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Francesc Sanchez Bas Montsalvat 2001

  • RP95
750ML / 0% ABV
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Winemaker Notes

"The 2001 Montsalvat is a gargantuan effort composed of 70% Carinena from 70- to 80-year-old vines and 30% Garnacha of the same age with yields of less than a ton per acre. The wine was aged 16 months in new French oak and bottled unfined and unfiltered. The color is a nearly black/purple with a huge nose of marzipan, mineral, vanilla, and wild blue and blackberries. Full-bodied, the wine has an untamed, rustic feel on the palate with layered, opulent blue and black fruits as well as a balsamic note, and a splendid integration of oak, acid, and tannins. Give this wine a few years in bottle for further evolution and then drink it over the next 10-15 years. Like most of the stars in Priorat, Francesc Sanchez Bas, an agricultural engineer, only started his estate as recently as 1996. All the grapes come from vineyards owned by Bas and are made by Roser Amoros." - Wine Advocate

Critical Acclaim

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RP 95
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
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Francesc Sanchez Bas

Francesc Sanchez Bas

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Francesc Sanchez Bas, Spain
Priorat, the steep and mineral rich mountain enclave west of Tarragona, is the land of Garnacha (Grenache) and Cariñena (Carignan). Francesc Sanchez Bas is an agricultural engineer who certifies organic viticultural practices for the Spanish government and teaches agriculture at the University of Tarragona. He owns the vineyards that formerly supplied old-vine grapes to the winery Fra Fulco. In 1996, he built his own miniscule winery in the cellar of his house in the village of La Vilella Alta and began producing his own wine made by the talented Roser Amoros.
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Tiny and entirely composed of craggy, jagged and deeply terraced vineyards, Priorat is a Catalan wine-producing region that was virtually abandoned until the early 1990s. Its renaissance came with the arrival of one man, René Barbier, who recognized the region’s forgotten potential. He banded with five friends to create five “Clos” in the village of Gratallops. Their aim was to revive some of Priorat’s ancient Carignan vines, as well as plant new—mainly French—varieties. These winemakers were technically skilled, well-trained and locally inspired; not surprisingly their results were a far cry from the few rustic and overly fermented wines already produced.

This movement escalated Priorat’s popularity for a few reasons. Its new wines were modern and made with well-recognized varieties, namely old Carignan and Grenache blended with Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. When the demand arrived, scarcity commanded higher prices and as the region discovered its new acclaim, investors came running from near and far. Within ten years, the area under vine practically doubled.

Priorat’s steep slopes of licorella (brown and black slate) and quartzite soils, protection from the cold winds of the Siera de Monstant and a lack of water, leading to incredibly low vine yields, all work together to make the region’s wines unique. While similar blends could and are produced elsewhere, the mineral essence and unprecedented concentration of a Priorat wine is unmistakable.

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Other Red Blends

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With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a variety that creates a fruity and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is naturally high in acidity and tannins. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.

MNC10472F_2001 Item# 91481