Spanish Red Wine

Spanish Red Wine

The Fifty Best Spanish Red Wine Tasting of 2019


The Tasting:
The Fifty Best held a “blind” tasting of recent release Spanish red wines with 14 members of our wine judging panel. Strict tasting rules were applied. The order of service was established beforehand by lottery. Each of the wines were poured into fresh wine glasses from new sealed bottles and served at room temperature. Only ice water and white peasant bread were available to cleanse the palate.

The judges wrote down their impressions of each wine on score sheets. The scoring was done on a 5-point system, with 5 as the highest. Double-Gold, Gold and Silver medals are awarded based on a set range of final point scores received from the judges. There were no bronze medals awarded for this tasting.

The tasting notes that follow are summaries of the judges’ opinions, with all replicated commentary eliminated. The grape varietal and appelations are identified for each brand. Prices indicated do not include tax.


Marqués de Caceres 2014 Reserva
(Tempranillo / Rioja) $31

Made from a blend of hand harvested Tempranillo (85%), Garnacha (10%) and Graciano (5%) grapes, grown on 25-35 year-old vines, this wine was fermented in temperature-controlled tanks and aged in French oak (50% two-year-old and 50% three-year-old) for 20 months, then in bottles for two years before release.

Aroma: Cherry, blackberry, black currant, plum, stewed fruit, dried cherry, dried cranberries, soft honey, perfumy, coffee, soil, slight minerality, granite rocks, woody.
Palate: Cherry, dried cherry, blackberry, plum, pomegranate, light raspberry, kumquat, vanilla, fresh hay, licorice, clove, saline, soil minerality, light oak, good balance, good structure & texture, satisfying.
Finish: Soft cherry note, dark berries, dried fruit, mild violet, tangy, tannins linger, oak, beautiful balance.

Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal

Marqués de Caceres Reserva


Bodegas Bilbainas Viña Pomal Reserva 2013
(Tempranillo / Rioja) $18

This wine is made from a blend of five Rioja grapes (primarily Tempranillo). Following a long maceration period, the grapes were fermented then decanted and slightly clarified before aging in barrels.

Aroma: Cherry, dried cherries, raspberry, strawberry, corn fields, mocha, licorice, mint, caraway seeds, ferrous minerality, graphite, dusty, earthy, dry wood.
Palate: Black plum, Bing cherries, strawberry taffy, black plum skins, chocolate, chalk, bell pepper, mint, sage, nutmeg, woody, oak, high tannin, medium acidity, balanced, nicely wrapped.
Finish: Raspberry, plum, dried cherries, blueberry, minerals, complex tobacco, tannic.

Gold Medal
Gold medal

Bodegas Bilbainas Viña Pomal Reserva Tempranillo

Artiga Fustel – La Bella 2018
(Garnacha / Campo de Borja) $50

Fermentation of this wine, made from 100% Garnacha grapes grown on a vineyard with vines as old as 100 years, was conducted in a small stainless-steel tank, after which the wine was aged eight months in a combination of new French oak barrels and stainless steel.

Aroma: Intense black cherry, sweet cherry, cherry, raspberries, strawberry, fresh cranberry, baked fruit, plum wine, fresh baked bread, baking chocolate, brownies, coriander, rosemary, fresh, bright.
Palate: Cherry, bright cherry, good strawberry, tart raspberry, sweet/sour cranberry juice, juicy, fruity plum, cherry gummies, tart cherry pie, full blossom of pear & nectarine, apple, vanilla, mint, thyme, high acidity, slight oak influence, decent balance, savory.
Finish: Cherry, sweet blueberry, vanilla, caramel, oak.

Gold Medal
Gold medal

Artiga Fustel La Bella

Viña Herminia – Herminia 2015
(Tempranillo / Rioja) $12

Grapes for this wine were grown in vineyards noted for sandy soils as well as those featuring calcareous chalk. Following fermentation in stainless-steel tanks, aging took place in barrels for four months and four months in the bottle prior to release.

