There are only a handful of wineries remaining in Yecla since the phyloxera plague, and they are led by the forward-thinking Bodegas Castano,
which has helped to reinvigorate the winemaking in the region.
Created by Ramon Castano Santa and his 3 sons, Bodegas Castano is not nearly as old
as the vines it owns. Starting quite small, the family has nurtured these old plantings
and re-planted other parcels and now owns 350 hectares of some of
the prime vineyard land in Yecla. Today, Daniel Castano, one of Ramon's sons, runs
the winery with the help of other members of the family.
The extremely talented Mariano Lopez has taken over the winemaker reins at the Bodega,
and has turned the focus toward more balanced bottlings of older vine
Monastrell. Both traditional and carbonic maceration techniques are used and all
wines pass through malolactic fermentation. Daniel believes that the fruit and tannin
structure of the Monastrell varietal stands up well to the use of oak, and as such, many
of the wines pass (in varying degrees) through a barrel regime.
Learn More About Mourvedre
A native of Spain, where it's called Monastrell, Mourvèdre is best known for its blending role in the Southern Rhone. Strong and rustic, Mourvèdre is the cowboy style blender in the Rhone mix. It's also the "M" of GSM (or SGM) blends in Australia, and it's used as the primary grape in wines from Jumilla and other Southeast areas of Spain.
Notable Facts The desirable aspects of Mourvèdre as a blending grape are good color (from thick skins), high acid and high tannins. These attributes offset the lighter color, lower acid and lower tannins of its Rhone (and sometimes Australian & Spanish) partner, Grenache. The grape likes warmer climates, but has tight bunches so benefits from the cool winds commonly found in areas where it grows best. Spicy and gamey are typical terms related to Mourvèdre. It's not as often bottled as a single variety, but parts of Spain and California are successfully doing just that - the results are delicious.
Summing it up Successful Sites: Southern Rhone, Spain, Australia, California
Common Descriptors: Meaty, rustic, blackberry, leather, herbs, spice
Learn More About Spain
The third largest country in production, Spain ranks first in land under vine. Diversity and innovation are the key factors bringing Spain back into the world wine market.
The most popular red varieties of Spain include Tempranillo and Garnacha (Grenache). Whites don't garner quite as much recognition, but there are some regional varieties not to be missed, like Albarino and Verdejo. The popular red regions of Spain include Rioja, known for its outstanding wines of the Tempranillo grape; Ribera del Duero, producing high quality reds from Tempranillo and Garnacha; Galacia, with the sub-region of Rias Baixas, home to the deliciously crisp and floral Albarino grape; and Priorat, a region increasing in popularity with its high-quality cult reds. Other regions of note are Rueda, growing the Verdejo grape, La Mancha, a wide desert region, covered in the most planted white variety in the world, Airen, and Jumilla, making wines based on Monestrell (Mourvedre).
Spain's wine laws are based on the Denominacion de Origen (DO) classification system, devised in the 1930's. A four tiered system, the most basic level is Vina de Mesa (table wine) followed by Vino de la Tierra (country wine), DO and at the top DOC. Currently, only Rioja and Priorat have DOC status, while over 55 Dos scatter the country.
Most DO regions are classified and regulated by how long they age the wines. On a red wine label, one may find the terms Crianza, Reserva or Gran Reserva, denoting the wine's barrel and bottle time. Crianza is usually two years between barrel and bottle (the time in each depends on the DO and/or the winemaker), Reserva up to 4 years and Gran Reserva 5 – 6 years. Classifications of each region and wine are controlled by the region's Consejo Regulador.
Other regions of Spain include:
Home of most of the Airen grapes planted as well as Don Quioxte, La Mancha is a vast desert-like area of flat land and penetrating sun.
The Sherry region is located near Spain’s southernmost point along the coast. Sherry produces white varietals used to make the fortified wines from which it received its namesake such as Palomino, Palomino Fino, Palomino de Jerez, Pedro Ximenez and Moscatel.
The Penedés wine region is located in the province of Barcelona, along the eastern coast of Spain. The Penedés wine region consists of 185 vineyards. Penedes is home to Spain’s sparkling wine, Cava, and also produces Garnacha, Merlot, Tempranillo, Pinot Noir, Monastrell, Carignane, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah (reds), as well as Macabeo (Viura), Parellada, Chardonnay, Riesling, Gewurtztraminer, Chenin Blanc and Moscatel de Alejandria.
Located in southeastern Spain, Yecla is situated in the province of Murica. Neighboring the Jumilla region, Yecla is one of Spain’s smallest wine regions. Common red varietals include Monastrell, Garnacha Tinta, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cencibel, Merlot, Tintorera and Syrah. White varietals include Merseguera, Airen, Macabeo, Malvasia and Chardonnay.
Alan Pickel (9/29/2010)
I drank as much opf the 2007 as I could get my hands on. It was a wonderfully pleasant everyday drinking wine. RP hit the 2007 on the nose! The 2008 was very disappointing. It was much harsher and didn't dramtacially improve even after opening for 30 minutes. If you like the 2008, get your hands on the 2007!
Cary Wine Lover (9/26/2010)
I'm not a wine expert. I like big, bold wines and this delivers. It's unique in that it's very spicy. It can stand up to the any food but I enjoy just sipping it. Excellent wine at an excellent price.
This is a great spicy red at the price. Black pepper and black cherries came through for me on the tongue.
Thirsty Brent (9/28/2010)
More interesting than any bottle at this price in awhile - a mineral/slate start with some raspberry on the back. Be open-minded - not a fruit bomb.