Monastrell Madness!!!

2003 Primitivo Quiles Raspay Reserva 

Many customers have spent a considerable amount of time staring at this bottle of wine at the store.  It has probably one of the most confusing labels in the history of wine labels, so I’m here today to de-mystify it and write about it. 

The name of the producer is Primitivo Quiles and the proprietary name of the wine is “Raspay Reserva”.  Don Primitivo Quiles started his bodega in Monovar (Alicante) in 1940, and today it is the oldest bodega in the region.  The family specialty is old vine Monastrell (aka Mourvedre), with many of their vines dating back to the mid 1800’s.  The hot, dry days along Spain’s eastern coast provide for fully ripe grapes, and the Quiles family actually let their grapes “hang out” a bit longer than most to concentrate the sugars and in certain years, the grapes actually become slightly raisinated on the vine.  After harvest, the wine is fermented with indigenous yeasts in large oak barrels and then left to age for extended periods in 6-10 year old American oak.

If you’re not interested yet, then stop reading right away.  This is one unique wine that opens up with aromas of earth, raisins, prunes, saddle leather and exotic spices.  With a little air, the wine begins to open up to reveal a soft and relatively round and mature wine with notes of savory berry, earth, and Indian spices.  It is a really unique wine from importer Jose Pastor, who some have proclaimed as the Joe Dressner of Spain.  At $24.99/bottle, it’s not an everyday wine, but for the adventurous wine drinker, it’s a must try!

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