Red wine Crianza. 22 months in French oak barrels. Winery: Finca Casa Castillo. D.O. Jumilla. (Murcia) Variety: Monastrell
Red wine Barrel Respectful agriculture. 19 months in French oak barrels 500 L. Winery: Finca Casa Castillo. D.O. Jumilla. (Murcia) Variety: Monastrell
D.O.: D.O. Jumilla
In 1941, José Sánchez-Cerezo bought the farm Casa Castillo for the exploitation of rosemary, but in the farm there was also a completely abandoned winery, built by the French 1870. Right at the foot of the vineyard, which was part of the awakening of Jumilla when the phylloxera took over the vineyard in France, and high graduation wines of Monastrell were ideal to strengthen the wines from other areas, the winery did not survive the concentration of productions of the large wineries and cooperatives, so it was abandoned.
The property Propiedad Vitícola Casa Castillo is located on the plateau of Jumilla, in a beautiful farm of 402 hectares located on the hillside of Sierra del Molar. Their lands are in the shade of the mountain range, on steep slopes that rise up to 760 metres above sea level. Among almond and olive trees, and in a cared-for environment, keeping the native vegetation and fauna, we can find close to 175 hectares of vineyard, with the main native variety Monastrell, followed by the Syrah, the Grenache and the Cabernet Sauvignon, distributed throughout four large plots.
History of the winery
It was in 1985 when the second generation of the family, Nemesio, and his son José Mª Vicente, started a new project, restructuring the vineyard and introducing new varieties. In 1991, the winery was renovated, respecting the original structure. The original structure was preserved, it was fitted with state-of-the-art technology, such as stainless steel deposits, and four underground epoxy-coated stone presses, which are used for some special productions, such as the ungrafted Monastrell. Currently, the winemaking systems of the winery combine the best of the traditional production with the most advanced techniques. In that same year, the first production took place, with the first wine that was launched on the market in 1993, "Casa Castillo Crianza 1991". José Mª Vicente is currently in charge of Propiedad Vitícola Casa Castillo.
One of the winery's most important assets is the vineyard. Its 175 hectares are divided into four plots.
El Valle is a plot with brown-limestone soils with crust, and it is fully planted with Monastrell. The vineyard is cultivated in a traditional way, trained in vase-shape and as dry land, as the rest of the farm, with a plantation density of 1,600 vines per hectare. With the grapes harvested in the valley they make the wine Casa Castillo Monastrell.
Finca Valtosca is the transition between the gravel slopes and the valley. It has a sandy-loamy soils covered with coarse limestone; this is where it gets its name from, Valtosca ("valle" meaning valley in Spanish, and "tosca" meaning coarse). It is entirely planted with Syrah in espalier, with a high density of plantation per hectare, which makes for a mature and concentrated wine that is marketed as Valtosca.
Las Gravas have very stony soils, and is located on the slopes of the mountains of Sierra del Molar, at 760 metres above sea level. The Monastrell variety is mainly cultivated, together with Syrah, Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon planted in 1986 in vase-shape, except for the 3 hectares of Syrah,which are trained in espalier. The uniqueness of these plots gives rise to the winery's most mineral wine: Las Gravas.
La Solana is a 12-hectare plot with glacis (fine sediments), which are present from the accumulation of the nearby mountain. It has a south-west orientation, and there, an old plantation of ungrafted Monastrell still endures, planted in 1941, with very low yields due to the age of the vines and loss of plants each year, reaching a production of 600 kilos per hectare. It is produced separately, and from it, the winery's most emblematic wine is born: Casa Castillo Pie Franco.
In this region we can mainly find the grape Monastrell, the native variety of the area, which is so adjusted to the Mediterranean climate. However, José María has always been surprised at how well they have adjusted the Syrah grape, giving it a personality that is totally different to the French or Australian Syrah. Here they achieve more sapid grapes, with a greater phenolic presence and probably with alcohol, which builds more voluminous and generous wines.
