In the southeastern corner of Spain, not far from Valencia, the emerging region
of the Yecla DO is producing some highly distinctive wines crafted by using both
newer and traditional wine-making methods. With the beginning of a viticulture
dating back to the Phoenician period, followed by Roman development and finally
a near-contemporary golden period in the 18th century, the region’s reputation is
being re-energized by a generation of younger vintners engaged in mastering this
difficult terrain. Low organic content soils and arid conditions, counter-intuitively,
are yielding up very characterful grapes and their resulting wines.
Ramón Castaño, subsequently his 3 sons and now international consumers are
reaping rewards from the investment that began in the 1950’s and then slowly
began coming to fruition in the 80’s – with a shift away from bulk wine production
to the pursuit of quality bottlings based on the strength of local varieties.
To create this 2012 vintage of their special, limited production Solanera line,
Bodega Castaño is blending 70% Monastrell (better known in neighbouring
France as Mourvèdre) with 15% splashes of Cab Sauvignon and Garnacha
Tintorera (Grenache). As suggested in the translation of the wine name’s byline
Viñas Viejas, the fruit is being drawn from some of the vineyard’s oldest, most
mature vines. The unfiltered wine is then bottled after aging for 10 months in a
balanced combination of French and American oak barrels.
Monastrell is the star here and is so in spite of requiring a significantly longer
period of grape cluster maturation, often meaning that harvest doesn’t take
place until mid-October – though this does translate into a broad flavor profile
requiring less help from other varieties to round out the recipe.
After reading this introduction, check the LCBO’s online search engine for local
availability of this limited release, then immediately sprint to the nearest location
and buy as much as you can afford – it will happily cellar for another 2- 4yrs.
CASTANO SOLANERA VINAS VIEJAS 2012
VINTAGES – LCBO Product #276162 | 750 mL bottle
Price $ 17.00
Sugar Content Descriptor: XD
Made in: Yecla, Spain
By: Bodegas Castaño
Release Date: August 30, 2014
Try serving with richer food fare such as beef ribs, barbeque pork shoulder,
lentils, wild rice and shitake or portabello mushrooms. Also with dishes spiced
with rosemary and thyme.