Bodegas Lavia – A World Class Monastrell Producer – James Melendez


I’m in front of Bodegas Lavia in the middle of the vineyard.



I was fortunate enough to put my foot on ground in Bullas, D.O in Murcia, Spain to experience a world class producer of Monastrell: Bodegas Lavia  I think the most amazing thing is to visit a wine country in it’s pre-budding period–for me the wetter and the cooler season is often more memorable than peak growing season because I have to use my imagination of what I see and what I taste.  And simply the focus is not a wandering mind due to ideal weather but because the cool and moist weather makes my mind focus on the subject at hand.  I have a greater appreciation for this site when I tasted finished wines and see a cool and yet-to-bud vineyard and for me there is nothing so inspiring.  Bodegas Lavia is panoramic and the site and winery are immaculate–showing a constant attention of both site and facility is a labour of love which reflected back to each bottle I tasted.  Bodegas Lavia’s logo depicts the peak that represents the landscape and combination of climate, weather, soil type and a neighbouring forest of pine trees to help the ecosystem retain moisture.


The beautiful peak logo on each label of Bodegas Lavia


Barrel cactus in front of the Bodegas Lavia


It is time for more Monastrell!  Monastrell from Bullas is a grape that found the right region and the region found the right grape.  Monastrell (Mourvèdre) is a grape that in my opinion selects the region where it is planted or better said Monastrell is defined by being planted in the optimum region.  Southeast Spain is a great place for Monastrell and Bullas is an optimum region.  Nicely hot the way Monastrell likes in the summer and excellent soil content make for the right conditions.  The best of fruit does not always yield the best of wine; the best fruit and the best wine makers makes for outstanding wine.  I had the honour and privilege to visit Bodegas Lavia with winemaker Sebastien Boudon.  Sebastien lets a combination of judiciousness and balance to produce wines that have a full sense of art, place and variety that result in memorable wines that put Bodegas Lavia on the world wine map.


Sebastien Boudon giving us a sample from barrel


When I think of the many Monastrell (Mourvèdre) I have tasted in the past half decade have landed often on a singular note: Chocolate.  I kept thinking that this variety was stuck on the chocolate note and no other.  I thought–how nice–I’ll keep this variety in mind when I need a full throttle chocolate experience.  There is nothing wrong with this note as I have tasted many a variety with a hint of chocolate, however, this note was amongst many other characteristics.   My experience in Bullas and Alicante has changed my view of Monastrell (Mourvèdre) as there is a great liveliness that expresses a delightful texture and depthful complexity.  I love the complexity of Monastrells from Lavia–each held symbolic and symphonic notes of black/blue fruit, intense red floral, winter spices and fresh herbs.  I love complexity in wines and to do get there does not mean using intense toasting of barrels but rather a balance of barrels and toasting signatures.  The stylzation that Sebastian creates is an homage to the best for this regions but also an overall of great expression but not at the expense of excess but of absolute authenticity.  Sebastian employs native yeast, a posture to not overly extract fruit in maceration, French barrels and ho heavy toasting, and non-reliance on new barrels.  The coopers in the barrel room range from François Frerers, Boutes, Remond, to Redoux.  No one in Bullas D.O. has the same touch and depth of experience as does Sebastien Boudon–a master Monatrell wine maker.


Sebastien Boudon – Wine Maker (Center) and fellow wine writer Liza Swift – Brix Chicks (Right)




Finca Paso Malo


Bullas D.O. is 2,500 hectares / 6,100 acres and became a DO (Denominación de Origen) in 1994.  Though a long time wine grape producing region it has come a long way to become a region of high quality and artistically driven wines.  Bodegas Lavia is easily one of the flagship producers of the region.  While Monastrell is king here–the regions also produces Syrah, Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Viura.  The Oxford Companion to Wine gives a very very brief paragraph about Bullas which is both unfortunate and telling–unfortunate in that it is a big miss to not talk about this regions fine wines and telling insofar as not either viewing or experiencing this regions to document the beautiful craft of winemaking that is happening here and now.  When I see all too brief entries it appears to be an assessment of the region and/or perhaps not paying attention.  Soil composition in Bullas is limestone and alluvium and unlike many agricultural crops–Vitis vinifera either does okay if the soil is not optimum or thrives if the soil type allows for proper growth, nutrition and access to water.  Bodegas Lavia has a great set of soil and climate circumstances to support outstanding old vines.  The vines in Finca Paso Malo are 50 years old Monastrell vines, other sites of Lavia include 40 year old Monastrell and 16 year old Syrah vines.


