Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Altos de la Hoya

Well, it turns out you can't go wrongo with the Monastrell in general.

I first tasted this grape years ago, after I read a description that compared it to chocolate milk. (At the time I was in a low carb phase. I hadn't had chocolate or milk for quite some time. Hence why I tried the wine.) I was so impressed by the subtleties that I bought a case and gave many bottles out to friends for the holidays. And at usually under $10 retail, you really can't beat that.

The grape itself originates in the Rhone Valley of France where it is called the Mouvedre. Like I tell my students all the time: Same grape, different country, different name. You might have already tried it and not realized it as the Mouvedre is one of the 13 varietals that are permitted in Chateauneuf du Pape.

We ordered the Altos de la Hoya at OLV the other night with dinner. I do have one (or two) gripes with my new favorite restaurant. Remember OLV, all of your customers are not idiots. This wine was listed as a "Spanish Red" with no further information about the grape. However, the region Jumilla was listed on the menu so I was able to deduce that it was a Monastrell. Our server, however, was unable to answer our questions, even though the grape was listed on the front label.

Regardless, I loved this wine! Easy to drink with not too many tanins, it was a perfect match with our Beef Skewers. The wine had hints of black pepper and a fantastic grape flavor. I know what you're thinking. Grape flavor? But it was more of a rich jam-iness with some plums thrown in. I give it two thumbs up.

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