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The Spanish Series Part 11: Yecla, and a Great Red from Barahonda

logoBarahonda is the oldest winery in the Yecla DO region. The Candela family established the bodega in 1925. When you talk about Yecla, you’re talking primarily about the Monastrell grape.  It makes up 80% of the vineyard production.  You’ve may have heard of Monastrell, it is better known as Mourvédre in France’s Chateauneuf-du-Pape appellation, where the terroir and climate are similar

to Yecla. Both regions have a Mediterranean climate with warm days and nights. Located in the warmer southeast part of Spain, Yecla is one of the country’s oldest wine regions, with a rich history that dates back to the 6th Century. Native to Spain, Monastrell was reg_16140103101501)brought to France around the 5-6th Century.

Similar to Chateaunuf-du-Pape, the vineyards in Yecla are planted in something which would be loosely termed “soil”.  It’s dry, rocky and harsh looking, not what you would think of as conducive to growing plants.  The region sits at some elevation, where the climate starts to change towards the harsh continental climate of the interior Spanish plateau.  Here, the limestone stores the minimal rainfall efficiently.  The Monastrell thrives in these conditions.

We have one red from Barahonda in house.  They make a wide range of wines, which you can learn about on their website: http://barahonda.com/en/.

2013 Barahonda Barrica: This wine is made from estate-owned, organically grown grapes. It combines the power of Monastrell with IMG106_Barahonda04the spice of Syrah. The vines are head pruned in the traditional manner and are dry farmed (no irrigation). The Monastrell grapes come from vines over 60 years old. Yields are a low 2 kilograms (4.4 lbs.) of fruit per vine, which results in wines that are naturally balanced IMG_2440and concentrated.   The wine is 75% Monastrell and 25% Syrah, from organically grown vines planted from 1968 – 1970.  The vineyards sit high on the edge of the plateau, at over 2300 feet above sea level.  Each varietal is hand harvested, and separately fermented.  Then they are aged in French oak for 6 months before being blended together. After blending, the wine sees another 6 months of barrel aging.  There were 7,500 cases made.  Our thoughts:

The wine is more purple than red, and deeply colored.  The rather huge nose is dominated by fruit, glorious dark berries, black cherry cough drop and licorice.  There is also spice.  It is rich on the palate, medium+ bodied and long.  You could use the word luscious here as well.  This is all about the fruit, although there is enough complexity to make you appreciate the other aspects of a wonderfully made, complex wine.  It finishes quite long, with the nicely balanced acid keeping the whole thing fresh.  Bravo!  We really likes this.  It is around $15 – $20, easily a Value List wine and worth buying.

This is another wine from Olé Imports, and you can see more of their portfolio at www.oleimports.com.  They have an impressive range of Spanish wine.

We weren’t expecting great things from Yecla, based on previous experience.  We’ve had good wines to be sure, but this is better than good.  Spain continues to surprise.

A votre santé!

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