Eighty members of the Teulada-Moraira U3A Wine Tasting Group attended the February meeting at Bar Mediterráneo in Teulada.
Group leader Brian Clarke introduced Raquel, from Bodegas Castaño, who was making her third visit to the group.
The bodega is situated in Yecla, a small town in the north of the province of Murcia, which has a clear different microclimate compared with the rest of the province of Murcia, with minimum temperatures around -4/6C in normal winters and over 40C in summer. The average rainfall ranges from 250 to 350 litres per square metre a year and the annual sunshine rate is 3000 hours.
The Castaño family has always been considered a pioneer in the area, experimenting with the grape variety Monastrell to both create straight wines and blend it with other varieties, introducing the latest technology, not only in the vineyard but also in the winery, and implementing new quality systems that allow a more suitable winemaking.
Raquel brought along six wines for members to sample: two whites, one rosado and three reds.
The first wine was Dominio Espinal Macabeo, comprising 100% macabeo grape. The grapes are harvested in September during the night because the temperature is 10-12 degrees cooler. This young wine, pale yellow in colour, is fresh and pleasant on the palate with an intense apple taste with a floral background and citrus hints.
The next wine, Castaño white Macabeo-Chardonnay, aged three months in French and American oak barrels, is also harvested at night-time in September. Another young wine, it is a clean and shiny pale straw colour. On the palate it has tropical fruit notes with a taste of pineapple and coconut.
The rosado, Dominio Espinal, containing 100 per cent Monastrell, came in a screwtop bottle, which Raquel emphasised had absolutely no detrimental effect on the quality of the wine. The exotic pinkish colour wine was juicy on the palate, with cherry pit notes, which proved popular with our group.
The first of the three reds, Castaño Tinto Monastrell, was from 100 per cent Monastrell grape, not aged in oak. A deep cherry red colour with violet shines, the wine tasted fresh and fruity.
The second red, Dominio Espinal Selección, was made up of three grapes: 80% Monastrell, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Syrah. Harvested at the beginning of September, and aged four months in French and American oak, the blend produced spicy and fruity flavours.
Finally, the group tasted Hécula, which Raquel described as one of her favourite red wines. Deep red in colour from 100% Monastrell grapes, this wine had been aged six months in oak barrels to produce elegant and integrated wooden notes and intense fruitiness.
All in all, it was a wine tasting well received and enjoyed by our members. Thanks to group leaders Brian and Pat for another well-organised event.