Monastrell as an oxidative variety, from myth to reality

The importance of carein the handling of the grape starts from vintage and must be present during the whole process of winemaking. /LBA

By Iza Święcicka

The critical myths of Monastrell collapse. The Monastrell grape is no more oxidized than other varieties. “We can read in many books that this variety is easily oxidized, but it is false”, Rafael Poveda, oenologist of Bodegas Salvador Poveda in Monóvar, says. “Monastrell becomes oxidized in the same way as other varieties. But for three or four centuries we have worked the Monastrell to make old and aged wines which oxidize quickly. The winemaker even caused oxidation to sell three year old wines as if they were ten years old”, the winemaker explains.

A manual selection of clusters helps the sanitary control of the grape and improvement of wine quality. /LBA

But the treatment of Monastrell changed. “Now I do not want anything to become oxidized, so I recollect the healthy Monastrell and I put it in a cold tank, so it is oxidized the same as Merlot or Tempranillo”, Poveda says. The French winegrower and winemaker Sèbastien Boudon points out, that “formerly the Monastrell was used to make wine in bulk and so it was sought to produce many kilograms of grapes, and in this case it is oxidizable, but if the plant a Cabernet Sauvignon reached 8 -10 kilograms, it would also behave oxidatively.”

The grain to grain selection ensures the good condition of the grapes for elaborating the wine. /LBA

The grain to grain selection ensures the good condition of the grapes for elaborating the wine. /LBA

The importance of care in the handling of the grapes from their vintage to the wine making process is critical in terms of the oxidation of the grape, Adrián Martínez Cutillas, director of the Murcia Institute of Agricultural and Food Research and Development (IMIDA) and researcher at the Department of Viticulture, emphasizes.”If the production is small and the cluster treated properly, as in ensuring their quality and harvesting the vintage at the right moment, it is not a variety that is easily oxidizable. This is a condition to achieve wines which can compete with any other variety”, the director says.

“The oxidative capacity of the Monastrell is a myth that comes from a truth, but it is not the grapes but the winemaker who oxidized it. The grape, if you take care of it well, has good resistance to oxidation, based on its tannin and acidity total”, the winemaker Rafael Poveda concludes.

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Discovering Monastrell

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  1. Discovering Monastrell | La Bodega Alicantina

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