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BODEGAS Y VIñEDOS MONTECASTRO

Region: Castilla y León
Appellation: D.O. Ribera del Duero
City: Castrillo de Duero
Winery Website: www.bodegasmontecastro.es/
Winery GPS Coordinates: 41.612619, -4.009323

OVERVIEW

Founded in 2001 by successful publisher Alfonso de Salas, Marqués de Montecastro y Llanahermosa. Mature Tempranillo vineyards from 8 to 100 years old have been sourced in five distinct soil types and at elevations between 2150 and 3500 feet. Winemaking focus is upon fruit retention and rich, soft tannins, resulting in sophisticated wines that are fully complex in youth yet long-lived.

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HISTORY

A landmark project in Ribera del Duero, founded in 2001 by a group of Madrid professionals led by prominent publisher Alfonso de Salas, the Marqués de Montecastro y Llanahermosa. Modeled after the finest examples heretofore produced in the Ribera del Duero, Montecastro has succeeded from its first vintages in creating wines unsurpassed for authenticity and breed.

First priority was the acquisition and planting of 55 acres in the heart of Ribera del Duero at high altitude and on poor, chalky/stony soils. Meanwhile, a small group of growers located in various sub-regions was carefully selected and placed under long-term contract. The mature plots range from 8 to 100 years old and are subjected to severe yield restriction. Vines are planted in a range of five distinct soil types at elevations varying from 2150 to 3500 feet, resulting in a multifaceted harvest essential for coaxing maximum complexity from mono-varietal Tempranillo. In each vintage up to 21 distinct terroirs are fermented and aged separately, allowing for an assemblage that achieves richness with subtlety.

The modern bodega emulates the traditional chimney (zarcera) feature of the area's medieval subterranean cellars, serving the dual purpose of providing natural aeration and daylight illumination. Grape clusters are received in small crates and sorted before being transported whole on belts for stemming and crushing at the top of each of the temperature-controlled, epoxy-lined cement fermenters, avoiding pumping of the must.

Natural fermentation and skin contact according to vintage are followed by spontaneous malolactic and aging in 50% new and 50% second-year oak barriques, of which 70% are of French origin, 25% American and 5% Eastern European.

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PRESS

Alconte (2010) - "Bright violet color. Black raspberry and cola aromas are complemented by notes of vanilla and mocha. Pliant and seamless in texture, offering sweet dark fruit flavors given lift by juicy acidity and a peppery nuance. Shows very good energy and clarity on the youthfully tannic, spice-tinged finish. The most lithe and elegant version of this bottling I've had to date, this should age well on its balance."

91 Points
Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar, Sep 1, 2013

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Montecastro (2009) - "Opaque ruby. Heady, spice-accented dark berry and cherry scents are complemented by mocha and cola. Supple and seamless in texture, with impressively deep blackberry and cherry-vanilla flavors and a bracing jolt of spiciness. The spicy quality continues on the gently tannic, very persistent finish, which showcases sweet dark fruit flavors."

93 Points
Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar, Sep 1, 2013

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Montecastro (2009) - "This smells slightly gamy and leathery, with upfront oak, marzipan and big black-fruit aromas. The palate is full and blocky but balanced, with toasty flavors of clove, savory berry, spice and raw oak. The finish is dry and tannic with heat, unresolved oak and chocolate flavors. Best from 2015-2018."

91 Points
Michael Schachner, Wine Enthusiast, Aug 1, 2013

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Montecastro (2007) - "This is dark and tarry at first, with aromas of freshly laid asphalt, pepper, fine herbs, burnt toast and roasted berry. This feels racy, healthy and balanced, with a creamy quality to the palate. It tastes natural and correct, with plum, berry, vanilla and spice flavors. On the finish, it’s smooth with a strong oak-based vanilla flavor. Drink now through 2012."

91 Points, Cellar Selection
Michael Schachner, Wine Enthusiast, Oct 1, 2012

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Montecastro (2007) - "Enticing aromas of blueberry jam, red currant, and plum, with touches of violets, sweet chocolate, anise, and soft caramel. Warm and luscious on the palate, with black currant, cooked plum, and cola-berry flavors, over black licorice and mocha notes. Smooth tannins and earthy spice on the finish. Slowed roasted herbed leg of lamb."


