The Wine List: grape #27 Monastrell

THE Wine List project to sample wine made from each of the main grape varieties listed in Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine Book goes back to Spain.

DSC00298The wine: Infierno 2014 (Laithwaites). This wine was made by Mariano Lopez at Bodegas y Vinedos del Mediterraneo, in Yecla, Spain.

HJ says: “A star of southern France, Australia and Spain. Excellent dark, aromatic, tannic grape.”

The label says: “Infierno is a deep, full bodied red, made from Monastrell grown on unirrigated vineyards, in Campo Arriba, in the highlands of Yecla. Infierno is richly concentrated, yet perfectly balanced with a silky texture and intense plum and blackberry character.”

Food combination: Nothing suggested on the bottle. I drank it with something called Empire Pie, which consisted of lightly curried lamb, sweetened with mango chutney, topped with onion seed, fresh coriander and crushed potato. Very impressive if it was something I’d just rustled up in the kitchen, but in truth it was from Marks & Spencer’s Gastropub range of ready meals, and my contribution was to remove packing and film, and slam in the oven as per directions. The next night, I finished the bottle with a meal of wood fired thin Prosciutto Crudo and Fig pizza, served with quinoa and turmeric potato wedges. Yes, I got that out of a packet too. And both ready meals were delicious.

Did we like it? Not so much of the ‘we’. The wine was rich, warming, powerful, a real tannic mouthful of flavours. Everything that I think a good Spanish red should be. Which is also everything The Current Mrs Feeney dislikes in a glass. So it was just as well that she was staying in her sister’s on both nights, and I was dining (and drinking) alone.

One for the wine rack? Yes, especially for winter drinking.

It’s not about the wine: Yecla, with neighbouring Jumilia, is one of the primary regions for development of the Murciana and Grenadina breeds of dairy goats.

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