Friday, February 20, 2015

Washington Monastrell v. Jumilla

The racing action is heating up in Southern Spain - in the Murcia area to be exact.  This is where you will find the Jumilla DO, which is dominated by the Monastrell grape.

Two one day races took place this past weekend in the area surrounding Jumilla.  The Vuelta Ciclista a Murcia and the Classica de Almeria.  Both races provide high energy racing and a good opportunity for the sprinters to stretch their legs.  And that is exactly what Mark Cavendish did at the Classica de Almeria.  He racked up his 124th career victory sprinting over the finish line after avoiding a late race crash.

This week's matchup features a Washington Monastrell taking on Jumilla.

2011 Idilico Monastrell vs. 2012 Juan Gil Monastrell

Tale of the Tape

2011 Idilico Monastrell

100% Monastrell from Upland Vineyard in the Snipes Mountain AVA.

Aged for 15 months in mostly neutral French oak barrels.

Purchased from Full Pull Wines for $17.99

2012 Juan Gil Monastrell

100% Monastrell aged for 12 months in French oak barrels

Purchased at Pete's Wine Shop in Bellevue for $15.99

Round 1.  First opening

Idilico is living up to its name, storming into the ring like a bull in a china shop.  The nose is big and rich with earthy, funky, dark plum and black berries with some subtle dry spices.  The palate shows dark currant, smoky roasted coffee and slightly sweet spices with some hints of cocoa powder on the finish.

Juan Gil is showing some serious agility, bobbing and weaving and counter attacking with a variety of spin-jitsu moves.  The nose features dried herbal spices and dusty medium red berries.  The palate is showing a mix of raspberry and logan berry with dried Asian spices and a herbal spiced finish.

This match is staring out with a contrast in styles.  Idilico takes the first round with a power packed atack.

Round 2.  One hour after opening

Idilico is showing some stamina and power with a nose of dusty dark currants and sweet black cherries.  The palate is full of dark fruit with some smoky vanilla notes of sweet Asian spices that continue on to the finish.

Juan Gil swoops into the ring looking to even up the match.  The nose is showing dried cherries and chocolate.  The palate repeats the notes of dried cherries along with cocoa, mole' spices and a slightly dry fine tannin spiced finish.

The Juan Gil challenger from Jumilla was aggressive in this round, but it wasn't enough to over power the Washington State Idilico Luchador.

Round 3.  One day later

Idilico is full of confidence, sauntering into the ring with nothing to lose.  This luchador is showing a consistent attacking style with a touch of flair.  The nose is showing dusty, earthy dark plums, black berries and leather.  The palate is throwing out a diversion with slightly sweet dark plum, notes of blue & black berries intermingled with tart Asian spices that lead to a finish that is blowing things up with slightly dry cocoa and spices.

The Juan Gil isn't fazed by Idilico's aggression. The Jumilla challenger is counter-attacking with a nose of floral dried rose petals and dark cherries.  The palate is laying down the law with dark cherry, tart cranberry, dried cherries and tart cedar spices wrapped up with a finish that is tart, dry and spicy.

Juan Gil made a valiant comeback in the final round but it was not enough to overcome Idilico's swagger.  Idilico takes the match 3-0.

Wrap up and overall observations.

Both of these Monastrells were very nice.  They each showcased different styles.  The Idilico was darker and more brooding with underlying liveliness.  The Juan Gil was lighter with more floral notes.

I would recommend both of these wines. 

If you are a fan of Spanish and Washington wine you definitely need to seek out the Idilico wines from Javier Alfonso.  The number (and quantity) of Spanish varieties grown in Washington state is relatively small.  Javier is making good use of the grapes available to him creating excellent Spanish style wines at affordable prices.  

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