I am going to apologize for beating a dead horse, but I cannot sit idly by when I come across a marvelous value. Such is the case with these two wines from the Iberian peninsula, aka Spain and Portugal. Both are an outrageous value ($7.99 per bottle price before any discount) and both deliver absolutely gulpable pleasure…

The first wine is from La Mancha in Spain and is a blend of Tempranillo (85%) and Syrah (15%). The 2012 Mundo de Yuntero is a terrific little wine from a medium-sized cooperative in La Mancha. The cooperative was originally founded in 1954 by 102 growers who needed a better way to market and sell their grapes. The vineyards of the cooperative are situated on calcareous soils along the banks of the Guiadana River, which creates a moderate mesoclimate, allowing for optimal growing conditions. Approximately 3,000 acres are under vine, managed today by over 700 members of the cooperative. A large portion of the vines are grown organically. The winery uses state-of-the-art technology, called the Ganymede system to produce their wines. For reds, the technology allows the grapes to be macerated more fully over a shorter period of time. The system also performs the maceration without pumps, thereby decreasing the exposure to oxygen, as well as decreasing the production of unwanted carbon dioxide. Extended maceration promotes better color extraction and preserves aromas. The ability to perform the maceration over a shorter duration limits the amount of tannin extracted. The result is a wine of great color, with ample fruit across the palate and without any astringency from increased tannin. The whole maceration process takes 5 to 6 days, compared to 12 to 14 days when using more traditional methods. Once finished, the young wines undergo malolactic fermentation and then are aged in a mix of oak barrels (French and American) of varying maturity for a short period of time.


2012 Mundo de Yuntero, La Mancha, Spain ($7.99/bottle)

Ripe, fruity nose with black cherry, cedar and peppery hints. Medium-bodied with moderate acidity and moderate, but well-integrated tannin – good balance. Youthful with a fresh, clean palate and blackberry, bramble and dried herbal notes. Gulpable. Moderate length with a smooth finish. Hints of allspice and black pepper show nicely on the aftertaste. Drinking well – and should improve for another 2 to 3 years in bottle. Great value.


The second wine is from the Douro in Portugal and is a blend of four grapes: Tinta Barroca, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca and Touriga Nacional. The 2012 Castello d’Alba is a lovely young wine produced by one of Portugal’s hottest winemakers, Rui Roboredo Madeira. The label was established in 2000, with production in a facility in São João da Pesqueira. The grapes are harvested in the Upper Douro from vineyards planted on prehistoric schist soils. The climate of the Upper Douro is ideal for growing red grapes with dry, moderate weather and excellent diurnal patterns. The wine is aged in stainless steel for 8 months before bottling, emphasizing the expression of the fruit and the soil. Philosophically, Madeira is a purist, wanting to demonstrate the beauty and potential of the fruit from the Upper Douro. Hence the lack of oak in his young wines.


2012 Castello d’Alba, Douro, Portugal ($7.99/bottle)

Ripe, juicy nose with fresh cherry, tar and floral hints. Medium-bodied with moderate acidity and soft, supple tannin – good balance. Dark fruit core with blackberry, cherry and briar notes. Moderate length – smooth and easy drinking with a clean finish. Drinking well now – not for aging. Great value.

(By the way, both wines are available at The Wine & Cheese Cask in Somerville, MA… I advise getting there fast, since the Mundo de Yuntero is a Parker 90 point wine…)