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€