I discovered Monastrell a little while ago, and have quickly recognized that it is a great wine and offers some great values. The 2004 Hecula Monastrell is another fine example and comes to us from the Yecla region which is located in Southeastern Spain. The Yecla D.O. resides in the municipality of Yecla North of Jumilla and West of Alicante. The primary grape in this region is the Monastrell grape as it makes up about 85% of zones planted acres. Monastrell incidentally is the Spanish name given to the Mourvedre grape of France.
The largest producer in Yecla and the maker of the Hecula Monastrell is Bodegas Castano who has approximately 300 hectares of Monastrell grapes under vine. Originally conceived in the 1950’s by Ramon Castano Santa, it wasn’t until the 1980’s that the winery really took off with the help of his sons. The families focus is primarily 2 things, quality and the Monastrell grape, combining the two in their commitment to produce superior wines. Castano operates four vineyard sites that pretty much break up the Yecla region nicely into 3 distinct areas. Most of the vineyards are comprised of a lime stone, well drained soil that is low in organic nutrients except for the southern most vineyard of El Espinal that has more of clay based composition.
The Hecula is of course 100% Monastrell grapes coming from 35 year old vines. After approximately 10 day fermentation the wine is aged in a combination of French and American Oak for 6 months.
My Tasting Notes
Nose – Blueberry, raspberry, cherry and vanilla bean
Taste – Raspberry, basil, green pepper and leather
Mouthfeel – very smooth and round, dry velvety tannins and slightly spicy
Finish – Medium in length and oddly a hint of citrus and black olive (seriously)
This was a very nice wine, especially at the price of $13 dollars. Very approachable, lots of fruit up front with a nice back end lace of herbs and green veggies adding good complexity and depth. At the price, I don’t think you could go wrong picking up a bottle for yourself, and even if it was a few dollars more it would still be a good value. If you haven’t been drinking Monastrell, keep you eye out for them because they really do offer great value in a versatile red wine.