Every late January a small group of us meet up in Hart’s Restaurant in Nottingham. The food is always good and there is a small but idiosyncratic wine list with some interesting wines. This year was a bit special as Trevor was 80 – we are all January birthdays. The wine drunk was the Solanera from Familia Castano in Yecla – a region which for a long time produced bulk wines. On holidays in Denia in the nineties – Yecla is inland – it was always a wine to avoid. However things are improving and this wine was a good example of that. The wine is a blend of 70% Mourvedre (or monastrell as it is known in Spain), 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Grenache aged 10 months in a combination of French and American oak. Robert Parker was very complimentary (94 points) and we all thought it was terrific – enticing nose, lots of fruit, ripe tannin, very Rhone-like with the other grapes making it subtly different. At about £11 retail (if you can find it) an absolute bargain.
No Geoff this Friday as he was doing a wine tasting. Wondering what to open I realised I had a half case of untried 2007 Domaine Tempier La Migoua, from Bandol in Provence (WS £30). This is another wine with plenty of mourvédre in the blend, usually around 50%, depending on the vintage, with 20% grenache, 26% cinsault, 4% syrah. So, a different assemblage with a slightly different taste although the presence of mourvédre in both was clear. The Migoua was possibly too young but was still a lovely, well balanced, classy drink. As to the difference in price – there was no difference in quality – the Domaine is very well known and in demand, whereas wines from Yecla are not yet in that position.