Some years ago, during a tasting at our winery, a participant asked about our old style Monopole. This wine had a lengthy barrel ageing in old oak and a profile contrary to the modern, fruity whites made mostly everywhere nowadays.
This gentleman had fond memories of this wine. Sure, he liked the current Monopole, but he missed that old style.
From the early 20th century to the 70s, Monopole was a staple of homes and restaurants across Spain. It was one of CVNE’s main wines. Sadly, fashion turned against it, sales fell, and production in this style ceased in the 80s.
Fresh, fine, bone dry, this wine had the peculiarity and originality of having some barrel ageing with a percentage of Sherry wine, with written permission from the Rioja appellation. The Sherry added structure to the Rioja white, while they both integrated harmoniously in barrel and later in bottle.
A bottle of this old Monopole was searched for in the Haro winery’s cemetery. A solitary 1979 bottle appeared. The wine was savoury, very fresh, balanced, delicious. On the spot, the decision was made: we would make this wine again, as it had been made historically.
We called Ezequiel Garcia, CVNE winemaker from the 40s until the 70s, to invite him back to help us produce that wine again. Ezequiel, aka ‘the wizard’ and now in his eighties, had no doubts and said Yes straight away.
Monopole Clásico is the story of a remake, 40 years on; this time, with the original director as guest star. And this time, handmade and in small quantities, to best ignore the whims of fashion.
The wines’ ageing contributes to its peculiar organoleptic characteristics, adding aromas of chamomile, dried fruits, and a long and persistent aftertaste. The marked acidity increases Monopole Clásico’s freshness.
I was thinking “I wish this wine went back to the more serious bottlings of 40 and 50 years ago…” when tasting the regular Monopole, and they showed me this 2014 Monopole Clásico, which is a wine to celebrate the centenary of the brand (registered in 1914) and it blew me away.
They have produced this wine like it was done in the good old times, adding some Manzanilla Sherry (yes, yes, you read it correctly); they top up the Viura with Manzanilla purchased from the Hidalgo family of Sanlúcar de Barrameda.
Not only did they add the wine, they purchased the wine in bota, so the wine is also aged in Sherry casks. It does have an amazing nose with notes of sea breeze, iodine and esparto grass. The palate is extremely tasty, but at the same time is light and fresh, with the acidity of Viura and the kick and pungency from Manzanilla.
Luis Gutiérrez, The Wine Advocate 226#, August 2016
91 -93 Points