Casa Castillo Las Gravas Monastrell is majority Monastrell with some old vine Grenache filling in the mid-palate, this is a personal favourite. Grown on limestone flecked with clay and gravel, this is a full-bodied wine that meshes the incongruous virtues of power and finesse, the marks of greatness. Perhaps it is the magic of the gravel quotient that one can barely call soil, such is its meagre nature. The ancient approach to foot treading in stone lagars resplendent with ambient fermentation and partial whole-bunch, is applied. Ageing is in a mixture of large French format oak, 20% of which is new. The result is a confluence of blue berry, mulberry, damson plum, graphite, sage, wood smoke, iodine and lilac. The tannins, a fluid ripple that tones as much as it drives the flavours long.
The 2016 Las Gravas suffered in comparison with the ethereal 2017 I tasted next to it. It’s a blend of Monastrell with 15% each Garnacha and Syrah. This is the last year to have any Syrah, which was discontinued in 2017. It has an herbal twist, notes of dry herbs and pine nuts, an earthy touch and some dusty tannins that make me think of the gravelly soils.
94 points, Wine Advocate (May 2019)
Deep, shimmering violet. An expressive, mineral-tinged bouquet evokes ripe black and blue fruits, cured tobacco, licorice, vanilla and exotic spices. Sharply focused and chewy in texture, offering intense cassis, cherry cola and floral pastille flavors enlivened by a core of juicy acidity. Closes very long and precise, with echoing spiciness and lingering cherry and violet notes.
93 points, Vinous (March 2021)