A Good Cheap Red (and it's not Yellow Tail)

January 10 2008 - 12:04 AM

Hats off to Whole Foods for their occasional wine specials, and one thing I’ve noticed is their focus on the Iberian peninsula.  One recent special is the Castano Monastrell ’06.  On sale for $7.99, it is from the Yecla region of Spain.  The what region? Exactly. 

There was even a denominacion de origen label on the bottle..a Yecla
D.O.   Sounds interesting..hmmm.  Anyway, I generally find more obscure
regions tend to charge less for the wine.   When was the last time you
had a great bottle of Burgundy or Bordeaux for under $20?  Tell me
about it so I can find one myself.

I did some digging around, and I found a couple pages on Yecla
saying it was in the eastern part of Spain, but that didn’t tell me
much.  I finally figured out it was somewhere south of Valencia.
Hmm…interesting.  I didn’t realize they grew grapes there.   The
varietal was Monastrell.  Mona what?

Anyway, it’s a heckuva bargain for a red, and I wouldn’t hesitate to
bring it to a party.  The bottle is appealing, and it shares a lot of
characteristics of the thicker-medium bodied Spanish reds such as
Rioja, Pendes, and Navarra.    Not quite as tannic and tongue-trying as
a garnacha, the wine has characteristics of black currant, black
cherries, a bit of licorice, a bit of spice, and of course that good
old earthiness that Spanish wines are known for. 

Leave the supermarket Syrah at home, and bring something your guests may enjoy for the same price.

Monastrell Castano ’06
Whole Foods