Spanish red wines for a barbecue

Bodegas Castaño 2012 Hécula Monastrell (left) and Bodegas Castaño 2013 Castaño La Casona...

Bodegas Castaño 2012 Hécula Monastrell (left) and Bodegas Castaño 2013 Castaño La Casona Monastrell. (Handout)

Christopher Waters, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:41 PM ET

As a member of the fourth generation of his family to make wine in Spain, Daniel Castaño has watched his region grow from being a supplier of bulk wines to the producer of some of his country’s most exciting reds.

Before the 1980s, the red wines produced in his hometown in southeastern Spain didn’t rate against Rioja or Ribera del Duero. But his family started to select the best parcels of land, seek out established vineyards with older vines and worked to elevate the local grape variety, Monastrell, from workhorse to show pony.

To make its name and reputation, the family started exporting varietal wines made from Monastrell. Its flagship wines are Hécula and La Casona, two bargain priced options that helped create a category for the far southeastern regions of Spain in North America and around the world.

Today, Bodegas Castaño sells wines in 94 countries.

Castaño’s recent trip to Ontario served to pave the way for a new offering, the 2012 Solanera, which will be featured as a special selection at the LCBO in August. The new wine, which blends Monastrell with 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Grenache, will sell for $15.95 at Vintages outlets across the province.

“The message continues to be value for money in a very consistent way,” says Castaño, commercial director for the family winery. The Hécula and La Casona labels represent nearly 80% of the total production. The rest of the portfolio features more premium selections.

The soon-to-be released Solanera is an innovative wine that shows how well the robust and juicy character of the Monastrell grape works in a blend.

“The way we see it,” Castaño explains, “the variety has a great potential to show its character and finesse on its own. But at the same time, it’s an amazing grape that can play so well with other varieties. The complexity you get out of it is beautiful.”

Wines of the Week:

**** Bodegas Castaño 2012 Hécula Monastrell

Yecla, Spain

$15.99 (583690) | AB $16 | ON $11.70 (300673)

Hécula offers an intense fruity character that give it mass appeal without the candied or confected notes that make many similarly priced red wines too sweet to consider a second glass. The plummy personality and lingering finish make this a terrific bargain bottle for summer barbecues or year-round entertaining.

*** Bodegas Castaño 2013 Castaño La Casona Monastrell

Yecla, Spain

BC $9.99 (400002) | ON $9.80 (143743)

The new release of La Casona showcases the supple texture and ripe, fruity personality that make it one of the best value wines available to Canadians. The flavours are rich and jammy without losing freshness or focus.

 


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