2011 Casa Castillo Monastrell Jumilla (Previously $12)
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
(aged for six months in older French oak): Dark ruby. Sexy, high-pitched aromas of raspberry, cherry, star anise and candied rose, with a touch of orange zest. Smells like a ripe pinot noir. Fleshy and seamless, offering sappy red fruit flavors and a bitter note of rhubarb. Subtle vanilla and licorice notes linger on the smooth, gently tannic finish. Lots of wine for the money.
This is the entry-level Monastrell wine of the flagship winery of the region. Casa Castillo is renowned for trying to soften Monastrell's tannins to the maximum and for seeking finesse rather than power (not always easy in a region as torrid as Jumilla). However, this 2011 Monastrell is their riper wine. The tannins are massive but rounded, really savoury and concentrated and the wine shows an inky density. Cassis, cherry juice, liqueur and damson dominate the aromas. Drink 2013-2016.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Made from 100% Monastrell (Mourvedre), Casa Castillo’s 2011 Monastrell comes from incredibly low yields (16 hectoliters per hectare). It reveals abundant flavor along with a chalky minerality, dense blueberry and blackberry fruit intermixed with a hint of spring flowers, medium body and a supple texture. This is an amazing red wine for such a lowly price. I have enjoyed previous offerings from the 86-year-old vines planted on these north-facing limestone slopes. (RP)