In 2002, Montsant was recognized as a distinct wine region in Spain. Winemakers aimed to make premium wines from low-yield vines and modern technology.
On The Edge Of Greatness
When the great wine regions of Spain are mentioned, chances are Montsant is not in the discussion. It wouldn’t be on my radar except that during a trip to Priorat a few years ago, I picked up a bottle of Montsant wine in a shop and stuffed it in my luggage for the trip home.
Montsant is a U-shaped wine area southwest of Barcelona. It nearly circles the Priorat region. Priorat and Rioja are the only regions to obtain Spain’s highest quality regional designation (DOCa). On the other hand, Montsant had been part of Tarragona, which has an amazing Roman coliseum but otherwise is known for lower quality supermarket wine. Winemakers in Montsant felt they could do better and perhaps emulate their neighbors in Priorat. In 2002, Monsant became its own DO (Denominación de Origen under Spanish wine law).
The bottle of Montsant I purchase in Spain was outstanding. Since then, I’ve looked for Montsant high and low.
I picked up the 2008 Englora for $18 at Total Wine. Spanish wines tend to overdeliver for the price, one reason I love them.
This is a blend of 47% Garnacha, 22% Carignan, 19% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Syrah and 4% Tempranillo. That’s a lot of red grape goodness in the bottle! The grapes are grown at the foot of Montsant in the Siurana Valley. It is aged nine months in oak barrels.
The wine is medium bodied with aromas of red fruit wafting from the glass. On the palate there are rich notes of raspberry and cherry. Nice minerality permeates the wine which has structure, but leans toward the fruit forward side of the spectrum.
Montsant is a wine region ascendant. We recommend starting to drink its wine now. You’ll be able to tell friends you knew Montsant before Montsant was cool.