Jul 30, 2013

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Yecla, Spain: Bodegas Señorio de Barahonda

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Bodegas Señorio de Barahonda state-of-the-art winery located in the DO Yecla

Located in the Designated Origin (DO) Yecla, which is within the Region of Murcia, Spain, Bodegas Señorio de Barahonda is a state-of-the-art winery that has an interesting four-generation history. Back in 1850, first generation winemaker Pedro Candela started to produce small lots of wine that he sold locally.  In 1925, his son Antonio Candela Garcia founded Bodegas Antonio Candela (making it the oldest winery in Yecla), and in the 1950s Antonio decided to not only use their own grapes to make wine, but started sourcing fruit from other vineyards in order to increase wine production – focusing on bulk wine sales used for table wine and boxed wine.  Some of the oldest Monastrell vines in Spain are located on these higher elevation, estate-owned vineyards that consist mainly of limestone, making this property quite unique.

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The original winery is housed under the kitchen in the Candela home.

Pedro Candela’s great grandsons, Anotnio (our host) and Alfredo, have been running the company since 1999, when they opted to concentrate on producing quality bottled wine under the DO Yecla. In 2004, Antonio and Alfredo built the new state-of-the-art winery, which they named Barahonda. The new winery would be used to produce high quality bottled wine under the brands Barahonda, Carro and Heredad Candela, while Bodegas Antonio Candela is still dedicated to producing bulk and boxed wine.

Within walking distance of each other, our group of wine writers (all from the U.S.A.), visited both the impressive newer winery, where they flew the American flag in our honor, and the original winery located beneath the kitchen of their family home. Outside of their family home sits the wooden cart that was used by Antonio and Alfredo’s grandfather to haul in the bounties of the harvest years ago.  The home is part of a peaceful courtyard complex, circa 1893, that also houses a very small and quaint functioning Catholic church named after their mother, Carmine, who passed away four years ago.  Just outside of the courtyard, there’s an inviting pool with a separate BBQ/Smoke house.  The beauty, serenity and history their home boasts was absolutely breathtaking.

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Carmine – the Catholic church in the courtyard of the Candela home

Inside the front doors of the newly constructed Bodegas Señorio de Barahonda is a sleek, modern and spacious room used for wine classes, wine tourists and the wine club. There’s a full restaurant, and a large winery all housed under the same roof of an architecturally striking building that looks out over the rows and rows of Monastrell.  After touring the complete winery, we sat down to taste eleven wines, and I’ve compiled a list of my favorites.

Carro Tinto 2012 ~ A blend of Monastrell, Merlot, Tempranillo and Syrah, this opens with light aromas of dark berries, licorice, raisins and hints of dusty cedar.  Really smooth and easy drinking on the palate, there’s definitely nice acidity on the finish that rounds the components out nicely. $12 dollars a bottle retail is a steal.

Barahonda Sin-Madera Monastrell 2012 ~ Cherry red in the glass, this 100 percent Monsatrell was aged in stainless steel, giving it a freshness that I loved.  Aromas of berries, dried fruit and coffee were highlighted by dust and earth.  Really pleasant on the palate, but solid tannins and acidity add depth and character – another steal at just $15 a bottle.

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The wooden cart used by antonio and Alfredo’s grandfather to haul in harvest

Heredad de Candela Monastrell 2010 ~ This was an incredible wine and my favorite from the entire line-up.  Fruit from 95 year old (ungrafted) Monastrell vines planted by Antonio’s grandfather were used to produce this wine that was aged in French oak for nine months.  It was rich and intense with a mix of red and dark fruits in both aromas and flavors. The mouthfeel was lush and juicy, and the tannins were gripping with a finish that seemed to be everlasting. This is truly an amazing wine for just $29 retail.

Vinos Sin Ley Monastrell 2010 ~ Dark fruits and raisins were highlighted by gamy and earthy undertones that offered a really smooth entrance on the palate.  Dark fruit flavors intensified mid-palate and were rounded out by excellent acidity and soft tannins. $17 retail.

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2010 Heredad de Candela

Elo Monastrell 2010 ~ From vines planted in 1895, 100 percent whole cluster maceration and fermentation of the grapes took place in large wood vats and was aged in barrels for ten months. A bit lighter in color than the other Monastrells, this was really easy on the palate.  It was elegant, and the tannins were soft and smooth.  Dark cherry, blueberry and spicy cedar aromas were rounded and balanced to perfection. $55 retail.

Zona Zepa Monastrell 2008 ~ A delicious and interesting wine with a lush, juicy, smooth and silky entrance that totally captivated me.  Meaty aromas were highlighted by hints of campfire and herbs, and the dark fruits on the palate were perfectly balanced by a solid acidic backbone.  Very different from the other 100 percent Monastrells we tried, its unique qualities combined with very small production carry a slightly hefty price tag at $100 retail.