Fine Wine for ≤ $9.99 – Cala Blanca Monastrell

If you’re one of the three people who follow this blog regularly, you might have noticed the absence of wine reviews lately.  Fear not, fellow travelers, I have neither gone on the wagon nor dried out.  I have just had the luxury of having more time to drink than time to write about it.  I’ve actually come across a few remarkable bottles, which I shall be re-buying before reviewing because I’m useless and can’t remember anything about them now except that they were good enough to set the bottles aside so I’d remember to buy them again.

Thankfully, the holidays are winding down and I have time don my ponce cap and tell you to rush out immediately and buy a bottle of this.

Cala Blanca Monastrell - 2008 Jumilla, Spain

Descriptions on the bottle are almost always more annoying than informative, but this one has some actual factual information.  The vineyard is 2,100 feet above sea level in an area with chalky stone soil that receives little rain, thus a long growing season.  It also says the vineyard is located near the birthplace of this grape varietal.  I wish more wine makers would put stuff like this on the label instead of trying to be cute or handing the job to the cheapest PR firm on craigslist.

Immediately upon opening the bottle I smelled a delicious, rich cherry jam aroma.  But burying your nose in the glass reveals a complex bouquet of a sort of sandstone earthiness and black fruits.  In the glass, it’s a lovely, inviting deep purple hue. It’s bold and spicy in the mouth without shouting about it, making it remarkably drinkable.  I’m fond of wines with a nice, wet, peppery front and easy finish, and that’s exactly what this nice little surprise delivers.

I found this bottle at BevMo for $9.99 while perusing their small Spanish selection.  I was looking for something to balance out all the California wines I’ve been drinking for the past month.  I’ve been fixated on Paso Robles lately, and it’s been a bit of a mixed bag.  So after too many Zins and Zin wannabes, this was a welcome change.

Once again, I think this is a bottle that is easily worth twice as much as what I paid for it.  It’s elegant and quite good on its own.  Probably in the top ten wines I’ve tasted this year.  5/5.  Buy, purchase, consume.


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