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GUELBENZU

Region: Aragón
Appellation: Vino de la Tierra Ribera del Queiles (Aragón)
City: Vierlas
Winery GPS Coordinates: 41.928, -1.6881

OVERVIEW

In Vierlas, 10 miles upriver from Cascante and just into the region of Aragón, a unique quaternary gravel deposit called La Lombana was acquired in its entirety through dozens of individual transactions during the late 1990s. Fifty-three hectares (132 acres) of vineyard and a beautiful new bodega facility were established prior to the 2002 harvest. Emphasizing a unique terroir, vineyard composition is complex, consisting primarily of Tempranillo, Syrah and Merlot with smaller amounts of Cabernet, Graciano and Petit Verdot.

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HISTORY

The Queiles River Valley descends rapidly from the 7,600-foot Sierra del Moncayo, late-melting snows providing adequate moisture in the subsoil to withstand summer droughts. The vineyards lie between 1,200 and 1,800 feet, ripening the grapes in stages for an unhurried and perfectly timed harvest. The valley, straddling the Spanish autonomies of Navarra and Aragón, achieved its ‘vino de la tierra’ appellation in 2002. In 2000, the Guelbenzu family discovered and acquired the entirety of a unique quaternary gravel deposit called La Lombana, in the Queiles River community of Vierlas. Rapid vineyard and bodega development resulted in first wines produced from the 2001 harvest, the resulting wines being a complex mix of red varieties, including Tempranillo, Garnacha, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Graciano and Petit Verdot. In 2009, controlling interests in the La Lombana estate and the Guelbenzu brand were acquired by the Caja de Ahorros de Navarra, which has firmly recommitted to investment in the cellars and vineyard.

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PRESS

Guelbenzu Vierlas (2009) - "The bouquet is robust, with bold aromas of berry, tobacco, root and tree bark. It feels flush, full and balanced, with licorice and blackberry flavors that are backed by nice acidity. This is a grabby and meaty blend of 80% Syrah, 10% Merlot and 10% Graciano."

90 Points
Michael Schachner, Wine Enthusiast, Nov 1, 2012

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Guelbenzu Vierlas (2009) - "Of the three Guelbenzu submissions, the 2009 Vierlas was my favorite. A blend of 40% Syrah with the balance Tempranillo, Merlot, and Garnacha, it was aged for several months in new French oak. Aromas of smoked meat, game, and blueberry inform the nose of this pleasure-bent, forward, tasty effort. It is also an excellent value meant for drinking over the next 2-3 years."

88 Points
Jay Miller, Wine Advocate, Jul 1, 2011

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Guelbenzu Azul (2007) - "Deep ruby. Musky red berries and cherry on the nose. At once spicy and sweet, with good depth and clarity to its bitter cherry and black raspberry flavors. Finishes on a note of bitter cherry, with good bite and some gritty tannins. Give this a little air."

88 Points
Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar, Sep 16, 2010

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Guelbenzu Red (2009) - "Vivid ruby. Jammy red berry aromas are uncomplicated but appealingly fresh. Sweet, light strawberry and raspberry flavors are braced by tangy acidity. Brisk, clean and nicely delineated on the finish, with the raspberry quality repeating. I'd drink this now for the fruit."

87 Points
Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar, Sep 16, 2010

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Guerlbenzu Azul (2007) - "The 2007 Guelbenzu Azul exhibits aromas of cedar, tobacco, spice box, black currant, and blackberry. On the palate it has attractive flavors, some elegance, and enough structure to evolve for 1-2 years but can be approached now."

89 Points
Jay Miller, Wine Advocate, Apr 30, 2010

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Guelbenzu Vierlas (2006) - "Bright violet color. Fresh cherry and dark berry aromas are complemented by notes of black pepper and licorice. Juicy and fresh, with good tangy bite to the red and dark fruit flavors. I can't find any tannins on the brisk, focused finish, which leaves nervy dark berry skin notes behind. I like this wine's vivacious personality."

89 Points
Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar, Sep 17, 2009

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Guelbenzu Azul (2006) - "Inky ruby. Gently pungent, smoky cherry and red berry aromas are complemented by notes of cracked pepper and baking spices. Exotic black cardamom and clove add complexity to sweet cherry and raspberry flavors, with zesty minerality providing lift. Graceful wine, with very good finishing clarity and spicy persistence. I like this wine's low-fat character."

