The SOMM Journal

April / May 2016

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8 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } APRIL/MAY 2016 Bodegas Atalaya 2013 La Atalaya del Camino, Almansa (SRP $17) Garnacha Tintorera (Alicante Bouschet) and Monastrell "Opaque; bright Bing cherry, dry pomegranate, dried flowers." —RM "Smoke and earth on the nose—wow! Dried cranberry; oak tannins on the finish." —AL Bodegas Atalaya 2013 Alaya Tierra Old Vines, Almansa (SRP $45) Garnacha Tintorera (Alicante Bouschet) "A richer version of the Camino yet the dried, tart fruit remains; clove and nutmeg." —JB "Huge wine—wow! Dark, rich red fruit; clove for days." —AL Bodegas Atteca 2013 Old Vines, Calatayud (SRP $17) Garnacha "Earthy, candied cherry." —JB "Bright cherry red; lighter and simpler in style." —RM Bodegas Atteca 2011 Garnacha, Armas Old Vines, Calatayud (SRP $45) Garnacha Tintorera (Alicante Bouschet) and Monastrell "Mocha, chocolate; velvety deep cherry." —RM "Incisive character ; rich and mouthfilling." —DG Bodegas Tridente 2013 Tempranillo, Castilla y León (SRP $17) Tempranillo "Violets, just-ripe raspberries; just barely medium-bodied." —JB "Plush, wildly drinkable Tempreanillo with nice grip. 15.5% ABV but drinks like a 13%." —AL Bodegas Tridente 2011 Rejón, Castilla y León (SRP $45) Tempranillo "Bacon fat, smoky blueberry! Big fruit with layers of earth & spice; tar. A very good bridge between Old and New World styles." —AL "Opaque, velvety; deep fruits. Very well done." —RM Cellers Can Blau 2013 Montsant (SRP $17) 50% Cariñena, 25% Syrah, 25%Garnacha "Instant coffee, pencil lead; tart, light raspberry, blueberry." —JB "Sage, lavender, clove; dark fruit." —AL Cellers Can Blau 2011 Mas de Can Blau, Montsant (SRP $45) Cariñena-Mazuelo, Syrah and Garnacha "Garnet color ; spicy, exotic spices; cassis, black currant. Great wine!"—RM "Incredible width; ripe blueberry; a wider version of Can Blau." —JB BlueGray 2013 Priorat (SRP $20) 45% Garnacha, 30% Cariñena, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon "Bright and lively; briar, raspberry and licorice. Yummy!" —AL "Black fruit with herbal and mint/menthol notes. A beautiful expression of the minerality of Priorat." —RM Bodegas El Nido 2013 Clio, Jumilla (SRP $45) 70% Monastrell, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon "Opaque; baked boysenberry pie, candied fruit and quince. Decadent and delicious." —AL "Gorgeous and super-extracted, with sumptous flavors." —DG Bodegas El Nido 2013 El Nido, Jumilla (SRP $135) 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Monastrell "Amarone-esque, wildly deca- dent, opulent; a velvet hammer of grapes." —AL "Opaque and raisinated. A big style with profound depth—very velvety and plush." —RM Masters of Monastrell Most ampelographers and wine historians agree that Monastrell—aka Mourvèdre, aka Mataró—has a long history in Spanish vineyards, perhaps introduced to the Iberian Peninsula by the Phoenicians as early as 500 b.c. Today it is the third most-planted red vari- ety in Spain (after Tempranillo and Garnacha). The grape accounts for 80 percent of the 30,000 hectares (74,000 acres) of vineyards in Jumilla, the rugged, drought-prone D.O. in the province of Murcia, in southeastern Spain—home to Bodegas Juan Gil since 1916. The poor, brownish, lime-based soils of Jumilla seem to be made for Monastrell vines, which, with their compact clusters and round, medium-sized blue-black berries, are drought-tolerant but prefer to be isolated one from another—no tight 1x1-meter vine spacing here. Planting density is between 1,100 vines/ha to 1,600 vines/ha (com - pare that to between 8,000 and 11,000 in Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne). The lack of organic matter, high pH, low salinity and good aeration of the soil resist phyllox - era, although Jumilla was invaded by the pest in 1989, forcing major replantings. "Monastrell has adapted to the extreme conditions of Jumilla over centuries," says Miguel Gil. "The very dry climate yields grapes of extraordinary concentration. The wines are very expressive, with a huge, fruited character, a lot of color, aromas of red and blue fruits, very powerful with a floral hint both in the nose and mouth which gives our Monastrell wines a marked personality very different from the ones obtained with the same variety in France or from any other wine region of the world." —David Gadd PHOTO COURTESY OF GIL FAMILY ESTATES Old-vine Monastrell is a signature of Gil Family Estates.

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