American Love of Spanish Wine

A review of the 18th Annual Great Match Featuring Spain’s Vivacious Varietals and Cuisine
- By wine clique

The 18th Annual Great Match event held on October 6, 2011 at the Metropolitan Pavilion in New York City was the perfect boutique showcase format for Spain’s wine and cuisine. Over the years, the popularity of Spanish cuisine and wine has flourished in New York City, with tapas-style approach and wine bar experiences pervading the social and restaurant scenes. Spanish culture, like the people and the wine, can be perceived as proud, robust, temperamental, spicy, distinct, and exotic, and it has the old meets modern convergence of cuisine and design, which is also evident in the winemaking art.

Spanish wines are priced to consume regularly, with many known for best value for price (quite a few quality wines are available for under $25). However, we do find Spanish wines to be a bit one-note in that they rarely offer an exceptional variety as compared to French wines. Here are a few of our favorites, some of which we think are pretty awesome and some that are worth a try. Needless to say, there are always a few that are better reserved for sangria and other cocktails to make up for the lack of umph.


Elvi Wines Herenza Rioja Crianza, Kosher, 2008, $25

This is a great red wine that should lead your choice in cuisine. It’s a full-bodied, flavorful, well-balanced red with a subtle cinnamon hint that has a long finish. The balance of tannins and fruit makes this a winner of a red, as does this price. But we do stress that this wine needs to shine on its own and food pairings should not overwhelm its delicate spice or sweetness.

Celler Besllum Besllum (Montsant, red blend), 2008, $30

Interestingly, our wine critic thinks the Elvi Rioja outperformed this one. Besllum is a Montsant blend consisting of Grenache, Carinena and Syrah. Similar in characteristics of our other wine favorites, this blend is a well-balanced red that the wine guru Parker rates as a 93.

Marqués de Griñón – Emeritus, 2005, $100

Hurray, we found a Spanish powerhouse of a wine! This beauty has a few years to go, but it’s a powerful, well-structured red wine blend, perfectly priced. Not to demean it, but it does pleasantly remind us of a fine Bordeaux before it is fully mature. We suggest that you consider this for a special dinner or a gift to a fellow food and wine lover. Valenciso, Rioja Reserva, 2005, $26-$40 This is a definite for dinner date wine if you like the company you keep. The credentials of this acclaimed wine read like a university degree with its reputation ranked as one of the ten best in all of Spain. It’s a relatively young bodega, which prides itself on making this single wine made of 100% Tempranillo grapes aged in new French oak. Using an artisanal wine-making approach, the makers harvest grapes from very old vines, producing a very limited quantity, producing only 10,000-12,000 cases a year as a result. Parker gives this wine a rating of 91. We love the orange bouquet notes and the long finish. Bodegas del Abad Bierzo Abad dom Bueno Mencia Roble, 2008, $26 We’re on the fence on this one, but according to Wine and Spirits Magazine, it is one of the finest in the region with a rating of 92. The 2007 vintage sells for about $18, with the Wine and Spirits Magazine regarding it as a best buy with a rating of 90.

Least Favorites

Artadi Rioja Joven, 2007, $15

It’s a Rioja and nothing more, nothing less. Spend your money elsewhere.

Campo Viejo Rioja Gran Reserva, 2003, $19

Similar to the Reserva, but with a stronger chocolate and coffee aroma.

Bodega Carlos Serres Rioja Reserva, 2004, $25


Bodegas Julian Chivite Navarra Gran Feudo Rosado, 2010, $11

Navarra is known for its rosé wines and the house of Chivite has been making wine since the middle of the 17th century. Interesting, but hardly worth recommending.

Bodegas Ramon Bilbao Rioja Crianza, 2007, $13-$15

Average at best.

Worth Trying

Campo Viejo Rioja Reserva, 2006, $13

A perfect choice if you can grab a bottle on your way home. Wine Spectator rates the wine as an 89. It possesses a hint of cinnamon and a soft finish. Bodegas La Cana Albarino Rias Baixas (white), 2010, $19 Fruity, crisp and easy on the wallet. Bodegas Julian Chivite Gran Feudo Crianza (red blend), 2006, $16 This may be a bit too dry for most, but worth a try if you want a lighter but dry wine. This is a light red with a bit of Grenache, Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Celler de Jose M. Fuentes Coraje Priorat (red blend), 2008, $20

A safe wine, but not exactly spectacular. Nice medium-bodied blend of a red wine that has been infused with Merlot, giving it a softer tone and finish.