90 Points
Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar, Sep 17, 2009

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Guelbenzu EVO (2006) - "Inky ruby color. Bordeaux-like red- and blackcurrant, cherry, tobacco and cedar aromas, with floral and anise notes adding complexity. A lively, spicy midweight with a creamy texture and sweet cherry-cola and dark berry flavors framed by silky tannins. A bitter cherry skin note adds grip to the long, sweet and impressively persistent finish. Very nicely balanced wine."

91 Points
Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar, Sep 17, 2009

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Guelbenzu Red (2008) - "Medium red. Ripe cherry and plum on the nose, with hints of smoky tobacco and herbs. Gently sweet red fruit flavors betray a touch of warmth and appear tannin-free. Easygoing and smooth, with good finishing sweetness."

87 Points
Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar, Sep 17, 2009

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Guelbenzu EVO (2005) - "The Evo '05 is composed, lively and impressive. The tobacco, coffee, leather and balsamic fruit aromas are lovely, while the berry, plum, herb, chocolate and tobacco flavors are integrated and graceful. —Editors' Choice"

92 Points
Michael Schachner, Wine Enthusiast, Aug 1, 2009

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Guelbenzu Azul (2005) - "The excellent 2005 Azul is stout and secure, with a ripe, clean and modern bouquet that's backed up by a chewy, toasty flavor profile that pours on the black fruit and character. With roundness, tannic grip and good acidity, this wine is in perfect balance and is delivering the most it can."

91 Points
Michael Schachner, Wine Enthusiast, Aug 1, 2009

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Guelbenzu EVO (2006) - "The 2006 EVO is predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon blended with smaller amounts of Tempranillo and Merlot. Opaque purple-colored, it gives up aromas of mineral, scorched earth, incense, black cherry, and blackberry. Firm and muscular in the mouth, it will benefit from another 4-5 years to round out. It will deliver optimal drinking from 2013 to 2023. "

90+ Points
Jay Miller, Wine Advocate, Jun 30, 2009

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Guelbenzu Lombana (2006) - "The 2006 La Lombana is 50% Graciano, 25% Tempranillo, and 25% Syrah aged for nine months in French oak. Deep crimson-colored, it exhibits a perfume of cedar, mineral, espresso, and black cherry. On the palate it is medium to full-bodied, dense, and concentrated. Savory fruit and ripe tannin contribute to a well-balanced, lengthy wine that will continue to unfold for several more years and offer prime drinking from 2012 to 2021."

90 Points
Jay Miller, Wine Advocate, Jun 30, 2009

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Guelbenzu Red (2007) - "Vivid red. Nervy redcurrant, pomegranate and raspberry aromas are complicated by subtle herbal and floral qualities. Red berry and licorice flavors are refreshingly bitter, with a slow-building cherry skin quality adding cut. This would be excellent with grilled or roasted chicken."

88 Points
Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar, Oct 1, 2008

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Guelbenzu EVO (2005) - "Deep ruby-red. Powerfully scented bouquet displays red and dark berry preserves, cherry-cola, smoky vanilla and baking spices. Pliant black raspberry and bitter cherry flavors are focused and shot through with tangy minerality. Nicely balances sweetness against energy and finishes with a light dusting of fine-grained tannins. Very elegant, and balanced to reward cellaring."

91 Points
Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar, Oct 1, 2008

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Guelbenzu Azul (2005) - "This very dark purple wine opens with a spicy raspberry like bouquet. On the palate, this wine is smooth, soft, balanced, and not overly complex. The flavor profile is tasty dusty cherry flavors with hints of blueberry. The finish is quite dry, with gentle tannins that linger for some time. This very food friendly wine is versatile and would pair nicely with chicken parmigianna or lasagna. Enjoy - Ken"


Ken Hoggins, Ken's Wine Guide, Aug 15, 2008

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Guelbenzu Red (2007) - "This is the entry level red from this producer and the third wine that I am recommending from their portfolio. This bright ruby wine opens with a ripe black cherry bouquet. On the palate, this wine is smooth, soft, nicely balanced, and very easy to drink. It has tasty light black cherry flavors with a touch of oak on the back palate. The finish is dry and lingers slightly. Finally, attention Bar Managers and Wedding Planners, this red wine is a Good Value red wine and better than most entry level glass pours. It makes for a tasty every day red and would pair nicely with burgers or barbecue chicken. Go for it - Ken"


