Castillo del Baron Monastrell 2012

Castillo del baron(450 x 600)Having enjoyed Monastrell (aka Mourvedre) wines a lot recently, especially during our recent trip to Murcia visiting our daughter who was studying Spanish and on her year abroad , I was looking forward to this bargain cheapy I picked up from the Wine Society.

This particular bottle is from Yecla in the province of Murcia. Most of the Monastrell in Murcia, the ones I drank anyway, were all slightly chilled, so I decided to stick this bottle in the fridge for a short while before drinking.

In the glass it was a bright ruby red with a definite Mediterranean nose of cherries, plums and earthy spices. On first sip it was bright fresh and full of juicy red fruits, slightly baked and mildly spiced although it was a little sour on the finish. It had a kind of jammy sweetness to it as well but the tartness was a little too much for me especially as the glass warmed up.

With food it fared much better and for the £5.50 I paid there’s really not much to complain about although I would say for a couple of pounds more there are far better Monastrells out there.

What it did do though is to remind me of the fantastic time we had sitting in bars under the shadow of Murcia Cathedral sipping numerous glasses of this local grape variety and I urge you all to try a bottle, maybe not this one but if you find a good one it is a fabulous drink.

6corksMy Rating 6/10 Corks

The Wine Society £5.50

Ondas Del Alma Godello & Vinahonda Crianza

Not quite Shakespeare but this is a ‘tale of two wines’ one from Galicia in north west Spain and the other from the Jumilla region on the southeast coast just north of Murcia.

godello coop(450 x 600)Firstly the Godello, I’m a big fan of this grape, almost extinct at one time now seems to be getting a reputation as being Spain’s ‘great white hope’ and in publisher and renowed wine expert Jancis Robinsons words “combines the structure of white burgundy with the finesse of a juicily mineral grape”. It also happens to be my current favourite Spanish white wine.
The Co Op have released their ‘Truly Irresistible’ range which includes this Godello Ondas del Alma 2012 which I bought on offer for £6.49.
Very, very pale looking in the glass with aromas of pear, peaches and cream.
Taste – Quite a creamy velvety taste, although still with a sharp, fresh acidic finish. Pears dominate with a hint of apples and peach. Great with food, cleansed the palate beautifully. Easy to drink, had this with some pork and mediterranean vegtables but it would probably suit fish dishes better. What I must point out is don’t chill this too much, initially I drank this far too cold, tasted much better when it warmed up a bit.

vinahonda2010(450 x 600)Next a wine I bought while browsing the duty free shop in Murcia airport. I’m not a great fan of airport duty free wine as there doesn’t seem to be as much of a saving, with a lot of the wines on show much cheaper if bought locally. Saying that this particular Vinahonda Crianza 2010 caught my eye and I decided to buy it at around 9 Euros. This is a blend of Monastrell , Cabrenet Sauvignon and Tempranillo.
Look & Nose – Bright ruby colour, intense complex aromas of fleshy rich cherries, spices, vanilla and chocolate. Taste – refined tannins, long finish, a little on the sweet side, Vanilla, smokey and a mild kick of spice.

Summing up, two pretty good wines, the Godello a little more easy to find here than the Vinahonda but if you are in the Murcia region of Spain the Monastrell is definitely worth checking out.

7.5corksTruly Irresistible Co Op Godello 2012

My Rating 8/10 Corks


8.5corksVinahonda Crianza 2010

My Rating 8.5/10 Corks

Murcia & Monastrell

On a recent visit to Spain where my daughter is currently on her year abroad studying for her degree in Spanish/Italian at the University of Murcia my aim was to try some alternatives to Rioja and try local wines made with grapes of the area, oh yes, also managed to fit in seeing our daughter as well.
Monastrell (Mataro in Spain) also known as Mourvedre is from the Jumilla region which is situated just north of Murcia, it features heavily around the bars and restaurants, often used blended but it can be found in its 100% form widely around Murcia. This thick skinned grape makes wines that are high in tannins, plenty of dark fruit flavours with spice and sometimes slightly herbal. The Monastrells I tasted were bright and juicy, vanillary, full of dark cherries, slightly tart and quite meaty in flavour and very tannic.
Serrella(450 x 600)Browsing the shelves of local wine shops and supermarkets (while my wife and daughter were off browsing the local clothes shops) there were lots of reasonably priced local wines on show and I took a chance with a couple and as it turned out, both were pretty decent.
The first was a ‘2007 Serrella’ a blend of Monastrell, Pinot Noir and Petit Verdot, priced on offer at just over 7 euros. When poured it was very dark in colour with a rusty tinge to the rim, it had heady aromas of Morello cherries, plums and dark chocolate. If I’m honest the taste was not what I expected after the lovely smells coming from the glass. On first sip it was initially bright fresh and very fruity but did have a sharp sour finish, it also had a rustic harshness about it, although strangely I still thought it was still a pretty good tasting wine. I kept a little back for the next day and it became a totally different drink it was smoother, slightly sweeter, dark fruits were still there and a little tobacco was coming through.In hindsight I think I should have let this breathe for at least a couple of hours and it would have made for a better first experience. Overall though for the price a big thumbs up.
Senorio bullas(450 x 600)The second bottle was the ‘Senorio de Bullas Reserva 2009’, around 9 Euros again reduced on offer.

Now this was a different beast altogether, a blend of Monastrell and Syrah. When poured it was very dark almost inky in colour but after sticking my nose in the glass and giving a good sniff not much was coming out, there was a little plum and woodiness but not much else.

I drank this straight after opening and was instantly impressed with its intense and powerful flavour, oaky, dark ripe plums, liquorice, figs and spices. Still a little tart on the finish and quite tannic but the taste was much better than the nose suggested, very much the opposite of the Serrella. The similarity to the previous wine was again on the second day, much smoother, less tannic altogether nicer to drink especially as a stand alone drink without food.
Drank quite a few different Monastrells and Monastrell blends in the local bars during my week in Murcia not paying much more than 1 to 2 Euros a glass and most of them very nice with a few exceptions. Great to taste these local wines and great to see our daughter, shame her time in Murcia is coming to an end, it really is a brilliant place, good food, friendly people and good wine.SE


Serrella 7.5/10 Corks



Senorio de Bullas 8/10 Corks