Monday, April 11, 2011

Castillo de Almansa Reserva by Bodegas Piqueras

Between the high central plain of La Mancha and the Mediterranean sea, lies the Almansa D.O. (Denominacion di Origin) of Spain. It is in this place of transition that we find the town of Almansa; the home to Bodegas Piqueras winery ( ) and the Castillo de Almansa wine, named for the famous castle or castillo of the region.

Almansa DO, Spain
   Bodegas Piqueras is a recent addition to Spanish winemaking by Old World standards, having been founded in 1915 by Mario Bonete, with the first bottled wine not being released until 1961. Mario's son, Juan Pablo, studied oenology and followed in his father's footstep's becoming his successor with the assistance of his brother Angel. The goal of Juan Pablo and Angel in their own words, is to produce eminent wines in limited quantities.

   By some standards, they are succeeding. In 2010, the Castillo de Almansa Valcante 2008 was a gold medal recipient at the Selections Mondiale du Vin in Quebec City, Canada. A prestigious award by anyone's standards, Juan Pablo and Angel moved on to receive 2 gold medals in Germany that year for the 2008 Valcante again and the 2007 red blend (Castillo de Almansa). A great year for the young winemakers.

2007 Castillo de Almansa Reserva by Bodegas Piqueras, S.A.
Almansa DO, Spain

soil:         basically calcareous
altitude :   700 metres
varietals :  70% Temperanillo (aka Cincibel, Tinta Roriz), 30% Monastrell and Garnacha Tintorera
  • visual:   clean; deep garnet core with light cherry/brick rim
  • nose:   clean; moderately intense and youthful aromas showing some development; red cherry, red raspberry, candied strawberries, old worn leather, light vanilla florality, end notes of deep exotic floral and savory spices (star anise)
  • palate:   clean; dry, fully intense red currant acids, moderate+ intense slightly grippy tannins, moderate alcohol, moderate body, moderate+ intense and developing flavors mimicking the nose well, with the addition of light tobacco notes and stewed plums. Very good balance and structure, medium length on the palate
  • conclusion:   drinking incredibly well for a $13 wine -this can be enjoyed 2011 to 2014 due to it's concentration of flavor and lively acids. Will not improve appreciably with time.
  • PAIRINGS:   grilled steak with Pequillo sauce - a smoked pepper from the Navarra region of Spain - it would work against the berry acidity and emphasize through contrast

Castillo de Almansa
   And so Juan Pablo and brother Angel have returned to their 190 hectares of vineyards (just under 500 acres) that they manage themselves and the almost 500 hectares they have contracted to them from other growers. All of the production is within the Almansa DO, and creates about 800,000 litres of wine (over 1 million bottles per year) in over 7 blends and single varietals sold in 17 countries.

As always, I welcome your comments and questions.

CINCIN~!!!     SLAINTE~!!!     CHEERS~!!!

2008 Vintage
$14 CAD (BC) spec listing
88+ points

Still an excellent value, this wine constantly overdelivers on value! This is a wine that sells at Tuesday night prices, but offers Friday night dinner dimension; rich red berry and old leather bouquet, terrifically well balanced and lively acid, chewy fine tannins, alcohol that is kept well in check... drink this now, drink this often. It pairs with a myriad of food choices, but tonight I'm enjoying just with some grilled sausage, bread and humus. 


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