2007 Viña Honda Monastrell Jumilla

Price: $9.99 @ K&L Wines imported by Grapes of Spain

What They Said:

2007 Viña Honda Monastrell Jumilla90 points from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate: “The 2007 Vina Honda Monastrell (100% varietal) was raised in stainless steel tanks. Purple-colored, it offers up a fragrant nose of underbrush, mineral, spice box, and blueberry. Layered, mouth-filling, and succulent, this forward effort will offer much pleasure over the next four years.” This monastrell is amongst the best I have tasted this year. Warm plum aromas, with hints of pomegranate and a trace of a spicy, pungent root vegetable quality, lead to a terrific mouthful of inexpensive red wine. Intense pomegranate, cherry and cranberry fruits show plenty of presence and purity. A great deal in everyday drinking red.

What I Think:

(13.5%) 100% Monastrell (or Mourvèdre) – Ruby at its core and thins to garnet on the edges. This one shows cherries with green peppercorn and clove notes on a slightly sweet nose. The wine starts medium bodied with juicy red currant and cherry flavors. A mineral component emerges along with a nice acidity and notes of cedar which keep this well balanced and smooth throughout. The finish is short and slightly sweet with an oak driven creaminess and hints of pepper that lead to a lingering tannic finish. Despite the finish being on the shorter side this is an lively, appealing wine that is well structured and at $10 delivers fair value for the price point.

Rating: Pricey

2007 Bodegas Luzon Jumilla

2007 Bodegas Luzon JumillaPrice: $6.99 @ K&L Wines imported by The Henry Wine Group

What They Said:

Via wine.com “The 2007 Luzon is 65% Monastrell and 35% Syrah. Purple-colored, it exhibits a bouquet of spice box, violets, and blueberry. On the palate this smooth-textured wine offers generous savory fruit, good balance, and a pure finish. Drink it over the next 2-3 years.” – Wine Advocate (08/08)

Enthusiast’s #1 top value wine of 2008 and 90 points! They write: “Truly captivating wine for under $10? Yes, Luzón’s Monastrell-Syrah blend is exactly that. It delivers huge plum and spice notes, with tobacco, herbs and smoked meat working their way into the game. Remains powerfully fruity and spicy in the mouth, with a long, minty, medicinal finish. Competes with thousands of wines priced higher. Overdelivers by a lot!” (12/15/2008)

From Wine Spectator: “Smoky and inky notes, along with licorice, frame flavors of cassis, mineral and game in this firm, juicy red, which is focused and expressive.” (02/09)

What I Think:

Couple the above praise with the price tag and I’m surprised it took as long as it did for this one to show up on my radar. On opening this wine you know it is no joke. A huge nose filled with black pepper and dark fruits. On the palate it virtually explodes with juicy plum and blackberry flavors that comingle nicely with spice and herb notes in the palate. Towards the end the fruit muscles these to the side and turns slightly tart which leads us into a dry, tannic finish that lingers. Nothing subtle about this one, it beats you over the head.

On a side note, it was interesting to be reading Alice Feiring book, How I Saved the World from Parkerization while drinking this bottle. Guessing this is exactly the type of bottle she had in her crosshairs as she was holding that pen in her hand. While I do fancy the pure, natural wines she advocates for, to me, there is a time and place for these fruit bombs. My only complaint is that there is no reason on earth this bottle should not have been under a screw top. So grab a bottle, make something very hearty (think hamburger or something rich with sauce), pull the cork and enjoy this juicy quaffer.

Rating: Buy It

2005 Santo Negro Jumilla Monastrell Selection

Price: $2.99 @ Trader Joe’s imported by Mejia America

What They Said:

Per the winery “Tasting note: It has a violet red cherry color, aromas of red fruit, it is velvety and balanced on the palate, with excellent tannins.”

What I Think:

Given my recent experience with the Carro Tinto Monastrell blend I was encouraged to forage the shelves at Trader Joe’s once again for Spanish gems. This one I had before and wasn’t impressed but given recent events and the price tag I thought it might be worthy of another go. So after dinner one night I thought I would see what it was all about.

At first taste it was terribly sour. I immediately put the cork back in the bottle sour. Spending the night in the bottle it became smoky moving into day two. At this point it was drinkable but still a bit tart on the edges thought the dry finish was pleasing. Day three saw more smokiness and the wine was better, but at this point it had climbed maybe to average. It was almost interesting by the end. Given the price point I was willing to give it some leeway as a 12th bottle but for me it is imperative that these perform as soon as the cork is pulled. Here this wine gets a failing grade warranting a rating of “Skip It”.

Rating: Skip It