Friday, February 4, 2011

Rating: *** $ Casa Castillo Monastrell, 2007, Jumilla, Spain - Wine Review (BEST VALUE)

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By way of background:
Casa Castillo Monastrell, from the Jumilla area of southern Spain, is a pure varietal of the monastrell grape - also called mourvedre - which is finished at a solid 14% alcohol.

Original Review, November, 2009:

In the glass: Color is deep magenta, opaque to within a half-inch of the rim of the wine glass.

On the nose: Aroma is medium-powerful classic sweet and smoky helium balloon, suggesting bright red fruits.

On the palate: Casa Castillo comes on at first as a very strong and balanced showing, bringing sweet blueberry and ripe, sweet strawberry to your middle tongue. That is followed by a mild acid tang at the back of your throat, and a bigger, building set of sweet tannins swarming around the perimeter of your mouth.

And the finish: Finishes with a sweet red fruit and tannin crescendo, supplemented by a bit of black charcoal. As the finish fades, it brings just a touch of cloying sweetness.

In summary: Definitely an experience I would not refuse again, so a solid three stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale. Terrific value, as this bottle ran under $10 U.S.

Jay Miller of Wine Advocate definitely liked this too, awarding 90 points and saying, "The 2007 Monastrell is even better than the 2006 which received 88 points in Issue 175. The wine is estate grown and bottled from old vines and low yields. It was aged for six months in seasoned French and American oak barrels. Dark ruby-colored, it exhibits a nose of spice box, black cherry, and blueberry. This leads to a medium to full-bodied wine with layered fruit, savory flavors, enough structure to evolve for 1-2 years, and a pure close. Drink it over the next four years."

Josh Raynolds of International Wine Cellar was similarly enthusiastic, also awarding 90 points and writing, 'Inky purple. Deep, smoky cassis and blueberry aromas, with complicating notes of tobacco and musky herbs. Powerful dark berry flavors are youthfully chewy and tannic, with bright acidity adding snap. Finishes with strong grip and very good persistence. For this price, this is serious stuff."

Updated Review, over a year later, January, 2011:  Color is still deep magenta.  Sweet alcoholic red fruits on the nose.  On the palate, still a pleasant mid-red blueberry and strawberry experience.  Not much touched by the year in bottle. 

Following long decant, almost a week kept cool in a partially filled bottle:  More muted nose with a touch of oxidation.  Muddled strawberries now take the lead on the nose, with blueberries in reserve.

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