The wines of Bodegas Piqueras, Almansa, Spain

In Spain’s Castilla-La Mancha region there’s a small DO called Almansa. And one of the striking this about this is that one winery, Bodegas Piqueras (  ) makes 70% of the wines from this DO, a situation I think is only bettered by Saint Mont in France. It has a continental climate with Mediterranean influence (it’s rare to have these two influences in one region), and it has a lot of old pre-phylloxera vines that aren’t grafted. Most wines in the region are a blend of Monastrell and Garnacha Tintorera (this is not actually Garnacha, but Alicante Bouschet, a red fleshed variety, but Garnacha Tintorera is emerging as the signature variety.

Piqueras Old Vines Garnacha 2018 Almansa, Spain
14.5% alcohol. 40-50 year old Garnacha Tintorea (Alicante Bouschet, not the same as Grenache), organically farmed. This is sweetly floral with bright berry and blackcurrant fruit on the nose, leading to a dark, intense palate showing liquorice, meat, mint and sleek black fruits, with a nice spicy, fennel-laced finish and a touch of damson. This is inky and lush, but still has freshness and a bit of tannic bite and a slight bitter twist. Really impressive for the price. 90/100 (£10.95 Vintage Roots)

Piqueras Los Losares Pie Franco Garnacha Tintorea 2018 Almansa, Spain
14.5% alcohol. This is from old ungrafted Garnacha Tintorea, with stony limestone-rich soils at 900 m altitude, farmed organically. Matured in French oak for 14 months. This is vivid, inky and spicy with ripe blackberry fruit and some black cherry, as well as notes of tar, cedar and dried herbs. It has real presence, with lushness on the mid-palate but also a salty, slightly bitter damson edge to the sweet, intense black cherry and berry fruit palate. There’s a pleasant bitterness on the finish, with a saline intensity. A bold wine with lots of presence. 92/100

Piqueras Los Losares Pie Franco Monastrell 2018 Almansa, Spain
14.5% alcohol. Ungrafted old Monastrell (Mourvèdre) vines at 950 m altitude in limestone-rich soils, organically farmed, aged in large 5000 litre casks. Sweetly aromatic with dried herbs, some tea leaf notes, warm spices and sleek black cherry and berry fruits. In the mouth this is ripe and harmonious with a peppery, subtly tarry edge to the sweet cherry and plum fruit, with notes of liqourice, sage and rosemary. A lovely harmonious warm-climate Monastrell. Quite lovely. 92/100

Piqueras Gold 2018 Almansa, Spain
14.5% alcohol. A blend of Monastrell, Garnacha Tintorea and Syrah from organically farmed vineyards at altitude. Ripe, sweet, tarry and berryish with some tannic grip and some cedary, spicy oak notes supporting lush blackberry fruit, as well as some bitter damson and plum notes on the finish. It’s substantial, ripe, sleek and generous, but has some structure holding the fruit in. 89/100 

Piqueras Castillo de Almansa Roble 2019 Almansa, Spain
14.5% alcohol. Ripe, aromatic and sweetly fruited with a savoury cedar and spice note under the sleek, sweet, slightly herbal berry, cherry and blackberry fruit, with some tar and sweet herbs on the finish. Very smooth, lush, inviting and sweetly fruited with just a touch of bitterness on the finish. 88/100

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