Friday, November 12, 2010

Bodegas Olivares Altos de la Hoya Finca Hoya de Santa Ana Monastrell, 2008

I've been on the lookout for good Jumilla Monastrell, and this is the Jumilla Monastrell of my dreams. Why Jumilla Monastrell? I've tasted several very good ones recently, and they were very good values. I love Monastrell (known as Mourvedre in France), and Jumilla, in southeastern Spain, apparently provides a good climate for growing this warm-weather grape. Summer days can get hot in Jumilla but because the elevation is 1,500 feet above sea level, nights become very cool. As a result, Monastrell grapes reach a complete level of ripeness while maintaining high acidity. Luzon Verde and Casa Castillo are Monastrells from Jumilla. Castano, another excellent Monastrell, is from nearby. All are under $10. I paid $12.99 for this Altos de la Hoya, but, wow!

Some of the vines at Bodegas Olivares date back to 1872, and all are pre-Phylloxera (the root louse that destroyed nearly all of Europe's vineyards in the late 1800s). Because the fruit from these vineyards is gloriously aromatic, the winemaker carefully avoids using any new oak that might cover up the natural scents and flavors. The wine is aged in well seasoned small barrels from Burgundy in France.

The color is deep and inky. From the time the cork is popped, the scents coming from the glass are heavenly. I smell delicate, ripe red berries and flowers at first, almost like Grenache or Pinot Noir. Later, they broaden out; now, I get darker smells of blueberries, cassis, black pepper and spice. Very deep. On the palate, the wine is super friendly. No tannins to get between the tongue and those lovely fruit flavors--red and blue berries and dark peppery, spicy notes. Deep, deep fruit; lovely spicy finish.

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