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2004 Bodegas y Vinedos del Mediterraneo, Cueva de los Secos


For those of you unfamiliar with D.O. Yecla, I can assure you that it’s not something you’d say when tasting a glass of old milk, well past its suggested date of consumption. “D.O Yuck-la?!” Instead, this tiny D.O, with only 4,300 hectares under vine, is increasingly gaining in popularity abroad, as traditional winemaking is crafting high-quality wines made from the Monastrell variety.

Located in the northern eastern corner of the political region of Murcia (Spain), DO Yecla is surrounded by three other DO’s: Jumilla to the southwest, Almansa to the north and Alicante to the east. Having driven through this area only once in route to Bodegas Castano, I can tell you that the area is absolutely gorgeous, with rolling hills and sandy lime soils. Yecla is also enjoys both the temperate Mediterranean climate coming from the east and the continental climate from the central upland plateau known as La Mancha. Therefore, summers are generally long, hot and dry with mild, cool winters, and very little rainfall throughout the year.

DO Yecla is not primarily known for its whites or roses, however, although I have read that they produce some lovely examples made from Merseguera, Macabeo and Malvasia. Instead, what I am familiar with is their dark violet reds commonly made from Monastrell, showing lovely dark fruits and spices and fine silky tannins. These are typically fruity dense wines that tend to marry well with rich foods.

Today, we popped open a bottle of 2004 Cueva de los Secos from Bodegas y Vinedos del Mediterraneo. Interestingly, unbeknown to us until today, this winery is actually located in Jumilla and under the control of Bodegas Castaño, but named Bodegas y Vinedos del Mediterraneo in order to avoid confusion among distributors and consumers. Evidently, Castaño bought two vineyards, totaling approximately 8 hectares a few years back, as one of their many side projects including Bodegas Sierra Salina and Dutch importer Marco Meeuwses’s Mmmmm!.

The wine is made from 75% Monastrell, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot. After completing a cold maceration, each variety of grape separately completed a traditional maceration: 25 days for the Monastrell, 14 days for Merlot and 18 days for Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine was then aged for 14 months in new French oak.

Dark as night, the wine shows an astounding and complex bouquet of everything from charcoal to chocolate, not to mention the random surprising notes of bbq smoke, boysenberry and cinnamon. In the mouth, this wine is big and bold, the Tonka Truck of wines, with vibrant acidity, firm tannins and lovely, long finish. Loads of dark berry flavors follow with a strange, yet tantalizing soy, chocolate and black cherry notes. Although needing a little more time in bottle, this is a great find!

Producer: Bodegas y Vinedos del Mediterraneo
Alcohol: 14.6%
Price: $29.03 or 18.78 Euros
Availability: Excel Wines


  • 2004 Bodegas y Vinedos del Mediterraneo Yecla Cueva de los Secos – Spain, Murcia, Yecla (5/1/2008)
    Incredibly concentrated and dark, almost black, red in color with rich aromas of dark cherry, bbq smoke, slate, black pepper among more elusive notes of black, wet earth, hickory and tar. The nose is beautifully layered and leading to an equally complex palate. In the mouth, the wine explodes with bright acidity and medium fine tannins that lightly gripping your entire mouth, then releasing to show a long and fresh dark berry finish. Medium in body with secondary flavors of soy, charcoal and mineral, this is a dark and brooding wine with a sexy palate. 4/5


  • 2004 Bodegas y Vinedos del Mediterraneo Yecla Cueva de los Secos – Spain, Murcia, Yecla (5/1/2008)
    Very dark black in color, inky. A meaty dark nose comes out of the glass with bosenberry, chocolate, anise dusty cinnamon and more. Really a concentrated offering with rich aromas who will undoubtedly develop with time. Big in the mouth with a strong acidity and fine but firm tannins. Really powerful, and in need of decanting and or a couple of years more of bottle age. Full flavored with black raspberry, cherry and chocolate coming to me at first. Some loamy earth comes out as it opens, with allspice hints. A bit out of balance, but I think this might come together nicely in a year or two. Modern wine flavorful, where subtly takes a backseat to power. 3.5/5

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