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The transition to spring this year was a roller coaster ride through chilly winds and rains, monotone grey, and confusing bursts of warmth and sun that never seem to stay. But once the ramps, asparagus, and spring onions arrive at the markets (and once our first rosé email goes out!) there's no turning back.
This year's Springtime Spanish Mixed Case includes a delicious variety of whites, perfect for pairing with springy market produce, from the Basque Country, Rías Baixas, Terra Alta, Canary Islands, and even an old-vine Chasselas from the Sierra de Gredos. In addition, two opposite but equally exotic rosés from Lanzarote and Granada, and a jubilant, frankly fabulous selection of reds, featuring juicy young quaffers from Rioja and the islands of Mallorca and Tenerife, and two energizing, organic and biodynamic Garnachas from Montsant and the Sierra de Gredos.
Some of these wines are quite limited and will sell out quickly, at which point they will be replaced with wines of comparable quality and value. Cheers to spring! Ariana Rolich
100% Hondarribi Zuri from Agerre, third-generation wine growers in Getaria, whose refreshing, classic Txakoli ignites our thirst every year around this time. It is fermented with native yeasts, so you get salty, earthy, delicate notes without the confected character that pervades Txakolis made with commercial yeasts. Lime blossoms, brine, savory minerals, a hint of sweet smoke and dried herbs, sea salt air, and green apple acidity invigorate the appetite, making a perfect apéro next to snacks of goat cheese, oysters, and shrimp. Ariana Rolich
A fresh and pretty entree into the world of RuBor Viticultores, our good friends Ruben Diaz and Orly Lumbreras, this is 100% Chasselas from two small plots of 70+ year-old vines on decomposed granite soils in Cebreros, the heart of the Sierra de Gredos. With 3-4 days of skin contact, then raised entirely in stainless steel with occasional batonnage, this is a new experience of Chasselas. Bright and salty, fresh and expressive, with subtle stone fruit, white grapefruit pith, orange blossom, beeswax, and crunchy minerals, with a tickle of tannin from time on the skins. An irresistible choice for adventurous apéritifs and fresh seafood! Ariana Rolich
2016 Bermejos rosé has arrived! 100% Listán Negro from Lanzarote in the Canary Islands, grown at the bottom of painstakingly-tended hoyos (the local name for the craters dug into the crunchy, black volcanic ash topsoil that coated the island of Lanzarote following a series of volcanic eruptions that started in 1730). One vine is planted at the bottom of each hoyo, which protects the plant from Lanzarote's relentless trade winds, along with stone walls of volcanic rock rimming the hoyos to prevent the sandy soil from blowing onto the vines. (In reality, the walls are constantly blown down and rebuilt. This is high-maintenance viticulture!) Bermejos' visionary winemaker, Ignacio Valdera, produces fascinating and crystal-clear expressions of this unique and mystical vinescape. The rosado is pale, dry, and refreshing, with hints of tangerine, orange blossom, dried oregano, and ash on the nose, followed by flavors of salty citrus and strawberries, blood orange, brine, and cherry pits, with ash, orange oil and rind on the finish. Complex yet crowd-pleasing. Ariana Rolich
Salmonido is a tart, supple, and sultry rosado of Pinot Noir, from a single hectare vineyard on poor, stony soils in the Sierra Nevada foothills of Granada. Savory, oxidative, and acidic, with tension between red currant and sour cherry with softer strawberry and musky raspberry fruit, with mineral, smoky depth. Pair with smoked salmon or tuna steaks with roasted red peppers. Ariana Rolich
Joan and Josep d'Anguera farm their family's vineyards organically and biodynamically (certified in 2012) in the Montsant on clay calcareous soils, for an irresistible expression of Grenache, brimming with fresh and inviting Garnacha fruit and garrigue , wild strawberry, soft raspberry florals, brisk but easy acidity and lots of length. Ariana Rolich
100% Tempranillo from 40-year-old, head-trained vines, foot-trodden and fermented with whole clusters and some whole berries in concrete lagares for an old-fashioned, fruity, "vino de consechero"-style Rioja. Savory blackberry and sweet leather notes on the nose, with fresh acidity, flavors of black cherry and tart plum, licorice, and thyme, buoyed by lifted carbonic notes. Serve with a chill alongside fun, easy meals like roasted chicken, pizza, or burgers. Ariana Rolich
