|95||International Wine Review||The 2011 Christina is sourced from a 90-year old single vineyard. Denser and more concentrated than the regular Australes, and fermented and aged in new oak, it offers a silky texture, rich density of dark fruit flavors with toasted oak notes and minerals, and a long finish. Only 350 cases produced.|
|93+||The Wine Advocate||The 2011 Christina is produced with Tempranillo grapes from a single vineyard, not necessarily the same every vintage (to adapt to the different climatic conditions of each year). In 2011, it is from Fuentesanta, a slope vineyard in Anguix (Burgos) planted some 80 years ago with 2,500 plants per hectare on clay and sand soils. The wine aged for 22 months in brand new French oak barrels. It has a very oaky, showy and smoky nose with notes of bacon, roasted seeds, spice aromas and plenty of vanilla and cinnamon. The fruit is black and in the background. The palate is full-bodied, with lots of tannin, high extract, is very dry, ripe and extremely powerful and in need of a good couple of years in bottle. Drink 2016-2021.|
|93||Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar||Inky purple. Sexy, oak-spiced dark berries, cola and violet on the intensely perfumed nose. Lush and expansive on the palate, offering sappy black and blue fruit flavors with sweet vanilla and mocha nuances. Picks up a smoky quality with air and finishes with superb clarity and length and smooth, fully absorbed tannins. One could drink this now but it has the balance to age.|
|93||The Wine Enthusiast||Black in color and inky on the nose, this ultra-concentrated, superripe Tempranillo is smoky and toasty, with accents of graphite along with blackberry. An extracted, dense palate is braced by solid tannins and healthy acids. Blackberry, cassis and chocolate flavors conclude this rich, flashy wine. Drink 2016–2021.|
|91||View from the Cellar||The 2011 Astrales “Christina” is also 14.5 percent octane, so the one hundred percent new oak that this cuvée is raised in shows a bit more with the higher alcohol. The bouquet is new oaky, but not badly done in this style, offering up scents of plums, black cherries, cigar wrapper, dark soil tones, a nice touch of tempranillo spices and smoky new oak. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, complex and beautifully detailed, with again, just a bit of backend heat showing on the long, moderately tannic finish. Interestingly, though the perception of new oak is slightly more obvious on the nose, the wood is beautifully integrated on the palate and is really quite seamless today. I would have loved to have seen it a touch lower in octane, but this is the vintage, and the wine is very, very well done in this slightly riper style. 2017-2035+.|
|90||Wine Spectator||Black cherry, boysenberry, and cola flavors mingle in this expressive red. Features a plush texture, supported my firm underlying tannins and bright acidity. This is engaging, in a fruity style, but with solid structure. Drink now through 2020.|
|94||Wine Spectator||Licorice, mineral and sanguine flavors frame a deep well of currant and blackberry notes in this expressive red. Muscular tannins and balsamic acidity support the broad texture, giving way to floral and espresso details. Flamboyant. Best from 2017 through 2027.|
|93||Vinous Media||(malolactic fermentation and 20 months of aging in new French oak barrels): Bright purple. Heady, oak-spiced aromas of ripe black and blue fruits, incense and smoky Indian spices. Sappy, expansive and alluringly sweet, with deeply concentrated boysenberry and vanilla flavors given lift and spine by juicy acidity and an intense mineral quality; at once rich and nervy. Finishes with smooth tannins and outstanding thrust. From a single plot of vines reportedly planted over 90 years ago. 2020 – 2025|
|92+||View from the Cellar||The 2012 Astrales “Christina” bottling is a ripe and very, very classy bottle of wine in the making. This too is listed at 14.5 percent octane, but the old vine depth of fruit here carries its new wood very nicely indeed and there is a ton of promise here on both the nose and palate! The bouquet offers up an adolescently complex and very pure blend of black cherries, plums, chocolate, lead pencil, dark soil tones, cigar smoke and cedary, smoky new wood. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, complex and beautifully balanced, with a sappy core, fine focus and grip, moderate tannins and lovely length and nascent complexity on the finish. A touch of the backend tannins here are also derived from the barrels, but there is more than ample depth of fruit to absorb them with a bit more bottle age and this will be a lovely bottle in the fullness of time. 2022-2050.|
|17.5/20||Jancis Robinson.com||Tempranillo. Upcoming producer. 95 year old vines planted on calcareous clay soils in Anguix village. Indigenous yeasts. Aged for 18 months in new French oak barrels. Lots of fruit concentration here, chocolate, toasty oak, smoke and minty lift. Superbly charged fruit with a juicy palate, well-structured firm tannins and harmonious balance. Very good wine combining power and freshness.
