2013 Casa Castillo "El Molar" Garnacha Jumilla
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
A new kid on the block, the pure Garnacha 2013 El Molar carries the name of the vineyards where the vines were planted in 2006 on sand and chalk soils covered with gravel. It was foot trodden and fermented in cement vats and aged for nine months in used 500-liter oak barrels. In 2013 the vines worked until the very end as it was a year where there was more rain than average and a relatively cool summer (sometimes ripening occurs because of dehydration rather than true ripening) resulting in a perfect ripeness but quite contained. It is light ruby color, very bright acidity (low pH?) and there’s no indication of alcohol plus the oak is also perfectly integrated. It shows a pinch of spices over the core of red berries along with some spring flowers and perhaps a distant lactic touch. The supple and tasty palate is medium-bodied and has a fluid texture, very fine tannins and good acidity. The well-defined flavors are clean and offer floral notes plus developing notes of orange peel. I think this is the best Molar so far. A real bargain. 93+ Points (LG)
***Good Value*** Village: Jumilla. Vine age: 10 years old. Vineyard aspect: north. Climate: Mediterranean with continental influences. Soil type: gravelly and calcareous-loam. Vineyard size: 9.5 ha. Yield: 2,800 kg/ha. Garnacha planted at 700 m altitude. José Maria Vicente, technical director, comments that, ‘we choose el Molar as a single vineyard due to its altitude and because of its calcareous soils that gives a unique Garnacha profile’. Whole-bunch fermentation in old stone lagar (vat), nine months’ ageing in 500-l used oak. Very ripe and rounded style, juicy, broad and direct. Lots of sweetish sensations but not overripe. It has jammy fruit, toasty aromas and medicinal herbs character. It is still easy to drink despite the high alcohol content. The palate is today more expressive than the nose.
Spain does Garnacha (Grenache) as well as anyone. There is a wealth of this grape variety planted throughout the country, and top examples such as this do not necessarily have to cost an arm and a leg. With its juicy red cherry fruit and fresh, limestone soil-inflected minerality, this Garnacha is one of our best from either Spain or the Rhône Valley — compare with Châteauneuf-du-Pape (but be sure to lower the price by 50%)!