Casa Castillo - La Tendida 2020
Casa Castillo is producing some of the most distinctive and best reds in Spain. Heck, their wines compete with anything in the world. It’s very difficult to “peg” them… yes, they are from Spain, but they really don’t have much in common with other famous Spanish wines – Rioja, Ribera del Duero and Priorat. Their wines are more refined and, dare I say, elegant? But that elegance belies the power underneath. At 14.5% alc. and with sneaky tannins that build on the finish, this is no lightweight. It’s ridiculous to describe them as “Burgundian”, since the wines are mostly Monastrell, but there is certainly a nod in that direction. And to the more elegantly-styled Rhones, where we do see Monastrell under its French pseudonym, Mourvedre.
What I know for sure is the wine is simply gorgeous. And very limited. We are one of just 4 retailers offering this wine currently. Heck, it is so limited and new that the importer doesn’t even have it on their website yet!
So what exactly do we have? 85% Monastrell and 15% Garnacha from younger vines…
Wait, what? For years, I’ve been trumpeting the region’s extremely old Monastrell vines. And Casa Castillo has some of the oldest. So why the emphasis on young vines with this wine?
Actually, the emphasis isn’t on the age of the vines, but their location. You see, those old vines, 50-70+ years, are from a time long before global warming. Thankfully, thanks to their deep roots, they are still able to produce fresh wines, with good acidity. But the younger vines struggle in these vineyards. It’s just too hot. Yet, owner Jose Maria Vicente is always striving for excellence. This has led him to plant vines on a north-facing slope. With less exposure to the mid-day heat and the sun’s direct rays, the vines can reach ripeness without losing balance and acidity.
Gorgeous scents of cherries, exotic spices and potpourri waft from the glass. Black raspberry, boysenberry and blueberry flavors come through with balancing acidity and a hint of chocolate on the long finish. It’s hard to deny yourself but do your best to leave in the decanter for a bit, as it just keeps getting better with air.
“AROMA: ripe fruit, dried herbs, creamy oak, candied fruit. FLAVOUR: powerful, ripe fruit, spicy, round tannins.” Penin Guide (they are an incredible resource, but their descriptive review could use some help!)
Wine Advocate: 93 Points
“It's young and tender but more elegant, subtle but nuanced and very precise. The wine is medium-bodied, the tannins are very fine and there is a sensation of fragility but with energy and strength, a red with light. Very Casa Castillo.” WA
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