There are many ways to recognize the greatness of a wine. Perhaps the greatest of these is the durability over time, the greatness of those wines that remain alive for decades, some of them are great classics with more than a hundred vintages of history.
Others have a more recent history, but obtain the highest scores and the highest recognition from the main wine critics in the world, earning them great international prestige.
Greatness is also achieved by being unique, perhaps much more objective and important than being the best. They are those wines that acquire their greatness because they represent a unique landscape, a unique grape variety, a certain soil, a specific climate or a unique style of wine.
They can also be great wines because they are the personal work of a great winemaker of international prestige. But they all have in common an extraordinary superior quality.
Do not miss these unique bottles that are included in The Wine Guide 2023, directed by Lluís Tolosa with the collaboration of Ferran Centelles, Meritxell Falgueras, María José Huertas, Alicia Estrada and Zoltan Nagy.
Clos Mogador is a historical symbol of the Priorat revolution. In 1979, René Barbier acquired a 20-hectare estate in Gratallops, planted with garnachas, cariñenas, cabernet sauvignon and syrah, when Priorat wines were sold in bulk at low prices. He was the visionary who gathered a group of friends to lead a great dream. Along with Carles Pastrana (Clos de l'Obac), Josep Lluís Pérez (Clos Martinet), Daphne Glorian (Clos Erasmus) and Álvaro Palacios (L'Ermita) they are the magnificent five who revolutionized the Priorat.
The first bottles of Clos Mogador 1989 were not valued in Catalonia and in the nineties wine critics stagnated at the modest 90-92 points. The output was to export 80% of the production to Switzerland. The first jump came with the 94 Parker points of the Clos Mogador 1998. But above all with the 97 points of the Clos Mogador 2001, which placed it among the best wines in the world. After four vintages with 98 points, now the Clos Mogador 2019 has achieved 99 Parker points, literally at the gates of heaven.
The Clos Mogador will also lead the future. It was the first to obtain the Vi de Finca Qualificada category in 2006. There are currently 14 wines with this category. To make them known, Alba Bacells, general director of the Institut Català de la Vinya i el Vi (INCAVI), has announced for this 2023, four great tastings with international prescribers in Bordeaux, Madrid and Barcelona. And there follows the discreet, wise and admired René Barbier. /Lluís Tolosa
Alfaro is the birthplace of Álvaro Palacios. He is the smile of wine, a man with energy, good humor and character that lights up where he goes. In this confinement we have seen it on social networks thanks to her daughter Lola, who has not only inherited her madness for flamenco, but also that passion in capital letters that defines his wines. Wines that have light, energy, originality, that continue to surprise and above all capture the landscape.
Quiñón de Valmira is a Garnacha with character that follows in the footsteps of the great family wines, such as L'Ermita or La Faraona. Wines that emphatically express the terroir that is the brand of the house. A limited production of a single vineyard that gives its name to the wine, barely 3 hectares of vines over 30 years old facing southeast on calcareous and ferrous-clay soils from the Quaternary Era.
The extreme austerity of the geology produces few and small clusters that offer a smooth wine that has a thousand details. Crunchy fruits such as currants, orange, licorice, tea and slight menthol touches. On the palate it has the freshness of the mountains, accompanied by great texture and fruit, lots of fruit. A fluid flow full of vitality, pleasure and indescribable mysteries. For fans of cult wines, for those who admire the work of the Palacios family and for those who adore the expression of Garnacha.
Only 4,150 bottles. Above all, for those who, with the one that is falling, can still afford to celebrate with such a precious, exclusive, particular and powerful bottle. /Meritxell Falgueras
The San Vicente 2018 is impressive. And we tasted it together with authentic wines from the Viñedos y Bodegas Sierra Cantabria group. It stood out after tasting El Puntido 2018 (Viñedos de Páganos, DOCa Rioja, 94 points) and I thought it was superior to Victorino 2019 (Teso La Monja, DO Toro, 96 points) and Finca El Bosque 2019 (Sierra Cantabria, DOCa Rioja, 95 points ), the latter included among the hundred best wineries in the world by the American magazine Wine
Señorío de San Vicente has the greatness of being a single winery, for this single wine and for a single grape variety. San Vicente is a unique wine with capital letters. It comes from an exceptional vineyard, the La Canoca estate, 18 hectares planted in 1985 in the area of San Vicente de la Sonsierra, where they preserve an almost extinct variety. And to express all its uniqueness, they make it 100% hairy Tempranillo monovarietal, with a fine aging of 20 months in new 90% French oak and 10% American oak barrels.
Pure personality, complex and elegant. Everything in its place. Ripe red fruit wrapped in notes of licorice, then the nuances of aging, aromatic wood, toasted, roasted and lactic are revealed. Soft and silky, with a final freshness, woodwork and balsamic aromas.
He stood out among great wines and led the great pairing menu of the
Chef Alejandra Carvajal at the El Puntido Restaurant that the Eguren family has in their Viñedos de Páganos winery (Laguardia). So the members of the jury gave it the Best Of Wine Tourism Bilbao-Rioja 2023 award. It is the best restaurant in a winery in Rioja. /Lluís Tolosa
Marqués de Murrieta is the first Spanish winery to enter the Top 10 of the most prestigious ranking in the world, that of the wineries that have earned 100 Parker points the most times.
