Bodegas Casa Castillo is an unexpected discovery and a wonderful one. It is located on the plateau of the under-rated wine region, Jumilla, with a 174-hectare vineyard which enjoys a high altitude and the cooling influence of the Mediterranean. Any lovers of Châteauneuf-du-Pape should take note of Casa Castillo; the grape varieties they use are led by Monastrell (Mourvèdre) and also include Syrah, Garnacha and Cabernet Sauvignon. The young, juicy Vendimia version is half Monastrell and half Tempranillo, for early drinking. A modern approach to winemaking is taken, with cold macerations to retain freshness and new French oak for high quality tannins and structure. The wines are generally bottled unfiltered to allow them to be as expressive as possible. The Monastrell itself (actually containing a touch of syrah as well) gets a few months in French and American oak. Then come the two special cuvées, in very short supply. Las Gravas is a blend of old vine Monastrell with Cabernet and Syrah aged for 12 months in new French oak.
Pie Franco is 100% monastrell from ungrafted vines planted in 1941 which spends 14 months in a mix of new French and American barrels. These are hugely impressive, concentrated wines which will give a great deal of pleasure.