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Lopez de Heredia Rioja Reserva Vina Tondonia 2006 750ml
Juicy and broad-shouldered, the ’06 Rioja Reserva Viña Tondonia retains its elegance in its fine tannins and zesty acidity. Copious brooding blue and crisp red fruits dance with licorice, vanilla, new leather, forest floor and crushed violets in the wine’s spicy, captivating nose. Silky and electric, this wine glides across the palate with a seamless, mesmerizing balance, and while you can enjoy this Rioja Reserva upon release with liberal decanting, it’ll drink beautifully for decades. A blend of 75% Tempranillo, 15% Garnacho, and the remainder Graciano and Mazuelo, grapes ferment with only natural yeasts, and the wine ages for six years in barrel and six in bottle before release.
Vega Sicilia Ribera del Duero Valbuena 5º 2008 750ml
Brambly berries and juicy cherries rest on a foundation of cigar wrapper, potpourri, smoke, baking spices, sun-warmed earth and bitter chocolate. This is a seamless wine that melds its discrete elements into one harmonious whole, and although approachable now, this ’08 has the structure to age for upwards of a decade. Mostly Tempranillo with a kiss of Merlot and Malbec, this wine fermented oak vats and matured for a total of 28 months in a combination of oak vats, new barriques, used barrels and vats before bottling.
Vega Sicilia Ribera del Duero Valbuena 5º 2009 750ml
Smoke, crushed gravel, exotic spices, and incense swirl around the succulent red and black fruits in this ’09 Valbuena. The child of a warm vintage, this is a ripe wine with a velvety texture and polished, fine-grained tannins; however, being from Vega-Sicilia, this wine nonetheless has serious structure that will allow for a decade of delicious drinking. Crafted from younger vines, the ’09 Valbuena, mostly Tempranillo kissed with 5% Merlot, enjoyed fermentation in oak tanks, and then about two years of maturation in a combination of barrique, oak barrels and vats before bottling.
Vega Sicilia Ribera del Duero Valbuena 5º 2014 750ml
Concentrated, fleshy, and powerful, the ’14 Valbuena layers its succulent red and brooding blue fruits with espresso, melted dark chocolate, sun-warmed stones, licorice, grilled herbs and touches of tarry earth and potpourri. This is a beautifully seamless Ribera del Duero bottling, shaping its copious dry extract with a silky hand and studding the cheeks with fine-grained, elegant tannins. Complex and finessed, this wine feels complete, from its opening aromatics to its persistent, kaleidoscopic finish--it’s terrific! Mostly Tempranillo with about 5% Merlot from vines averaging 35 years, each lot of grapes ferments separately in oak vats; the wine matures for about 18 months in a combination of new barriques, used barrels, and vats, followed by about three years in bottle; it takes five years to raise Valbuena 5º from barrel to bottle to release, hence its name.
Vega-Sicilia Ribera del Duero Unico 2007 750ml
Graceful, stylish, laser-precise and balanced as a sword, the ’07 Único shows a decidedly poised profile to this wine. The nose wafts with dark berries and plums that are underlain with earth, spice, cigar wrapper and mocha, and this ’07 wraps its fruit around a core of savory notes, echoing the wine’s nose in its silky, structured palate. Fine-grained, polished tannins and a slowly building, lingering finish complete the drinking experience of this singular Único bottling. A blend of mostly Tempranillo with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, Único typically spends seven years aging in large, new and old oak casks, with three years in bottle before release; however, in 2007 it didn’t. In a stunning break from tradition, Vega-Sicilia chose to age it just 64 months, split between barrel and foudre, releasing the ’07 before the ‘05. The product of very low yields and old vines, some more than 100 years old, Vega Sicilia is Spain's most sought-after and collected wine, and one of the benchmark wines of the world.
Vega-Sicilia Ribera del Duero Unico 2005 750ml
Earthy, savory notes of underbrush, black truffles, tea leaves and cigar wrapper coddle the sweet, brambly fruits in this ’05 Único; it’s a wine that bewitches with its opulence and its opposites. Citrus zest and crushed river rocks energize the palate of this caressing wine, and a sweet inner perfume complements its savory underpinnings, while chewy, fine-grained tannins coat the palate. This is an approachable bottle of Único, but it will drink beautifully over the medium term. A blend of 94% Tempranillo with 6% Cabernet Sauvignon in 2005, Único is the product of very low yields and old vines--some more than 100 years. Vega-Siclia releases its Único with about ten years of maturation in the estate's cellars; the wine typically spends seven years aging in large, new and old oak casks, with three years in bottle before release. The estate crafted about 6,000 cases of its genial, welcoming ’05 Único.
Vega-Sicilia Unico Especial Release 2017 (02/04/06) 750ml
Brambly black and blue fruits dance with blood orange, licorice, warm earth, black truffles, underbrush and potpourri in the beautifully structured 2017 release of Único Reserva Especial. Blending the benchmark 2004 vintage with the ripe 2003 and 2006 vintages, this wine complements power with finesse and richness with energy. Chewy, polished tannins coat the cheeks as this wine uncurls on the palate, building to a lingering crescendo of sweet and savory notes--it’s a mesmerizing ride. As big as this wine is, it’s also exceedingly elegant, making it a must-have bottling for those who appreciate the best of the best from Spain. A blend of 80-90% Tinto Fino (Tempranillo) with 10-20% Cabernet Sauvignon and sometimes a small amount of Merlot, this wine's composition varies with each release, but it consistently derives from vines that are over 40 years old, with some of the vines being 80 years old or more; it spends 72 months in barrels before bottling. Just 1,500 cases produced.
Perez Barquero Solera Fundacional Amontillado 1905 700ml
Pérez Barquero 1905 Solera Fundacional Amontillado gets its name from the oldest vintage contained in this non-vintage solera method wine; it’s a rich tapestry of flavor profiles and silky texture, at once energetic and mellow. This sherry explodes with raisined and juicy fruit, saline minerals, Christmas cake, toasted nuts, marmalade and ginger, and this kaleidoscope of flavor notes continues on the concentrated, rich palate. Deeply viscous, dry, and powerful, this wine unfolds in mind-bending layers, wrapping its fruit around a serious core of minerals to create a dizzying drinking experience. Crafted entirely of Pedro Ximénez in the solera method, this wine ages in American oak for decades before bottling. The solera method blends across multiple vintages, and the average age of the wines in this sherry is about eighty years old, which allows for unbelievable complexity and nuance.
Marques de Murrieta Castillo Ygay Blanco Gran Reserva Especial 1986 750ml
A contender for the best Spanish white wine ever made, this ’86 Castillo Ygay Blanco Gran Reserva was released with thirty years of maturity. It is a spellbinding wine that slowly unfolds its kaleidoscopic layers of tropical and citrus fruits, crushed minerals, salted toffee, savory herbs, earthy truffles, white flower petals and too many more notes to name. Silky yet electric with acidity, this wine glides across the palate with a creamy mouth-feel; it’s an indescribable treat for the senses, and it will drink for decades. A blend of 97% Viura and 3% Malvasía deriving from a vineyard planted in 1945, grapes were crushed in a screwtop wine press and fermented in American oak. The wine aged for about 21 years in American oak barriques, about seven years in concrete tanks, and about three years in bottle; this ’86 Castillo Ygay Blanco Gran Reserva went to market in 2016.