Santé, Sep 1, 2012

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Montecastro (2008) - "Dark ruby.  Fresh cherry and blackberry on the nose and in the mouth.  Juicy and precise, with slow-building spiciness and a long, seamless finish.  This wine drinks very well right now."

90 Points
Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar, Sep 1, 2012

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Alconte (2009) - "Opaque ruby.  Pungent, floral-accented aromas of blackberry and cassis, with a spicy topnote adding vivacity.  Supple and sweet on the palate, with nicely concentrated dark berry flavors lifted by peppery spices.  Dusty tannins provide grip for a juicy, focused finish that ends on note of bitter cherry."

90 Points
Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar, Sep 1, 2012

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Montecastro (2008) - "Rich, juicy cherry aromas and flavors float through the spiciness of this wine, the finish so smooth it almost feels delicate."

89 Points
Wine & Spirits, Jun 1, 2012

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Montecastro (2007) - "This opaque and very dark red colored wine opens with a fragrant and very inviting blueberry and vanilla oak bouquet. On the palate, this wine is medium bodied and very nicely balanced between its acidity and ripe fruit. The flavor profile is a very appealing blueberry with notes of red currant and hints of plum and milk chocolate. The finish is dry and its fruit flavors linger along with moderate well managed tannins. This wine is very food friendly and would pair very well with a grilled ribeye from Grill 23."

92 Points
Ken Hoggins, Ken's Wine Guide, May 1, 2012

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Montecastro (2007) - "Opaque ruby. Oak-spiced aromas of raspberry and cherry, with complicating cola and licorice nuances and a hint of cracked pepper. Juicy, incisive red and dark berry flavors unfold with air to offer a deeper mocha quality. Finishes juicy and focused, with repeating spice and licorice notes. This will be ready to drink soon."

91 Points
Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar, Sep 1, 2011

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Alconte (2008) - "Bodegas y Viñedos Montecastro's purple-colored 2008 Alconte is 100% Tempranillo. Smoke, mineral, licorice, and black fruit aromas inform the nose of this forward, sweetly-fruited, nicely priced offering. It can be approached now but will provide enjoyment for another 6-8 years. "

90 Points
Jay Miller, Wine Advocate, Jul 1, 2011

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Montecastro (2007) - "The 2007 Montecastro exhibits more spice and a bit more density. Savory, forward, and incipiently complex, it can be approached now but will reward another 2-3 years of cellaring. The pleasure-bent effort will be at its best from 2013 to 2022."

91 Points
Jay Miller, Wine Advocate, Jul 1, 2011

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Alconte (2007) - "This opaque and very dark ruby colored Spanish Red is Very Good. It opens with a smoky oak bouquet with notes of wintergreen and hints of vanilla and black cherry. On the palate, this wine is medium bodied, balanced, round, and displays no hard edges. The flavor profile is a mild cherry and vanilla oak blend with a hint of red raspberry. The finish is dry and it medium tannins are sticky and linger for some time. This wine would pair well with baked lasagna. Enjoy."

90 Points
Ken Hoggins, Ken's Wine Guide, Jul 1, 2011

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Montecastro (2006) - "This slightly opaque and dark ruby colored Tempranillo based wine opens with a boysenberry bouquet with hints of plum. On the palate, this wine is medium bodied, balanced, and fruit forward. The flavor profile is a ripe black raspberry with notes of black cherry and plum. There was also a touch of black pepper and vanilla oak mixed in as well. The finish is dry and its mild fine tannins are very friendly. This wine is drinking very well right now. It would pair well in the near term with a grilled NY strip steak. Enjoy."

93 Points
Ken Hoggins, Ken's Wine Guide, Apr 30, 2011

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Montecastro (2006) - "Youth and minerality define the nose along with char and pepper. Deep and layered with pure black fruit flavors, chocolate and mellow tannins. Drink now through 2015."

91 Points
Michael Schachner, Wine Enthusiast, Oct 17, 2010

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Alconte (2007) - "Saturated ruby. Sexy, oak-spiced aromas of black raspberry, cola, incense and violet. Sweet, expansive dark berry and cherry-vanilla flavors are sharpened by peppery spice and pick up a touch of licorice. Lush but lively, with very good finishing clarity and spicy persistence."

