The Vuelta Espana is nearing completion and this year's edition has seen plenty of drama as well as a unique route through the Spanish countryside. The Vuelta always seems to come in third out of the three grand tours (the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia are typically considered #1 and #2 respectively). That means the Vuelta organizers are always looking for ways to draw more interest to their race.
Oftentimes, that means an unusually high number of mountain top finishes combined with a unique route through Spain. This year followed the same formula with eight mountain top finishes and a route that started in South West Spain before heading East and North.
The first segment of racing concluded in South Eastern Spain near the Bullas DO wine region. The pro bike racers are typically on a very strict diet during these three week bike races. However, with a day off, I'm sure the racers all probably relaxed a bit and enjoyed a glass of Monastrell on their first rest day.
Monastrell is the Spanish version of Mourvedre. So, this week's Lucha Vino match up features a Washington Mourvedre taking on a Spanish Monastrell from the Bullas DO.
2013 Kerloo Cellars Mourvedre v. 2009 Bodegas del Rosario Tesoro Monastrell
Tale of the Tape
2013 Kerloo Cellars Mourvedre
100% Mourvedre from the den Hoede Vineyard in the Yakima Valley AVA
Aged for 17 months in 100% neutral French Oak barrels
Provided as a sample by the winery. Available at retail for $32.00.
2009 Bodegas del Rosario Tesoro Monastrell
Aged for four months in French and American Oak Barrels and followed by several months of bottle aging before release. This wine is made to be served "young."
Purchased at Total Wine for $16.00
Round 1. First Opening
It doesn't take long for Kerloo to stamp its authority on this match. Coming out strong from the opening bell this Washington wine Luchador features a nose of dusty mineral infused dried cherries, dark Logan Berry, light spices and a touch of candle wax. The palate shows medium red berries, white pepper and floral notes with some meaty undertones followed by a dry slightly tannin fueled spice finish.
Tesoro throws up a hefty defensive move with a nose that has character of dark dusty fruit, leather and smokey sandalwood. The palate is robust and brawny with rich dark fruit, cracked pepper and a slightly sweet finish.
Kerloo takes round 1, overpowering the Spanish challenger with a complex combination of lethal moves.
Round 2. One hour after Opening
Kerloo is evolving and seems to ease off a bit in round 2. Did it take more punishment than it first appeared? Or, is this the move of a crafty veteran attempting to fake out the opponent? Either way the Kerloo Morvedre is showing off a nose of plum, blackberry, meadow flowers and light spices. The palate features sweet dark fruit, white pepper and light spicy tobacco leaf. For added emphasis, the spicy tobacco leaf character follows through on the finish like a series of lightning fast rabbit punches to the ribs.
The Tesoro Monastrell Masher doesn't fall for Kerloo's early round rope-a-dope tactics maintaining a consistent attacking style that features a nose of dark black fruit and dusty dry pepper. The palate is bold with dark fruit and cracked pepper that is quickly followed by a finish that is slightly sweet with fine grained tannin spices.
This round was closer than anticipated with Kerloo taking a slight edge based on the complexity of its wrastlin' style.
Round 3. One day after Opening
The Tesoro is also holding strong and fighting back with a nose featuring dark dusty fruit, plums and some earthy cola. The palate also shows dark fruit, spicy cracked pepper and a slightly dry sweet and spicy pepper finish.
The Spanish challenger from Bullas put up a serious fight, but in the end it wasn't enough to overcome the home town favorite from Washington State. Kerloo takes a closely fought battle 3 - 0.
Wrap up and overall observations
The Kerloo Mourvedre showed excellent character and complexity that continued to evolve over several days. This is an excellent example of what a Washington Mourvedre can be. If you are in Walla Walla or South Seattle you definitely need to check out one of Kerloo Cellars tasting rooms.
The Bodegas del Rosario Tesoro Monastrell showed great character. Based on the wine makers notes that this wine is intended to be enjoyed young, this Monastrell showed well with six years of age. It was an excellent bargain at less than 20 dollars. In fact, Spain seems to be a country that consistently offers great bang for your buck wines.
Check out this great map of Spanish wine regions from Wine Folly if you would like to learn more about Spanish wine.