Historically, this list has been led by large French brands, such as Petrus, Château d'Yquem or Château Latour. Lately some Spanish wineries had entered, Pingus with five times 100 Parker points, Álvaro Palacios four times and Vega Sicilia who reached them once. Marqués de Murrieta has entered the Top 10 of the list, with eight times 100 Parker points.
The big leap this year came after the exceptional tasting of historical vintages of its Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Especial. Proclaimed the best wine in the world at Wine Spectator's New York Wine Experience 2021, this new 2011 vintage sold out quickly. But his tasting of historical vintages placed him in another dimension. The Wine Advocate called it “the mother of all tastings”. In the end, five vintages achieved 100 Parker points (1904, 1919, 1934, 1959 and 1964), which are added to the three vintages of his Castillo Ygay Blanco that achieved it in the 2017 tasting (1919, 1932 and 1986). I have tried the 1986 vintage and it is brutal after almost four decades.
An exceptional year for Marqués de Murrieta, if we add the Best Of Wine Tourism Bilbao-Rioja 2023 award, of which I am a member of the jury. In this way, they qualified for the world final in Mendoza (Argentina), where they won the Best Of Global Winner 2023 award, considered the best winery in the world by Great Wine Capitals, the World Network of Great Wine Capitals. /Lluís Tolosa
A dune is a mountain formed by the accumulation of sand generated by the winds. Hearing this word, our imagination travels on a flying carpet to the Sahara desert, to Ali Baba and his forty thieves, to the torrid heat.
Luckily, a breath of fresh air hits us when we discover that Nas Dunas 2019 grows in the maritime and rainy climate of Sanxenxo, in Pontevedra, on the most unique vineyards I have come across.
They are located on a small elevated mountain, within a dune system, where the bedrock is arxilose rock, on which between half a meter and two meters of beach sand are deposited. There we find the vineyards of this Albariño, between 25 and 70 years old, possessing very deep roots that reach the success that feeds them. Three fabulous producers share this special plot: Fulcro, Forjas de Salnés and a small barrel from Raúl Pérez.
Nas Dunas 2019 would be in many categories of this guide:
autochthonous variety, trendsetting... But due to its greatness it is the suit made to measure because, without a doubt, it is one of the best albariños in Galicia.
With a grape that sprouts and ripens earlier, thanks to the heat that the sand absorbs and radiates at night, we find a wine that ferments in barrels, but that maintains the aroma of wet stone, mineral on the nose. It is a singular and rare treasure (800 bottles a year) that Chicho Moldes, of whom I declare myself an absolute fan, gives us in the midst of his entire range of precise and sharp wines. /Ferran Centelles
Barón de Chirel was the forerunner of the modern wines of the new era of Rioja. His birth in 1986 was quite an event, because he was different from the Riojas of the time.
Its singularity was assembling Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon in equal parts. Totally unprecedented, because cabernet was not authorized in Rioja. And it still isn't. It was exceptionally authorized for this wine, as an experimental variety. With a certain irony, because Marqués de Riscal has been cultivating it since 1863.
For me it is a historical and emblematic wine. Now a renewed classic, with four decades on the way. And this year marks 160 years of tradition of the cabernet variety in Marqués de Riscal. Even more exclusive since the year 2000, made in its specific winery, only in the best vintages.
It is born from vineyards of Elciego and Laguardia, in the heart of La Rioja
Alavesa, with low yields, 2,500-3,500 kg/ha. Manual harvest in 15 kg boxes and passing through the selection table, grape by grape. The 2017 vintage is very unique due to the strong frost in April, which reduced the harvest but gave excellent quality, with lots of color and very balanced acidity. Vinification plot by plot, aging for 22 months in French oak barrels and a minimum of 2 years of refining in the bottle. Less aging than in its first vintages, adapted to changing times, with more fruit expression. Predominance of black fruit and then a repertoire of complexity, notes of licorice, blue flowers, spices, undergrowth, leather, black pepper and cocoa, opening up with new nuances, magnificent the next day. /Lluís Tolosa
Last year the Muga Selección Especial 2016 won the award for 'Best Red Wine in Spain' in the 2022 edition of this guide. We thought it was a great wine and it was a real pleasure to personally present the award to Ana Muga within the framework of Barcelona Wine Week.
The approach of this guide is that every year our team of collaborators select the 100 wines that you cannot miss, choosing them among the many tastings that we carry out and the many wineries that we visit during the year. Normally there are a hundred different wines, every year we change practically all of them. But they told us that the 2018 vintage, literally, "this year is a scandal." The proof is that the prestigious North American magazine Wine Enthusiast has included this wine in its Top 100 list, placing it among the best wines in the world.
We have tasted it and we can confirm it, the Muga Selección Especial 2018 is spectacular. In its line of being the most gastronomic of the Muga reds. Classic in elegance, complexity and evolution. Modern in freshness and fruit character. It is born on the clay-calcareous slopes of the Obarenes mountains and the Sierra de Cantabria. It ferments with indigenous yeast in oak tanks. Aged for 26 months in French oak barrels from its own cooperage and later refined for 18 months in the bottle.
Powerful, expressive reserve with great aging potential. Elegant, complex and perfectionist. It opens up in infinite nuances. Black fruits, licorice, spices, peppers, undergrowth, coffee, balsamic. Has it all. Pure balance between power, softness and harmony. /Lluís Tolosa