Thursday, March 25, 2010

Bargain Bins (Wines to try for under $20)

© 2010 Donofrio

2007 Can Blau, Montsant (Catalonia, Spain)
Appellation: Montsant (DO)
Region: Catalonia
Grapes: Mazuelo (40%), Syrah (40%), Garnacha (20%)
Food Pairings: Braised Pig, Flank Steak, Most Grilled Meats and Roasts

Montsant is a fairly new appellation in the northeast corner of Spain, not far from Barcelona. It straddles the picturesque wine villages of the Priorat region and shares some of the soil and terrain that has made that region so treasured.

However, what Priorat and Monsant don't typically share is the pricing of their wines. Many of the best Priorat vineyards are on high, steep slopes with nothing but a slippery slate (called licorella) under foot. To farm these vineyards is slow and sometimes dangerous and that is reflected in the high price of many of the wines. Most Montsant vineyards are on gently sloped hills or even cut into flatter terraces along mountain ranges. This type of farming eases the labor requirements and those savings are usually passed on to the consumer. What you get is a Priorat-inspired wine at a fraction of the price...

Tasting Notes:

  • The color is bright purple at the core and fades to deep ruby. The tears are viscous and stained.

  • On the nose there is a jammy, stewed fruit aroma of red and black plum, red cherry, and deeper black fruit. The dusty-slate character of the licorella is also detectable underneath.

  • The palate is filled with flavors of cherry compote and black fruit jam. The pronounced earthiness is also tasted behind the fruit and is balanced with hints of spice. The finish is fairly long, complex, and a touch warm. The tannins and acidity are both elevated, hinting that short-term aging might be beneficial...

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