Altico is the latest and finest creation to date from Agapito Rico, Jumilla’s preeminent wine artisan. Agapito Rico is, perhaps, best known for Carchelo, a moderately priced Monastrell blend that has taken wine critics and savvy consumers by storm, but this wonderful winemaker fashions an entire array of exciting wines. From 175 acres, located in a high remote mountain valley in Murcia, Jumilla native Agapito Rico fashions compelling Rhône style wines from varying amounts of Mourvedre, Syrah, Merlot, and Tempranillo. At Altico, in vineyards located at over 2200 feet in a desert like climate, the indigenous Monastrell (Mourvedre) thrives on its own rootstock and is farmed organically for nearly all intents and purposes. In addition, average yields are an impressively low 1.5 tons per acre, one of the lowest in Europe. Since its recent release Altico, a masterful blend of 60% Monastrell and 40% Syrah, has become Agapito Rico’s flagship wine.
For decades, Spain had been referred to as “the sleeping giant of European wine,” but with Agapito Rico’s Altico and similar like-minded estates coming to fore – wineries that have built new facilities and know how to craft world class wines – Spain is just now beginning to realize its enormous potential as a treasure trove of excellent red, white, and sparkling wines. In the case of Agapito Rico, it is a combination of excellent modern winemaking and an extensive acreage of old vine Mourvedre that lead the quality charge. Monastrell or Mourvedre as it is more commonly called internationally is responsible for some of the wine world’s ultimate crowd pleasers, especially when married to its soul mate Syrah. Consequently, with the awakening of this great sleeping giant, one has to wonder if Spain’s Second Golden Age is not already upon us. Enjoy it!