Beautiful metamorphic rock found at Finca Paso Malo


On this trip, I tasted many tissues from pork to chicken to fish and I tasted with Monastrell.  As I have tasted Tempranillo with many fish dishes–the harmony and matching capability of Monastrell was a definitive experience.  Spain is alive with great wine to pair with a lively food culture. I had one experience of tasting Paella and Monastrell and the pairing was superb–neither got lost in the mix–instead a complement to each other.   While Bodegas Lavia’s wines can be enjoyed without food–my optimum experience with these wines is to taste and enjoy with food.


Squid and Squid Ink




Here are a list of wines that I got to taste with my point scores.  I did taste a couple of barrel samples and they were near their time to be bottled:

Lavia Bullas Monastrell-Syrah 2004 – 9.4


Monastrell is the lead partner of 80% to 20% Syrah

Scent characteristics: Wild strawberry, cedar, cherry and leather bound library

Flavour notes: Strawberry, white pepper, cassis and cardamom.


Lavia Bullas Monastrell-Syrah – 2006 9.4

Monastrell is the lead partner of 80% to 20% Syrah

Scent characteristics: Boysenberry, ancient forest, cassis, and underbrush

Flavour notes: Bright cherry, Black Krim tomato, cardamom and hint of chocolate


Lavia Bullas Monastrell-Syrah 2009 – 9.3


Monastrell is the lead partner of 80% to 20% Syrah

Scent characteristics: Blackberry, strawberry, cinnamon, spice rack, and violets

Flavour notes: Cherry, strawberry, hint of chocolate, pepper, cinnamon stick

Lavia Bullas Monastrell-Syrah 2010 9.3 (93)


Monastrell is the lead partner of 80% to 20% Syrah

Scent characteristics: Tayberry raspberry, tart red cherry, rustic wood pile and hint of suede

Flavour notes: Tayberry, raspberry cardamom, cinnamon, brittle, and hint of Thyme


Lavia+ Bullas Finca Paso Malo Monastrell 2009 (95)


Scent characteristics: Allspice, Licorice, hint of Cacao, game

Favour notes: Cassis, blackberry, mineral, Bay leaf and hint of lavender


This tasting highlighted old vine Monastrell as well as how it ages–these wines need not be consumed right away.  The aging potential of Monastrell of Lavia wines has promise.  I was delighted to taste wines a wine 11 years old–no sign of weakening but rather a wine holding considerable finesse.


I know it is hard to just read about great wine and experiences–as I like to say tasting is believing.  I would encourage Bodegas Lavia’s wines be tasted at some point in your wine tasting plans.  The point of difference of artistically crafted wines from Bodegas Lavia are a treasury of delight.  Seek out these wines—I am.


James Melendez

James the Wine Guy

Website for Bodegas Lavia

Bodegas Lavia is part of MGWines Group

MGWines Group

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About James Melendez

II love wine and business. I am obsessed with the subject, the art, the history, the sciences, organization management, and making things less complex I have been a former national wine marketing manager for a large off-premise food and wine retailer (280+ retail locations in 30 US States); the love for wine taught me the good practice of using the best methodologies to right side a business which unto itself is complex. Further complexity is wine. Wine simple to enjoy and yet profoundly complex because of many factors: Many grape varieties States of wine: sparkling, still and fortified wines Vintage Blends Regions/AVAs/DOCs etc. Many producer styles Many producers Limited supply Limited and often restricted distribution My experience is still a lot of intimidation with respect to wine. Wine means many things to many people; status, fear, success, ‘you’ve arrived’, enjoyment, good times, tradition and even ceremony. I have consulted with wine producers and association. I have spoken on Wine and Social Media, Wine and Video and The Business of Wine in conferences in the United States and Europe. Beer and spirits do have the same dynamics–there are many producers but compared to wine there is no other consumer product like it. I have been writing about since November 2006 on my site and I have over 2,890 wine videos on my YouTube channel talking about general wine subject matter as well as specific educational topics on wine and reviews. I have been a wine judge and have traveled to many wine countries in the new and old world. Wine has taken me to great places. Life is tough for most of us and it is nice to celebrate life with those near and even far. What wine is really about is sitting around a table with family and friends raising your wine glass and saying—to life! I love to write about travel, food, technology and business–please subscribe! Salute, *** A plethora of wine reviews from wines regions around the world. Read more of my wine © 2020, 2018, 2017, 2010 James P. Melendez – All Rights Reserved.
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