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  1. La Purisima Estio Tinto Monastrell Blend 2019
    La Purisima Estio Tinto Monastrell Blend 2019

    La Purisima is a sort of 'post-modern' co-op, doing some really sensational 'estate-style' wines from holdings of very old, dry grown, original clone, ungrafted Monastrell. La Purisima is in the township of Yecla, which gives its name to the Denominacion de Origen, D.O. Yecla, about 1.5 hours inland, due west from Alicante. It's also very high up, with vineyards as high as 1100m above sea level. Summer heat is tempered by altitude, while winter is both extremely cold, and also quite dry (average rainfall is 12 inches per annum.) No irrigation.

    Low crop, high levels of vineyard vigilance, organic growing techniques, picked in the cooler hours of the day (mornings) and packed into small crates, begins a process of meticulous winemaking. The grapes then go through several selection passes, followed by 'must' chilling and fermentation in stainless steel.

    The original clones of Monastrell grown on their own roots from old bush vines, dry grown. This is a simple wine, but really good. Very varietal warm bitumen/dried fig/honey/black fruit Monastrell, given a bit of a juicy-jubey touch up from the Syrah in the blend. Very silky to the tongue with decent length and a nice sense of taper on the palate to a finish where the fruit tannins live. PWS

    2016
    monastrell, shiraz
    Spain
    507
  2. Parajes del Valle Jumilla Monastrell 2018
    Parajes del Valle Jumilla Monastrell 2018
    Maria Jover, a 28 year old winemaker heads up the thoroughly modern operations at Parajes del Valle. The organic Monastrell grapes come from very old vines (20-40 years old), organic, maintained from the old system of "Terraje".

    The system entails a renting of the vineyards to the local farmers who take care of the quality of the vines and are given back a 7% of the production to the land owner. Most of the 80-90 year old vines in Jumilla are maintained that way, but changing views has seen many turn back to a focus on productive irrigated vineyard's rather than quality fruit.

    The goal of the cellar is to maintain the old vines of the "Terraje" system by paying the grapes a higher price, and therefore maintaining the higher quality those old vines yield.

    A noble cause and one that is paying dividends. We have encountered several wineries with similar systems or focus on lower yields and quality fruit and the resultant wines show a much more lifted and vibrant style of Monastrell that we really love. The same is absolutely true here. Still that mulberry and pencil lead but with a halo of vibrant red fruit and lifted aromatics. There is a snap of tannin and crunch of acidity that keeps everything on point. Good stuff! PWS
    2016
    monastrell
    Spain
    342
  3. Izway Blue Label Mataro 2019
    Izway Blue Label Mataro 2019
    Izway is literally a bunch of mates making wine and what they make is Damn good! They have one of the only off-grid wineries in the world with a focus on best sites in the Barossa to make a range of stellar tasting wines that over-deliver and always have that something special you can't quite put your finger on.
    They are all about pure fruit and site expression un-hindered by lashings of new-oak that hide the nuance of their wines. Wine-making is a hands-off approach intervening where necessary. One to watch if you don't already know them.

    The amount of great straight Mataro (Mouvedre) coming out of the Barossa is such a pleasant surprise. There seems to be a lighter touch these days without losing any of the grape's inherent wild nature. Combine that with the talent at Izway and you have a real winner. This opens to deep broody fruits with mineral and graphite infused nose, layered with dark peppery notes. This has lovely structure and depth as you would expect but made in a style that allows the pure fruit to shine and the palate to remain buoyant and fresh. PWS
    2019
    monastrell
    Australia
    349
  4. Pepe Mendoza Casa Agricola Tinto 2018
    Pepe Mendoza Casa Agricola Tinto 2018
    Pepe Mendoza is the star winemaker of DO Alicante, on the southern part of Spain’s Mediterranean coast. He is responsible for his family’s label, named for his father, Enrique. Of late, he has also developed a smaller, personal project, in conjunction with his wife, Pepa.

    Pepe Mendoza Casa Agricola represents a transition for Pepe, beyond what is possible in the larger family project. Specifically, the aim is to utilise the opportunity afforded by low-cropped old vines to make wines with minimal intervention.

    Monastrell (70%), 20% Giró and touches of with Syrah and Garnacha Tintoreira (Alicante Henri Bouchet).

    The Giró is coastal from Abargues, the rest from dry grown bush vines in Alto Vinalopó from ‘Parcela el Veneno’ and ‘Parcela Los Burros’. Organic viticulture, wholefruit with 20% stems, fermented naturally in 1,000 litre tank at 21 degrees. 20% is aged in 500L French oak, most rests in tank. Magnificently fresh, fiercely Mediterranean in its scrubland balsamic aromas. Ultra-pure, light and flowing wine of rosemary, pine, laurel, thyme, resin, scrub. Mulberry leaves, stones and red dates in a mix of orchard and maritime smells. A saline thread lines the gently spiced cherry lipstick fruit, which is less than mid-weight, with gentle tannin and subdued glycerol. Delicate acidity is soft, freshly on point. Ease of passage, balsamic lift, balance and light are the thing. The palate’s more flutter than chew, beautifully laid out and running. PWS
    2018
    monastrell
    Spain
    342
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