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When looking for a red wine that will thrive in the heat and pair well with warm-weather comestibles, Spain is a great country to focus on. The quality of Spanish wines in general, over the past decade or two, has continually been on the rise (we have been proponents for these wines all along the way!). This Montecastrillo is a great example of that; it’s a wine we have enjoyed for many years because it is so good but also because it figures clearly as an example for my next point. Spanish wines offer more bang-for-the-buck (again, generally) than many if not most other large wine-producing countries. If we tried this wine and someone told us it fell in the $20-30 range, we would be more than content-- it is from the Ribera Del Duero, after all, a region known for top quality Spanish wines. That it’s under $10 is almost ludicrous especially when you consider that this is also a Demeter-certified biodynamic wine-- and what does that mean? Demeter Biodynamic Certification is used in over 50 countries to verify that biodynamic products meet international standards in organic production and processing. The Demeter certification program was established in 1928, and as such was the first ecological label for organically produced foods. This is seriously delicious wine for a song!

Made from 90% Tempranillo and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, the nose starts with ripe red berries tempered with notes of tilled soil and a melange of forest floor scents-- very sexy nose! The red fruits continue upon tasting but are matched by smooth tannins and upfront acidity making for a balanced, structured wine filled with reiterations of cherries, cranberry and a touch of herbal with cola nut. The finish adds a trail of wildflowers to the fruits and forest floor foundation making for a beautiful, bountiful wine. And all this for how much?!? As my seventh grade Spanish teacher would say: "Bastante bien!"

Founded in 1903, the 200-hectare Finca Torremilanos in Aranda de Duero is the second-oldest wine-producing estate in what is now Ribera del Duero DO (after Vega Sicilia). The current regime dates to the late 1970s and was instrumental in the establishment of the DO in 1982. Pilar Pérez Albéniz, one of the most respected women in the region and winner of the inaugural ‘Ribera Heritage’ Award in 2019, is still at the helm, with two of her sons, Ricardo and Vicente, handling winemaking and sales respectively. The first-ever Demeter-certified biodynamic winery in the appellation, as of 2015. A family-run gem that marches to the beat of its own drummer in producing both traditionally-styled and experimental wines.
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