Don Jacobo from Rioja

Started over 100 years ago, Don Jacobo is a winery located in Navarrete, Spain, up in the Rioja region. We were quite happy to have the chance to meet the gregarious director, Francisco Javier Martinez Blanco at the Port4lio tasting in San Francisco.

The wines are imported by Vinos Unico in the US and they do indeed live up to the importer’s namesake of being “unique wines”. Take for instance the 2006 Crianza which has a nicely oaked nose that is strong, yet still refined and balanced. The body is plush and soft, gliding around your palate with warm tobacco elements to it. This Tempranillo/Garnacha/Mazuelo/Graciano blend finishes smooth with with a slightly lingering touch of acidity. Then there is the 2008 Ecológico Tinto which is an equal blend of Mazuelo and Tempranillo. Despite being three years old, it feels a bit like a newish wine, albeit one that knows its place. It boasts an earthy body and a nice acidity that would make for great food pairings. Added in to this is the fact it should retail for around $16, it’s an excellent wine to seek out.

Lastly there is the 1995 Gran Reserva which is 85% Tempranillo and 15% Garnacha–almost always a wonderful blend. This is a stellar wine and not just because it’s 16 years-old, but because it actually makes use of those 16 years to be refined and complex as a wine of this age should be. The over a decade and a half of aging has created an elegant nose that has the lightest hints of oak to it as well as powdery spices as well. Unlike the high-end wines of many European winemakers (who often prefer French oak barrels), this wine is aged in American oak and was bottled in 2001. The body presents soft, light chocolate and plum notes to the body while the finish lingers in a pleasing manner.

These were just a few samples of their overall portfolio, but if the chance arises, we highly recommend giving these wines a try.


Álvaro Palacios - L’Ermita 2016
Very light red cherry, raspberry, tea leaves, dried fennel, light touch of anise, bay leaf, dried flowers, touch of fig compote, truffle. Exceptionally light and delicate on the palate, very very fine red fruits, integrated tannins, plush with a slightly buttery, velvety aspect, very long finish.
85% Grenache 14% Carignan 1% "Others" · 15% · 1160EUR
97+ 3 Stars

Ancestral Wine Cellar - Khikhvi 2014
First harvest of Khikhvi. Light apricot notes, peach skin, lemon peel. Citric in the mouth, fresh, lively acidity, vibrant. Very holistic, full and deliciously good.
100% Khikhvi · 12% · 30GEL
95 3 Stars

Álvaro Palacios - Les Aubaguetes 2016
Linear plum and dark cherry notes, powdery cocoa, orange peel and blossom, raspberry at the base along with minor vanilla and dark spice touches. Delicate on the palate, light touches of dark fruit, good wealth of tannins yet held in check, medium plus acidity, very long finish. Needs much more time in the bottle.
77% Grenache 21% Carignan 1% Grenache Blanc 1% Macabeu · 14.5% · 455EUR
95+ 3 Stars

Petriaant Marani - Khikhvi 2015
Bruised red apple, touch of lemon peel, limestone minerality, and some white pepper notes at the back of it. High acidity and full in the mouth. Luscious, involving, elegant wine.
100% Khikhvi · 14% · 25GEL
94 3 Stars

Aquila del Torre - Primaluce 2015
Bruised yellow apple, bit of fig compote, chalky mineral notes, and hazelnut. Light oxidized touches that work to embellish the wine. Rich palate that carries lovely texture with the age of the wine.
100% Sauvignon Blanc · 13.5%
93 2 Stars

Domaine Augustin - Adéodat Blanc 2016
Lemon and white peach, strong kick of salinity, and toasted notes. Very fleshy and full on the palate, peach notes more prominent as well as Meyer lemon, medium plus acidity and a lengthy finish.
100% Grenache Gris · 14.5% · 20EUR
93 2 Stars

AA Badenhorst - Secateurs Red Blend 2012
Forest bramble with ripe red fruit, touches of cherry, ripe red plum, tiny bit of prune, cumin, anise, black licorice, wet cement mineral note, underlying fig jam. Crisp medium plus acidity, medium tannins, medium plus length, medium alcohol, overall medium plus body that’s ripe and lively but super fresh and balanced at the same time. Bit of rugged wildness to it but doesn’t get out of hand. Easy to drink but with just enough underlying complexity so that it stays interesting.
56% Syrah 27% Cinsaut 6% Grenache 4% Cabernet Sauvignon 7% "Others" · 13.5% · 12EUR
93 2 Stars

Domaine Treloar - Motus 2015
Dark ruby, minor rim. Big, mighty bouquet of red cherry and other brambly forest fruit, vanilla, almond blossom, orange peel, and cocoa. Rich and full on the palate with a wealth of tannins still integrating, leading into a crunchy, lingering finish.
80% Mourvèdre 10% Syrah 10% Grenache · 14% · 14EUR
93 2 Stars

Terroir Sense Fronteres - Guix Vermell 2017
Crisp red cherry fruit, touch of spice, flecks of pepper, baking spice, compacted, wet earth. Delicate on the palate, stays fresh, surprising high wealth of tannins, long finish.
100% Grenache · 13% · 250EUR
93+ 3 Stars

Tchotiashvili - Khikhvi 2014
Apricot, yellow peach, orange peel, and a touch of honey. Quite complex aromatically. Orchard fruit much more prevalent in the mouth with young apricot notes. Rich and elegant, touch of astringency in the finish.
100% Khikhvi · 13.1% · 28GEL
93+ 3 Stars