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The Candela family know their way around the Yecla DO and its native grapes, having founded Señorío de Barahonda in 1925 and handing down their artisan spirit through four generations. They live with the conviction that good wine is made in the vineyard, and their estate is farmed accordingly. Their 340 hectares (840 acres) are planted on sandy limestone soils and farmed organically, using no additional irrigation despite the extremely dry climate.
This wine combines the powerful Monastrell grape with the spicy, soft tannins of Syrah. The Candela family established the bodega in 1925. Winemakers Agustín Carrión and Araceli González Martínez are key figures who have shown the potential of Monastrell in Yecla. Monastrell is better known as Mourvédre in France's Chateauneuf-du-Pape appellation, where the terroir and climate are similar to Yecla. Both regions have a Mediterranean climate with warm days and nights. Located in the warmer southeast part of Spain, Yecla is one of the country's oldest wine regions, with a rich history that dates back to the 6th Century. In recent years, the astounding rediscovery of Yecla by American journalists and consumers has prompted international acclaim for wines based on Monastrell. Native to Spain, Monastrell was brought to France around the 5-6th Century.
WHAT MAKES THIS WINE UNIQUE?
This wine is made from estate-owned grapes. It combines the power of Monastrell with the spice of Syrah. The vines are head pruned in the traditional manner and are dry farmed (no irrigation). The Monastrell grapes come from vines over 60 years old. Yields are a low 2 kilograms (4.4 lbs.) of fruit per vine, which results in wines that are naturally balanced and concentrated.
2021 90D, 90JS; 2020 91JS, 90WE "Best Buy"; 2019 91JS; 2018 90JS; 2017 90JS; 2016 92JS
75% Monastrell, 25% Syrah. Vines planted from 1968 - 1970. Tended in 75% limestone, 15% sand and 15% clay soil at 713 m (2,339 ft) elevation
In addition to the predictable array of roasted and grilled red meats, the ripeness of Monastrell with the spice of Syrah will make this wine pair even better with grilled or roasted pork tenderloin, pork chops and Tandoori chicken or veal. For a more unusual pairing, try this wine with the finest corned beef or pastrami-on-rye sandwich you can find and don't forget the half-sour pickle.
VINIFICATION AND AGING:
Both Monastrell and Syrah are hand harvested and vinified separately. The Monastrell macerates for 15 days at 79F. The Syrah is fermented at 75F and macerates for 12 days. Malolactic fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks. The wine is aged in French oak barrels for six months before the two varieties are blended together. Once the final blend (assemblage) is completed, it is bottled and kept in cellar for another 6 months.
LOCATION, SOIL, CLIMATE:
The vineyards are within the Yecla DO (Zone 8), within Murcia in southeastern Spain. The vineyards are in the Campo Arriba district of Yecla, at 713 meters (2,339 ft.) elevation. Monastrell is the most planted grape in this area and is the second most planted red grape in Spain. Yecla's higher altitude results in cooler temperatures than neighboring regions, which makes wines that are brighter and more aromatic. The soils are composed of limestone and chalk with clay and gravel subsoils, low in organic matter. The soils are deep and have good drainage. The clay subsoil retains water, which is essential for the health of the vine in this arid climate. This results in greater overall concentration and complexity in the wine. The average temperature from May-October is 66F, with only 13 inches of rain per year. The climate is Mediterranean with a light Continental influence, due to its higher altitude.
Lurid ruby. Ripe black and blue fruits, cola, vanilla and potpourri on the deeply perfumed nose. Smooth and sweet on entry and then tighter in the midpalate, offering bitter cherry and blueberry flavors and hints of vanilla and spice cake. A smoky nuance emerges with aeration and carries through the long, gently tannic finish, which echoes the vanilla note.
-- Josh Reynolds
1.2 lbs (.55 kg)