Castaño- The People

The Monastrell Grape: Meet Bodegas Castaño, People Behind its Success

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Here at WineTrust we like a good cause, and we love to shout about those producers who strive not only to promote themselves but also the grapes that are integral to the production of their wine. 

Bodegas Castaño is a producer in Yecla, south-east Spain, well renowned for their use, support and promotion of indigenous Spanish varieties. In particular, Castaño are great advocates of the Monastrell grape, an historic variety that is notoriously difficult to grow; such is their passion for upholding traditional and promoting Spanish Grapes, WineTrust want to give Castaño some deserved recognition.

Discover all the elements that make up this successful enterprise and why WineTrust also want to support this fantastic grape variety.


The People

The Grape

The Wine

Castaño- The People
Like father like son: Ramón Castaño with Juan, Pedro and Daniel


Of this small, sun-soaked region of Yecla, the Castaño family is one of the leading lights in winemaking.
Established by Ramón Castaño – continuing a family history of viticulture – the estate only started bottling wine 30 years after its initiation, in 1980. Joined in the following decade by his three sons: Juan, Pedro and Daniel, the estate brought a fresh, contemporary face to Spanish wine production. Meanwhile, Castaño have diversified production with 25 hectares of olive groves – another mainstay of Spanish agriculture.
A decorated producer, Castaño has scooped awards at the Decanter World Wine Awards, International Wine Challenge and International Wine and Spirit Competition

family owned and run, [Castaño] has been at the forefront of the region’s bid for an international presence

John Radford, Decanter Magazine 2005
Amongst very conservative peers, Castaño helped seed the beginnings of a Renaissance of the Monastrell grape variety, one that has been in country for centuries.
Today, the estate is nationally and internationally recognized, whilst the Monastrell grape continues to grow in popularity.
So what is all the fuss about the Monastrell grape?


Castaño- The Grape

A very interesting varietal from sunny Spain; while one may have heard of its native cousins Tempranillo and Garnacha, many producers of Monastrell are serving to put the grape firmly on the viticultural map.
Its origin unconfirmed, general consensus believes it to have emerged from the Spanish shores of the Mediterranean. This variety has multiple guises, known as Mourvèdre in France – after Muviedro, the Moorish name for the Spanish city of Sagunto – and Mataró – a city outside Barcelona – for New World production, adopted in California and Australia. Meanwhile, the name Monastrell relates to its original cultivation in Catalonian monasteries.
The somewhat-awkward grape variety presents many challenges to the wine maker: difficult to cultivate, late to ripen and favouring particular climatic conditions, to name a few.
Relying on Monastrell for wine production can be a gamble and uphill struggle, as winemakers can be forced to wait years for a commercially viable crop.  A substantial investment, quality Monastrell wine production is a true testament to the skill (and patience!) of its creators.
And a helping hand from Mother Nature…


Castaño- Yecla DO

Spain is responsible for nearly half of the world’s Monastrell production.
The climatic demands of the grape variety means that European cultivation is somewhat limited; hot and sunny conditions need to prevail for ripening and dry weather helps to combat susceptibility to mildew. While Mourvèdre only thrives in the warmest edges of France, many parts of Spain exhibit more favourable growing conditions.
The Yecla Denominaciones de Origen (DO) is one such example, located to the south-east of the country in the region of Murcia. Producing around 6500 hectares of vine, the area has a rich viticultural history – with archaeological evidence dating back to the time of the Phoenicians and Roman occupation.
While Monastrell often needs long periods to soften tannins and develop flavours, the hotter regions of Spain are capable of producing wines that do this relatively early. Ticking many of the climatic boxes, the added dimension of high altitude vineyards (averaging 400-800 metres) creates marked acidity in Yecla’s wines due to high diurnal temperature ranges, while the luminosity of the area is very good for ripening the fruit.


Castaño- The Vineyards

It is in the conditions offered by the high plane area where the Mediterranean climate and that of the continent converge that the Monastrell takes on its color, body, structure and smoothness.”

The Castaño Family is often regarded as pioneers in the region, themselves great advocates of the Monastrell variety.
Of Castaño’s 410 hectares of vineyard, around 80% is devoted to the production of the native grape. Its two largest vineyards in the North of Yecla – Las Gruesas and Pozuelo – consist of limestone soils that are ideal for Monastrell production; nearby, one also finds the stony soiled Arabí vineyards, whose 32 hectares are entirely devoted to it.
Castaño also has a holding in the South of Yecla – 116 hectares at El Espinal – where Monastrell is also planted, this time in clay soils lending structure and body to the grape.


At WineTrust we give you a unique sweet offering from the Castaño Family; sophisticated flavour combinations and good structure, this wine is a fantastic advertisement for not only the winemakers, but the highest caliber of produce to come from Spain. 
Castaño DulceWonderful savoury, plum jam nose and palate – along with bold notes of soft spice, strawberries and mulled wine. Although jammy and rich, the sweetness is balanced with fine acidity and an overall long and savoury complexion. Really satisfying and superb value for money!
A fine example of the revival of Spanish winemaking, it’s a sumptuous balance of sweet plum and cherry fruit, saved from sweetness by a firm grip of tannin.”
Sarah Jane Evans, Decanter Magazine 2009
2011 saw one of the lowest ever yields (some 30% down on normal), with super concentrated fruit and sugar levels. The wine was aged for 8 months in a mix of French and American oak barrels.
Serve well chilled; works really well with the cheese board and will take on most chocolate puddings. Otherwise, just delicious to sip on its own after dinner. Drink now and over the next 5 years.
£15.00,  16% abv.

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