…and I’m just over here, “Who wants some Monastrell?”
Amazing how similar these wines are. Amazing not for the Jumilla–everything is totally expected there–but for the Holly’s Hill. It is just shocking this is a Sierra Foothills wine. I would have never guessed it blind. MAAAAABY a Mourvedre-heavy CdP or lower-level Bandol or higher-level Languedoc, but the amount of funk and Old-World nuances this wine shows would have never led me to Placerville. OK, the slight petrol might have been a clue, but it is buried so far behind the dusty rose and dark cherry. Nice garnet with thin clear edges. Warm cardboard and slight dirty-dish-rag blow off and leave nothing but pure ripe fruit behind. A whallop of oak and a touch of AL leave you imagining this might be California. A vegetal haricot-vert and sarsaparilla round out the bouquet. In the mouth, fairly clean and definitely chewy. Piles of fruit compete nicely with the brilliant acid and thins out shockingly little in the yummy, bitter finish. Yes, I said ‘yummy’. A nice package. Very well done. Props to the mountain-men, 49’ers, Hangtown Fries or whatever that smoky little burg is calling itself these days. I don’t miss P-ville.
The Monastrell is a completely different bird with the same dad but a different reflection in the mud puddle. Lighter garnet and wider clear edges. The Spanish nuances do NOT burn off in the nose. Trade the dirty-dish-rag for Moroccan-train-rider. Trade the petrol for bright floral. Trade the ripe fruit beating down the acid for the other way around and you have it. The vegetal characteristics run brighter and higher: Celeriac and bell pepper and fresh-sliced-raw-red-potato. And underlying a core of deep, ripe fruit. Positively drying in the mouth–early on, and tannins far lighter and more polished than the Cali offering. Bottom line: The Holly is headed towards wet-cardboard and the Spaniard brings a bouquet of flowers. The Hills bring an arsenal of ripe fruit and the Jumilla just sits back and lets you enjoy the show. I know it SOUNDS like these are very disparate wines, but honestly the differences are quite subtle. I even got confused at one point. It would be so interesting if they were the same age. I feel they might be in exactly the same place.
Bottom line two very solid wines deserving a ‘Recommended’.
2010 HOLLY’S HILL Petite Patriarche GSM El Dorado Sierra Foothills 14.4
2012 CASTILLO DE JUMILLA Monastrell DOC Jumilla Spain 14.0