Among the lesser-known wine-growing regions of Spain, Montsant seems like a potential treasure trove of solid, yet not too expensive wines, often coming from undervalued old vines. Its soil has similarities with next door Priorat (unproductive soils on slate, also common in Bierzo), and so does the varietal selection, but there is certainly nothing in common with the stratospheric prices of Priorat wines.
Which is what makes Mas Collet 2004, a well-integrated combination of garnacha/grenache (35%), carinena/carignan (25%), tempranillo (25%) and cabernet sauvignon (15%), such a lovely proposition. Selling between 10$ (in Spain) and less than 20$ in Quebec, it provides a complex and fairly intense combination of ripe cherries, dark fruit, dried fruit and spices over a layer of solid, yet not overwhelming tannins coming as much from the dry farming and limited yields as from the sensible use of oak. The slight astringency and sun-dried character that I so enjoy from traditional Spanish wines is there, with a good dose of more modern, fruit-forward character. Pretty much the best of both worlds.
Interesting detail, Celler Capçanes has been producing kosher wines since the late 1990s, when it received a request from Barcelona’s Jewish community. This encouraged the company to improve its equipments, which in turn helped improve the wines, and even gave exports a boost, particularly to Israel, as warm reviews of the wines in the daily newspaper Haaretz point out.
Among other praise, Capçanes has received accolades from Jancis Robinson, who called the former co-op an “exceptional Catalan producer” and pointed out its capacity to offer such solid wines at low prices. I couldn’t agree more.