An introduction to Montsant via Acústic
Much as I previously wrote in An introduction to Empordà wines, it’s important to know those wines of a region which allow you a good gateway in to the region at large. Sure, finding less expensive wines are fun, but it’s often the case that they’re not really showing you what’s waiting just on the edge of the cusp for when you really want to do in and fully explore a region.
Obviously, with seven old cooperatives producing a number of “cost effective” wines, DO Montsant is not lacking in the budget option of wines. But if you want to see a proper view of the wine landscape of the region, I highly recommend checking out the wines of Acústic Celler. Despite the lack of a proper website, this winery, started by Albert Jané in 2004 on shoestring has taken the Catalan wine scene by storm.
It starts with the Blanc and Negre wines which, for the price are truly representative wines of Montsant and frame the region well despite the fact that Albert owns and buys from several properties around the region. You will often find these in restaurants because they’re immediately approachable and just incredibly friendly.
You can then of course step it up a notch with the Braó which is a bigger wine that shows more depth and richness. While nearly double the price of the base line, it’s still quite wallet friendly although in the Acústic wines, it’s really the Auditori that comes in at the top with a fantastic blend of character that shows off the excellence of Grenache from Montsant.
You can also find Albert working in DOQ Priorat with his Ritme cellar based in La Vilella Alta. These wines follow a similar pattern at the Montsant ones although whether it’s due to the newness of the project or having until 2014 worked in a rented space, I find that the approach for the Montsant wines is more refined. Whatever the case, it’s definitely a cellar to watch at well, especially if you favor Priorat over Montsant although unlike the Elvis/Beatles argument, I’m fully of the belief you can enjoy both regions with little conflict of interest other than the time you have to drink all of them.
Pallid straw in color. Mineral limestone, mint, and old oak in the nose as well as green cherry. Body medium plus, acidity medium with oak getting a bit more prevalent and astringent into the lingering finish.
White/Grey Grenache, Macabeu, Xarel·lo 13.5% 12.50€
Ruby red/purple and bright in color with red fruit notes, cherry, raspberry, slight degree of spices, minor fennel, cloves, Alcohol medium plus. Medium plus body, mix of old and new old oak aspects.
Carignan, Grenache 14% 12.50€
Vibrant purple in color. Plum, cocoa, white pepper, and a light touch of limestone in the nose. High alcohol presence with acidity medium. In mouth medium plus acidity, long finish. Could probably stand another year in the bottle.
Grenache, Carignan 15% 24€
Álvaro Palacios - L’Ermita 2016
Very light red cherry, raspberry, tea leaves, dried fennel, light touch of anise, bay leaf, dried flowers, touch of fig compote, truffle. Exceptionally light and delicate on the palate, very very fine red fruits, integrated tannins, plush with a slightly buttery, velvety aspect, very long finish.
85% Grenache 14% Carignan 1% "Others" · 15% · 1160EUR
Ancestral Wine Cellar - Khikhvi 2014
First harvest of Khikhvi. Light apricot notes, peach skin, lemon peel. Citric in the mouth, fresh, lively acidity, vibrant. Very holistic, full and deliciously good.
100% Khikhvi · 12% · 30GEL
Álvaro Palacios - Les Aubaguetes 2016
Linear plum and dark cherry notes, powdery cocoa, orange peel and blossom, raspberry at the base along with minor vanilla and dark spice touches. Delicate on the palate, light touches of dark fruit, good wealth of tannins yet held in check, medium plus acidity, very long finish. Needs much more time in the bottle.
77% Grenache 21% Carignan 1% Grenache Blanc 1% Macabeu · 14.5% · 455EUR
Petriaant Marani - Khikhvi 2015
Bruised red apple, touch of lemon peel, limestone minerality, and some white pepper notes at the back of it. High acidity and full in the mouth. Luscious, involving, elegant wine.
100% Khikhvi · 14% · 25GEL
Aquila del Torre - Primaluce 2015
Bruised yellow apple, bit of fig compote, chalky mineral notes, and hazelnut. Light oxidized touches that work to embellish the wine. Rich palate that carries lovely texture with the age of the wine.
100% Sauvignon Blanc · 13.5%
Domaine Augustin - Adéodat Blanc 2016
Lemon and white peach, strong kick of salinity, and toasted notes. Very fleshy and full on the palate, peach notes more prominent as well as Meyer lemon, medium plus acidity and a lengthy finish.
100% Grenache Gris · 14.5% · 20EUR
AA Badenhorst - Secateurs Red Blend 2012
Forest bramble with ripe red fruit, touches of cherry, ripe red plum, tiny bit of prune, cumin, anise, black licorice, wet cement mineral note, underlying fig jam. Crisp medium plus acidity, medium tannins, medium plus length, medium alcohol, overall medium plus body that’s ripe and lively but super fresh and balanced at the same time. Bit of rugged wildness to it but doesn’t get out of hand. Easy to drink but with just enough underlying complexity so that it stays interesting.
56% Syrah 27% Cinsaut 6% Grenache 4% Cabernet Sauvignon 7% "Others" · 13.5% · 12EUR
Domaine Treloar - Motus 2015
Dark ruby, minor rim. Big, mighty bouquet of red cherry and other brambly forest fruit, vanilla, almond blossom, orange peel, and cocoa. Rich and full on the palate with a wealth of tannins still integrating, leading into a crunchy, lingering finish.
80% Mourvèdre 10% Syrah 10% Grenache · 14% · 14EUR
Terroir Sense Fronteres - Guix Vermell 2017
Crisp red cherry fruit, touch of spice, flecks of pepper, baking spice, compacted, wet earth. Delicate on the palate, stays fresh, surprising high wealth of tannins, long finish.
100% Grenache · 13% · 250EUR
Tchotiashvili - Khikhvi 2014
Apricot, yellow peach, orange peel, and a touch of honey. Quite complex aromatically. Orchard fruit much more prevalent in the mouth with young apricot notes. Rich and elegant, touch of astringency in the finish.
100% Khikhvi · 13.1% · 28GEL