Every wine lover needs what I like to call a “secret weapon”. To me, that’s a wine that you know time and again is going to deliver something great for the price. I’ve got a pretty extensive list of these, most of them consisting of unknown varietals or wines from somewhat obscure regions.
Today I want to talk about one of my most fool proof secret weapons, Spanish Monastrell. Probably slightly better known as Mourvedre, these wines bring an awesome combination of flavors together, with bright, ripe fruit at their cores and bold earthy tones that bring to mind things like saddle leather and cacao powder. Time and again you can get a very complex, multidimensional, and beautifully layered Spanish Monastrell for easily under $20, many times much less. In fact, I found both of the wines that we’re talking about today for around $10.
Wine #1: Vinedos de el Seque 2008 Alicante Monastrell
Our first wine is the product of forty year old, high altitude vines that have been sustainably farmed in the region of Alicante (south eastern), Spain. It spent one year in French oak prior to release.
This wine’s aroma is an intriguing patchwork of red and black tones. Dark chocolate seems to enrobe bright notes of cranberry and goji berries, with deep dark notes of plum and wild strawberry showing in the background. Subtle hints of leather and pine nuts appear with a spin in the glass.
Juicy and full of fruit on the palate, this wine is further accented by notes of leather and vineyard dust. Pine nuts, cacao powder, plums, and strawberries all show up before a lasting finish.
Worth Buying. 90 points.
Wine #2: Olivares 2008 “Altos de la Hoya” Jumilla Monastrell
This wine really brings something special to the table. Like our first Monastrell, this one also comes from high altitude, old vines grown in the south east of Spain (this time somewhat less eastern) in the Jumilla region. But for a little something extra, this wine sources its fruit exclusively from a single vineyard, housing vines that are planted on their own, ungrafted roots. Following a native yeast fermentation, it was aged for six months in French oak.
Dark chocolate and saddle leather appear at first on the nose with a rich smoky quality emerging afterward. Smelling roasted and robust, there is also a deep briar fruit quality to this wine that is appealingly ripe and nicely complex.
An impressive ripeness shows on the palate, accenting deep fruit and berry tones. Burnt caramel, chocolate, coffee beans, and vanilla mingle with lots of stone and earth tones at the core. With great intensity and a juicy plumpness to the fruit, this is an interesting and very enjoyable pour.
Worth Buying. 91 points.
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