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Castillo de Monseran Garnacha 2015
Pair with tomato-based pasta dishes, cold cut platters, and mixed tapas.
Castillo de Monséran is made by winemaker Hugh Ryman and Jesús Prieto, the winemaker of Bodegas San Valero.
Hugh is a graduate of the prestigious school of winemaking at Bordeaux University and went on to gain practical experience in Australia, working at Petaluma with the legendary winemaker Brian Croser, while Jesús graduated from Zaragoza.
Together Hugh and Jesús work with a team of viticulturalists to select appropriate vineyard parcels and to choose the right moment for picking. They then carefully control the vinification and ageing of Castillo de Monséran in tank or in barrel, before making the final blends.
Their close personal involvement at every step of the production process ensures the style, quality and consistency of the wines.
This northeastern Spanish town is believed to be the origin of the grape with the same name. However, Carinena (in French, known as Carignan) has all but been abandoned in favor of Garnacha, which is better suited for its arid climate. The region of Carinena also produces fine examples of whites based on Garnacha Blanca, Macabeo, Parellada and others.
Enjoying great glory across a variety of appellations, Grenache thrives in any warm, Mediterranean climate where ample sunlight allows its clusters to achieve full phenolic ripeness. The grape typically produces full-bodied reds interestingly light in both color and tannins. While it can make a charmingly complex single varietal wine, it also lends well to blending. Grenache's birthplace is Spain (there called Garnacha) where it remains important, particularly in Priorat where winemakers enjoy great liberties in blending Grenache with other varieties. Today it might be most well associated with the red blends of the Southern Rhône, namely Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Côtes du Rhône and its Villages. The Italian island of Sardinia produces bold, rustic Grenache (there called Cannonau) whereas in California, Washington and Australia, Grenache has achieved popularity both flying solo and in blends.
In the Glass
In sufficiently warm conditions, Grenache produces smooth and generous wines that are loaded with strawberry, cherry blackberry, purple plum and in the richest examples, even cocoa, black tea or licorice.
Despite its bold flavors, Grenache has very mild-mannered tannins, which makes it eminently quaffable on its own, yet easy to match with food. Because of its friendly nature, Grenache is the ultimate barbecue red, pairing happily with lamb chops, pork loin or tri-tip. Unlike most other full-bodied reds, Grenache’s low tannin level ensures that it will not easily be fazed by a bit of spice.
Sardinia is often revered for its association with a long and healthy life. Residents of the Italian island often live well into their 90s and beyond, crediting this to their antioxidant-rich red wines, like Cannonau, along with their healthy Mediterranean diet.