Spanish Reds, Incomparable Value

By Robert Parker

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A 90-point wine for $7? You can find that kind of value in Spanish wines nowadays. That's because, in recent decades, many growers and vintners have successfully adopted modern viticultural and winemaking practices. As for current vintages, 2004 is an exceptional year, and 2005 is impressive as well. The only year to avoid is 2002, though there are exceptions. Last week we offered white and sparkling wines. This week, we recommend some reds.

Bodegas y Vinedos del Jalón 2004 Viña Alarba Old Vines

90 points. It boasts a deep ruby/purple color, full body, and wonderful kirsch liqueur and raspberry aromas and flavors interwoven with hints of licorice as well as minerals. This stunning effort is almost too good to be true. Drink it over the next one to three years. $7

Finca Luzon 2004 Luzon

90 points. A blend of 65% monastrell (better known by its French name, mourvèdre) and 35% syrah. It is a full-throttle, exuberant, dense ruby/purple-colored effort with loads of crème de cassis, licorice, truffle, and acacia flower characteristics. This exotic, deep, broad, intense red should be drunk over the next three to four years, although it may last longer. $8

Bodegas Mas Que Vinos 2003 Ercavio Roble

91 points. Made entirely from cencibel (the local term for tempranillo), it smells like a great Napa cabernet sauvignon. Gorgeous blueberry liqueur notes intermixed with graphite and minerals jump from the glass of this dark ruby/purple-colored wine. It boasts fabulous intensity, an alluring texture, and a rich, concentrated finish with no hard edges. It could easily compete with wines selling at four to five times the price. Drink it over the next three to four years. $10

Senorio de Barahonda 2004 Monastrell Tinto

90 points. An extraordinary bouquet of raspberries, blueberries, and vanilla jumps from the glass of this dense, medium- to full-bodied, luscious, fruit-filled, seamlessly constructed effort. It is ideal for consumption over the next several years. The good news is that 2,500 cases have been exported to the U.S. $10

Celler de Capçanes 2003 Mas Donis Barrica

92 points. Aged 10 months in both American and French oak. Its dense ruby/purple color is followed by sumptuous aromas of blueberries, black currants, cold steel, and minerals. It has an amazing fragrance, considerable nobility as well as complexity, medium to full body, and a long, concentrated, heady finish. Enjoy it over the next five to seven years. $12

Bodegas Castaño 2003 Solanera

91 points. A dense ruby/purple color wine with a smoky, scorched earth-scented nose and displays of black cherry jam, licorice, and truffles. Ripe and medium- to full-bodied with wonderful sweetness, it possesses purity, suppleness, and balance. Enjoy it over the next two to three years. $15

Wines rated from 96-100 are extraordinary; 90-95, excellent; 80-89, above average to very good.

Visit for the Internet's most active wine bulletin board, tens of thousands of tasting notes, or to order his recent book, The World's Greatest Wine Estates: A Modern Perspective. You can also subscribe to Parker's newsletter, The Wine Advocate. Request a sample copy at: The Wine Advocate, P.O. Box 311, Monkton, MD 21111

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