Spain has long been known for producing some of the best values in the wine world, whether it’s the classic reds of Rioja, the fresh whites of Galicia, or the sparkling Cavas from Penedès in Catalonia, to name just a few.
Add to that the sturdy reds from Jumilla in Spain’s southeast. The dominant variety there is Monstraell, known as Mourvèdre in France, a grape that thrives in hot, arid regions like those in southern France and Spain.
It produces tannic, muscular wines and is often blended with other so-called Rhône varieties such as Syrah, Grenache, and Cinsault, perhaps most famously in France’s Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation.
In Jumilla, Monastrell must account for 80 percent of a blend and is often bottled on its own. That’s the case with Bodegas Luzón’s 2017 “Luzón Verde,” a 100 percent Monastrell with an amazing average price of about $9 (I bought it for $7).
The wine has remarkable structure and complexity for an under-$10 wine, with firm tannins supporting bright red and dark fruit tastes that suggest pomegranate and blueberry, with secondary notes of cocoa, black pepper, meat, and stone. The grapes are grown organically.
The bottle lists alcohol at 14.5 percent, but the wine doesn’t feel heavy. We enjoyed it with grilled lamb chops, and I can see it with a variety of dishes, including pork, chicken, pizza, and even meaty roasted fish like striped bass and bluefish. Try chilling it just slightly for summer drinking.
This is a versatile wine with a great price to have on hand for everyday drinking — though it is far more interesting than just an “everyday” wine.