’05 Monasterio de las Vinas Gran Reserva

It figures that in the week I post about my addiction to value wine that I taste an absolute stunner of a bottle. I mean this thing should be $50+. It isn’t. $20.

This Garnacha-Tempranillo-Cariñena (aka Carignan) blend takes you on a historic, rustic route through Spain and back as it hails from – not surprisingly – Cariñena which is some 200 km southeast of Rioja. This ruby beauty has toast and cherry on the nose, with a complex palate of that same baked cherry along with cedar, leather, and a hint of tar. Dense in the mouth, this finishes with a lingering dark chocolate note. The acidity is so well integrated it is almost forgotten.

Given its age, it is an exemplary display of how a well made wine develops in bottle and how patience is often rewarded – I get the sense this was wild and funky in its youth.

Mind you, with Spanish Gran Reservas, “young” wines are not available as by law they must have 2 years in oak and 3 in bottle before release so, you know, no fruit bombs a la Okanagan here. I do wish I had a young one to compare though.

Try this if you want earthy, rustic excellence for the price of a 6’er of Heineken.


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