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To all Wine Exchangers,
Ah, a tradition unlike any other.  I don’t know what it is about Casa Castillo, but we always seem to offer their wines in trios, and today is no exception!

At the end of 2015 there was a changing of the guard at Casa Castillo, with long-time winemaker/proprietor José María Vicente, and his three sisters buying out the rest of the family.  This is all their baby now.

The results, as we’ve featured in the past, have been breathtaking.

Their native Jumilla is a trip. It’s the desert. No rain, and these incredible, brilliant white and/or red sandy, stony, chalky soils that the sun just bounces off.  If you don’t have sunglasses, you’re screwed.

You can tell José Maria wants to push the envelope here. He’s still experimenting, still learning, but the recent results he’s been achieving, basically putting him at the top of the hierarchy in Jumilla, are certainly letting him know that all the effort that he and his father put into the property has paid off.
Starting in 2016, the winery has introduced a new wine in-between their ‘classic’ sub-$10 Monastrell (still a killer) and their Las Gravas bottling (featured below)

The wine, the Casa Castillo Jumilla Vino de Finca 2016, is an absolute star!  With more and more Garnacha coming online from the grafting over of his Cabernet and with the planting of young vines, a new expression of Jumilla began to form at Casa Castillo – one that uses older vine Monastrell as its base but enlivened with about 5% Garnacha. Of course, it is not just the blend that makes Finca so expressive, but its indigenous fermentation, inclusion of whole clusters, and a gentle maceration – all in 1200L French oak vats.

So classy, so refined, its shockingly elegant wine considering the region and grape.  We were stunned by its finesse, as was Wine Advocate’s Luis Gutierrez, who wrote, “This is incredibly aromatic and expressive, with floral notes that I don't often find in Monastrell, elegant, balanced, fresh ... simply unbelievable. It has an outstanding palate, with refined tannins and great length. 92 points.”
The winery’s Las Gravas vineyard is named for its deep, gravelly soils. Soil is loosely applied here since it resembles nothing more than a pile of rocks. Las Gravas is planted with Monastrell and Garnacha – as José Maria has grafted his Cabernet over to Garnacha preferring the native variety over the foreign interloper.

Their Casa Castillo Las Gravas 2015 is without a doubt one of the finest wines produced in southern Spain. A Bandol-inspired blend of Monastrell, Syrah and Garnacha, it’s a unique expression of a high elevation site that keeps getting better and better.

Luis ‘went off’ on this one too, writing, “The 2015 Las Gravas is a classic Mediterranean blend of Monastrell with 15% each Garnacha and Syrah, with 15% alcohol after fermenting with part of full clusters and indigenous grapes and aging in used oak barrels for 19 months…it shows fresh within the balsamic profile, with plenty of rosemary and thyme notes combined with floral undertones and the character of the esparto grass and tree bark that are textbook... 94 points.
Finally, we have just a few bottles of the extraordinary Casa Castillo Jumilla Monastrell Pie Franco 201598 points, all sourced from low-yielding vines on original rootstock in phylloxera-resistant sandy soils, vine-growing life on the edge!

Luis writes, The finest Monastrell in Spain and among the greatest reds in the country, the 2015 Pie Franco is named after the ungrafted vines (‘pie franco’ is the Spanish name for ungrafted) planted in 1942 on sandy and limestone-rich soils. It fermented with part of full clusters and indigenous yeasts and matured in used oak barrels for 18 months. I was blown away by this 2015, a vintage that combines incredible finesse, floral notes of violets and even white flowers with the Mediterranean character of the zone, while it’s structured and has the backbone to develop for a very long time in bottle. This single-vineyard Monastrell seems to be going from strength to strength; Where is the limit? Awesome! It’s one of the greatest Monastrell wines in the world and among the elite from Spain. I consider this a true bargain for the quality it delivers. 98 points.”

Only 18 bottles of that last one so don’t delay!

Jumilla’s King delivers again, at prices where all of us can enjoy the fruits of his labor…
Casa Castillo Jumilla Vino de Finca 2016
92 Points!  There is a new middle-of-the-range red, above the Monastrell and below the single-vineyard wines, already in its second vintage with the 2016. This 2016 Vino de Finca comes from the oldest vineyard (from the grapes that used to go to the Monastrell) and also from different parts within the estate. It's mainly Monastrell with some 5% Garnacha, fermented with part of full clusters and indigenous yeasts and matured in oak foudres for one year. This is incredibly aromatic and expressive, with floral notes that I don't often find in Monastrell, elegant, balanced, fresh ... simply unbelievable. It has an outstanding palate, with refined tannins and great length. - Luis Gutierrez, robertparker.com
ONLY $16.98
Casa Castillo Jumilla Las Gravas 2015
94 Points!  The 2015 Las Gravas is a classic Mediterranean blend of Monastrell with 15% each Garnacha and Syrah, with 15% alcohol after fermenting with part of full clusters and indigenous grapes and aging in used oak barrels for 19 months. 2015 is the last vintage that Las Gravas has some Syrah, as it adds some sweet fruit he wants to avoid. However, it shows fresh within the balsamic profile, with plenty of rosemary and thyme notes combined with floral undertones and the character of the esparto grass and tree bark that are textbook deors of the variety. - Luis Gutierrez, robertparker.com
ONLY $26.98
Casa Castillo Jumilla Monastrell Pie Franco 2015
98 Points! The finest Monastrell in Spain and among the greatest reds in the country, the 2015 Pie Franco is named after the ungrafted vines ("pie franco" is the Spanish name for ungrafted) planted in 1942 on sandy and limestone-rich soils. It fermented with part of full clusters and indigenous yeasts and matured in used oak barrels for 18 months. I was blown away by this 2015, a vintage that combines incredible finesse, floral notes of violets and even white flowers with the Mediterranean character of the zone, while it’s structured and has the backbone to develop for a very long time in bottle. This single-vineyard Monastrell seems to be going from strength to strength… Where is the limit? Awesome! It’s one of the greatest Monastrell wines in the world and among the elite from Spain. I consider this a true bargain for the quality it delivers. 5,200 bottles were filled in June 2017. - Luis Gutierrez, Wine Advocate
ONLY $79.98
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