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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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2003 Fra Guerau – Montsant, Spain

Clear, medium garnet color with fading rim. Aromas of black cherry, strawberry, raspberry, smoke, spice, and soft vegetal. Full body, dry, medium acid, medium-high tannin, black cherry, raspberry, fleshy black fruit, with a long, soft finish.
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2003 Bodegas El Nido Clio – Jumilla, Spain

Deep garnet red to a faded mahogany rim. Clean, full aromas of dried fruit, jams, licorice, blackberry, spice, oak, caramel, Port, cinnamon, cherry, and raspberry. Dry, medium-full body, medium acidity, medium-high tannin, flavors of coffee, cherry, spice, oak, raspberry, plum; a long smooth finish. The flavors are definitely at a peak, and I recommend finding a more recent vintage to really appreciate this wine at its best. For more wine notes and writing, visit Ryan’s blog oe•no•phile.