On 2nd February, 50 members of the Moraira-Teulada Wine Tasting group met up for their first tasting of 2023.
Hill Top Bar & Grill in Moraira was the venue and they laid on an impressive selection of cheeses and cold meats to complement five wines on offer from Bodegas Castaño, one of the most respected family run wine producers in South East Spain.
The effervescent and highly knowledgeable Raquel travelled from Yecla, a small wine region north of Murcia, bringing with her five wines for us to sample.
She also delivered the news that by the end of 2023 all wines produced by the Castaño family will be organic, as were three of those at the tasting.
The vast majority of the Bodega’s output is from the red Monastrell grape which is rumoured to have been grown in Spain since 500 BC.
The Yecla region has really hot summers and really cold winters, perfect for the grape but Raquel said white grapes get on just fine too.
Indeed, first up for tasting was the only non Monastrell , a white blend of 50% Chardonnay and 50% Macabeo where the Chardonnay has spent 60 days in French oak giving it a bit of extra body. A fresh young wine from the autumn 2022 harvest it has intense notes of white and tropical fruit. Mrs G said it was a buy.
Next came the Castaño organic Rosé 2022, 100% Monastrell, made from older vines which produce less wine but more flavour. A delicate pale pink it had remarkable freshness and aromas of raspberries, plums and rose petals.
By contrast the Dominio Espinal Rosé 2021, also 100% Monastrell, was equally fresh and pale but had aromas of strawberry and cherry.
The first red, the organic 2021 Vertis, was a blend of 50% Garnacha, 20% Syrah, 20% Merlot and just 10% Monastrell. Cherry red with aromas of wild berries and red plums. It is a soft, light and very pleasant red.
Rounding off the evening was one of the stars of the Castaño collection, the Hecula organic Monastrell 2020. Aged in both French and American oak for six months producing a powerful 14.5% alcohol content, it has intense aromas of ripe red fruit and sweet spices on a balsamic background. My buy.
A warning from Raquel not to keep wines for too long. “Wine doesn’t live for ever. It doesn’t have an expiry date but it dies”, she said. Unlikely ever to be a problem in my house!
Our thanks, as always, to Pat and Brian Clarke for organising the tasting.
Write-up by Ian Graham