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.


AC145895 but dreaming of AC000000
Original Post
Thanks for the TNs on the Tempranillo. I fell in love with this grape 35 years ago (and Graciano).

I supect the Monastrell aka Mourvèdre (and down this way as Mataro) would explain why the hugeness in the Solenera, it can be almost too big at times. I reckon a better cepage than Merlot for north of Caneros. ¿Que?
The Castano debate has been very entertaining. My favorite kickname is "The dog strangler", for Mourvedre. It can be a handful in youth. Personally I think the Costano needs 4-5 years before opening, so doesn't surprise me that it was better day 2.

You can go for a lighter extract and make a light weight and colored wine for early drinking, but if you get any maceration and you are not named Fred or Matt Cline, Mourvedre should not be opened until it's 5th birthday at least.


"Tasting? That means nothing!...How does a wine DRINK....that's the all-important thing" Paul Masson

The Chicago Wine Mafia will have a chance to test out your theory this Saturday when the "Dean Martin of the WS board" (Pyang) comes to town (link courtesy of Otis).

We will be tasting a vertical of Chateau Beaucastel (1997, 1998 and 2000) which is comprised of 30% Mouvedre in most vintages. Normally these are the longest lived wines in the CdP appellation. Interestingly, Parker indicated that the 2000 might be forward enough to allow for good drinking when young. We shall see.


AC145895 but dreaming of AC000000

Thanks for the notes. I have had both the '00 and '01 Castano and thought that it was all over the board as far a quality. I have a few bottles that I would rate close to 90 and several that were just plain simple - closer to low to mid 80s I just though that I had a string of bad bottles. Maybe I should pick another up andsee if some air helps smooth out inconsistencies of this wine.

We had the 2002 Castano Monastrell tonight, but not Solanera. Does "Solanera" indicate it's a Mourvedre/Cab blend ?

Incidentally, I thought the one we had tonight was pretty awful--acidy and crude. I have liked the Solanera in the past though.
I must agree about variability on the 00 and 01 Solanera. I went through more than a case of 01, and about a case of 00. I never knew what to expect, it ranged from show-stopping to mediocre.

BTW, ditto on the Castell Remei Gotim Bru 00.

Flower power my ass.
I've had the '01 Castano Monastrell twice over the last couple of months. The first time I had it without giving it any air and it did taste a bit crude but definitely not awful. If I were to score it, it'd be an 85p. When I had the second bottle, about a couple of weeks ago, I poured the wine and then let it breathe for at least 1/2 hour. It tasted much better than the 1st bottle and it got better with time. More like 89p. Bottom line: if the 2001 needs air to come together, the 2002 may need it also, or perhaps it needs to sit for a few more months. Or it could be that the '02 is simply inferior to the '01.

I also had 2 bottles of the '00 Gotim Bru recently and both times the wine was very enjoyable, even though I wouldn't give it 92p as RP has. More like an 89-90p, which would still make it an excellent QPR.

Solenera is simply the brand name I believe. Think of it like the name "Insignia" used by Joseph Phelps. It is a step above the regular Monastrell in quality but the exact cepage of the wine may change from year to year (although I do think it must maintain a minimum amount Monastrell to retain that varietal name on the label).


AC145895 but dreaming of AC000000
Vino Me,

Make sure to let me know if "Dean" likes any of them. He and Stef seem to like the same stuff alot, and if he can fight through the tannin on the 98 or 00, I'm sure she'll want me to start opening them soon. I've been telling her 2010 for the 98's and 2008 for the 2000.


"Tasting? That means nothing!...How does a wine DRINK....that's the all-important thing" Paul Masson

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