For years, I drank few Spanish wines as I didn't understand their regions or grape varietals. And, to be honest, the Spanish wine that I had most experience with is Marques de Riscal (Rioja), a widely distributed wine with one of those labels boasting about all the gold medals the wine won - years ago. And it's a wine that generally (imho) sucks. But I figured if that's the best Spain can do, I didn't want to drink the worst.
But recently I have been drinking more Spanish wines, and I have found several that I like. While the standard red grape in Spain is tempranillo, I have been especially enjoying wines made with other grapes, like the wines from Priorat (made with garnacha and carignan). But the ones I tend to like the most are made with the monastrell grape, mostly from Yecla and (expecially good) Jumilla. My favorite so far was a Juan Gil from 2002 or 03 that sold for about $15, but was deep and rich in flavor with a long slow finish. Then I read that monastrell is the Spanish name for mourvedre - and my preference made more sense as I have always enjoyed wines made with that grape, hard as they are to find sometimes.
Anyway, do you have Spanish wine favorites? Do you know of any ones made with monastrell that you like? And (since I am just a community college prof) do you know of any great values in Spanish wine?
ed (the poster formerly known as e.d.)