A friend from California came for Sunday dinner (chicken roasted with potatoes and carrots), and since I knew he enjoyed Spanish wines, I pulled a Jumilla from my cellar, one of the last bottles from a couple of cases I had bought for a party back in 2005.
Jumilla is a formerly obscure, now-improving region in southeastern Spain, where sandy soils and sunny, hot weather nourish its signature grape, Monastrell (known as Mourvèdre in France). Casa de la Ermita's hearty red adds Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon to the blend. With the case discount, I think I paid just under $10 per bottle.
Dark in color and thick in texture, the wine showed black fruit flavors with hints of raisins and the notes of earth and game typical of Monastrell. It was rustic but harmonious, mature yet still lively. I gave it 89 points, non-blind. When I reviewed the wine in 2003, I advised "drink now through 2010." Based on this bottle, I'd say the wine will remain on this plateau of maturity through 2012.
WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review of Casa de la Ermita Jumilla Crianza 2001 (88 points, $11)