I don't usually fall into the trap of buying wine based on packaging -- that is, clever or cute labels and such. However, last week a bottle in the wine store really caught my eye and, well, I bought it. I'm glad I did!
Bodegas Carchelo is a winery located in the Carche Valley, near Jumilla -- Spain's most arid wine region, with vineyards planted on rocky soils: fertile, but with little vegetation. Despite that, the area produces wines brimming with generous fruit.
Carchelo plants mainly Monastrell (aka Mourvedre) and Syrah, but also grows Cabernet Sauvignon and Tempranillo in smaller quantities. This wine -- Bodegas Carchelo "C" ($14.99) -- is a 40/40/20 percent blend of Monastrell, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, respectively. It's intensely colored, almost purple, and highly aromatic with generous fruit aromas and flavor. There's lots of black fruit -- especially blackberries on both the nose and palate -- along with some spiciness and hints of ripe fig.
I drank this wine with an interesting, spicy dish at Log Haven restaurant: Serrano chile pasta (pappardelle-style noodles) with chunks of smoked duck in a melange of poblano chiles, sweet onions, Beehive Habanero cheddar cheese, chipotle butter and topped with mango salsa. I think Carchelo "C" would also be terrific with grilled or roasted lamb dishes.
Yes, the label and bottle look very cool, but what's inside is just as appealing.