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There has been a strong winemaking history in southern Cataluna since the Romans and later the monks, but more recently, there has been a slew of great wine coming out of southern Cataluna starting in the 1980s, when a handful of producers transformed their practices with modern techniques and equipment. Since this change there has been some serious competition between the famous DOCa Priorat and neighboring DO Montsant, but both regions are home to some of Spain’s oldest vines of native Garnacha and wines of exceptional purity. Pinyolet Garnacha comes from an historic family estate famous for farming vineyards and olive groves on stony terraces for over a century. A pinyolet is a pebble that results from the erosion of limestone boulders only found in the upper hills of Montsant, a region named for its “holy mountains.” These pebbles communicate an element of minerality and brightness that is unique to the best wines of this terroir. Montsant's cool climate and high elevation allow Garnacha to retain more acidity over a longer ripening cycle, making wines that are uplifting, floral, full of tension, and more elegant. In the words of great Neal Martin: “If Priorat is Pauillac then Montsant is Margaux”. Find out for yourself!
WHAT MAKES THIS WINE UNIQUE?
Sustainably grown, old vines tended in the sought-after pinyolet soil from the top subzone of Montsant, known as Masroig. This is a Mediterranean Garnacha expression that is floral and herbaceous, uplifted, elegant, full of tension and minerality and never overripe. The cooler, drier climate of Montsant produces Garnacha capable of aging for decades.
2016 91 WS 'Smart Buy'; 2014 91JS; 2013 90VM
100% Garnacha. Sustainably grown vines planted from 1987-2003 tended in limestone (pinyolets) and red clay soil at 520 m (1,706 ft) elevation. This is a vegan wine.
Pinyolet has fresh fruit, acidity and balance, and this easy-to-drink, juicy character will pair with a variety of red and white meats, but also with burgers, burritos, empanadas, panini sandwiches and other casual fare.
VINIFICATION AND AGEING:
6 months in 3 year old French oak barrels of 225. Lit.
LOCATION, SOIL, CLIMATE:
These vineyards are located within the the Masroig district of Montsant at 520m (1,706 ft) elevation. The Pinyolet limestone soil combined with the organic viticulture communicate the mineral identity of this great terroir. Night temperatures in Montsant are cooler than in Priorat allowing its grapes to ripen slowly thus preserving its aromatic purity to a higher degree. If Garnacha in Priorat shows black fruit qualities, Garnacha in Montsant shows red.
Pinyolet Garnacha reveals a rich strawberry and raspberry fruit intermixed with notes of licorice, crushed rock and earth, all offered in a medium to full-bodied, heady style. The price is a steal and the quality of the wine is impressive. Notes by Robert Parker Oct/Nov 2010. Bright ruby. Bright raspberry and blackberry on the nose. Red berry flavors are lifted by gentle acidity, picking up spiciness with air. Finishes broad and smooth, with good length. Notes by Josh Raynolds