Casa Castillo Pie Franco 2010 – 95 Pts
So often when we talk about Spanish wine, we mean northern Spain. This is simply because up until the late twentieth century the south was just too hot to make anything that was considered worthwhile, so the wines which earned a global reputation came from the cooler zones with Atlantic influence; chief amongst those, of course, was Rioja. Most of Spain’s other wines were relegated to making local wines for local people...
Well much has changed in Spain over the last 30 years or so and modern wine making technology is now reaching into every corner of this exciting wine producing country. As a result excellent wines are now being made in regions that were once regarded as bywords for wine best described as ‘rustic’. Jumilla is probably the most important of these and a real indicator of what Spain can do in the most unlikely places – when a little thought is applied.
Jumilla is a little inland from Alicante and can be searingly hot in the summer; however, cool nights and altitudes up to 900 metres above sea level give significant relief and the cool nights allow the grapes to develop beautifully soft tannins whilst retaining acidity. While most producers have a range of grape varieties planted, the region’s principal grape is Monastrell (known in France as Mourvedre).
Pie Franco from Casa Castillo is considered by many in the know to be the benchmark wine from Jumilla, possibly the best example of Monastrell in Spain. It is arguably one of Spain’s greatest wines. As The Wine Advocate’s Spain guru Luis Gutierrez says, it is “one of the most affordable world-class wines from Spain”.
Pie Franco comes from the oldest vineyard on the La Solana estate, planted way back in 1941. Yields are spectacularly low, meaning there is very little to go around... We think lovers of Châteauneuf-du-Pape should take real note of Casa Castillo; with 95 points from Luis Gutierrez in The Wine Advocate, it would be a real shame to miss out!