The best thing about this wine is the colour. It’s delightful being poured: a dark cherry red, bright and clear. Wine drinkers, though, tend not to like living on looks alone. Put your nose to it and there is not a great deal going on. It smells a little green, a little sour, almost sharp in your nostrils, though there is a hint of herbaceousness that suggests if you keep it open for an hour or so it might improve.
I should say that this is a perfectly drinkable and indeed, I drank it, but it’s not right for those who appreciate fruit. Personally I wouldn’t go back for more, but the fact it falls into the category of a more vegetal wine is a big tick for some and can be a real asset for stodgy winter food.
I’m also not mad about Monastrell—a grape that I associate with Valencia and Murcia—neither of which so far have done much to impress my radar. They also seem to be putting the wine out too young. Monastrell is a grape that softens as it ages and tends to be quite tannic, which makes it more of a challenge in a single variety wine, hence it's more usual to see it in blends.
This one from Castaño is all autumnal leaves with a splash of eucalyptus, and it's dry as a bone on the first tasting, leaving my mouth zapped of moisture. That sorts itself out a bit if you leave it to open up for a while, but it’s the minute you put food on the table that it starts to show its real strength.
I happened to be eating pork sausages with apple and potato mash the night I cracked this open, which wasn’t the ideal dish for the wine, but it did improve it somewhat. I would try it with a really rich beef stew, something with lots of gravy, or any meat dish that’s quite fatty where the vegetal dryness gets a chance to do its job and balance the food.