Mad Dogs & Englishmen Shiraz Cabernet Monastrell 2003

Price: $8
Maker: Bodegos y Vinedos de Murcia, Jumilla, Spain
Varietal: Monastrell, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon Blend
Packaging: 750 ml bottle, artificial cork
Alcohol: 13.5%
Our Rating: 8.5 out of 10

Mad Dogs & Englishmen Shiraz Cabernet Monastrell 2003 is a nice wine for a great price. The nose is more fragrant than most, featuring raspberry and vanilla notes. The flavor leans toward the dry side; it’s not overly fruity, but offers a mix of cherry, raspberry, silky tannins, and peppery spice. The finish lingers a bit, favoring the tannins. Overall, this wine presents itself better than one that can be found for under $10.

It’s odd that the maker (or importer) lists Monastrell, the main ingredient at 50%, last on the label. One can only presume that they assumed that American buyers might shun the unfamiliar Monastrell varietal. Instead, they lead with Shiraz, a wine variety known to be fun and accessible and widely promoted by Yellow Tail and many others. Perhaps that’s good marketing, but it undersells the unique quality of this wine. It’s a bit more sophisticated than the typical inexpensive Shiraz from Australia or California. Leading with the Monastrell might have enabled them to command a slightly higher price point.

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