Founded by the late Daniel Rogov, focusing primarily on wines that are either kosher or Israeli.
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Daniel Rogov

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Bodegas y Viñedos Montecastro: Ribera del Duero

by Daniel Rogov » Sun May 15, 2011 4:21 pm

What can I say other than if you're looking for positive surprises on imported wines it will quite often be the partners of Giaconda that supply those on a regular basis. This afternoon (Sunday, 15 May) I attended Giaconda's tasting of the newly imported wines of Ribera del Duero's Montecastro winery.

An amusing side-story. Usually Giaconda partners Anat and Rafaella are the ones hunting up new wineries. In this case it was Montecastro that did the hunting and that after they read what I had written about Giaconda in HaAretz. Sof-sof (finally), I have become, albeit in a most round-about way (and with no commercial interest whatever), a part of the wine import scene in Israel.

Whatever Montecastro is a young winery, established as recently as 2000, having purchased their first land in 2001 and planting first vineyards in 2002 and 2003. The main part of the winery, in which modern, temperature controlled concrete tanks are located, those used for initial fermentation and part of the barrel room have been fully constructed. Still to be completed are the barrel and bottling facilities and the visitors' center.

Located in the heart of Ribera del Duero (specifically in the community of Valladolid), the winery relies primarily on Tinto Fino, (Tinto Fino being the local synonym for Tempranillo) as well as smaller quantities of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Garnacha. Grapes come from the wineries own vineyards as well as from vineyards under contract, some containing vines that are a century old, some of the vines trellised and some raised by the gobelin method (low cut, the vines nearly on the ground).

As to oak, the winery relies on barrels, 70% of French oak, 25% American and 5% from Eastern European countries. Barrels are used only in two vintages, that is to say, every year wines will be developed half in new and half in 1 year old barrels. Montecastro, the flagship wine of the winery is aged in oak for 16-20 months, depending on the vintage and the winemaker's decision. Current production is between 100,000-150,000 bottles annually and plans are to grow to 250,000-300,000 bottles.

As a potentially piquant bit of information, one of the partners in the winery is Spanish singer Julio Iglesias. What can I say other than any performer who has managed to sell 300 million records must be doing something right.

Today's tasting was led by Montecastro winemaker Beltrán Erhard, French born and trained but now fully at home in Spain. What I specially enjoyed about Erhard was his honesty and openness, not being at all afraid of commenting realistically about the quality of various vintages and his own wines. My thanks to Anat, Rafaella and Beltrán for their good company and a fine tasting.

Note please that only two of the wine we tasted are currently available locally – those being the 2005 and 2006 Montecastro. The 2008 Alconte will be available only in the winter of 2012. Those wanting further information or wishing to place orders can contact Giaconda by telephone at 03 6022746 or by email to wine@giaconda.co.il

Best
Rogov

Bodegas y Viñedos Montecastro, Alconte, Ribera del Duero, 2008: Made entirely from Tinto Fino (Tempranillo) grapes, those fermented in concrete tanks and developed for 12 months in French, American and Eastern European oak. Deep cherry red towards garnet, medium-, perhaps medium- to full-bodied, with soft, gently caressing tannins and just a bare kiss of sweet-and-spicy oak. On the nose and palate raspberries and blueberries, those on a background that hints at one moment of eucalyptus and another of mint. An easy to drink quaffer but one with just enough complexity to grab the attention. Scheduled for sale during the winter of 2012 at about NIS 100. Score 88. (Tasted 15 May 2011)

Bodegas y Viñedos Montecastro, Montecastro, Ribera del Duero, 2008 (Advance Tasting): Aging now in bottles, young enough to hold back on its fruits and with still firm and chewy tannins and notes of spicy wood that need time to integrate but already showing fine promise for its release. A blend primarily of Tempranillo, that tempered by notes of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Garnacha, showing full-bodied, with the kind of balance and acidity that promise a long cellaring potential. Opens slowly to reveal wild berries, boysenberries and blackcurrants, along with notes of anise and cinnamon.
Destined to be simultaneously muscular and elegant. Drink from release (about 2012) -2019. Score 93. (Tasted 15 May 2011)

Bodegas y Viñedos Montecastro, Montecastro, Ribera del Duero, 2007 (Advance Tasting): Super-dark garnet with a youthful robe of royal purple. Medium- to full-bodied, leaning to the full, with tannins and spicy oak now integrating nicely. On first attack currants, boysenberries and a wood note that calls to mind mahagony, those followed by light and tantalizing notes of smoke. On the long finish a hints of blackberries and toasted sourdough bread. Lush, long and supple, filling the mouth nicely. Drink from release-2015, perhaps longer. Score 91. (Tasted 15 May 2011)

Bodegas y Viñedos Montecastro, Montecastro, Ribera del Duero, 2006: Dark, almost impenetrable garnet, full-bodied, with chewy tannins and reflecting its 18 months in oak with smoky oak, those in fine balance with acidity and fruits. A big, muscular wine, on the nose generous black fruits and then opening in the glass at first to reveal blackcurrant and black cherry fruits, those followed by notes of roasted herbs, earthy minerals and, on the long finish, the tannins and fruits rising, to reveal a note of citrus peel. A blend of 96% Tinto Fino, 3% Merlot and 1%. Delicious and lingering but muscular enough that it needs large roasted cuts of beef, mutton or lamb. Drink now-2016, perhaps longer. NIS 160. Score 92. (Tasted 15 May 2011)

Bodegas y Viñedos Montecastro, Montecastro, Ribera del Duero, 2005: Made entirely from Tinto Fino (Tempranillo) grapes this year, reflecting its 17 months in French, American and Eastern European oak with generous but soft tannins and roasted herbs. Medium- to full-bodied, leaning to the full, with fine balancing acidity to keep the wine lively, opens with cassis, red fruits and figs on a background that hints of toasty oak, stony minerals and loam. Turns muscular on the finish but retains a sense of elegance. Drink now-2016. NIS 150. Score 92. (Tasted 15 May 2011)

Bodegas y Viñedos Montecastro, Montecastro, Ribera del Duero, 2004: Almost impenetrably dark garnet, showing a nose of plums and crushed berries. A dense wine, the elements well integrated and expressive with blackberry, black cherry, licorice, earthy minerals and toasty oak. On the long finish hints of blueberries and espresso coffee. Drink now-2014. Score 91. (Tasted 15 May 2011)

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