Friday, October 8, 2010

Bodegas Castano "Solanera Vinas Viejas" Yecla 2005

Picked this wine up for 7$ at LA Wine Company. It's 8$ at K&L, and an unconscionable 17.29$ on Don't pay 17.29$ for this wine. Definitely not worth it. However, at 7$, I figured that this was at least good, since it's an Eric Solomon thing. It's the same winery as the "Hecula" that I had several bottles of a while back. This wine is a blend of 65% Monastrell (Mouvedre), 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 15% Tintorera Garnacha (a blending grape, otherwise known as Alicante Bouschet). Initially on the nose, this smells spicy, just like a Mouvedre should. Sarah says cinnamon. There's an array of smoky fruit ranging from cherry to raspberry, and I think a bit of blackberry character as well.  Low-medium acidity, but doesn't feel out of balance or flabby. This wine didn't hit me between the eyes; it seemed a bit muddled and closed. However, this is far more interesting than your typical fruit bomb, and at the right price. If you can find this for 7$ or around there, it's definitely worth a look. 17.29$ is completely outrageous. Does anyone buy wine from They always seem to be really expensive, plus you have to mess around with shipping. Maybe it's just me, but I prefer going to the wine shop, even if they're trying to hawk "Parker 90 pointers" at me like they're going out of style. Just for what it's worth, this got 91 points from Parker...but the key here is that the wine "only" got 91 points. Which means that it didn't have enough "gobs of concentrated fruit" to garner a 92, 93, or higher, and furthermore, instead of the typical 20$+ (shit, probably upwards of 40$ if it got more than a 93...those couple extra points sure are worth it for the consumer, right?) just for the privilege of drinking something anointed by the master himself, it's only 7$. Fruit bombs and Parker et al can be good and satisfying...if they're cheap. Anything more than 10$ for this wine is an obnoxious affront to fans of moderation and balance everywhere. B/B+ 


Cabfrancophile said...

Interesting that the retailer attributes the score to Parker. It's published in his Wine Advocate, but Jay Miller is the critic who covers Spain for him. Kind of scandalous that retailers attribute everything to Parker if you ask me.

Miller is an old law school friend of Parker's. As you might expect from cronyism, Miller is an utter joke as a critic. And his ratings are a sort of caricature of Parkers, skewed to higher numbers and more bombastic, spoofy wines. I like to call modernm Spanish wines Millerized since they are made to appeal to his palate it seems.

I like to use my patented Jay Miller scale to interpret his scores: 88=DNPIM, 89=bad, 90=average, 91-93=pretty good, 94-96=good, 97-98=very good, 99=excellent, 100=best.

Cabfrancophile said...

DNPIM is do not put in mouth, by the way.

Also, if you google around, Miller was implicated in a scandal a year or so ago for tasting wines at dinners with importers and even on all expenses paid trips with producers. Actually, I think there's something on my blog about it, IIRC. It's no surprise Miller is so generous with his scores if you ask me. You scratch his back, he scratches yours.

Jeff said...

Haha, no it says Robert Parker's Wine Advocate everywhere, although to be fair, I asked if they had any Mouvedre. Although they have lots of cool stuff, and great prices at the LA Wine Company, I feel as if they are pandering to the "Hollywood" set. I suppose that's typical LA, in a sense. Really, people are too shallow here, and will buy anything, at any cost, if it's exclusive enough. Please, please let me past the velvet rope! I want to be one of the pretty people!!!

I also got a 2005 Bordeaux they recommended. It will be really interesting to try, because Parker gave it a 90, but the Wine Spectator gave it an 85. In retrospect, I probably shouldn't have sprung for it. But who knows? Maybe it will be good.

I like your Jay Miller scale. Pretty funny...This wine wasn't all that spoofy though. Pretty decent for 7$.

Jeff said...

I'll have to start using that instead of F on here.

Cabfrancophile said...

Yeah, a 91 from Miller is on the low end of his scale. That means either it isn't overly spoofy, or it's a spoof bomb that turned out badly. Good thing you got the former!

Once you get into the 93+ range with "Dr Big J" as he calls himself, then you are guaranteed some spoofy vanilla berry compote milkshake wine. The ones he rates lower have a decent chance of being good. I know a lot of Bierzo and Ribiera Sacra wines he rates around 90, and they aren't bombers given the cool climate, but his notes on these are hard to make sense of. Josh Raynolds of IWC is way more accurate, even if he is nearly as tolerant of ultra-ripe fruit as Miller.