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The Candela family know their way around the Yecla DO and its native grapes, having founded the Señorio de Barahonda winery in 1925 (the oldest in the region) and handing down their artisan spirit through four generations. They live with the conviction that good wine is made in the vineyard, and their estate is farmed accordingly. Their 340 hectares (840 acres) are planted on sandy limestone soils and farmed organically, using no additional irrigation despite the extremely dry climate. Here, gnarly-looking Monastrell vines stand their ground against the scorching summer days and freezing winter nights, occasionally soothed by a westerly Mediterranean breeze. Carro Tinto is completely unoaked, making it unapologetically juicy, bright, and eager for a sunny day by the grill. It complements the power of Monastrell with smaller proportions of Syrah, Merlot, and Tempranillo, making a wine that is both rich and approachable. In a word, Carro is the best introduction one can taste from the extreme vineyards of Yecla.
WHAT MAKES THIS WINE UNIQUE?
Limestone-rich soils and only estate-owned grapes. The amount of care and the quality of the grapes that go into Carro are unparalleled in the region and the same used for more exclusive Barahonda cuvées. 100% unoaked. Carro is made using a Rhone-like blend that balances the earthiness of Monastrell and makes it extremely approachable: a perfect bridge for new world wine lovers looking to dip their toe into Spanish wine.
2018 90JS; 2016 90JS; 2015 90VN; 2014 90RP
50% Monastrell, 20% Syrah, 20% Merlot, 10% Tempranillo. Vines planted since 1979. Tended in chalk and limestone soil at 713 m (2,339 ft) elevation.
This unpretentious, juicy red will pair well with most any flavorful dish served on the backyard deck, at the beach or at a picnic. Grilled cheddar burgers with bacon, BBQ brisket or pulled pork and pressed Cajun chicken sandwiches all fit the bill.
VINIFICATION AND AGEING:
Each variety is harvested separately in small boxes during the cool morning hours, then destemmed and crushed. The skins soak with the juice for fourteen days with a low temperature during fermentation (about 25C or 77F) in order to extract more tannin from the skins. The varietal wines rest for three months in stainless steel tanks before the different grape varieties (Monastrell, Syrah, Tempranillo and Merlot) are blended prior to an additional 2-3 months of aging in tanks before bottling.
LOCATION, SOIL, CLIMATE:
The vineyards are located in the Campo Arriba subdistrict of DO Yecla, within the Murcia province of southeastern Spain. Yecla's altitude (2300+ ft.) makes it significantly cooler than neighboring DO Jumilla, and the resulting wines are more aromatic, with a fresh, easy-to-drink character. The area's soils are composed of limestone and chalk with deep clay and gravel subsoils, poor in organic matter but with good drainage. The clay subsoil retains water, essential for the health of the vine in this arid climate. Here, the extreme growing environment makes for low yields and smaller berries with a higher skin-to-juice ratio. For climate, the area's average temperature from May-October is 66F, with only 13 inches of rain per year. The Mediterranean Sea helps moderate the arid and sunny climate, which receives 3,893 hours of sunshine per year.
Lurid ruby. Aromas of cherry and licorice are complemented by a suggestion of dark chocolate, and a smoky nuance emerges slowly. Spice-tinged red and blue fruit flavors show very good depth as well as vivacity thanks to a spine of juicy acidity. Finishes quite long, with lingering spiciness, gentle tannins and an echo of sweet red fruit. -- Josh Raynolds