The Monastrell grape: Mediterranean warmth and expression

We thought it was about time we continued the series of posts on the most widely grown grapes native to Spain. After telling you about the tempranillo grape, the garnacha tinta and the bobal, we now move onto the fourth most widely grown grape variety in Spain: the monastrell variety.

This variety is eminently Mediterranean, with more than 60,000 hectares grown in Spain, mainly in Murcia and Alicante. To this grape we owe the international comeback of designations of origin that were historically looked down on such as the DO Jumilla, the DO Yecla and the DO Almansa, which for years now have been providing us with spectacular wines made from a base of monastrell.

 Monastrell grape, Bodegas Torres

Although its origins unequivocally indicate that this grape originates from Spain, Monastrell is one of the most international varieties in the current winemaking world. It has expanded to such an extent that there are now more than 95 different names to refer to this variety: Móurvèdre in France, Mataró in the USA, Australia and Portugal, Murviedro in Italy, Sagunto, Cannonau…

Wines made with monastrell grapes are very tannic, with a high alcohol content and a very good colour. They’re full of surprising mineral notes and heady aromas of wild red and black fruits. It’s not uncommon to find monastrell blended with other varieties, for example cabernet sauvignon.

If you fancy delving into the world of this variety, we suggest you get it know it by tasting these single-varietal wines that will give you something to talk about:

Juan Gil 12 Meses 2012. The new vintage of this extraordinary monastrell single-varietal straight from the DO Jumilla, with Bodegas Juan Gil’s stamp. In the glass, its high-robe, dense and bright picota cherry colour gives us a hint of what’s about to come: An intense and powerful nose full of nuances that gradually evolve, exuding a thousand new sensations. Powerful but contained. Broad, dense, fleshy, ripe and enjoyable on the palate. A real treat.

El Sequé 2011, by Bodegas y Viñedos El Sequé (DO Alicante). An exuberant single-varietal brought to us by the joint efforts of Agapito Rico (Bodegas Carchelo) and Bodegas Artadi, one of the most emblematic wineries in the Q.D.O. Rioja. El Sequé 2011 is a complex, fresh and tasty wine. One of the most authentic Mediterranean wines around.

Hécula 2011, by Bodegas Castaño. This 100% monastrell comes to us from the DO Yecla, aged for a short period of 6 months in the bottle before delighting us with all the power, liveliness and authenticity of this variety. It shows intense picota cherry tones. In the nose, very ripe black fruit and elegant toasted notes. Tasty, fleshy and powerful. A true reflection of the land from where it comes. Great value for money.

Tarima Hill 2011. A fantastic single-varietal wine by Bodegas Volver, Rafael Cañizares and Jorge Ordoñez’s Project in the DO Alicante. High aromatic intensity with a strong presence of blackberries and reduccrents in perfect balance with smooth toasted notes and light balsamic touches. Full-bodied and intense with ripe, polished tannins. Long and persistent finish. A great MONASTRELL wine. So great that we put it in capital letters.

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