Saturday, January 23, 2010

Castell de Falset Montsant 2004

All week I have been writing about wines from regions that are not necessarily the best known in their respective countries. We have looked at wines from Campania in Italy, Vacqueyras in France, and the Columbia Valley in Washington. Today we’ll be taking a look at a great little region from Spain. Spain is very famous in the wine world for Tempranillo based wines from Rioja, but it has a great variety of different regions and grapes (for more in depth info on the main Spanish red wine regions, see my post on Spanish wine here ). Spain’s second best known region is probably Priorat, which produces some intense, highly sought after collectible wines. Just to the south of Priorat, almost in a horseshoe shape around it on three sides, is the relatively newly formed region of Montsant, which just received its Denominacion de Origen or DO classification in 2001.

Montsant does not have the same elevations and steep hillsides as its neighbor to the north, but it does have the benefit of the same great climate with the combination of hot days and cool nights that can be so good for developing powerful but nicely structured wines. Most of the DO is planted with Garnacha (called Grenache in most of the world) and Carinena (called Carignan in most of the world), which even many experts mistakenly refer to as French grapes; however, the truth is that both of these varietals are native to Spain and have been grown there for wine for centuries. There are also plenty of wineries experimenting with international varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah.

The Montsant we are looking at today is the Castell de Falset Montsant 2004. Consisting of 50% Carinena, 25% Garnacha, and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon aged for 12 months in French oak, the wine has an intense purple color in your glass. The nose brings wonderful aromas of black cherry and blackberries with a hint of cedar. In your mouth you get a very nice and very dark black fruit profile with a little bit of earthy minerality. There is enough acidity and very smooth tannins that provide some structure to balance out the fruit. This wine is drinking great now and probably just in the beginning of its prime. You could easily lay this down for a few more years.

Overall this Montsant is a very nice wine that has a great combination of fruit and structure. Retailing for about $27, it gives you much more bang for the buck than similarly priced wines from Priorat. In fact it drinks like a $50 bottle of Priorat.

This would pair well with grilled beef or lamb, or my preferred pairing would be with an appetizer or tapas course of authentic Spanish Serrano ham and Mahon cheese. Yum!

As a final note, if this all sounds great, but you want to start with a less expensive wine from Montsant, check out my review of the Mas Donis Montsant here


1 comment:

  1. A lot of people find that they're partial to wines from a particular region, especially when it comes to the difference between old world and new world. It's the terroir of the region all the way. Calatayud Garnacha, for example, is made in high-altitude regions of Spain, where grapes ripen slowly, and the fruit-forward style of the resulting wine really communicates the tenor of the land. I won't stoop to say that drinking Garnacha is like "being in Spain"...but it's at least like getting a phone call from an old friend who lives there.