TASTING NOTE: 2009 Bodegas Castaño Hécula Monastrell Yecla
Price: $9.99 at Total Wine
Region: Yecla, Spain
Sight: deep purple
Smell: cherry, blueberry, licorice, mint leaves
Taste: black cherry, licorice, black pepper, dark chocolate, grape chewable Tylenol
Overall: We had just sold out of the 2005s of this bottle at work and I didn’t get to try it, but luckily the 2009s had just arrived. This has been a consistently highly-rated wine, and since Spain is horribly under-represented on my palate (I don’t really know why), I was eager to give it a try. The nose of this wine explodes out of the glass, bearing a rich bouquet of dark fruits and spice. It tastes strongly of cherry and dark berry flavors, accompanied by a licorice-like, spicy punch and a hint of dark chocolate. This is a full-bodied wine, although the tannins aren’t grippy at all. The biggest feature of the wine by far is the fruit, though it isn’t one-dimensional as it is accented by other spices and flavors. You may have noticed one of my notes—“grape chewable Tylenol.” Do you remember those from your childhood? I sure do. I loved those things. If my mom hadn’t hidden them from me, or if those foil packages weren’t so darn difficult to get into, I probably would have eaten them like candy. And I get a little bit of that nostalgic flavor on the finish. My only hesitation about this wine is that it is hot. It smells hot, and it tastes hot—the alcohol is at 14%, and I feel it could be a little better balanced in that department. However, it is absolutely delicious, an easy drinker, and I’m in love with this wine’s spunk. Looking for a wine you could serve with dark chocolate? This wine is for you. Also, if you tend to lean toward zinfandels, or even merlots, you would probably enjoy this one a lot.