2015 Casa Castillo Monastrell Las Gravas

Year: 2015
Appellation: Jumilla
Country: Spain
Wine Advocate: 94
Vinous Media: 93
James Suckling: 91
Red Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 15.5%
Price :

"The 2015 Las Gravas is a classic Mediterranean blend of Monastrell with 15% each Garnacha and Syrah, with 15% alcohol after fermenting with part of full clusters and indigenous grapes and aging in used oak barrels for 19 months. 2015 is the last vintage that Las Gravas has some Syrah, as it adds some sweet fruit he wants to avoid. However, it shows fresh within the balsamic profile, with plenty of rosemary and thyme notes combined with floral undertones and the character of the esparto grass and tree bark that are textbook descriptors of the variety. 32,000 bottles were filled in June 2017.

There are a couple of new reds from Casa Castillo released in 2017, a middle-of-the-range wine that will slowly replace the entry-level Monastrell and a top-of-the-range wine, a Monastrell from old vines bottled as an homage to Nemesio Vicente, founder of the winery, who died in April 2017.

As for the wines, I tasted 2015, a classic Mediterranean year of exceptional quality that resulted in powerful and ripe wines that they counter-balanced by fermenting with more full clusters, and the cooler and more continental 2016, with lighter and more vertical wines in line with what I saw from 2013. There is no Valtosca, the Syrah, in 2016. (WA)

"Bright magenta. Dark berries, incense, potpourri and oak spices on the expansive nose. Smooth, appealingly sweet and open-knit, offering juicy blackberry, cherry-cola and mocha flavors that are sharpened by a snap of tangy acidity. Finishes on a building floral note, with strong persistence and even tannins that add shape and gentle grip. This wine drinks wonderfully now but it also has plenty of upside for the patient wine lover who has the foresight to stash some away. (all whole clusters; raised in 500-litre French oak barrels, 20% of them new)" (VM)

"Plenty of blackberry character with hints of spice and hazelnut. Full body, some dusty tannins and a flavorful finish. Try in 2019." (JS)

Winery Notes:
Not surprising Las Gravas comes from a profoundly rocky, single vineyard of the same name. You’d also be hard pressed to call it soil since before you can get to anything resembling dirt you have to go through a foot of stones. Here Jose Maia and his father planted Monastrell, Garnacha and Syrah, each of which contribute to the final blend of Las Gravas. While the other cuvées from the estate show the unique expression of site and variety, Las Gravas is a broader lesson in terroir and the varieties that thrive here. Las Gravas is harvested by hand and fermented in underground stone tanks with manual pigeage. Once primary fermentation is complete the wine is aged in 500 liter French oak demi-muids for 18 months. In most vintages only 20% of the barrels are new.