Saturday, October 20, 2012


I guess when each of your past two tasting winners are from the same place, you probably should acknowlege that place in writing.  Montsant is a Spanish viticultural D.O. (denominacion de origen)which lies toward the southwestern tip of the country.  Spain is sort of triangular shaped with the most acute angle hanging to the southwest, if that helps. 

The D.O. was established in 2001 when the higher altitude Montsant mountainside vineyards surrounding the esteemed Priorat D.O. were recognized for their own superiority.  The great red grapes of the region are Garnacha and Carenina with eight other types in the supporting cast.  Whites are also made there but our tasting winners were reds so we'll stay with that.  Montsant is actually a horseshoe-shaped ring around Priorat with the opening at the bottom.  It is a sub-region of Falset, which used to be the primary name on the wines, and the place lies within the Tarragona province in Catalonia.

Montsant has a dry Mediterranean climate with soils of lime over granite with slate below that.  The D.O. is 360m above sealevel on average.  Winemaking in the region is done mainly by young people trained in modern winemaking and their employers are largely family farms and co-ops.  Formerly these venues produced somewhat musty, oxidised sweet reds in the bad old days.

A week ago we sold out of 2006 Tossals Junior, a $14.99 bottle composed of 60% Garnacha, 30% Carenina, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.  Interestingly enough when introduced initially this wine commanded a $35/btl price.  A characteristic of Montsant reds is that they age gracefully, becoming more velvety with time in the bottle.  That was the case with Tossals and happily it is back in stock.

Last night our clear winner was the 2008 Besllum Montsant composed of 45% Garnacha, 45% Carenina, and 10% Syrah.  From the 93 point Robert Parker review: "16 months in new French oak; deeply colored; alluring bouquet of wood, smoke, exotic spices, incense, lavender, blueberry, and blackcherry; opulent; drink 2013-2023."  Similar to Tossals, Besllum was introduced at $34/btl and we have three bottles in stock now.

Both wines would work well with red meats on the grill or well-seasoned burgers.

Next Thursday, October 25th (5-7pm), Gail Avera of Lafayette Selections returns with an array of "coastal" wine selections.  These wines hail from Spain, France, and Italy and promise to return us to our youthful beachboy (and beachgirl) romps at the sea.

On Friday, October 26th (5-7pm), Tommy Basham of Continental Beverage returns with, oh I still don't know what, but it'll be fun as always!

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