In the newspaper column and here I’ve urged readers to find a wine shop and wine proprietor they’re comfortable with and can recommend wines to your taste.

Bob and Ashley at Indy’s Cork and Cracker hit it out of the park Saturday. I had made a couple stops in the area and wasn’t really buying wine. But I stopped in the shop to pick up a bottle of the Furmint I had enjoyed and blogged about here a couple weeks ago.


Bob was excited about an Italian Chardonnay. Yes, you read that correctly! There are two words you don’t see in the same sentence often. It was a light, non oaky, Chard. I just had a small sip but did bring a bottle home for under $10. And note, I’m just not a Chardonnay drinker.

But the real find was a Castano Monastrell from Spain. I had not had the grape before and when Ashley emerged from the backroom she described it somewhat similar to Garnacha or a Syrah. The only link I could find on Monastrell was Wikipedia, which I generally don’t send people to, but it had a lot of information that seemed consistent with shorter entries elsewhere. You can read about the grape here.

They bought a bunch of the Castano and have sold a bunch of it. It has gotten nice ratings from several wine writers in the 87-90 range.

I would compare it favorably to the same two grapes as Ashley, leaning more toward a Spanish Garnacha. It was fruity, yet dry, a big-bodied wine with some spice. It was smooth with a pleasant finish. That’s sort of a generic description, I know, but that is one of the strengths of this wine. I don’t think many would call it complex, but it’s definitely an interesting glass of wine.

Now here is the board-the-side-of-head on this wine: $7! Yes, SEVEN dollars a bottle! If you see it, I’d strongly recommend buying it. If you are near the old Glendale Mall in Indy, get to Cork & Cracker and buy some … but don’t wait. Wine this good at that price is not going to last long. Very impressive!

Send comment or questions to: hewitthoward@gmail.com

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