Bodegas Castaño Solanera, Yecla, Levante, Spain, 2015
Overview of the Wine
he Castaño family are the original pioneers of the DO Yecla, beginning with Ramon Castaño. His conviction, perseverance and determination have all been necessary in achieving the highest quality wine with the most planted grape variety in the area: the Monastrell. Ramon's relationship with the world of wines dates back several generations with a family history of vine cultivation and winemakers. He built the new winery in 1950, modernizing and upgrading the technical methods by which the family vines were worked, and bottled the first wines in 1980. The gradual incorporation of his three sons into the family winery throughout the period of the 80s brought with it a new focus: to reinforce their presence in the national market and begin a new stage of expansion at the international level. With this, the Castaños continued to innovate and improve the reputation of Monastrell from Yecla in domestic and export markets.
The 500+ hectares of vineyards are grouped into four estates – Las Gruesas, El Espinal, Pozuelo and Arabí – with soils ranging from rocky limestone to clay. The primary grape is Monastrell followed in importance by Garnacha Tintorera and Cabernet Sauvignon, but there are also smaller plantings of Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Garnacha, Macabeo, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. The impressive size of Bodegas Castaño allows for individualized and specialized fermentation, which in turn facilitates a more dynamic winemaking approach.
Bodegas Castaño is now recognized as one of the most respected wine producers in Southeastern Spain in recognition for their tradition and achievements in the use of the indigenous grape varieties. With a clear innovative spirit, the Castaño family has incorporated avant-garde technologies and the latest vinification systems to keep alive the legacy of their ancestors, an inherited passion for the deeply rooted Monastrell, the king variety in Yecla.
Grape / Blend
Red blend: Monastrel, Cabernet Sauvignon,Garnacha
Winemaker's Tasting Notes
At the foot of Monte Arabi, the Castaño family tends some of the oldestvines planted in the sun drenched DO of Yecla. Under the supervisionof Eric Solomon and Jean-Marc Lafage, Solanera is a blend of Monastrell, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Tintorera which is aged inoak for 10 months. Richly flavored with dark fruit and spices, Solaneracaptures the warmth and generosity of this rural part of Spain.
92 - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2015 Solanera used to wear the ultimate Spanglish label, which said "Viñas Viejas of Monastrell" even if it was always a blend (in this vintage, the blend includes 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Garnacha Tintorera). The revamped 2015 has a completely different label that only keeps the "viñas viejas" moniker. In this wine, from the joint venture with U.S. importer Eric Solomon that started in 1999, they used part of full clusters and sourced the grapes from Casa Marta, a nine-hectare, head-pruned, dry-farmed plot on very stony soils in the north of Yecla at the foot of the Mount Arabí. It fermented in concrete vats and open-top barrels and matured in barrique, each variety separately, for some ten months, after which it was blended and bottled. This is the vintage of the big change in this wine, where, as with the majority of its siblings, there is better balance and more integrated oak, more freshness and better balance. The nose is quite captivating, especially after some time in the glass, when it starts developing some floral aromas, perfect ripeness, no warmth or alcohol and a powerful, yet terribly balanced palate with concentration and elegance, fine-grained tannins and clean, focused flavors. This is my favorite Solanera to date.
92- Jeb Dunnuck
Another project between Eric Solomon and Jean-Marc Lafage, the 2015 Solanera Vinas Viejas is fresh and lively, with ripe, sexy notes of blueberry and blackberry fruits intermixed with more subtle notes of violets, graphite and white pepper. Possessing full-bodied richness, a seamless texture, and gorgeous purity of fruit, it’s another terrific vintage for this cuvée that’s ideal for drinking over the coming 2-4 years. The blend is 2014 is 65% Monastrell, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 15% Garnacha, all aged 10 months in 80% French and 20% American oak.