Dipping a toe into the world of Spanish native grapes, without any particular direction in mind, we just picked up 3 of their most well known native varietals – 1 white and 2 reds.


It was only later, when sitting down to taste all 3 wines together, that we discovered all were produced under the one house name. From Rias Baixas to Rioja to Jumilla, how could that be ? Spain is a big place, right ? One winery, all these vineyards and more? Corporate giant?

Much to our surprise and great joy….No :)

We had simply stumbled across the wonderfully expansive work of The Wine Guru’s of CASA ROJO. They’re a close knit, ‘family-like’, crew of Spanish winemakers and wine professionals driven by a shared creativity, philosophy and desire to harness the character of Iberia’s native grapes.

Honestly, we couldn’t have dreamed this up. A dedicated team determined to stake a claim for their own native grapes, right from their #POINTOFORIGIN. Wonderful. All in all, CASA ROJO produce 6 different still varietals and 1 ‘mystery’ sparkling Cava. Hmm.

Suitably intrigued, we dug a little deeper into their story. You can too with a single click here – CASA ROJO

Let’s not beat around the ‘albarello’. In our view CASA ROJO’s approach is more than novel, credible and commendable. It’s positively Awesome. There. We’ve used the ‘A’ word.

Like a fish to their beautifully baited hook, we happily buy into the individuality of each wine and its unique presentation. Youthful, imaginative, current and courageous, the team at CASA ROJO are simultaneously opening ‘multiple doors to taste’.

This is our initial, partial discovery.
We hope it will help yours.

ONE – La Marimorena 2014 – Rias Baixas – Albarino 100%

Eye: Luminous, straw yellow with a reflective golden seam
Nose: Youthful with medium intensity, bright citrus grassy notes, certainly lemongrass. Little apple.
Palate: Dry with instantly fresh appeal. The acidity of this Albarino is cleansing, captivating yet easy going. In a ripe citrus lemon sorbet style, it’s well rounded, youthful structure has a sea salt minerality providing a tasty back bone to its medium+ body. And then you see there’s that freshness again, persisting. This is a very tasty 2014 Spanish white that goes well beyond where many other European 2014 whites dared to dream. It was afterall a generally a difficult vintage. Not having any detailed info on how well 2014 was in Rias Baixas, one nevertheless imagines that their proximity to the Atlantic coast means they’re pretty much used to dealing with wet and changeable conditions.

Either way, based on our tasting of La Marimorena, one fact is clear. The Wine Gurus are producing an Albarino that is definitely a must have.

TWO – The Invisible Man 2013 – Rioja – Tempranillo 100%

Eye: Ruby red of medium to light intensity that runs to the rim. It’s still young yet.
Nose: Aromas are of both medium intensity and complexity. A little light plum on initial opening, it then throws up hints of strawberry & cherry. Yet it’s a delicate toasty, aromatic wood, with very subtle vanilla twist, that comes to the fore and sits above the rest. But not overly so.
Palate: Dry, tending from medium to full bodied, while the tannins are soft and supple, the acidity falls short onto the low side. Delicate, ripe cherry and spice sit together with subtle toasted wood and tobacco. This low acidic profile is often associated with Tempranillo varietals. With this particular vintage, even if The Invisible Man 2013 doesn’t look set to make it for the long haul, there’s no shame in that. This wine is soft and easily approachable. In shortcode … Drink Now.

On further reflection, what counts most for us is that The Invisible Man 2013 has provided us with a new interesting reference point for a 100% Tempranillo varietal. Why? Well, in Rioja, Tempranillo is the ‘go-to’ grape in what are all principally blended wines. By its nature, it’s a grape whose characteristics can often be rendered ‘Invisible’ by the presence of even small parts of regular blending partners like Mazuelo or Garnacha. Purely speculation on our part, but might this potential ‘invisibility’ be the reason why CASA ROJO chose ‘The Invisible Man’ title? If so, it’s a nice fit. Whatever the reason, by making their 2013 with 100% Tempranillo, they are putting this ancient grape ‘solo’ centre stage and providing us with the absolute means of comparing the wines approachability, drinkability and age-ability with the more traditional blended Rioja style. Brave move guys and one that we believe will pay off long term. Hat’s off to The Wine Gurus and The Invisible Man! We’re already looking forward to tasting the 2014 when released.

THREE – MMM Macho Man Monastrell 2013 – Jumilla – Monastrell 100%

Eye: Intense rich ruby core that runs to the rim where you’ll pick up just the lightest of violet reflections. Showing good legs you could say we’re talking youthful exuberance.
Nose: Intense with medium complexity, soft dark berried fruit conserves including blackcurrant, light aromatic wood and is that a touch of woodland pot pourri.
Palate: Dry, med+ to full body, well structured with medium acidity, soft velvety tannins and a decent mineral hit, MACHO MAN MONASTRELL has a really nice balance for a youngster. Its concentrated fruit action offers an enjoyable slightly bitter twist at the end together with spice and some retro vapour, balsamic action too. MMM is a very memorable first step into the realm of MONASTRELL and it’s native home region of Jumilla. Confident style and real substance, MACHO MAN MONASTRELL is a progressive, go get em’ wine that most definitely kicks open the door to this region and this rockin’ grape. Watch this space.

On this unexpected and surprising day, we tasted only three from the Cellars of CASA ROJO.

The four missing pieces from the puzzle were the Tinto Fino ‘Alexander vs The Ham Factory’ from DO Ribera del Duero, the Verdejo ‘El Gordo del Circo’ from DO Rueda, the Garnatxa Negre ‘Maquinon’ from DOQ Priorat and the mysterious sparkling Trepat of ‘Molto Negre’ from DO Cava. If only we had known :)

Next time, let’s create a little more ‘ELBOW’ room at the tasting table!

Let’s throw those curtains wide and bring in all of CASA ROJO’s magnificent seven.

In the words of Guy Garvey, one day like this a year would see us right ;)
That’s just how we feel.



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