Casa Castillo 2001 Jumilla Monastrell ($7.99)
Year in and year out, this Spanish red based on Mourvèdre ("Monastrell" in Spanish) is a bargain favorite, and the 2001 is drinking exceptionally well right now. Very dark ruby in color, almost black, it breathes ripe, plummy fruit aromas with a whiff of the earthy "tree bark" that's characteristic of the grape. Full and tart, lemon-squirt acidity and rough tannins surround ample black fruit flavors. It's a bit wild and rustic, but food tames it. US Importer: Jorge Ordoñez, represented by Cutting Edge Selections, Fairfax, Ohio., and other regional importers. (Feb 23, 2003)

FOOD MATCH: Stands up nicely to pork chops bonne maman braised with potatoes and onions.

WEB LINK: http://www.jumillawine.com/

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