Ken Hoggins, Ken's Wine Guide, Aug 15, 2008

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Guelbenzu EVO (2005) - "This very dark purple wine is almost black. It opens with a heavenly ripe blackberry like bouquet with hints of spice and vanilla. On the palate, this medium to full bodied wine is very smooth, silky, and very well balanced. It displays delicious cherry vanilla flavors with notes of black licorice and mint. The finish is pretty dry with tannins that persist for a really long time. This is clearly one of the best Spanish wines that I have had recently and it would be a perfect match for a grilled T-Bone steak. Enjoy - Ken"


Ken Hoggins, Ken's Wine Guide, Jul 15, 2008

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Guelbenzu EVO (2005) - "The 2005 EVO is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, and Merlot aged for 12 months in new French oak. Opaque purple-colored, it reveals aromas of pain grille, mineral, spice box, tobacco, black currant, and blackberry. On the palate the wine is currently a bit austere but appears to be in balance with ample fruit behind the structure. It will profit from 5-7 years of additional bottle age and drink well through 2025."

91 Points
Jay Miller, Wine Advocate, Feb 29, 2008

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Guelbenzu Azul (2005) - "Best Buy Spanish Red Wines $20 and Under."

90 Points - Best Buy
Jay Miller, Wine Advocate, Feb 29, 2008

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Guelbenzu Red (2007) - "Best Buy Spanish Red Wines $20 and Under."

90 Points - Best Buy
Jay Miller, Wine Advocate, Feb 29, 2008

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Guelbenzu Vierlas (2006) - "Best Buy Spanish Red Wines $20 and Under."

90 Points - Best Buy
Jay Miller, Wine Advocate, Feb 29, 2008

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Guelbenzu Lautus (2001) - "Deep red. Smoky cherry and dark berry aromas are complicated by roasted coffee, licorice and dried flowers. Ripe cherry and plum flavors possess very good depth and a supple texture, with an underpinning of smoked meat and minerals. Not particularly tannic but nicely framed by gentle acidity. This is drinking very well now."

88 Points
Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar, Jul 1, 2007

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Guelbenzu Red (2006) - "Bright purple. Straightforward grapey aromas suggest blackberry and blueberry. Simple but fresh and juicy, with vivid dark berry flavors verging on jammy. I'd serve this with a light chill."

87 Points
Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar, Jul 1, 2007

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Guelbenzu Lautus (2001) - "Deep red. Smoky cherry and dark berry aromas are complicated by roasted coffee, licorice and dried flowers. Ripe cherry and plum flavors possess very good depth and a supple texture, with an underpinning of smoked meat and minerals. Not particularly tannic but nicely framed by gentle acidity. This is drinking very well now."

88 points
Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar, Jul 1, 2007

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Guelbenzu Vierlas (2005) - "Dark violet. Dark cherry and plum aromas are deeply accented by licorice and tobacco. Sweeter on the palate, with cherry and blackcurrant flavors complemented by lower tones of smoked meat and espresso. Solid tannins on the close. Decidedly old-fashioned in its meaty, dry style, and in need of a fatty piece of red meat."

87 Points
Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar, Jul 1, 2007

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Guelbenzu EVO (2004) - "A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Tempranillo aged for one year in new French oak. Similarly styled, it has considerably more stuffing than the Azul. The nose offers pain grille, ripe red and black currants, and spice box. This is followed by a medium-bodied wine that has both elegance and the structure to continue evolving for several years. "

89 Points
Jay Miller, Wine Advocate, Feb 1, 2007

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Guelbenzu Vierlas (2005) - "A blend of Syrah, Tempranillo, and Garnacha aged for 3 months in a mix of new and used French oak. Purple colored, it has a fruity, expressive nose of grilled meat, vanilla spice, cherry, and blackberry that jumps from the glass. Medium-bodied with an abundance of fruit, this tasty wine is well balanced and can be drunk now and over the next 3-4 years. It is an outstanding value. "

89 Points
Jay Miller, Wine Advocate, Feb 1, 2007

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Guelbenzu La Lombana Graciano (2005) - "Deep ruby. Primary, grapey aromas of blackberry, cassis and cherry preserves. Youthfully tart, with a spicy, pleasingly bitter overlay to the dark fruit flavors. Finishes with fine, dusty tannins and a tangy cherry note, with fresh acidity adding focus."

