Casa Castillo, Pie Franco, 2008
Region: Jumilla, Spain
Bottle size: 75cl
WA: 94 points
Casa Castillo is the leading producer of southeastern Spain, and their pure, un-grafted Monastrell Pie Franco is one of the greatest wines from Spain. The Pie Franco comes from the oldest vineyard (about 75 years old) on the property, La Solana. Solana is noted for its sandy soils that are phylloxera resistant but not completely immune and each year a few vines succomb to the disease which combined with the low yields means that there is very little Pie Franco to go around.
José Maria has converted his estate to certified organic farming and his entire harvest is manual and brought promptly to the cellar for sorting and fermentation. Fermentations are in stainless steel tanks or underground concrete vats. Pigeage is done by foot and whole clusters are increasingly used – up to 50% in the Pie Franco. Aging follows in concrete, foudre and 500L French oak demi-muids. All this effort is made to restrain the natural exuberance of his principal variety, Monastrell, to showcase its potential even in the warmest climate to make wines that are both dense and nuanced.