But first a little about Monastrell. I thought it had three names, Monastrell (Spanish), Mataro (Italian) and Mourvedre (French) , but who knew the actual list of names makes it sound like a trendy street drug: "Other names include Alcallata, Alcayata, Alicante, Arach Sap, Balzac, Balzar, Benadu, Beneda, Beni Carlo, Berardi, Bod, Bon Avis, Buona Vise, Casca, Catalan, Cayata, Caymilari Sarda, Charnet, Churret, Damas Noir, Drug, English Colossal, Espagnen, Espar, Esparte, Estrangle-chien, Flouron, Flouroux, Garrut, Gayata Tinta, Karis, Maneschaou, Marseillais, Mataro, Maurostel, Mechin, Monastre, Monastrell Menudo, Monastrell Verdadero, Mourvedre, Mourvegue, Mourves, Murvedr Espar, Negralejo, Negria, Neyron, Pinot Fleri, Plant De Ledenon, Plant De Saint Gilles, Reina, Ros, Rossola Nera, Spar, Tintilla, Tire Droit, Torrentes, Trinchiera, Valcarcelia, Verema, Veremeta, Vereneta" this from Information and Coordination Centre for Biological Diversity (IBV) of the Federal Agency for Agriculture and Food (BLE), Deichmanns Aue 29, 53179 Bonn, Germany. http://www.genres.de/idb/vitis/.
I have been most familiar with those Monastrells from Jumilla who bring with them a dusty cocoa blackberry delight, which is similar to the Contra Costa examples I have had as well, so I was also curious to see what differences I would find.
The wine I tried was :
The producers goal is to bring fresh modern wines to the market at exceptional prices. At $10.99 for this offering, winemaker Salvador Poveda is doing a nice job. It is a very opaque, dark red wine. The initial nose was banyardy, almost tarry. While the blackberry was prominent, it was more like blackberry cigarettes, with a strong mixed berry component to the aroma. The flavors had a lot of fruit, blackberry and fruit leather flavors with white pepper flashing in the mid palate. As it opened up, it was smoothed out but initially there seemed to be stronger alcohol that the 14.5% listed. All in all, this wine had great QPR and was the most likely to me to be a good tapas wine. I was curious how cool Alicante was compared to Jumilla, but could only drill down that the m2 came from "Zone 8". It was bottled in Monovar in the center of the DO, so perhaps there is a cooling breeze that brings out so much more spice than fruit?
We busted out all the peppers to do an impromptu drill down on the peppery notes. Was it red peppercorns? Green? Black? White? Grains of Paradise? Sumac? Thyme? Lavender? Rosemary? Definitley white. With a little anise as well. Then we read the instructions again, and the suggestion to compare with a more familiar/local version of the other name jumped out and Xandria got me to open a
This was much more my style. It came out a lovely ruby color and though the bottle indicated 14.7% alcohol, it did not burn my nose as the Spanish (and French) offerings did. The nose had blackberry, cedar and a generous dollop of oak. When I said , "like a walk toward the beach in Bolinas," Xandria snarked, "that's a nice way to say: Lots of oak!". I loved it. And it was the third wine I poured and the first glass I finished. Mixed with a little Syrah, it had gorgeous fruit flavors (but no chocolate). The fruit came from the Dalton Vineyard in Calaveras County and guess what? They too call it "Monastrell"!
Paired with a delicious porkchop, polenta, fresh Chanterelle mushrooms it was a very fun Wine Blogging Wedensday! Thanks, Dale Cruse, for an interesting exercise!