Monday, August 27, 2012

Updated Review: *** $$ Castano Solanera Vinas Viejas, Yecla, Spain, 2003

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By way of background: Spain makes some fun, fruity reds.  The Yecla region of southern Spain is less well-known, and we're sampling a well-aged red blend from this region that is available at affordable prices.

Initial review, May, 2011: This is Castano Solanera Vinas Viejas, Yecla, Spain, 2003, finished at 14.% alcohol.  This is a blend of  65% monastrell (mourvedre) along with 35% cabernet sauvignon, all aged in oak for 10 months. 

In the glass: Solanera is deep dark burgundy in the glass, opaque from about a quarter inch in from the edge, and showing hints of both brick and purple at the very edge. 

On the nose: Poured cool with a brief decant and swirled vigorously, shows solid and serious deep cssis and oak influences.  From the aroma, seems like this will be big and mouth-filling, perhaps dark.  

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact deep, peppery, mouth-filling, round and dark.  Shows rich, very ripe blackberry, a sweetness on the palate, and just enough acids to pop the black pepper up into your cheeks.  FInish is not long, but clean.

In summary: Overall, dark and stormy fruit-based experience that rates three stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale.

Following decant, four hours in flat-bottomed decanter at room temperature: Funky nose now, oxidized in style.  On the palate, breaking apart and moving to thinner elements.  Don't decant!

Updated review, over a year later, August, 2012: Consistent dark color.  Deep, taut fragrant fruit on the nose.  Peppery plums on the palate.  Sweet and bright, few signs of age despite it being nine years from vintage date.  Finish remains clean.

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