Casa Castillo Pie Franco Monastrell is hewn of concentrated fruit from 75 year vines, planted on calcareous soils of sand and clay, hand-picked and fermented in stone lagars where extraction is achieved by foot treading, with whole-bunches intact. Élévage takes place in neutral 500L French demi-muids. A wine that consistently scores in the high 90’s, this received a 96 in the Wine Advocate and 95 from Vinous in accordance with its reputation as one of Spain’s finest wines and arguably, the world’s greatest example of Monastrell/Mourvèdre/Mataro. The fruit is of a darker persuasion, with scents of black rock, cinder, clove and rosemary to accompany. As always, despite the capacious nature of the wine, there is an uncanny stream of pungent mineral freshness, beautifully articulated tannins and the breadth of larger format wood, tucking in the seams and towing the flavours long.
As I saw with Las Gravas, the only problem with the 2016 Pie Franco is that I tasted it next to the superb 2017. Surprisingly enough, it feels riper than the 2017, when the year was colder and wetter. It has persistent and pungent flavors and is juicy within the dry and stony character of the texture.
96 points, Wine Advocate (May 2019)
Opaque ruby. An expansive, highly perfumed bouquet evokes ripe red and blue fruits, candied flowers and exotic spices, and a minerally nuance builds in the glass. Palate-staining black raspberry, boysenberry, bitter cherry, lavender pastille and succulent herb flavors turn livelier and spicier on the back half. At once muscular and lithe, finishing extremely long and precise, with resonating florality and steadily mounting, polished tannins. These own-rooted vines were planted in 1941.
95 points, Vinous (March 2021)