JWL Issue #040: How I chose the Nauta Monastrell

February 12, 2019

Thank you everyone who filled in the survey last week: seems there’s a fair bit of demand for some tasting events in London. I’m going to explore some venue options and then put together a handful of events in coming months. 

I had some good discussion from readers last week around prosecco and whether the grape was indeed named that way. Turns out there’s been a bit of a name shift in Italy, where what was once known as prosecco has shifted back to its name glera. You can read about it in more detail on Wikipedia. I also incorrectly said Cava could only be produced in Catalonia. In fact 95% of it comes from there but can be produced in select other places too.

I’ve also been recommended a series of drinks made either in wine methods, or grapes used in non-wine making ways. I’ve been sent a couple and will look to do a roundup soon. 


Vionta Albarino (£13.95 from Slurp) has a great body to it packed full of pears, lemons, and something nodding towards tropical.

Elsewhere from Spain, Nauta Monastrell (currently on offer for £6.95 from Slurp) is top, top value. This is straight up oaky, deliciousness: liquorice, violet, vanilla, and black pepper cling to blackcurrant in harmony. It’s beautiful to look at and there’s some dried fruits hanging around in there as well.

Out of the supermarket and for those wanting a taste of New Zealand pinot noir, look no further than Mohua from Central Otago (£21.50 from Eton Vintners). We shared a bottle of this over a birthday dinner and it was unanimously loved (and much preferred to a Northern Rhône syrah-viognier blend that was quite a chunk more expensive). Fruit-forward, and a bit peppery, it’s the balance here that shines: gentle tannins, with cool climate fresh acidity that drives you back for more.


How I chose the Nauta Monastrell

I often get asked where to begin with choosing a wine somewhere. A lot of it depends on mood and having a few cornerstones as starting points. 

Come winter, I find myself drawn to Provencal and Rhone reds. Peppery, meaty, rich red fruits, sometimes stewed or dried (and often mixed with 14-15% ABVs), really do call out when it’s cold outside. 

Monastrell is the Spanish name for mourvèdre, which is often part of a the so-called ‘GSM’ blend of grenache-syrah-mourvèdre of southern France. While grenache and syrah are quite prominent elsewhere and known on their own, mourvèdre doesn’t quite have the same household name to it. 

That’s why it’s a great grape (and others like it in this vain) to look out for when searching in other regions. Likewise, I’d search out tempranillos from places that weren’t Rioja.

As always: make notes of what you love. Is it the Rhone you like? Or their specific grape combinations.

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