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MWG October 17th tasting (4/5): Poor man’s Priorat?

with 5 comments

Montsant 2011, Cellers Can Blau ($22.95, 11034644)
A new project started by the owners of Bodegas Juan Gil. Carignan (40%), Syrah (40%) and Grenache (20%) from vines averaging 40 years old. Manually harvested. Matured 12 months in French oak barrels, 30% new. 14.5% ABV according to the SAQ; 15.5% ABV according to the label. This flight’s Cellier New Arrivals wine.
Oak, spice, vanilla, slate and eventually toast. Grew in interest as it breathed. Rich and chocolatey on the palate. Fruit (black and blue) marks the attack, minerals the mid-palate and spice the finish. Hides the alcohol well but the combination of soft structure, low acidity and ultraripe fruit makes for a wine that’s more flaccid and lethargic than ideal. (Buy again? Meh.)

Montsant 2010, Vespres, Celler Dosterras ($23.90, 11667361)
A blend of Grenache (80%) and Samso (aka Carignan) from 20- to 50-year-old vines that are farmed organically, though the estate doesn’t appear to be certified. Manually harvested. Macerated and fermented in stainless steel tanks, then transferred to oak barrels for malolactic maceration. Matured 11 months in 300-litre French oak barrels. No clarification or stabilization until bottling, when it is very lightly filtered. Bottle-aged at least three months before release. 14% ABV.
Appealing nose: leather, old wood, dried earth, slate, blackberry and raspberry. A tasty if concentrated mouthful of spicy red and black fruit with redwood and spice, structuring tannins and enlivening acidity. Very dry for such a juicy wine. Long. The best of the three. (Buy again? Quite possibly.)

Montsant 2011, Jaspi Negre, Coca i Fitó ($18.50, 11387351)
Jaspi is the label for the estate’s entry-level Montsants. The red is made from Grenache (45%), Carignan (25%), Cabernet Sauvignon (15%) and Syrah (15%) from organically farmed 15- to 90-year old vines. Manually harvested. Matured three to four months in French and American oak barrels. 14.5% ABV.
Candied cherry, marshmallow, hints of cinnamon and licorice. In the mouth, it proves relatively simple, dry but intensely fruity. Saved from bombdom by a sour/bitter current, dark mineral substrate and sufficient if subdued structure. The fair finish brings some roasted coffee and chocolate but not the expected alcoholic flare. Would probably show better at the dining – not the tasting – table. (Buy again? Maybe.)

Written by carswell

October 27, 2013 at 10:54

Posted in Tasting notes

Tagged with , ,

5 Responses

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  1. OK, You’re the only one of the people I know being critical of this wine. I’m not saying the others are right (groupthink sometimes happen). Others (OK, Fouduvin 🙂 were swearing by its balanced tannins and acidity. You tell us acidity is almost non-existent. I’m gonna be prudent and pass on this one. I don’t know Spain that much and that does not help too.


    October 27, 2013 at 21:03

    • I haven’t seen much local comment about the Can Blau, Ant-1, but it certainly got some good worldwide press, including from critics whose palates I usually think of as in line with my own (e.g Jancis Robinson rated it 16.5/20). That was the main reason I chose it for the tasting. The acidity wasn’t non-existent, just insufficient to make the wine refreshing, which is usually the first quality I look for in a wine. Also, note that I’m something of an acid freak.

      I didn’t survey the people at the tasting but I know some of them enjoyed this flight. Will ask a few what they thought of the Can Blau and report back if they don’t chime in with a comment of their own.

      Thanks for the input. Am off to check FdV…


      October 27, 2013 at 21:27

    • Only one reply to my query: “My notes are thin but I noted the dark ripe fruit, a smoky character on the nose. On second taste I found it had considerable residual sugar, balanced somewhat by 15.5% abv? (SAQ says 14.5%…) Overall, a rich, intense, vaguely sweet wine that just wasn’t really in my preferred style. I preferred the two other wines in the flight: the salty, stewy Jaspi Negre and the Vespres.”

      Will twist a couple of arms when I next encounter them to see if I can elicit further feedback.


      October 31, 2013 at 22:18

  2. Tasted both the Can Blau and the Jaspi Negre last night (with a Fondue Chinoise), the Jaspi was the prefered wine at the table (by not much).

    At those prices, both wines will be in my basket for Christmas.



    November 10, 2013 at 17:21

    • Thanks for the feedback, Max. Wouldn’t have guessed either wine (both very dark) was up your alley but cool that they are. No doubt they deliver a lot of wine for the price.


      November 10, 2013 at 17:25

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