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Castano Solanera Vinas Viejas 2015, Yelca

Deep ruby; tight, pink rim. Engaging nose of crushed cherries; intense and ripe plum, blueberry, raisins; hint of lavender; spicy and earth tones. You almost feel the sun. On the palate, stewed red and dark fruit(plum and cherries), tobacco, chocolate, dry wood, hints of mint, vanilla, in a rounded and elegant way. Tannins firm. Dry. Light to medium body. Balanced. It seems that the varietal characters are in placed.

This wine need 30 to 45 minutes full decanted to step up the structure, intensity and lessen the alcohol impact, hence giving even more elegance and less rusticity. Parker et al. like this vintage best, though score awarded is lowered than 2012. We think Parker et al.(read below) comments explains the wine adequately. Well commented, as always, are also earlier vintages including 2012, 2013, 2014 which show classic terroir character of Yelca as well.

Critical Acclaim for 2015 includes:

RP92 Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

The 2015 Solanera used to wear the ultimate Spanglish label, which said "Viñas Viejas of Monastrell" even if it was always a blend (in this vintage, the blend includes 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Garnacha Tintorera). The revamped 2015 has a completely different label that only keeps the "viñas viejas" moniker. In this wine, from the joint venture with U.S. importer Eric Solomon that started in 1999, they used part of full clusters and sourced the grapes from Casa Marta, a nine-hectare, head-pruned, dry-farmed plot on very stony soils in the north of Yecla at the foot of the Mount Arabí. It fermented in concrete vats and open-top barrels and matured in barrique, each variety separately, for some ten months, after which it was blended and bottled. This is the vintage of the big change in this wine, where, as with the majority of its siblings, there is better balance and more integrated oak, more freshness and better balance. The nose is quite captivating, especially after some time in the glass, when it starts developing some floral aromas, perfect ripeness, no warmth or alcohol and a powerful, yet terribly balanced palate with concentration and elegance, fine-grained tannins and clean, focused flavors. This is my favorite Solanera to date.

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