Aging an under $10 wine – Castano, Hecula, monastrell, 2002

“Do Americans have a wine cellar?” runs an old industry saw. “Yes, it’s called the back seat of their car on the way home from the wine store.”

True enough. Virtually all wine bought in American gets uncorked (or uscrewed) within a very short time after purchase. And at no price point is that more true than under $10 wines. So for today’s Wine Blogging Wednesday assignment of finding a Spanish wine under $10, I thought I’d try the impossible: an under $10 wine with some age.

I dug around the Dr. Vino cave, and came across a bottle of the Castano, Hecula, 2002. Since I bought it for $7 about three years ago, I had low expectations that the wine would still even be good. But it was a Tuesday night, so what the hey.

Wow, was it good, perhaps the most rewarding under $10 wine I’ve had in a long time. Alluring notes of grilled meat drippings, leather and tobacco permeated the aroma and the wine actually had an attack, a midpalate, and a lingering finish. While five years of age is just warming up for most more expensive and age-worthy wines, this under $10 wine may have been particularly long lived because of the grape variety, monastrell, aka mourvedre in the south of France. In a tasting last fall of this big red grape, I found that I preferred the wines with some age on them to blow off some of the gamey, animale character.

The sad news about this wine is that it was my last bottle. A quick price check showed only a few vendors with it available, and now they want $14, double what I paid for it three years ago. A sign of the times, for popular Spanish wines.

Check out for the full WBW round-up of good value wines from Spain.

Related: “An open letter to Jorge Ordonez

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10 Responses to “Aging an under $10 wine – Castano, Hecula, monastrell, 2002”

  1. Apropos of absolutely nothing in this post, I was very impressed by the fact that Jancis Robinson mentioned you (and linked to your site) by your real name and your nom de plume.


  2. Excellent! Thanks for pointing it out, Terry!

  3. Excellent choice, as are all of Castano’s wines (I like the plain old Monastrell, personally, but I think we have discussed that in the past). Mine was a weak Torres choice…

  4. Great WBW entry. I wish all of them could be this informative and insightful when the round-up gets posted. But then that’s why you’re called Dr. Vino.

  5. Thanks, Marcus!

  6. Hey there, I was just there last month. Nice winery and great people. I also finished my last 2002when back in the states las January, I agree great wine, that aged nicely. The 2004’s though are really going to impress and will I think be long aged wines…if one can keep there hands off of them! 😉

  7. I’ve had the 2003 ($9) and thought it was a great value. (Sorry, too long ago to remember its aging ability.)

  8. I bought six bottles of 2005 Hecula Monastrell a few years ago and was totally unimpressed after the first 2 bottles I had – and so I let the rest sit. Now in 2009 the wine is really blossoming. As the Dr. says, maybe Mourvedre/Monastrell needs few years under its belt. Now I need to go find some more.

  9. I just picked up a bottle of the 2005 last weekend (March 2011). I wholeheartedly agree with the assessment that this is better aged. Wow. At first uncorking, it had quite a complex, almost confusing palate. A lot of spice coming out. We let this one decant for a while. It became more civilized and well rounded at 15, then 30, then 45 minutes. It was actually perfect at 1 hour. I know, that’s a long time, but it was worth it. The true character came out. It is spicy, a little earthy, but well rounded without galloping all over you tongue like a herd of wild buffalo.

    I don’t know how much longer this wine will last in terms of aging. We just bought a case ($113 a case) because we just couldn’t pass this up. A great value, even at first opening and drinking, but if you’re patient you’ll be well rewarded.

  10. Just opened 1 of a half dozen of 2004 that I bought several years ago. Letting it sit. Looking forward to lunch!


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