August 2015 - Ferran Centelles
|Decanter World Wine Awards||Creamy vanilla and clove aromas on this modern, savoury Ribera. Sweet oak, velvet tannins and smooth, classy style.|
|93||Vinous Media||(sourced from vines that are reportedly over 90 years old; aged in new French oak barrels for 20 months) Inky ruby. Expansive, smoke-accented aromas of cassis, cherry, mocha and licorice; a suave floral nuance builds in the glass. Appealingly sweet and expressive, offering deeply concentrated black and blue fruit, vanilla and lavender pastille flavors and a touch of spicecake. Shows excellent focus and powerful thrust on a long, sappy finish framed by harmonious, slow-mounting tannins.|
|91||JamesSuckling.com||“Fresh and intense nose of mint, strawberries and plums with hints of cloves and tar. Full to medium body, soft tannins and a long, clean and flavorful finish. Drink now.”|
|91||Wine Spectator||Floral and vanilla notes accent a core of black cherry and currant fruit in this sleek red. Bright acidity balances firm tannins, which give way to a spicy finish. The best of three bottles tasted. Drink now through 2023.
August 31, 2016
|94||Wine Spectator Insider||Dense and structured. Cassis and plum flavors mingle with mocha, loamy earth and black olive notes, imparting a balance of fruit and savory character. Drink now through 2030.|
|94||Vinous Media||(made from vines that are reportedly over 90 years old; aged for 20 months in all new French oak barrels) Brilliant purple. Primary black and blue fruits, potpourri, Indian spices and vanilla on the explosively perfumed nose; a mineral flourish adds urgency and lift. Sweet, deeply concentrated, oak-spiced boysenberry and cherry cola flavors spread out steadily on the palate, picking up spiciness and a touch of star anise on the back half. Lush, broad and seamless in texture, finishing with excellent clarity and smooth tannins contributing shape and gentle grip.|
|93||The Wine Advocate||The Tempranillo grapes used for the 2014 Christina reached 15% alcohol in a ripe vintage like this. It's a heady, powerful and generously-oaked red after 18 months in new barriques. This shows a little wilder than the regular bottling with some aromas of smoky bacon, hints of tar and ripe black fruit. It's powerful and concentrated with spicy oak flavors, but with very good balance. 6,000 bottles were filled in June 2015. 2017 - 2022|
|93||View from the Cellar||The cuvée Christina from Bodegas los Astrales hails from a ninety year-old vineyard and is raised entirely in new French wood for eighteen months prior to bottling. The 2014 version is excellent, offering up a deep and classy nose of black plums, black cherries, a lovely touch of soil, dark chocolate and a very well-done base of smoky new oak. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied and quite elegant in profile, with a fine core, lovely focus and nascent complexity and a very long, ripely tannic and well-balanced finish. This carries its one hundred percent new wood very nicely, though the purist in me thinks that ninety year-old vines deserve less new wood, rather than more, so that more of the terroir here can shine through in the wine. But, this is a beautifully made and very promising bottle in the making. 2024-2060.|
|94||View from the Cellar||As readers may recall from last year’s report on Bodegas los Astrales, the cuvée Christina is produced from a ninety year-old parcel of vines grown at an elevation of nearly nine hundred meters above sea level, allowing for a good diurnal temperature swing during the growing season. The wine is raised entirely in new French wood for eighteen months prior to bottling. The 2015 Christina is a superb follow-up to the very strong 2014 vintage of this wine, offering up a pure and complex nose of red plums, cherries, a touch of pomegranate, cocoa powder, soil tones and a well done framing of nutty new oak. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied, complex and rock solid at the core, with lovely focus and balance, ripe, well-integrated tannins and outstanding length and grip on the vibrant and very promising finish. This is still a puppy and deserves some bottle age to fully blossom, but it is going to be very classy wine when it is ready to drink! 2025-2075.
Issue #75 – May/June 2018
|93+||The Wine Advocate||The powerful and showy 2015 Christina is ripe and reached 15% alcohol. It's also generously oaked but keeps balance after 18 months in new oak barrels. It's powerful and concentrated, with spicy oak flavors but with very good balance and fine-grained tannins following the line of the 2014. 6,000 bottles were filled in July 2017.
August 2018 - Issue 238