Heredad del Rey, Seleccion Reservada, Monastrell-Syrah, DO/PDO Yecla, Murcia, Spain, 2013
A note on DO Yecla
Lies about 70km inland from the Mediterranean, between the high inland plateau and the coast, at altitudes of 500-800m. The soils are limestone-based, with a clay subsoil – important considering the average annual rainfall of 300mm, in autumn and spring, often via rain storms. On average there are 300 days of sun a year, with a diurnal range of 20C during the growing and ripening season.
The climate is Mediterranean/semi-continental with cold winters and hot summers.
It is mainly reds that are produced, based on monastrell, either varietal, or blended with syrah, merlot and petit verdot. The wines are generally aromatic and concentrated.
Whites are also made, from macabeo (aka viura), chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, verdejo, and airen. They are aromatic and light-bodied with good acidity.
This wine: a monastrell dominated blend with syrah, coarse-grained agglomerate cork closure, 13.5%, widely available, about £9
WSET style tasting note
Appearance: clear and bright, of deep intensity purple (on the turn, but still a little more purple than ruby), showing tears.
Nose: clean on the nose, of pronounced intensity, developing, with rich aromas of ripe black plum and sweet black cherry, a hint of kirsch, spicy black pepper, sweet tobacco, with a deep rose-like floral note.
Palate: a dry wine, with medium acidity, smooth ripe medium (+) tannins, medium (+) alcohol and a medium body, medium intensity, a smooth texture, showing flavours of black cherry, black cherry boiled sweets, with a hint of blackcurrant and spice. A medium length with a clean moderately grippy black fruit finish.
Quality: a good quality wine, with acidity, and a slightly too generous level of drying tannin, but still in balance with the alcohol, and suited to the flavour intensity. A good level of flavour concentration, showing some complexity with a developing tertiary character with kirsch, spicy and tobacco notes. The promising aromatic intensity does not follow through to the mid-palate nor to the modest length.
Readiness for drinking/potential for ageing: this wine is ready now. A little out of balance tannin-wise, but these would come around with a little more time in bottle. It has seen time is oak which is well-integrated and leading to some interesting tertiary notes, but it is let down by flavour intensity and length, which do not bode well for a significant cellaring – nonetheless, I feel that there is sufficient fruit to support another 1-2 years in bottle, which will bring the tannins around, along with some further improvement.