Sunday, April 6, 2008

Review and Rating: ***+ $ Altos de la Hoya Monastrell, 2005, Jumilla, Spain

Review: The Altos de la Hoya Monastrell is medium/dark muddy red in the glass. It sports an aroma of candy-coated apples dipped again in oil of oak. Deep, sweet and even somewhat brooding. Suggests a sweet, full, pungent sip.

On the palate, it is a bit chewier, leaner than expected. Less sweet fruit. More dirty grit in the tannins, a brambly wood texture, with severe blackberry fruit. Finish is tannic. Definitely wants more time to settle out. Three stars out of five with a plus for the future. This is one to watch. Incredible value at under $10 U.S.

Robert Parker of Wine Advocate awarded 90 points and said, "The 2005 Altos de la Hoya Monastrell “Ungrafted Old Vines” is a perennial Best Buy in this journal. Purple in color, the wine offers up a nearly exotic nose (perhaps due to wild yeast fermentation) of earth, minerals, blueberries, and blackberries. This medium to full-bodied effort possesses layers of sweet, ripe fruit, and soft tannins yet is surprisingly elegant. Drink this tasty wine over the next 2-3 years."

My only quibble with Parker's assessment is that I believe it can productively age longer.

Stephen Tanzer of International Wine Cellar gave 91 points and wrote, "Deep ruby. Ripe, powerful scents of blackberry, cassis and candied plum, with a bit of garnacha in the blend seeming to brighten the darker fruit character. Fat and lush, with deep, sweet blackcurrant and blackberry flavors and no rough edges. Finishes dense, fresh and long, with a repeating blackberry note. This has the concentration and sappy texture of a much more expensive wine."

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