However, with so little yield per strain, trials with different varieties are difficult, since they need large extensions of land. However, the Cabernet Sauvignon, which they were about to discard, is part of one of their leading wines: Casa Castillo Las Gravas.
The winery is dismantling the prejudices about these wines, with a tradition of harshness, greenery and excessively ripe notes, by making wines with a clear personality and a new style. They show the potential of the variety, with strength, colour, and a structure that improves with its ageing in barrels. These wines aim for elegance and longevity, because they already naturally have the strength. However, in spite of the strength of these new and modern Jumilla wines, the winery exports more than 80% of its production, since in Spain the name of Jumilla still weighs on them.
In Casa Castillo they know how to perfectly conduct the result, managing the excesses of the grape and reducing its deficiencies. For this purpose, and as a distinctive feature, they use 500-litre French oak barrels. Here, apart from the alcoholic and malolactic fermentation, the wine rests until it is bottled. This allows for longer macerations, despite using new French oak, without the amount of fruit in the wine being decimated.
In addition to the vineyard, their main crop inside the property, they also cultivate almonds and olives, used to make extra virgin oil in small quantities. These alternative crops, so typical of the Mediterranean area, fulfil several objectives. On the one hand, to be able to have permanent staff throughout the year, this is, creating employment work in one or the other, depending on the season. On the other hand, to avoid desertification and abandonment of plots that are not so suitable for growing vines, but that are quite appropriate for almond and olive trees. And last but not least, to maintain a typical Mediterranean ecosystem, alternating the different crops with small areas of pine trees and aromatic herbs that balance and embellish the environment.
Wines from Casa Castillo
Casa Castillo is made 100% with Monastrell from the area of El Valle. It ferments in stainless steel deposits with temperature control, and it is aged for a short period of 6 months in French and American oak. This will produce a fresh wine, where the primary aromas of the Monastrell stand out.
Casa Castillo "Valtosca" is made with 100% Syrah from our vineyard Valtosca. It goes through cold pre-fermentation maceration for 5 days in underground presses, then it performs the alcoholic fermentation in new 500-litre French oak barrels, where a "batonnage" is carried out until the end of the malolactic fermentation. After this, it is aged in new French oak barrels. The ageing period in barrels depends on the vintage, with a minimum of nine months. It is bottled without filtering. It is made with Syrah, warm and Mediterranean; with a beautiful colour, lively and young; a fragrant and creamy aromatic load; in the mouth it is intense, liqueurous, consistent, and with enough freshness to balance the mid-palate.
Casa Castillo "Las Gravas" is made with the varieties Monastrell, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon . Their percentages depend on the vintage, but normally, the Monastrell variety comprises at least 50% of the wine. Destemmed and without crushing, each variety is individually vatted in small underground mills (6,000 litre of capacity) for 10 to 15 days at 28°C, applying manual punch-downs. It is devatted into new 500-litre French oak barrels, where it carries out the malolactic fermentation, and a subsequent ageing in barrels for 16 to 20 months (depending on the vintage). After ageing in barrels, the varieties are assembled for subsequent unfiltered bottling.
Casa Castillo "Monastrell de Pie Franco" is born from the plot La Solana, where there is a plantation of ungrafted Monastrell that was planted in 1941. Destemmed and without crushing, it is vatted in underground wine presses where the alcoholic fermentation takes place with native yeasts for around 10 days at 26ºC. It goes through manual punch-downs, it is devatted into new French oak barrels, where the malolactic fermentation is completed in contact with its lees, and a subsequent ageing of a minimum of 22 months, bottled unfiltered. Due to the low yield of the plot, its production is very limited. This red wine always impresses with its cherry colour, with a great concentration of fruit, very ripe, almost jam, where the vanilla and the species stand out. Tasty and well structured, with an enveloping fleshiness and ripe but firm tannins.
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