Valentine’s Day is almost upon us, which for many (mostly marketing and advertising people) is the most romantic day of the year. Chocolate is prominent, roses are abundant, and a special dinner is in the cards for many. But what about wine? Whether you’re ordering out or ordering in, I have a wine for you that exudes sexiness, passion, and surprises. Say hello to the Monastrell grape from Spain.
Specifically, Monastrell wines from the Yecla and Jumilla regions of Spain. Those are the ones that I’m sprung on. Why do I feel this way about them? Well, they have so many things going for them. Spanish wines are super affordable; you can generally get good stuff for under $20. Getting value from your wine is very cool. A big reason is because Spain is the third-largest producer of wine in the world, but they are only now starting to break into the Old World hierarchy of France and Italy – those two countries have wines that are a bit more expensive. This affordability also goes for their Iberian neighbor too; lots of wines from Portugal are also very great.
Another thing to note about Monastrell and Spanish wines in general is that they very fruit-forward with depth and bright acidity to refresh the palate. When you drink one you’ll notice both the fruit and hints of smoke to add to the depth. The tannins are on the finer side, and not chunky or brash. Lastly, and this is my favorite part, they have a bright acidity that is uncommon for many red wines – the acidity keeps your mouth watering for more. Chart this up to the environment of Spain’s vineyards.
The great regions for Monastrell in Spain are Yecla, Bullas, and Jumilla. Since we’re spending time with the Monastrell’s of Jumilla and Yecla let’s focus there. Both regions are located on the southeast corner of Spain. Because of the proximity to the Mediterranean Sea, Spain goes through a bit of a Mediterranean effect where the ocean breezes help cool the wine during the growing season. Couple this with the high heat of the day and the cool nights, the wines have relatively low alcohol levels and high acidity.
What does this mean for you? That you’ll get a bottle of wine that is easy to drink now with potential for aging. And with those flavor characteristics, you’ll get a wine that is quite enjoyable. And how does this equate to a sexy wine? You won’t be ambushed by high alcohol levels and you’ll gently be swayed by the elegance of a wine that will envelop you in it’s graces. Try some, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
As for recommendations? There are two that stand out in my mind as easy drinkers that won’t wallop the wallet.
Bellum from Senioro de Barahonda – Check your local wine retailer if they have this one, because you’ll love it. Long finish with flavors of plum, blackberries, and bits of smoked meat. This is a wine that can take the evening places. Bellum is from Yecla so you’ll notice how great the wines from here can be.
Castillo de Jumilla – Enjoyed this one at dinner the other night, and I’m sure you’ll like it too. It’s a surprising wine in that you get a lot of bang for your buck. The flavors are definitely in the red fruit spectrum, but you’ll notice a bit of earthiness that comes as a back note.