Bodegas Castano, Monastrell 2016

Deep ruby; tight, pink rim. Engaging nose of crushed cherries; intense and ripe plum, blueberry, raisins; candies; hint of lavender; spicy and earth tones. You almost feel the sun. The nose reflects the palate. There are ample tannins with a twist of herbal red plum flavours accent its dry, medium finish. Light to medium body.

This vintage needs 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.

Well-commented for this current vintage 2016 are also earlier vintages including 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, all of which show classic terroir character of Yelca as well as varietal characters of Mourvedre (Monastrell) , Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache. 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 ferments 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; hence there is always open fruit.

Says Parker, "The wine such as this 2016 vintage is getting 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".

Awarding it 90 RP, Parker et al. continues with a "Wow". He writes, "I hadn't encountered their entry-level, young and unoaked Monastrell for a while, but I tasted the 2016 Monastrell, which fermented in stainless steel and was kept in concrete vats for four to six months. They used some 25% to 30% full clusters in the vinification, and I've never smelled anything like this from Castaño. This is floral and fresh, elegant and balanced, with moderate extraction, ripe tannins and a very pleasant finish."


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