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Wine Advocate Score: 95 Open Wine Advocate Score: rating modal
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The family-owned Casa Castillo estate lies in the sun-drenched southeastern Spanish region of Jumilla; it's as Mediterranean as Mediterranean gets. In conditions like these, it's easier to farm organically, and that they do! The Las Gravas bottling is sourced from a vineyard with deep gravel soils, planted with Jumilla's star variety, Monastrell (aka Mourvedre), and Garnacha (aka Grenache), both natives of Spain. The winemaking is very hands-on and traditional: hand-harvesting followed by native yeast fermentation in large stone vats buried in the ground to keep things from overheating, and the skins are manually punched down into the juice. Such care makes a difference in the quality of the wine in the glass!

The aromas display an immediately clear blue-fruited character backed up by dark cherry, all with a cordial-like ripeness, mingling with a subtle floral quality. The classic herbal, Mediterranean scrubland aromas accent the edges of the fruit, and you can even swear you smell some of the pine that grows here. There is an elegance in the perfume that already tell you about the quality here. In the mouth, the entry is soft, with the warming of alcohol and clear fruit flavors expanding before being focused into the finish, where a warm stony quality restrains the fruit's ebullience. Lithe and caressing in the palate, with only a subtle grip of powdery tannin, this is a great example of balance in a hot-climate wine; there is little getting in the way of enjoying sip after sip! The finish is pleasantly long, with a touch of sun-kissed, woodsy herbal-tinged fruit skins providing the final word.

Get this to cellar temperature and get your grill fired up!

WINE ADVOCATE 95 POINTS - "The 2019 Las Gravas is a blend of 88% Monastrell from limestone gravel soils and 12% Garnacha also planted in the same gravel soils, but it's obviously much younger than the Monastrell and there's more Garnacha in this vintage marked by rains during the harvest. It fermented in underground pools fully destemmed with indigenous yeasts and matured in 5,000-liter oak foudres and 500-liter oak barrels for 14 months. This is expressive but subtle, faintly balsamic, with good ripeness (14.5%) alcohol, fully developed flavors and hints of Mediterranean herbs, with more pine needles in this north-facing exposition and grainy tannins. In 2019 they played up more of the varietal profile, and it shows in the wine. It has fine-grained, chalky tannins and a long, dry finish. It should improve in bottle."
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