I paid $9 for a glass of this wine at a Tapas Bar in Santa Fe, NM and felt I was getting a decent value. When I later learned that the wine retails for $8 to $9 a bottle, I still didn't feel cheated. This is a very good wine regardless of price, and if I can find any in my market area, I'll be a buyer.
Monastrell is one of several Spanish names for Mourvedre, and Lorca Monastrell has all of the charm and power that make Mourvedre special. The color is deep, dark and purplish, and the initial smells suggest a fruity wine with big tannins--tree bark, herbs, purple flowers and black pepper. There is more of the same on the palate along with chewy dark cherry flavors that get spicier and more complex with each sip. This Monastrell has a lot of the qualities I like in a good Gigondas. It's very drinkable now and should get even better in a few years.
The wine comes from Bodegas Rosario, a cooperative in the Murcia region of Bullas, southeast of Valencia. Although this is generally a sunny climate, the vineyards are at an elevation of 600 to 800 metres. With warm sunny days and cool nights, the grapes have a chance to ripen fully with good depth of flavor. While the cooperative continues to respect traditional wine-making practices, it has recently modernized its facilities so it can better control fermentation temperatures.