Country: SPAIN
Region: ARAGON
Sub-Region: CARINENA
Grape Varietal: GARNACHA
Type: Still wine
Price: $8.99

Our fourth wine in the $100 Wine Challenge

Cynthia’s Review

I must admit that I do like a good Grenache- so possibly I was not the most objective with the Castillo De Monséran Garnacha. (I am also predisposed to like wines from Spain, to be completely honest !) We served this wine with a very casual dinner of turkey sausages topped with sautéed tomato, red pepper and onions, along with honey mustard, and accompanied by delicious sweet potato French fries. I really enjoyed this wine but I have to admit that I thought it had a peculiar odor. The flavor of the wine was just fine, as long as I didn’t get a nose full of the aroma, which was decidedly antiseptic. I wondered if the alcohol content was really high on this wine, which would account for the antiseptic smell, but the label on the bottle indicates an alcohol content of 12.5% by volume, which doesn’t seem really out of line with the other wines in our ”wine challenge”. The wine stood up well, both on its own, with an appetizer of cheese and crackers, and with the main meal. I think you could pair this wine with a huge variety of different cuisines and still have a wonderful experience. As I continue to learn about wines, this was another instance in which I could taste the fruit without confusing it with sweetness. (Still a hard lesson for me to grasp!) When drinking a wine on a “school night” I typically like to leave half a glass of wine to enjoy during my evening bubble bath, but this one was so delicious that I didn’t have the willpower to leave the requisite half glass- just drank it all. This wine receives a “yay” from me. Thanks Gerald !

Jay’s Review

I too must confess a weakness for the Spanish wines. This is probably because it is a reminder of our recent trips to visit. Although we didn’t consume as much wine on our first trip as we did on our second.

After uncorking the bottle I poured two full glasses and we each had a sip. I commented that it tasted pretty good and Cynthia said she liked the taste but didn’t care for the smell. I guess I wasn’t being a proper wine taster because I failed to have the customary swirl and sniff prior to taking the first taste. I brought the glass back to my nose and took a snort. Immediately I was stuck by how much the smell reminded me of being at the doctor. You know when they wipe you down with the alcohol swab before plunging the needle into your arm? It was that smell. Not overwhelming and not all together unpleasant, but it was a bit hard to shake once you noticed it.

The wine was quite delicious. I found it fruity and just the slightest bit of a sweet taste on the finish. And smooooooth! This wine paired extremely well with the sausage dish Cynthia had prepared and was equally pleasant with some after dinner crackers and cheese.

I give Gerald (our wine Sherpa) an enthusiastic “yay” on this one, even WITH the antiseptic smell.

#4 – Castillo De Monséran Garnacha

2 thoughts on “#4 – Castillo De Monséran Garnacha

  • October 17, 2009 at 6:05 pm

    I always like a good garnacha, typically a nice supple wine with ample but not overwhelming spice and enough fruit to stay pleasant along the way. (I will admit though that I’ve had recently some very big grenache heavy wines). The flavor profile is like sangria without the sweetness that will make it hard not to finish the bottle in a sitting. Now on to the technical…the “antiseptic” nose on the wine is caused by a HARMLESS fungus called Brettanomyces. “Brett” is what lends an antiseptic or barnyard edge to the aroma of the wine and is found in many rustic old world wines. A bit of this funny aroma is a good thing as it can make a wine’s aroma more complex and yield a “fuller” taste, however in extremes it can be unbearable.

  • October 26, 2009 at 11:24 am

    I haven’t posted on your ongoing wine thing yet but I felt I had to say something. Thanks.
    This is the sort of thing I wished more people would do. Wines within a reasonable price range and an open mind about them. No “it’s expensive so it must be good” mentality, which is a breath of fresh air. I’ve found your reviews a good read and of practical use. A couple of your selections I will be trying myself when I can drink again (antibiotics suck the fun out of life sometimes).

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