There are many good Spanish Monastrell (Mourvedre) wines such as Castano, Luzon Verde and Tarima on the market selling for $6 to $8. I could happily drink these inexpensive wines virtually every night, but I am more than willing to pay a 50% premium to buy this Altos de la Hoya from Bodegas Olivares.
Monastrell has been used by winemakers in Jumilla since at least the 15th century, and some of the vines used for Altos de la Hoya date back to 1872. Jumilla is a warm (some would say hot) area, but Mourvedre thrives in warm climates, and the vineyards are at an elevation of 1,500 feet where night temperatures dip low, allowing the grapes to maintain their acidity even at optimal ripeness. I have never tasted a Jumilla Monastrell that I would call fat or flabby but there is always a powerful wild berry fruit presence.
The 2008 Altos de la Hoya is deep, dark and purplish. Aromas and flavors are similar--purple fruits and purple flowers, not unlike a young Gigondas. The wine has seen new French oak, and the fruit flavors and aromas take a while to fully open. By the second night, though, the fruit is really singing. Wild blueberries and blue plums. Ripe, full bodied but also lively and fresh. Has the depth and complexity of wines costing several times as much. Worth $12.99? Of course.