Winery/Vineyard: Raúl Ramirez Bodegas y Viñedos
Product/Varietal: 100% Monastrell
AVA on Bottle: Temecula Valley
How They Describe It
Temecula Valley. 100% Monastrell. 13,7 % by volume. 750 ml.
Dark cherries and coffee create a nice balance of fruit and earth, with a touch of cedar box to finish this rich, complex wine. 100% French oak.
Good to pair with red meats and old cheeses (Manchego).
Service temperature (60-70 F)
How I Describe It
The Raúl Ramirez 2016 Estate Monastrell Reserva appears medium crimson-ruby in the glass. The color thins noticeably along the rim, similar to some Sangioveses and Cabernet Sauvignons.
Fruit leads the way in the Raúl Ramirez 2016 Estate Monastrell Reserva, with black Luxardo cherry, raspberry, and bramble. Unsweetened mocha makes an appearance, and a deep breath unveils a touch of cigar box.
Layers of the Raúl Ramirez 2016 Estate Monastrell Reserva are exposed more clearly on the palate. Like the nose, Luxardo cherries are prominent, though cranberry and blackberry join in quite prominently. Next, black pepper, charcoal and smoke combine with tomato leaf and a touch of spearmint. Last, hints of bacon, leather, and truffle show on the finish.
This is a dry wine with medium alcohol (13.7% ABV). High acid meets high tannins, though the latter has clearly transcended the height of its astringency, manifesting as a more mature, carefully crafted, velvety mouthfeel. Body is medium-plus, as is flavor intensity. Finish is long.
Why is This Wine Special?
Wine drinkers familiar with the Temecula Valley AVA know of the wineries along Rancho California and De Portola wine trails, and the roads which connect them. However, speckled throughout the area are gems which are very worth exploring.
Raúl Ramirez Bodegas y Viñedos is one of those.
Until recently, I believed Chapin Family Vineyards was the last winery on the Rancho California wine trail. Technically, it still is. But if you keep driving an additional four miles, you’ll see a white Spanish-style villa off in the distance. Vineyards surround the house, lined by palm trees. There is no sign; nothing which announces Raúl Ramirez to passersby.
In fact, Raúl Ramirez Winery’s talent doesn’t end with its winemaker. It’s director of sales & marketing, Joaco Sanz, began his wine career in northern Spain, working with wineries in Rioja and at the base of the Pyrenees. His Spain roots are a valuable addition, since Raúl Ramirez Winery produces only Spanish wines.
This brings us to the 2016 Estate Monastrell Reserva, itself. What makes this particular wine so special? Firstly, it’s estate-grown. Secondly, Raúl Ramirez Winery follows Spanish aging criteria. For the uninitiated, Spanish law dictates wines with the word Reserva on the label must age at least 12 months in oak barrels and in total at least 36 total months before being released. The 2016 Estate Monastrell Reserva follows these requirements.
Last, let’s talk about the Monastrell varietal. You might be more familiar with its French name, Mourvèdre. Or, because it is often overshadowed by so many other varietals you might not know much about this wine at all. But if you enjoy robust, tannic, black-fruit based wines like Cabernet, Syrah, Tempranillo or even Nebbiolo, you owe it to yourself to give Monastrell a try. And, fortunately, Raúl Ramirez Winery makes a killer bottle.
When & How I Would Drink It
Break out this bottle with spiced and grilled meats. Whether you’re enjoying American cuisine and grilling up some rib eye, or if you’re going exotic with lamb shawarma, beef gyros or carne asada fajitas, the Raúl Ramirez 2016 Estate Monastrell Reserva would pair beautifully. That is to say, it has just the right amount of smokiness and savoriness to complement the protein or vegetables, and the berry flavors are rich enough to add a pleasing component to your meal.
Moreover, at 13.7% ABV, the viscosity of this wine is more in line with what we’re used to from mass-market wines. It’s a beautiful addition to meals, and a terrific way to impress friends.
How to Get It
Bottle Price: $35.00
Cases Produced: 124 cases
Have you tried the Raúl Ramirez 2016 Estate Monastrell Reserva? How did the tasting notes compare with your experience? Leave a comment below.