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2012 Wrongo Dongo Monastrell 

Jumilla, Spain

Retail $8

Monastrell is a Spanish grape (known as mourvedre in France) and is often blended with grenache and syrah, but in Jumilla, Spain, the varietal shines on its own. This monastrell is produced at Bodegas Volver, a joint venture between winemaker Rafael Canizares and pioneering exporter Jorge Ordonez. Fruit for this wine was sourced from 25- to 35-year-old vineyards planted in chalky soils at the highest point in Jumilla — more than 2,000 feet above sea level overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. The area undergoes tremendous temperature swings and receives minimal rainfall. Constant sea winds do little to relieve the heat, but cooling nights allow the grapes to rest. After harvest, the wine was fermented in stainless steel tanks with 15 days of maceration. In the glass, the full-bodied wine offers aromas of red plum, black fruit and earthy notes. On the palate, one tastes ripe berries, cherry, spice and a hint of pepper on the slightly tannic finish. Decant 20 to 30 minutes before serving. Drink it with grilled steak, sausage, pork tenderloin, chili, roasts, beef stew, vegetables, pasta and medium-to-firm cheeses. Buy it at: Terranova Brothers Superette and Martin Wine Cellar.

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