90 Points
Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar, Sep 16, 2010

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Alconte (2007) - "Founded in 2001, this estate is already among the region's top producers. Its wines are sourced from a group of small growers who offer a variety of low-yielding, high-altitude vineyards. This is a full-flavored, rich and complex wine showing a smoky, soft and intensely flavored attack. It is round, lush and soft on the palate with plum fruit and toasted oak flavors. Spends 11 months in oak."

91 Points
Michael Potashnik, i-winereview.com, Jul 6, 2010

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Montecastro (2005) - "This is a classy, elegant wine, beautifully delineated with blackberry fruit aromas and flavors. It's silky smooth on the palate with a rich mouth feel and showing a perfect balance between fruit and oak. It's simply delicious! One of the finest wines produced in Ribera del Duero today."

94 Points
Michael Potashnik, i-winereview.com, Jul 6, 2010

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Alconte (2007) - "The 2007 Alconte was aged for 12 months in new French oak. Aromas of wood smoke, earth, mineral, and blackberry with a slightly roasted character is followed by a rich, full-flavored, concentrated, voluminous effort with a bit of underlying structure. Give this lengthy Tempranillo 1-2 years of cellaring and drink it from 2011 to 2022."

90 Points
Jay Miller, Wine Advocate, Apr 30, 2010

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Montecastro (2006) - "The 2006 Montecastro is a glass-coating opaque purple with an alluring nose of pain grille, earth, mineral, and assorted black fruits. On the palate it has plenty of depth, layered fruit, savory flavors, and impeccable balance. Give this lengthy offering another 2-3 years of aging and drink it from 2012 to 2026."

91 Points
Jay Miller, Wine Advocate, Apr 30, 2010

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Montecastro (2006) - "A plush texture carries plum, blackberry, hoisin and mineral in this modern red. Firm tannins keep it grounded, while lively acidity keeps it fresh. The first impression is oaky, but fruit, spice and licorice notes linger on the finish. Drink now through 2012. 8,000 cases made."

90 Points
Thomas Matthews, Wine Spectator, Jun 15, 2009

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Montecastro (2006) - "Saturated ruby-red. Powerfully scented bouquet of smoky red and dark berries, Asian spices and minerals. Supple and concentrated, offering deep black raspberry and blackcurrant flavors, velvety texture and a late jolt of tangy minerals. Vanilla and cherry-cola qualities cling impressively on the long, sappy finish. This is quite primary but also very promising."

92 (+?) Points
Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar, Sep 24, 2008

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Montecastro (2005) - "This rich, expressive red delivers ripe, almost sweet, black currant and blackberry fruit. It has muscular tannins, but there's enough acidity for balance, as well as a vibrant floral and spice finish. Drink now through 2020."

93 Points
Thomas Matthews, Wine Spectator, Sep 15, 2008

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Montecastro (2005) - "Montecastro is a new estate founded in 2001. The 2005 Montecastro is 100% Tempranillo aged in barrique. Purple-colored, it has an alluring bouquet of wood smoke, toast, crushed stone, violets, black raspberry, and blackberry. This is followed by an opulent, full-flavored wine with gobs of spicy fruit, excellent integration of oak, tannin, and acidity, and 4-6 years of aging potential. It will be at its best between 2013 and 2025."

93 Points
Jay Miller, Wine Advocate, Feb 29, 2008

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Montecastro (2005) - "Deep ruby. Powerfully scented nose offers raspberry, cherry, bitter chocolate, anise, suave baking spices and vanilla. Deep, highly intense red and dark berry flavors are complicated by candied licorice and cured meat. Finishes lively and precise, with good acid lift and youthful but integrated tannins. Seems even livelier than the outstanding 2004."

