Andy Hall Staff Selection • Fall 2017Spain just continues to deliver some of the world’s greatest wine values. This particular bottling hails from Alicante which, if you aren’t super up on your Spanish geography (and don’t worry, I’m pretty familiar with the map, but still had to look this one up), is on the Mediterranean coast between Valencia and Cartagena. It is a hot and arid region less than 200 miles from Oran in Algeria. It is commonly said that the best wines are made from vines that suffer, and here, in Alicante, they most certainly suffer. I can’t claim that THIS is why the wine in this bottle is great, but I CAN tell you that this is really great stuff. La Tremenda is the name of the vineyard, Monastrell is the grape (also known as Mourvedre or Mataro), and this bottling is entirely sourced from the one vineyard, and the one grape variety. It is medium-full bodied, virtually opaque purple, and surprisingly aromatic and light on its toes for a varietal that often yields heavy, full-bodied reds. On the palate, the first and primary impression is one of soft fruit, followed by bright flavors of black raspberries and plum, turning darker as the wine fades into its finish. The flavor ‘fingerprint’ (if you will) of Monastrell comes across to me as a prominent seam of a dark, almost black flavor, like a black truffle soy sauce kind of note. We see this note on the flavor profile of this wine, but it serves as the foundation of the wine, the baseline so to speak, while the soft, fresh, palate-refreshing fruitiness drives the melody. Well-made Monastrell captivates with this contrast of freshness and darkness, and in a wine so affordable as this one, I find it utterly irresistible.
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