87 Points
Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar, Oct 1, 2006

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Guelbenzu EVO (2004) - "Inky ruby. Lush, succulent dark berry, cherry and plum on the nose, with hints of cracked pepper and herbs. Rich and deep, with the cherry flavor nicely focused and propped up by firm but harmonious acids and very subtle tannins. A silky, harmonious midweight with a spicy, sweet, long finish."

89 Points
Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar, Sep 1, 2006

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Guelbenzu Vierlas (2003) - "60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot and 15% Tempranillo. Bright red-ruby. Aromas of currant, menthol and nutty oak. Dense, supple and spicy, with sound acidity framing the flavors of currant, plum, leather and herbs. Finishes with dusty, slighty drying tannins and good verver."

87 Points
Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar, Oct 1, 2005

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Guelbenzu EVO (2003) - "Bright red-ruby. Aromas of currant, menthol and nutty oak. Dense, supple and spicy, with sound acidity framing the flavors of currant, plum, leather and herbs. Finishes with dusty, slightly drying tannins and good verve. "

87 Points
Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar, Oct 1, 2005

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Guelbenzu Azul (2003) - "A neat blend of cabernet sauvignon, tempranillo and merlot with spicy cherry, pepper and cinnamon aromas and sturdy, tangy cherry, plum, cedar, dried herb and spice flavors that possess a distinct Spanish character. - Three stars (out of four)"

3 stars
Tim Teichgraeber, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Aug 4, 2005

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Guelbenzu Vierlas (2003) - "The inexpensive 2003 Vierlas (a blend of Syrah, Merlot, Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, and Graciano) exhibits an attractive deep ruby color in addition to a perfume of cherries and black currants, soft tannin, low acidity, and a ripe, plush finish. It is a terrific bistro red to drink over the next 1-3 years."

87 Points
Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, Jul 30, 2005

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Guelbenzu EVO (2003) - "A blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, and 15% Tempranillo, the 2003 EVO possesses a deeper ruby color as well as more wood and earth undertones intermixed with currant and cherry fruit. Well-structured, firm, and spicy, it should drink well for 2-4 years. "

87 Points
Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, Jun 30, 2005

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Guelbenzu Lautus (2001) - "A blend of 50% Tempranillo, 20% Merlot, and the rest Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache, the dense ruby/purple-tinged 2001 Lautus offers ripe aromas of figs, plums, black currants, forest floor, and oak. Silky tannin, a soft, supple texture, loads of fruit, medium to full body, and a savory mouthfeel suggest it will provide plenty of pleasure over the next 5-6 years. "

88 Points - Good Value
Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, Jun 30, 2005

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Guelbenzu Lautus (1999) - "The 1999 Lautus reveals more vanilla and new oak scents along with a fuller, more intense mouthfeel, and higher extract as well as tannin. Still youthful and firm, it should drink well for another 5-7 years. These [Guelbenzu releases] are very well-made efforts."

89 Points
Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, Jun 30, 2005

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Guelbenzu Azul (2000) - "This juicy blend of Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot is one of the startlingly elegant wines produced by a family-owned Spanish winery from grapes grown in the rugged, semiarid hills just outside Navarra."


Food & Wine Magazine, Wines Worth Twice The Price, Mar 1, 2005

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Guelbenzu Azul (2001) - "Clean and bouncy, with fresh berry aromas. This is a pretty, lighter-framed red with expressive cherry, plum and oak all in a row. It finishes chewy and rich enough, but it's still in balance and not overpowering. All in all, it's a good blend with proper feel and a full taste."

87 Points
Michael Schachner, Wine Enthusiast Magazine, Mar 1, 2004

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Guelbenzu Azul (2001) - "Tasting Guelbenzu's Azul, you find it hard to believe something so delicious and well structured could cost so little. While Azul is a blend of Spain's most important grape, tempranillo, plus cabernet and merlot, it's the cabernet character that really shines through. (Cabernet lovers note: This would make for one dynamic house wine.) There are beautiful cassis, dried cranberry, and pomegranate aromas. The flavors follow suit and are laced with hints of vanilla, leather, and earth. A perfect choice for red meat dishes."


Karen MacNeil, 2004 Wine Lover's Page-A-Day Calendar, Nov 15, 2003

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Guelbenzu EVO (2001) - "Bright red-ruby. Slightly jammy aromas of black cherry, truffle and licorice. Sweet and supple, with ripe flavors of raspberry, chocolate and licorice."

87 Points
Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar, Jul 1, 2003

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