Faceoff: Tempranillo vs. Monastrell (4 TN's)

My wife and I went away for the Labor Day weekend and joined some friends of ours who were staying at a resort in Michigan. Luckily the resort had an extra cabin to rent which happened to be on a 50 foot bluff overlooking Lake Michigan. The only drawback was the 90 steps that led to the beach.

Anyway, our friends enjoy red wine so I decided to bring 4 Spanish reds for a little competition. 2 Tempranillo based wines, 1 which was primarily Monastrell and another which was an equal blend of the 2 grapes. Monastrell is the Spanish name for the Mouvedre grape. To make the competition fair, I made sure that I purchased all of the wines for about the same price ($10-15 price range)/

Here are my notes and the results:

1999 Condado de Haza Ribera del Duero($13)-100% Tempranillo. Spicy aroma but very smooth and understated with notes of black pepper and ripe red fruit. Well integrated tannins. An old world style. This finished 3rd in the voting. 88-89 points.

1999 Pago de Carovejas Ribera del Duero($11)- 100% Tempranillo. Well this is usually more expensive but I got it on sale so I threw it into this tasting. A bit fuller than the Condado with more pronounced trannin and fruit extract. Plum, blackberry and cocoa notes. This finished 2nd in the voting. 89 points.

2000 Les Alcusses Valencia($12)- Parker gave this a 91. The label indicated this was 40% Tempranillo, 40% Monastrell and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon (which is a little different cepage than what Parker indicated in the WA). This is a blackish red wine with wonderful concentration and purity of fruit. Currant, raspberry and licorice notes with firm tannins and good acidity which gave the fruit some zing. Long finish. This was the unanimous choice for favorite of the night. 91 points.

2001 Castano Solenera($13)- 70% Monastrell and 30% Cabernet from the Yecla region of Spain. This wine has been talked about quite a bit on the board. This is the 2nd time I have had it. Closed and tight the first night without much fruit. My wife thought it had a fishy smell but I did not detect this. Meaty texture. Chocolate and licorice notes were present on its heavy frame. The least favorite on day 1. However, there was half a bottle left over on day 2 and everyone agreed that the wine opened up quite a but and was showing more fruit. 86 on day 1 and a 90 on day 2.

Overall, the blend showed the best and I would call the contest a tie due to Castano's Jekyl and Hyde showing.

VM

AC145895 but dreaming of AC000000
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