Bodegas Castano Solanera 2016
At the foot of Monte Arabi, the Castaño family tends some of the oldestvines planted in the sun drenched DO of Yecla. Under the supervisionof Eric Solomon and Jean-Marc Lafage, Solanera is a blend of Monastrell, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Tintorera which is aged inoak for 10 months. Richly flavored with dark fruit and spices, Solaneracaptures the warmth and generosity of this rural part of Spain.
Created by Ramon Castano Santa and his 3 sons, Bodegas Castano is not nearly as old as the vines it owns. Starting quite small, the family has nurtured these old plantings and re-planted other parcels and now owns 350 hectares of some of the prime vineyard land in Yecla. Today, Daniel Castano, one of Ramon's sons, runs the winery with the help of other members of the family.
The extremely talented Mariano Lopez has taken over the winemaker reins at the Bodega, and has turned the focus toward more balanced bottlings of older vine Monastrell. Both traditional and carbonic maceration techniques are used and all wines pass through malolactic fermentation. Daniel believes that the fruit and tannin structure of the Monastrell varietal stands up well to the use of oak, and as such, many of the wines pass (in varying degrees) through a barrel regime.
The Yecla DO sits between Jumilla and Alicante, near the Mediterranean coast of southeastern Spain and was granted official DO status in 1975. While once just a farming town, and later known as a furniture-making center, more recently, it is gaining notoriety for its red wine production.
A slow revolution in winemaking technology in Yecla since the 1980s, pioneered by small private wineries and cooperatives, has improved the quality of the region's red wines. The number of vineyards registered with the Regulatory Council is presently at about 6,000 hectares, and is still gradually increasing, a good indication that local producers are focused on quality. There are no official subregions, but the Campo Arriba district is well-known for producing grapes with more intensity and extract.
While Yecla produces a variety of wine styles, most are red wines based on single-varietal Monastrell or blends with other approved varieties such as Syrah, Merlot and Petit Verdot.
Yecla is already proving great export potential with about 95% of its production sold outside Spain, in over 40 countries worldwide.
With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended red wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged resulting in a wide variety of red wine styles. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a red wine blend variety that creates a fruity and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is naturally high in acidity and tannins. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.
How to Serve Red Wine
A common piece of advice is to serve red wine at “room temperature,” but this suggestion is imprecise. After all, room temperature in January is likely to be quite different than in August, even considering the possible effect of central heating and air conditioning systems. The proper temperature to aim for is 55° F to 60° F for lighter-bodied reds and 60° F to 65° F for fuller-bodied wines.
How Long Does Red Wine Last?
Once opened and re-corked, a bottle stored in a cool, dark environment (like your fridge) will stay fresh and nicely drinkable for a day or two. There are products available that can extend that period by a couple of days. As for unopened bottles, optimal storage means keeping them on their sides in a moderately humid environment at about 57° F. Red wines stored in this manner will stay good – and possibly improve – for anywhere from one year to multiple decades. Assessing how long to hold on to a bottle is a complicated science. If you are planning long-term storage of your reds, seek the advice of a wine professional.