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Bodegas Carchelo Jumilla Monastrell Mourvedre 1999
Bodegas Carchelo was founded in the early 1980s in one of the earliest efforts to bring Jumilla into the age of modern wine. In addition to the indigenous Monastrell (Mourvèdre) variety, Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are grown to enhance structure. Achieving a fresh and balanced style, by the early 1990s Carchelo's rich young red had put Jumilla on the road to international respectability.
Located at altitudes between 2,000 and 3,500 feet in the transition between Spain's coastal plain and inland La Mancha, Jumilla's aridity combines to result in fresh nighttime temperatures during the hot growing season. Chalky and clay soils offer ideal footing for the red varieties. At under eight inches of rain per year, grape health is seldom a problem. 700 acres of estate vineyards are planted to Monastrell (Mourvèdre, both ungrafted head-pruned and wire trained vineyards), Syrah, Tempranillo, Cabernet and Merlot, and are located in a wide variety of subregions, altitudes and exposures, reducing the risk of frequent hail damage in the area.
Estate vineyards are located in five distinct Jumilla subregions with varying exposures and soil profiles, assuring a healthy diversity of fruit and vintage consistency.
Known for bold reds, crisp whites and distinctive sparkling and fortified wines, Spain has embraced international varieties and wine styles while continuing to place primary emphasis on its own native grapes. Though the country’s climate is diverse, it is generally hot and dry. In the center of the country lies a vast, arid plateau known as the Meseta Central, characterized by extremely hot summers and frequent drought.
Ribera del Duero is gaining ground with its single varietal Tempranillo wines, recognized for their concentration of fruit and opulence. Priorat, a sub-region of Catalonia, specializes in bold, full-bodied red blends of Garnacha (Grenache), Cariñena (Carignan), and often Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. Catalonia is also home to Cava, a sparkling wine made in the traditional method but from indigenous varieties. In the cool, damp northwest region of Galicia, refreshing white Albariño and Verdejo dominate.
Full of color, ripe fruit, plenty of texture and earthy goodness, Mourvèdre is an important grape in many key regions in the south of France, as well as in Spain and the New World. Mourvèdre is actually of Spanish provenance (there known as Monastrell or Mataro) and is the key variety in Alicante, Jumilla and Yecla. It truly thrives, however, in Provence’s Bandol region, where it shines on its own as a single varietal red and in Southern Rhône where it palys a major part in blends . It is also of great importance in the Southern Rhône alongside Grenache and Syrah—and in California and Australia, as a single varietal wine or in Rhône blends.
In the Glass
At their finest, Mourvèdre wines are robust and full of brambly red and black fruit, and aromas and flavors of herbs, leather, earth, dark chocolate and licorice. Well-aged examples can show an impressive degree of elegance and an attractive perfume. In blends with Grenache and Syrah, Mourvèdre provides fleshy texture, tannic structure and deep color.
This earthy Mediterranean variety loves rustic food—think cassoulet, wild boar ragu or smoky ribs. Mourvèdre’s tannins are bold but not bitter, lending both weight and texture.
Mourvèdre used to have significant plantings in California, but the vine lost popularity during the 20th century in favor of other varieties. However, in the 1980s, a group of California winemakers inspired by the wines of the Rhône Valley have been working to bring the variety back into the spotlight. Plantings have since increased and Rhône blends are now a highly-regarded specialty of the Central Coast.