Amazing Deal Alert: Parker Goes 100 Points on Alto Moncayo (and it's still available at retail)

Saturday, November 9, 2013

A friend on Twitter (@heelcorkdork) informed me this morning that Robert Parker released scores for a variety of Spanish wines yesterday (November 8, 2013 as part of a Jorge Ordonez Selections - Uncensored and Live tasting report, eRobertParker subscription required) that included 100 point scores for the 2007 Alto Moncayo and the 2009 Alto Moncayo.

I'll have to do some research to confirm this, but my gut tells me that at a release price of $45 these might be the most affordable 100 point rated wines ever from Wine Advocate or Wine Spectator. Making this even more compelling is the fact that both are available at retail. But I'd recommend acting quickly because this wine will absolutely not last long.

See also: An amazing younger sibling of Alto Moncayo for about half the price?

QPR metrics aside, the wine is absolutely delicious.

Before any more time is wasted I'd suggest you shop now and ask questions later:

Search for 2009 Alto Moncayo on
Search for 2007 Alto Moncayo on

Be aware when you're shopping that there are 3 levels of Alto Moncayo and listings south of $30 are probably for the Veraton:
  • Alto Moncayo Veraton ($25)
  • Alto Moncayo ($45) -> this is the wine we're talking about
  • Alto Moncayo Aquilon ($155)
Update (11/11/2013):

I phoned Jorge Ordonez' office and they confirmed it was the Alto Moncayo proper not the Aquilon that was rated 100 points. Robert Parker also confirmed this on his message board this morning. (subscription required)

I first tasted Alto Moncayo not too long ago. It was at this year's Wine Spectator Grand Tour in Chicago. They were pouring the 2010 and it was one of my favorite wines of the night. So powerful, complex, and luscious.

Then this summer when I was in Spain tasting through Jumilla, Yecla and Bullas I was talking with Loren Gil from Gil Family Estates (Juan Gil and Bodegas El Nido) I was saying how much I liked his El Nido and Clio wines, but also Alto Moncayo. I should have known this already but he informed me both wines are made by the same winemaker: Chris Ringland from Australia. It's fascinating how connections come together like this in wine.

Then, this summer Empire Wine had a Ship4Free offer on the 2009 Alto Moncayo (they're sold out but here's the offer if you're interested in reading it). I've opened one of them so far. Here are my notes:

2009 Alto Moncayo
16% Alcohol
1,000 Cases imported

At 16% alcohol I was afraid the flavors were going to be raisiny or pruney. But they weren't. In fact, the aromas and flavors were rather high toned. Taut like a drum, dancing above what I sense they'll become with some air or some time. So intense, so compelling. Baked cranberries. Hints of bright fruit, followed up immediately by deep dark rich fruit. Distant fireplace on a cool autumn evening - smoke. Really unique and compelling. I'll follow up with more impressions tomorrow. This feels young.

On the second night (amazingly there *was* some left in the bottle - gotta be careful with these high octane wines) the wine is much more subdued and smooth. This makes me think letting this wine breathe is a good call. And worthy of laying some down a couple years if you can resist cracking them open. Good luck with that!

93/100 WWP: Outstanding

So, knowing I have 3 bottles remaining should I buy more just because Parker thought it was a 100 point wine?

Well, I know that just like with El Nido Clio I'm really enjoying popping them open with guests as an example of one of my favorite wines from Spain. So I'm going through them quickly. For me, the wines drink like a $100+ wine and cost around $40. They taste like a massive splurge but the cost isn't in the stratosphere.

Knowing I'd like to have more Alto Moncayo on hand and that it's an age worthy wine I think it's time to buy more now. And with scores like this it's likely future releases will be more expensive. So if you're going to buy now why not buy the 2007 and 2009? It might even present a flipping opportunity.

The only thing I'm unsure of is how "official" Parker's scores are on these wines. I don't think his tasting protocol has ever been perceived as being particularly uniform in terms of blind vs. non-blind and such. So I believe these wines will be touted as 100 point wines "because he said so" - especially for retailers wanting to sell them.

In summary, this may be not only the most affordable 100 point wine ever. But also the best actionable QPR play ever. Point chasers unite! ;)

Thanks so much to @heelcorkdork for the heads up. I never would have caught this otherwise.

Update (11/14/2013):

Listings for the 2009 on Vinfolio debuted at $139. The 2007 is listing for $159. These are listings, not sale prices. Yet. :)

Related: Entries have closed for Scoop the Spectator 2013. It'll be interesting to see whether the market for their winning wine moves more than the Alto Moncayo does. :) We're waiting on them to reveal their Top 10 so we can see who won. Thanks to everyone who participated this year!

Question of the Day: Where have you seen these wines available? Especially for retailers who don't list on Wine-Searcher I'd love to hear where you've found them.


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