A monthly review of an easily obtainable wine that’s had a recommendation somewhere in a National newspaper. Always posted just before the usual monthly theme, this may be the latest post for only a few days…

“Al-muvedre” Alicante Old Bush Vine Monastrell 2013 (Telmo Rodríguez) – 13½% – Waitrose £9 or £10
All whites this month at the ICC Tasting – so a return to a red grape that was a big hit earlier this year: Mourvedre – or Monastrell in Spain!

It’s made from bush vines grown at some altitude and one would expect that to emphasise acidity. On the other hand the vines are on sandy loams which typically produces low-tannin, soft, open wines. The wine making: hand-picked grapes; ambient yeasts and some concrete aging – will redouble those characteristics… and so it proved – sort of…

The nose had immediate vanilla, wood and sharp dark fruit – damson maybe. The palate was immediately stunningly sharp – almost pure lemon juice! Underneath is a soft wine, with sweet blackberry fruit that has a rather confectionery character.

Combined with the vanilla this put me in mind of blackberry and apple crumble. I’m not really sure if that’s a good thing. Later there’s a characteristic spicy finish, but the three components – acid – sweet fruit – spice are unintegrated as yet.

With food (Raymond Blanc’s Pork & Prunes recipe) the combination of acidity (which had attenuated a bit to be only very firm) and almost dessert sweet fruit worked well, but might not have with a completely savoury dish. After an hour the wine opens and integrates a bit showing more depth, more balanced acidity, soft blackberry and plum fruit and a whisper of game. Clearly a year or two too young. Decant for an hour to quaff with main dishes with a sweet twist.

Ratings: Quality: 13/20     Value: 15/20