Muga Rioja Reserva (red), 2006 and 2007, $26-$28

A full-bodied well balanced wine, but not “faboo” (fabulous for me or you). According to Wine and Spirits Magazine, the Muga brand is the most popular of all Spanish wines served in American restaurants. As a large producer, the range of its wines varies in variety style and price, but rarely in the quality. The two Reservas from 2006 and 2007 are a case in point, as Wine Spectator gives both of them a rating of 89.

We have tons of new wines coming in every day- It’s wine season! So stay tuned for updates in the coming days! Starting now!


Ulibarri Atzaik Bizkaiko Txakolina: Shepards, cheesemakers, winemakers, and brothers Iker and Asier make this light and wild Basque white from native varietal Hondarrabi Zuri. Unfined, unfiltered, and fermented in oak barrels, with minimal added sulfur, there is none of the fizz you might expect from Txakolina, but plenty of character and funk. We even detect a slight cheesiness on the finish… super cool. $21

El Quiñón Estate Sembro Tempranillo, Ribeira del Duero 2012: Thick-skinned Tempranillo makes up some of the most famous wines from Spain, and some of the most popular bottles on our shelves! This new addition, from grapes hailing from south facing slopes of chalk and stone soil, is big, and rich, and modern. It owes it’s deep black fruit, full body, and structure to the varietal and terroir and super smooth, baking-spice laden finish to time spent in toasty French oak barrels. Warm and comfortable. $19

Marqués de Tomares Don Roman Rioja 2013: A super pleasingly well-balanced sipper from venerable producer Marqués de Tomares, whos wines have always been popular on our shelves! 90% Tempranillo and 10% Graciano, lively and fresh with lingering notes of cherry, raspberry, and vanilla. $15

Gran Sarao Kosher Cava Brut: A dry, easy going, crowd pleasing and festive option for the high holidays! The perfect thing to bring to a dinner or serve to your guests at the beginning of the meal you’re serving! Crisp and lean with persistent bubbles. $12

Gramona Imperial Cava Gran Reserva 2007: An incredibly complex Cava, blended from Xarel-lo, Macabeo, and Chardonnay. The aging and second fermentation occurs in the bottle over the course of 36 to 48 months, bringing out a toasty richness you just might confuse with pricier Champagne bottlings… Elegant and exultant! 

Bodegas Urium Superior Fino Sherry: Hailing from a small winery in the center of Jerez’s famed Barrio de Santiago, known for it’s ideal conditions for sherry-aging! Saline and bready, with a rich almond-y quality. Super complex and interesting, a conversation starter that is dynamite with fish and fried foods. $15

What to call it?

What to call it?

Juno was always ready when food was on the agenda, delicately poised to catch any stray morsels of fish or meat… But she was never easily fooled by her resident dreamer’s claim that Cardiff had a distinctly mediterranean vibe… For all of the outdoor eating when the sun was shining, Juno was quite clear that Cardiff had a reputation for being the rainfall capital of the UK. She could think of no…

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La Cartuja | 2012 Priorat

If this is wrong than I really do not want to be right. We’re sampling a plethora of Priorat for an upcoming tasting next month and if this is an average example we can’t wait until we get to the good stuff. 70% Grenache and 30% Cariñena, it shimmers with transcendence and possesses a feminine quality like the best burgundies. Easy fruit and a little morning forest floor. 



Sara Perez grew up on her father Jose Luis Perez’s renowned vineyard Mas Martinet.  Rene Barbier, likewise, on his family’s centuries-old estate in Catalunya.  The two dedicated oenologists met, fell in love, and La Universal was born!

A true labor of love, the wines they produce in Montsant are made from organic grapes grown on their small 4 hectare estate with the exception of the Cariñena used, which they source from a few neighboring vineyards.

They name each wine after a different heroine or goddess from Greek mythology, hinting at the beauty and strength of the wine inside!

Venus 2007

Described by the winery as “the result of her search for beauty, an attempt to interpret femininity through a bottle of wine: mystery and seduction, discourse and voluptuousness”… I don’t think we can do much better than that!  Feminine, but not delicately so, this is a nuanced, vital, and expressive blend of Cariñena and Syrah, fit for the goddess of love and beauty herself. $50

Dido 2011

A young, fresh blend of Garnacha, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Merlot, Dido, named for the tragic Queen of Carthage, is vibrant and lively with a pure, ripe red fruit core balanced by a bright, zingy finish and lingering acidity.  After a deep breath of fresh air (decant her), Dido shines on her own or with soft queso and salty jamon. $24