Orly Lumbreras of RuBor Viticultores described Groove as "un cañón" in its youth. With a little bit of time in bottle, it has mellowed into a veritable laser beam! This is singular Garnacha, utterly fabulous, from a single vineyard that inspired the partnership between Ruben Diaz and Orly Lumbreras in the first place. 50-year-old vines with southeast exposition on very fine granitic sandy soils at 900m altitude (the highest granitic vineyard in Cebreros, a village known for old-vine Garnacha on steep, schistous slopes). High-toned with intense, almost vertical acidity, taut black cherry, herbal black raspberry and purple berry fruit, chewy dark cherry skins, rhubarb, pink peppercorn, lots of violet, lavender, and rose florals, hints of thyme, and a taut, long, granitic mineral force. A wine to observe and celebrate over many years. Ariana Rolich
2017 Springtime Spanish Mixed Case* includes five whites, two rosés, and five reds at an excellent price: Agerre 2016 Txakoli, Albamar 2015 Albariño, Cellar Frisach 2015 Garnacha Blanca, RuBor 2015 Chass!, Suertes del Marques 2014 Trenzado Blanco, Bermejos 2016 Rosado, Barranco Oscuro 2014 Rosado, Chateau Paquita 2015 Red, Artifice 2015 Listan Negro, Placeres Sensoriales 2015 Rioja, Joan d'Anguera 2015 Altaroses Garnacha, RuBor 2014 Groove Garnacha.*Out-of-stock items will be replaced with wines of comparable price and quality.
Xurxo Alba’s entry level cuvée is made from grapes sourced from multiple sites with mainly sandy soil. The fruit from each parcel is vinified separately (some in stainless steel, some in barrels) gaining structure and complexity of flavor from six months spent on the fine lees. This is Albariño the way we love it: crisp, mineral, saline, with great texture and a long finish. Ideal on its own or paired with salty snacks, or better yet, any and all crustaceans and shellfish. Eben Lillie
Francesc Ferre of Celler Frisach is producing some of the most balanced and varied expressions of Garnacha Blanca we've tasted to date. L'Abrunet Blanc is casually priced, yet seriously refreshing, from organically-farmed vines on iron-rich calcareous soils in Terra Alta (southern Catalonia). Two harvests are performed (one at lower potential alcohol to contribute crunchy, cool acidity, and the second at higher ripeness with more phenolic development), fermented separately, then blended and raised in stainless steel. Racy lemon zest, key lime, and fresh green herbs on the nose, with fresh, firm flavors on the medium-bodied palate of stone fruit, green apple, and crisp pear, gentle peach blossom florals, and a hint of white pepper. Ariana Rolich
Suertes del Marqués' entry level white is a delicious introduction to the authentic, terroir-driven wines of the historic Valle de la Orotava, located on the slopes of Mt. Teide in the north of Tenerife. Trenzado (named after the local vine training system - el cordon trenzado, or braided cordon) is 95% Listan Blanco, with small amounts of Pedro Ximénez, Gual, Marmajuelo, and more, from five vineyards, made in a combination of concrete and oak vessels. Grapes from certain vineyards receive a week of skin contact, for a subtle and structured palate that combines fresh musky stone fruit with savory tropical notes and abundant saline and volcanic mineral character. Drink with seafood dressed with garlic and herbs. Ariana Rolich
Eloi Cedo has gained many fans from his terrific, zero-added-SO2 wines for 4 Kilos on Mallorca. Chateau Paquita is his side project (named after his mother), a juicy and joyful blend of local grapes Caillet and Montenegro, fermented with whole clusters in neutral barrel, and Monastrell, carbonically macerated in stainless steel. Flavors of crushed wild berries, warm Mediterranean herbs, and woodsy blackberry patch. Ariana Rolich
Borja Perez is the talented young winemaker behind the Ignios Origenes label, descendant of many generations of Tenerife grape growers, who aims to preserve tradition and terroir while breaking the mold with unique volcanic wines. Artifice is his line of refreshing and inexpensive wines made from purchased grapes, farmed and picked to Borja's exacting standards, made with native yeasts and minimal sulfur additions. The tinto is made from Listán Negro, the workhorse variety of Tenerife, in this case harvested for freshness, displaying defined, lifted flavors of wild purple berries and florals, peppery, ashy volcanic earth, and lots of juicy acidity. Ariana Rolich