It seems to me that we have jumped to the winter season already in Montreal. Where did the fall go?. On the last few week or so, we have jumped to subzero temperatures With this type of weather, all i want to is to stay home, make some hearty dish and drink some robust wines all day long.
If you are looking for body and character, Yecla and Alicante are the places to drink up in Spain. These Spanish wine regions produce wines with a mediterranean character full of character and spice. Monastrell is the principal red grape in both appellations giving wines with a heady bouquet and big body. Other international grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are also permitted. When they are included in the wines, they take a mediterranean.
I recently reviewed two wines given for press review of A.O.C & Cie, Châteaux et Domaines Inc. Both of them comes from the same family, Bodegas Castano. This a family domaine that lead estate bottling in the Area giving Yecla an international reputation for quality wines, away from the bulk image of the past. They also have been a pioneer in Spain working with Monastrell. The first wine Hecula is made by The Castano in their home appellation Yecla. They have been making wine since the 1950’s. Salinas is a more recent project of the family ( 2000) in the lower part of Alicante with a conglomerate of Swiss investors. The best part of these wines is that they are under $25 and will not hurt your pocket.
Castano Hecula. SAQ Code: 11676671. Price; $13.95
Old Vine Monastrell, 37+ years. 6 months aging in (80% French – 20% American oak / 50% new)
Aromas of dry and roasted black fruits with heady nuances of black earth and balsamic notes. Of these, mint, eucalyptus and black licorice. In addition, the signature animal notes of Monastrell are very present such as leather and various other animal notes. In the mouth, the wine is dry and corpulent with lots of preserved black fruit character and a remarkable earthiness and minerality. Fleshy tannins and a medium acidity. The wine presents a delicious smoky and medium lingering finale. 92\100
Sierra Salinas. Puero Salinas 2010. SAQ Code: 11963751. Price: $24.30.
Mostly Monastrell (80%) with Cabernet Sauvignon ( 13%) and Garnacha Tintorera (7%). Vineyards coming from limestone soil, poor in organic sediments. 15 months aging in French oak barrels
On the nose aromas that recall deep black and blue fruits with dry licorice, spices and well integrated oak notes recalling powdered cocoa and coffee. In the mouth, full body with a viscous texture. Flavors remind me of more of that blue-black fruit character with a hint of barnyard character and leather. 90\100
Now for the food. I am a firm believer in wine & food regionality. So, I decided to go along with a dish made of chickpeas, serrano ham and chorizo sausage for the wines . The recipe is courtesy of food & wines from Spain. This is a quick dish that can be prepared on a weekly evening, or if you prefer for a weekend supper. Both wines are an excellent companion for this dish. The smokiness and animal notes of the ham and sausage in the dish complements well the aromatic notes of the Monastrell. Same thing of the pimenton which makes shine the spicy notes of both wines. The texture of the chickpeas act as vacuum for the tannins of the wines, giving a polished texture to them.
With this last words, I will leave you until my next post!!