Yecla is the smallest and northernmost wine zone in Murcia, far southeastern Spain. Named after the town of Yecla at its center, the zone was delimited and granted official DO status in 1975. It is surrounded on all sides by other DO: Jumilla to the west, Alicante to the east and Almasa in the north. The classic Yecla wine is a rich, dark, fruit-driven red made from Monastrell grapes.
Bodegas Castaño, Solanera Viñas Viejas 2015
The 2015 Solanera used to wear the ultimate Spanglish label, which said "Viñas Viejas of Monastrell" even if it was always a blend (in this vintage, the blend includes 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Garnacha Tintorera). The revamped 2015 has a completely different label that only keeps the "viñas viejas" moniker. In this wine, from the joint venture with U.S. importer Eric Solomon that started in 1999, they used part of full clusters and sourced the grapes from Casa Marta, a nine-hectare, head-pruned, dry-farmed plot on very stony soils in the north of Yecla at the foot of the Mount Arabí. It fermented in concrete vats and open-top barrels and matured in barrique, each variety separately, for some ten months, after which it was blended and bottled. This is the vintage of the big change in this wine, where, as with the majority of its siblings, there is better balance and more integrated oak, more freshness and better balance. The nose is quite captivating, especially after some time in the glass, when it starts developing some floral aromas, perfect ripeness, no warmth or alcohol and a powerful, yet terribly balanced palate with concentration and elegance, fine-grained tannins and clean, focused flavors. This is my favorite Solanera to date.
92 pts. Robert Parker
It is a wine of good intensity, structure and elegance. The nose is full of ripe red fruits on a spiced blackground with hints of plum, blackberry and appealing bakery aromas. On the palate, the juicy ripe the red fruit and spice of the Monastrell is beautifully framed by notes of the Garrucha Tintorera, giving shape and structure to the wine. The syrah provides the silky dynamic mid layer, giving its long full finish and ample tannins.
91 pts. Jeb Dunnuck