'Vino de Finca' is a silky blend of Monastrell and Garnacha, from a cool vintage that's lent itself well to a spicy, yet elegant wine. Tasting this wine is like tasting every fabulous flavour of the Mediterranean. Soft, juicy red fruit is layered with rosemary, thyme, aromatic garrigue and delicate lavender to create a delicious red that's effortlessly easy to drink.
Acclaimed wine writer Luis Gutiérrez has strong praise for Casa Castillo in The Wine Advocate (Sept 2020), stating that they produce: 'very high-quality wines that I consider the best in the region and among the best in Mediterranean Spain, producing world-class Monastrell, the main variety they grow.' - high praise indeed!
The 2018 Vino de Finca is a blend of Monastrell with 25% Garnacha from a cooler, more continental vintage. The Monastrell is from 20- to 30-year-old vines, and the 8-year-old Garnacha is from limestone-rich soils. It fermented in the underground stone pools with 25% to 30% full clusters and indigenous yeasts and matured in 5,000-liter foudres and 500-liter barrels for 12 months. As all the Garnacha plots are now in production, there has been a higher percentage of it in the blend since 2017. The selection of plots used for this wine results in something more serious, more austere and with more depth than the entry-level Casa Castillo. He doesn't use Syrah in this blend because he thinks without Syrah it has a more Mediterranean profile, with aromatic herbs, thyme, rosemary and lavender and the slightly more rustic notes of the Monastrell.
The sun-baked landscape of Jumilla doesn't immediately strike you as a place to produce graceful wines, with 300 days of sunshine per year and low rainfall. The secret which Jose María Vicente has discovered is the Levant native Monastrell (known as Mourvedre in France) which loves the chalky terroirs and cooler slopes of the Sierra del Molar. Jose María's grandfather purchased the property 1941, the original cellar was built by Frenchmen fleeing phylloxera in 1870. Jose María and his father replanted the whole property with native varietals in 1985.
Their low-density bush vines give tiny yields in these conditions. All grapes are hand-harvested, sorted and fermented in stainless steel or concrete. They're starting to practice more whole-bunch fermentation, to counterbalance the ripeness. Ageing is in concrete and seasoned oak. They produce three single varietals and two single-vineyard wines. Pie Franco, named after the un-grafted vines, is building a reputation as one of the best reds in Spain, and all the wines brilliantly combine finesse with the Mediterranean character of the zone.