New Spanish wine arrivals at the SAQ Cellier

Recently, I have been tasting a number of Spanish new wine arrivals that are part of the latest SAQ Cellier catalog. These wines over deliver in quality at their price point and are excellent choices for weekday suppers. Here are my favorites. These Spanish wines were awarded very high scores by renowned critic Robert Parker. We all know how he loves Spanish wine.

In Red:

Voir la photo agrandie du produit. Cette photo s'ouvre dans une visionneuse et peut comporter des obstacles à l'accessibilité.

Agricolas Aguaza SA RA DA Seleccion 2009. $15.30. SAQ Code: 12744816 , Bodegas Almansenas, Castilla La Mancha. ( Represented in Quebec by SDVF)

This wine come from the Almansa wine appellation. At 850 meters above sea level, the vineyards of Aguaza are located in Albacete near the mediterranean ocean.

Fresh and silky on the mouth with a slight sweet sensation. Love its voluptuous tannins and flavors that bring to mind blueberry, blackberries and blackberries with a slight balsamic and oak touch. Very persistent finale. This is a wine that will please both the new wine amateur and the wine expert. I paired it with Penne with meat sauce and it went wonderful. It will also go well with beef and pork stir fry.  92\100

Voir la photo agrandie du produit. Cette photo s'ouvre dans une visionneuse et peut comporter des obstacles à l'accessibilité.

Terra d’Uro Finca la Rana 2011. $19.15. SAQ Code: 12775241, Hacienda Terra d’Uro, Toro. ( Represented in Quebec by SDVF)

Terra d’Uro is the proyect of Oscar Garrote, Cristiano Van Zeller y Pipa Ortega. The Uro wines are situated relatively high above sea level ( 750 meters) in the area of Bardales. The vineyards are a mix of tinta de toro, prephyloxeric, from 25 years to 140 years. La Rana is their entry level wine, aged 11 months in french barrique.

Compared to its peers in the apellation, La rana is a lighter and more accessible wine. Lovely nose evoking red and black fruits, spices and Mediterranean herbs ( Rosemary and Lavender come to mind). On the mouth, the wine is full body with muscular tannins. Fresh, yet very elegant and balanced. Imposing poise in a classy style.  Enjoy every bit of this wine with grilled deer medallions in a green peppecorn sauce. 96\100

Voir la photo agrandie du produit. Cette photo s'ouvre dans une visionneuse et peut comporter des obstacles à l'accessibilité.

Bodegas Paniza Viñas Viejas de Paniza 2012. $15.95. SAQ Code: 12721905, Bodega Paniza. Aragon. ( Represented in Quebec by Valmonti.)

From the D.O Carinena, comes this high altitude Garnacha bottling made with up to 100 years old vines. Paniza is made around the village of Paniza. The vines enjoy a continental climate with a marked contrast in temperature between night and day. In addition, the amount is very low ( 360 mm) while the sunlight hours are quite high. Also, the Garnacha sits on a marvelous terroir composed of schist, chalk, loam and red clays.

On the nose, very marked aromas of black cherries, herbs with some nuances of dark chocolate. On the mouth, the wine is full body, very flavorful with a dense structure. Tasting it reveal aromas of black fruits, licorice with vanilla bean,oak and mineral dust. Excellent value for the price paid. Perfect with grilled lamb chops. 88\100.

Voir la photo agrandie du produit. Cette photo s'ouvre dans une visionneuse et peut comporter des obstacles à l'accessibilité.

Albet i Noya Xarel-Lo El Fanio 2014. $19.50. SAQ Code: 12674221

Albet i Noya are pioneers in organic winemaking in the Penedes region of Spain. Their wines are pure and flavourful. El Fanio is monovarietal Xarel-Lo aged 6 months on the its lees in oval porous cement tanks and in acacia barrels. The grapes are grown in terraces on La Guardia hillside. They originates from vines located in Turó de la Gúardia, one of the most unique places in the Serra del Ordal. The grapes are treated with biodynamic methods to bring out the minerality of the Terroir. The soils are characterised by for being poor in organic matter,  permeable and for being sandy-loam.