Aroma: Cherry, raspberry, red currant, peach, stewed berries, raisins, toffee, orange peel, dried herbs, mineral, leather, roasting meat, tobacco, cigar box, smoke, ripeness.
Palate: Black cherry, raspberry, blackberries, blueberry, ripe plum, complex stone fruit, pear, vanilla, chocolate, dill, minerals, slightly peppery, smoky, low acidity, soft tannins, oak, balanced, lively.
Finish: Black cherry, raspberry jam, herbal, minerality, light oak, tobacco smoke, smoke, chewy, balanced tannins, nice structure, soft, elegant.

Gold Medal
Gold medal

Viña Herminia – Herminia


Marqués de Caceres Crianza 2015
(Tempranillo / Rioja) $11

This 100% Tempranillo wine was made from grapes grown in 65 year-old vineyards noted for predominantly clay and limestone soil. Following temperature-controlled fermentation in stainless-steel tanks, the wine was aged in French oak for 15 months and received six months of bottle aging before release.

Aroma: Black currant, plum, flinty grapes, inviting aromas of cherry and licorice, tomato, fresh hay, mineral bath, mineral, flint, subtle iron, soil, light ash, subtle smoke, funk.
Palate: Cherry, raspberry, passing berries, smoked figs, dried cherry, vanilla, chutney, licorice, lavender, basil, clove, spice, mild tannins, smoky, oak barrel, breezy cool, pleasant.
Finish: Dried cherry, berries dancing, apricot, herbaceous, vegetal, tannic, wood, big tang, bouncy.

Silver Medal
Silver medal

Marqués de Caceres Crianza

Eguren Ugarte Reserva 2013
(Tempranillo / Rioja) $17

This wine was made from 95% Tempranillo and 5% Graciano grapes that following fermentation was aged in a combination of French and American oak for 15 months before bottling.

Aroma: Cherry notes, dried cherry, raspberry, ripe grapes, subtle vanilla, chamomile, mint, shiso leaf, subtle black tea, dried basil, nutmeg, spice.
Palate: Dried cherry, vanilla, maple, green berries, mint, spearmint, tomato pulp, clove, spice, spicy, smoky, slight acid, balanced tannins, some oak influence.
Finish: Dried cherry, tomato, peppery, touch of smoke, clean, crisp.

Silver Medal
Silver medal

Eguren Ugarte Reserva

Viña Herminia Reserva 2012
(Tempranillo / Rioja) $20

This wine was made from a blend of Tempranillo (85%) Garnacha (10%) and Graciano (5%) grapes. Following fermentation, the wine was aged for 18 months in a combination of French and American oak casks, then in the bottle for an additional 18 months.

Aroma: Cherry, rich black cherry, strawberry, jammy, honeysuckle, floral, perfume, minerals, tannic, subtle smoke.
Palate: Blackberry, sweet blackberry, strawberry, dried cherry, sour cherry, fresh fig, tomato, vanilla, licorice, spicy, saline, minerality, tannic, smoke.
Finish: Cherry note, ripe berry, fig, nutty, wet stone, tannic, touch of smoke, some oak.

Silver Medal
Silver medal

Viña Herminia Reserva

Artiga Fustel – La Bestia
(Monastrell / Jumilla) $50

This wine was made from hand-harvested Monastrell grapes (100%) grown on vines averaging 50 years of age. Following temperature-controlled fermentation in stainless steel tanks, the wine was aged in a combination of French and American oak barrels.

Aroma: Cherry, dried cherries, plum, dark grapes, cooked fruits, honey, raspberry jam, ripe tomatoes, vegetal, minty, menthol, light smoke.
Palate: Black raspberry, plum, jammy, baked fruit, jam like, dried cherries, honey, vanilla, shiso leaf, clove, saline, bright acidity, medium high tannins, good depth, heavy oak, smoky, nice mix of flavors, silky, interesting.
Finish: Cherries, good berry, baked fruit, freshly tanned leather, tannin, smoky flint, long smoke, well done.

Silver Medal
Silver medal

Artiga Fustel La Bestia




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