- 2017 Las Resas Monastrell, Bullas, Spain ($4.99@Trader Joe’s, California)
Summer is a good time to talk about serving temperatures for wine. Especially since if you’re like me, reds at room temperature don’t cut it when it’s hot outside. In my house, we use the refrigerator for white wines and a dedicated wine fridge which keeps reds at the perfect temperature of 57 degrees Farenheit. If you don’t have a wine cellar/fridge (or if you have an open bottle of red wine) the next best thing is putting your red wine in your “regular” fridge. Then remove it 20 minutes before you are going to serve it. Voila! Perfect temp for summer sipping.
If you look closely at the photos that accompany this post, you will detect some “sweat” (polite company will call it perspiration) on this bottle of wine, and a bit of label damage as a result. That’s from it starting in the refrigerator and them sitting at room temperature before taste testing it. Sorry about the sub-par aesthetic.
Once at the proper serving temperature, I tasted this wine and was impressed by just how good it is for $4.99. It improved as it warmed. This is what I would characterize as a “summer weight” red, and it would pair with a wide range of summer meal staples.
Monastrell, like Tempranillo, is a pretty safe bet for high QPR (quality to price ratio) wines, and this one did not disappoint. Monastrell is the main Spanish name for the black grape variety known as Mourvedre in France and elsewhere, like California.
Tobacco, smoke and dry spice on the nose, followed flavors of cranberry, dark cherry and plum. A medium plus body with round tannins and a chalky finish. Oak is prominent along with slight acidity and blue fruit.
Here’s nice hack if you like Sangria, or have a bottle of day-old red wine lying around. You need only three ingredients (four if you count the ice) shown below. Pour one part red wine and one part orange soda over ice. Add an orange slice. Done.
The Las Resas Monastrell is from one of the top producers in Bullas, Spain. Bullas is a relatively new DO (Denominación de Origen) wine region in the southern part of the Murcia province in south-eastern Spain.
Red wines, and in particular, Monastrell reign supreme in Bullas and are responsible for the DO’s signature fruity red wines. Monastrell accounts for 60% of the vines here. Traditionally, most of these were drunk young, but since Bullas attained its appellation status, many adventurous producers have successfully experimented with maturing the best wines in American oak barrels. (Monastrell is also the grape variety of choice for the region’s fresh and lively rosés.)
Other red grape varieties cultivated include Cabernet Sauvignon, Garnacha, Tempranillo, Syrah (it’s 10% of the Las Resas blend) Merlot and Petit Verdot. Just a small number of white wines are produced there.
Let us know if you find this wine at your local TJ’s, and let us know what you think by leaving us a note in the comments section or on our Facebook page. And if you have a wine tip, by all means let us know about that too!
If you’re shopping finds you at Trader Joe’s, keep an eye out for our Lucky 13 list of TJ’s wine.
If you’re headed to Costco soon, you can find our most recent reviews of Costco wines here in our Lucky 13 list.