92 Points
Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar, Sep 30, 2007

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Montecastro (2004) - "The 2004 Montecastro y Llanahermosa is dark ruby purple in color and displays ripe aromas of black cherry and blueberry fruit with notes of leather and oak. On the palate it offers concentrated fruit with terrific balance and structure, elegant mouth feel, rounded tannins and a long finish. It drinks well now but no doubt will improve with cellaring. Very well done. "

92 points
i-winereview.com, Aug 31, 2007

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Montecastro (2004) - "Moist soil, cola and molasses aromas all indicate depth, oak and ripeness, while the palate is full, fairly juicy and saturated with serious black fruit flavors. Additional prune and chocolate notes come on toward the finish, cementing this wine's meaty, somewhat modern personality. It gets better with airing and will not suffer from a few years in the cellar."

91 Points
Michael Schachner, Wine Enthusiast, May 31, 2007

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Montecastro (2003) - "Robust yet restrained red, with berry, spice and brown sugar flavors framed by tannin and minerals. Drink in 1-10 years. "

Ribera del Duero recommendation - ***
Jamal A. Rayyis, Food & Wine, Wine Guide, Apr 1, 2007

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Montecastro (2004) - "Raises the bar even higher than the 2003. The perfume is even more expressive, the palate broader, richer, and more concentrated, and the finish goes on for over one minute. It should be cellared for 4-6 years and should drink well through 2032. There is more good news; a barrel sample of the 2005 seems every bit as good as the 2004. Montecastro is a new estate in Ribera del Duero founded in 2001. The owners have gone to great lengths to do everything right and it shows in the wine."

94 Points
Jay Miller, Wine Advocate, Feb 1, 2007

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Montecastro (2003) - "One hundred percent Tempranillo aged for 17 months in 50% new oak. Purple in color, the wine exhibits a splendid bouquet of crushed stone, violet, bacon, blueberry, and blackberry liqueur. The wine is full-bodied, nearly opulent, and powerful with layered fruit and well-integrated tannin and acidity. The pure finish lasts for 50 seconds. Allow 2-3 years in bottle and then drink this beauty over the next 15 years. Montecastro is a new estate in Ribera del Duero founded in 2001. The owners have gone to great lengths to do everything right and it shows in the wine."

92 Points
Jay Miller,, Wine Advocate, Feb 1, 2007

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Montecastro (2004) - "Saturated violet. Suave, deep aromas of blackberry and cassis, with hints of tobacco, black tea and chocolate. Broad and lush, with an enticing sweetness to its strong blackcurrant and boysenberry flavors. Chewy, sweet and long on the finish, with silky, supple tannins and a sexy note of oak spice. This is already drinking beautifully."

91 Points
Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar, Oct 1, 2006

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Montecastro (2003) - "Ruby-red. Ripe, smoky aromas of cherry and blackcurrant, complicated by oak spice, iron and molasses. Broad and weighty, with a solid feel to the ripe cherry and dark berry flavors. Finishes ripe, full and long, with subtle finishing notes of vanilla bean and roasted coffee. Sexy stuff."

89 Points
Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar, Oct 1, 2006

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Montecastro (2003) - "Perfumed, harmonious nose of rope black fruit and sweet oak. Well balanced, elegant, and quite silky; delicious, ripe black cherry, blueberry, and baker's chocolate flavors; light oak in the finish. A revelation. [Serve with] steak; lamb; game."


Gerry Dawes, Santé Magazine, Sep 1, 2006

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Montecastro (2003) - "From a project founded in 2001, this shows the ripeness of the vintage in roasted chestnut and fig aromas together with tobacco and clove scents. It's tannic and concentrated, soft and voluptuous, to drink in winter by the fireplace."

92 Points
Patricio Tapia, Wine & Spirits Magazine, Jun 1, 2006

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Montecastro (2003) - "I doubt that many writers will have beaten me to the punch on this baby, so remember where you heard this first! This stunning wine crushed all contenders in a class that I ran recently on new, high-end wines from Spain, and for good reason: it is so deeply ripe and deeply flavored as to seem almost bottomless, but with the balancing acidity and pure freshness that cool nights preserves in the Tempranillo of Ribera del Duero. Oak is notable, but only that, whether because it was minimally used or because the sheer power of the fruit in this wine simply overwhelmed it. The basic profile here is the absolute essence of black cherry fruit with fine accents from spices and subtle woodsmoke. Marvelous!"

93 Points
Michael Franz, Wine Review Online, Dec 31, 1969

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