Thursday, March 15, 2012

Campos de Risca Monastrell (2009)

Some say Mourvèdre, some say Monastrell.  Still, others say Mataró.  They are all talking about the same thing, a red grape varietal that produces dark, strong red wines.  I previously blogged about a Monastrell wine, which I discovered as part of a wine pairing with Spanish cuisine.  I have also encountered Mourvèdre as part of a red blend produced by Bogle known as Phantom.  And, when I recently bought  a bottle of Campos de Risca Monastrell, I decided to take a further look into this varietal. 
Whether it is Mourvèdre (in France), Monastrell (in Spain) or Mataró (in Catalunia), the grape was introduced to the Western Mediterranean around 500 BCE by the Phoenicians.  The Phoencian settlers first planted the grape in Catalunia; however, others began to plant the vines in other areas of present-day Spain, such as Alicante and Murcia.  By the 16th century AD, the vines made their way to France.  The grape has made its way to other parts of the world, such as California.  In most places, the grape is used in blends, like the Phantom, to provide deeper flavors.  In Spain, winemakers use the grapes to produce Monastrell wines, like the Campos de Risca.

The Monastrell grape is a thick skinned grape that thrives in hot weather and drought like conditions.  Those conditions are found in the Jumilla DO, which is found within the region of Murcia.  Temperatures can reach 104 degrees Fahrenheit, and rain totals are rather low.  Yet, the soil in the region retains the moisture and the elevation provides some relief from the temperatures.  Still, the conditions have a profound impact on the wine ... producing big and bold wines that can rival, not only other Spanish wines like the Toro, but other bold reds, such as Californian Zinfandels. 

The Campos de Risca Monastrell pours a deep purple in color, with garnet or ruby hues around the edges. This wine needs  to breathe a little, but once it does, it exhales scents of blackberries and even a little dark cherry.  As for the flavor, the Monastrell is full of dark cherries, blackberries and plums.  Those flavors are rather tight and rigid, held in place by a fair amount of astringency produced by the tannins.  Those tannins really make their presence felt in the finish of the wine.  

A wine such as the Campos de Risca is best paired with grilled or roasted meats, including beef, bison and lamb. This wine could also be paired with grilled pork if the marinade or rub used on the pork has earthy flavors to it. 

I found this wine at a local grocery store.  If I recall correctly, it sold for about $10.00 a bottle. 

For more about the Jumilla DO, check out Winesearcher.

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