Viñedos Culturales "Tragolargo" Monastrell Alicante (Previously $18)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2012 Tragolargo is pure Monastrell from their vineyards in Finca Casa Balaguer in Villena at an altitude of 700 meters. It’s a young, fresh, hedonistic wine, full of licorice, red and black fruits, balsamic notes, fermented and aged in stainless steel and bottled in February 2013. The palate is fresh, showing the tree bark and licorice notes of Monastrell, with an herbaceous edge and a slightly acidic, bitter finish. Tragolargo can be freely translated as ‘long drink,’ a name I find very apt for such wines of pleasure. 30,000 bottles produced. It represents good value. Drink 2013-2015. (LG)
Proprietor Rafa Bernabé has been farming and producing wines in the Alicante region for a while now, having developed a solid reputation locally in particular for his Monastrell wines. Recently, though, Bernabé has become enamored with both traditional farming methods of indigenous grape varieties, as well as ancestral methods of wine production (for example, Rafa experiments with amphorae for a few of his wines, and was recently visiting Georgia for a symposium on the topic). These are wines made from organic grapes, fermented with native yeasts, with zero to minimal levels of SO2 added prior to bottling. All of the wines under his Viñedos Culturales label are not merely original or outside the box for Spain (though they are certainly, at times, just that) but often times delicious, bright and gluggable in a way that makes them worth discovering.