As far as Spanish appellations go, Montsant is a bit of a baby -- small and young. Only established in 2001, after being pulled out as a distinct D.O. (Denominacion de Origen) from the larger Tarragona region that surrounds the famous Priorat, Montsant now rings the Priorat, a concentric circle around its famous forbearer, roughly 100 miles south of Barcelona, Spain.
The Montsant region is marked by old volcanic slopes of nutrient poor, mineral rich soils covering granite and slate, and little rainfall. The primarily Grenache vines (along with Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Carignan) in the area must send their roots deep into the ground for water.
Perhaps the most famous producer in this region is the Cellar de Capçanes, a collective of over 120 growers in the region that has recently gathered much acclaim from critics for producing high scoring wines at rock bottom prices. But before a bottle landed on the desk of Robert M. Parker, Jr. the wines Capçanes were more likely to be found in synagogues than anywhere else.
Ironically for a country dominated by Catholicism, it was the need for a high quality kosher wine in the Barcelona market that launched the success of the Capçanes collective. The collective was started in 1933, and mainly provide bulk wine to some of Spain's larger producers until 1995. Who knows what shrewd businessman made the case for trying to serve the Jewish Kosher market in Spain, but the collective decided to make the significant investment in new equipment required to produce the kosher wine and has never looked back since.
80% Grenache and 20% Syrah, this wine is made from some of the older Grenache vines in the roughly 600 acres owned by the collective. The wine is fermented in steel and then aged in American oak barrels (30% new) and is bottled unfiltered.
The wine is a medium ruby in the glass, and has a nose dominated by sweet oak and bright cherry aromas. In the mouth it is medium bodied with dusty, light tannins that envelop primary flavors of sawdust and cherries which fade to a slightly mineral finish of moderate length laced again with sweet oak. Perhaps a few too much oak flavor in this one for my taste, but an awfully good wine for the price.
The dusty fruit of this wine will go very well with the bright fresh flavors of this tomato goat cheese tart.
How Much?: $10
This wine is available for purchase on the Internet.
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. 2015 Roederer Award Winner.Learn more.
I'll Drink to That: Nicoletta Bocca of San Fereolo Book Review: Shadows in the Vineyard by Maximillian Potter Wine News: What I'm Reading the Week of 5/8/16 I'll Drink to That: Tom Peters of Monk's Cafe Vinography Unboxed: Week of May 1, 2016 I'll Drink to That: Daniel Brunier of Vieux Télégraphe Vinography Images: Green Gold I'll Drink to That: Angelo Gaja of Gaja Winery Hungarian Wine: Hope, Dreams, Heritage and Progress Wine News: What I'm Reading the Week of 5/1/16
Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune