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Bodegas Castaño (Spain) Hécula 2001
This much-talked about wine comes from Yecla, in Southeast Spain, and has created a lot of fuss in some circles when Robert Parker annointed it with 91 points out of 100; some going for an inexpensive table wine from a little-known region. At 14% alcohol, there is plenty of stuffing here, in a wine that is 100% Monastrell (the grape known as Mourvèdre in France). The colour is quite dark and vibrant, and the nose deep and brambly, with dried currant notes, a cedary, leathery component and a fair lick of background spicy oak. On the palate it is rich and robust - it is not a smooth, sweet style, but has a rough-edged, earthy character and rustic force about it, though a firm, ripe tannic structure and quite keen acidity enliven the finish, and leave this long and savoury. I'm not sure it is in the 91 point league to be honest, but it is a wine packed full of character for a modest price. £8.49 Wineandco.com, or 81.48 by the case. Also in Fine & Rare Wines for 74 per case.