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2008 Juan Gil Monastrell – Jumilla, Spain

A knockout of a red wine from the somewhat obscure Jumilla region of Spain. Made from Monastrell, known in France as Mourvèdre, it is high in alcohol (15%) and presents a heady mix of lush and brawny characteristics. Lovely nose of crushed blackberries with tones of vanilla and Indian spice, primarily turmeric. It situates well on the palate with a solid tannic structure to hold it up. Finishes a bit hard, but that will likely soften with time. I really like this wine, and the price is right. Try it with classic Spanish tapas, like a nutty manchego with Serrano ham.
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Gary Thomas

Gary Thomas is a 35-year veteran of journalism, spending much of his time having served as a foreign correspondent in places like Islamabad, Kabul, Phnom Penh, and Bangkok. He recently retired from his position...
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A Tail of Swine and Wine

The organizers call it “Cochon 555”—a lovely name, to be sure. But the event could have far more evocative labels, like “Porkstock” or “Pigapalooza” or “Swine Lake.” Okay, that last one I stole from a hilariously famous episode of “The Muppet Show” with ballet star Rudolf Nureyev and a chorus line of dancing…well, you know.