As I've said before, you don't have to spend a lot of money to drink good wine every night. Widely available for $6 to $8 a bottle, this 100% Monastrell from the Yecla region of southeastern Spain is a prime example of what I consider artisan wine on a budget. Although some modern technology has undoubtedly been introduced in the winemaking, Castano Monastrell is made from grapes that are grown on moutain-side vineyards and vinified according to traditional practices. The Castano family has been making wine for three generations.
Monastrell is the Spanish name for Mourvedre, an important grape for many fine wines of southern France, including those of Bandol and the southern Rhone. While Mourvedre sometimes requires aging or blending with Grenache to show its best, Castano already offers many of the most appealing qualities of one of my favorite wine grapes.
The color is a bright red with purple tones; it looks and feels lush and expensive. The aromas feature wild raspberries and blueberries with violets and spice. There is a beautiful peppery element on the mid-palate and the tannins are ripe and lovely. This is the kind of wine I could drink happily every night. And with all the good selections available from Spain and southern France, I usually do.