Most wine regions hang their hat on one or two grape varieties that they're able to grow particularly well: Burgundy has Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, Tuscany has Sangiovese, and even "new world" regions like Marlborough have Sauvignon Blanc. Jumilla, in the southeast of Spain, is no exception - thought the climate is well-suited to international varieties, the indigenous Monastrell is king. Monastrell is known as Mataro in Australia and Mourvèdre in the south of France, where it's used as a blending partner with Syrah and Grenache to make the popular GSM blends of South Australia and all manner of reds in the Southern Rhône. In Spain, however, it's far more common to see this powerhouse of a grape bottled on its own. If you've never had Monastrell as a varietal wine, Castillo de Jumilla from Bodegas Bleda is a great place to start! It showcases all the blue and black fruit flavours Monastrell is known for and can be enjoyed now or over the next 5-7 years. Serve at about 18 C.
An explosion of Monastrell's signature dark fruit aromas, with fresh blackberries, black plum, and morello cherries, followed by warm blueberry compote and boysenberry jam. There's also a distinct smokiness, along with faint aromas of cured meat and fresh-cracked pepper.
Castillo de Jumilla is all about the powerful structure on the first sip, with pronounced tannins and mouth-filling richness. With a bit of air, flavours of blueberry jam, strawberries, aged balsamic and tar round out into a full-bodied, harmonious whole. There's enough of a lift from the balanced acidity to keep things refreshing on the long, bone-dry finish. Well worth decanting in the short term, but this has plenty of structure to age.
This dark, brooding red would pair beautifully with grilled short ribs or a wild mushroom ragu, where earthy flavours would highlight some of the wine's aromas.