On the nose, this wine brings to mind delicious floral notes with vegetable and mineral undertones. Very fresh and delicate. Medium body with flavors reminiscent of white fruits. Very good with a shrimp rice with green peas. 85\100.


Almansa, undervalued appellation of Castilla la Mancha

Although the wines of Almansa has been known since the middle ages,  the appellation has been drawing increased attention in the Spanish and International markets in they last few years as they continue to perfect their craft work on the varieties Garnacha Tintorera and Monastrell. Here in Quebec we are lucky to have the wines of the principal founders of the appellation: Bodegas Piqueras and Bodegas Tintoralba. I recently had a chance some of their wines and was very surprised by the high level of quality and above all the price. If you are looking for solid and well made wines for your week nights and even special occasions, Almansa is the place to start looking.

This Spanish appellation  is located in the far southwest of the province of Albacete. It was created in 1966. During that time, Almansa was specialized in the trade of bulk wine. Theirs was a successful operation because of their virtues of their workhorse grape: Garnacha Tintorera. This grape could be described as a winemaker’s dream. It yields dark color, lots of tannins and high acidity.

The most important characteristic of this grape is that its pulp is colored. This explains why, it yields wines of such dark colour. Basically, Garnacha Tintorera is in fact Alicante Bouschet. This grape was created in the XIX by Louis and Henri Buschet. They crossed the varieties Aramon, Teinturier du cher and Garnacha. Garnacha Tintorera is grown in Galicia and in some parts of the Levant and Castilla la Mancha but its true home is Almansa. Characterized by long rolling hills and tempered by a drastic continental climate, the region of Almansa is an excellent environment for producing wines of great extraction

The move from bulk appellation to quality bottling has occurred in Almansa in different phases. Bodegas Piqueras were the pioneers in estate bottling by introducing foreign varieties such as Tempranillo and Cabernet and with a 100% export mentality. However, it was the cooperatives Alpera and Higueruela that eventually became Tintoralba that introduced the first clones of Garnacha Tintorera. In the last few years, the appellation has seen the introduction of the barrique and improvements in vineyard work and management


Tintoralba Vineyards

Tintoralba Higueruela-2012 Coop. Santa Quiteria. Code SAQ: 10758843  Price: $13.90

( 30+ year Garnacha Tintorera vineyards.)

Medium to dark purple colour with crystalline blue nuances. Beautiful tears on the glass. Aromas of ripe concentrated dark fruits (raspberries) with lots of violets and a mild peppery character. Brings to mind the Rhone valley a lot. In the mouth, full body with fleshy primary fruit flavors and a crunchy acidity. In addition, lots of flowery nuances. Medium to long finale. Very well made wine. One of the most exciting Spanish wines that i have tasted in a long time. 93\100


Juan Pablo Bonete, director and winemaker from Bodegas Piqueras

Castillo de Almansa Reserva 2010. Code SAQ: 00270363  $13.65

( Tempranillo, Monastrell and Garnacha Tintorera blend )

Aromas of well seasoned oak with ripe red fruits, leather and vanilla. In the mouth, medium to full body. Kind of rustic but with a good structure. Flavors remind me of cherry bomb chocolate candy, herbs and tiger balms Good acidity and nice finale. A sure quality value. 85/100

Castillo de Almansa Seleccion 2008. Code SAQ: 10856179. $17.15

Best pick of vineyard grapes: Tempranillo, Monastrell, Garnacha Tintorera and Syrah )

Aromas of christmas cake, dry fruits, milk chocolate and ripe black fruits. In the mouth, full body with a good acidity and a rustic profile. Smooth tannins with a flavor profile that remind of old oak, spices and dust minerals. 85/100

Piqueras Black Label 2011. Code SAQ: 12382982 . $12.60

( Tempranillo, Monastrell and Garnacha Tintorera blend )

Dark ruby colour with purple nuances. Brambly nose of black fruits with lots of pepper and cured meat aromas. Also some good old oak spice and floral elements ( rose and violets). In the mouth, full body and rather rustic to a certain extent. Nice acidity with a medium lenght. Long aftertaste. 88/100

The wines of Bodegas Piqueras are represented in Quebec by  Élixirs vins et spiritueux and Tintoralba by Importation Épicurienne.

The wines reviewed were  given from the importers for a press review.