When you taste Juan Gil Monastrell your first thought may well be; what a unique flavor! You may also think; this is PECULIAR. Monastrell is mourvedre, a grape mostly used in blends, notably in GSM (grenache, syrah, mourvedre) that originate in the southern Rhone Valley in France.
This is a wine that is all over the place taste wise and this isn’t a bad thing…it is big and complex and you will notice the sweetness first then the tannins will take over. The finish has something musty maybe even gamey to go along with the oakiness (the wine was , according to their website, fermented in steel then transferred to French oak barrels for a further 12 months).
Speaking of tannins, there are lots of them in this particular wine and also dash of sweetness. This is a big wine with a ton going on—big alcohol lots of black fruits flavors in an almost innumerable mix of other flavors; Red fruit flavors are apparent too. It is also spicy and a little smoky. Often, when discussing wines with lots of flavors you refer to the wine as subtle; that isn’t the case here. The mélange of flavor and tannins and alcohol is all sort of right in your face here. A sniff of the wine will make pretty much everyone think “jam”.
This is big and complex wine. The finish has something musty maybe even gamey to go along with the oakiness (the wine was , according to their website, fermented in steel then transferred to French oak barrels for a further 12 months). I wish there was a better term to use than gamey, which conjures up roasted possum or road kill for some people. It isn’t that but it is something some people will love and others will not. It is also a wine that you could probably hang onto for a few years to its benefit.
And that is the important thing—are YOU going to like this wine? Maybe….or maybe not. Yes, I know that really clears things up. It is a peculiar taste combination and it is not really like other varietals. It is a wine that a) might take some getting useful b) might be best with food c) shows why Mourvedre/Monastrell is often used in blends. This would add much to a blend which would also ameliorate some of the weirdness.
As I’ve noted this wine would be good with food. I was thinking something smoky—maybe barbecue. I don’t eat meat myself so I am just talking about the sauce! Some sorts of stew—red sauce based—would work well with this. Perhaps even Indian food would be complemented by it as well.
Even though we know this grape mostly from GSMs, which are produced in many locations these days, it does stand alone as a varietal which is not always the case with blending grapes. Mouvedre as a varietal is produced in the USA in Washington and California (as well as some other states with less of a reputation for wine). Keep an eye open for pieces on some of those.