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Flat front label of wine

Mas Donis Mas Donis Barrica 2012

Rhone Red Blends from Spain
  • RP94
13.5% ABV
  • RP90
  • WW89
  • RP92
  • RP90
  • RP91
  • RP90
  • RP92
  • RP90
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3.9 6 Ratings
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3.9 6 Ratings
13.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Medium ruby with flucks of violet; lovely perfum of liquor liked cherry and red berries; spicy cake; ripe and complex; floral and masses a ripe crispy fruit; medium body; pure fruit seduction and charme; fine finish with ripe soft tannins and nicely refreshing aftertaste.

Pair with chicken, salads and BBQ.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 94
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Another baby Priorato, the 2012 Mas Donis, a custom cuvee from Eric Solomon, is composed of 85% Grenache and 15% Syrah aged nine months in both new and used French and American oak. The Grenache comes from 70-year-old vines, and the Syrah from 30-year-old vines. It is difficult to find a better value than this incredibly rich effort. The bouquet offers up a smorgasbord of aromas, including crushed rocks, spring flowers, kirsch liqueur and blacker fruits. Full-bodied with a velvety, voluptuous texture, and admirable opulence, density, purity and texture, it is nearly impossible to believe that something this good could be priced at $12 a bottle. Consume it over the next year.
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Mas Donis

Mas Donis

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Mas Donis, Spain
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If Priorat is the nutmeg, then Montsant is the mace. Almost completely surrounding the DOQ of Priorat, the DO Montsant is one of the youngest DOs in Catalunya but like the neighboring Priorat viticulture here is centuries old. After years of inclusion in the arguably inferior and certainly more generic DO of Tarragona, Montsant was elevated in 2002 mainly in recognition of its superior wines produced from old vines on soils bearing a striking similarity to those in the Priorat. At lower prices and within spitting distance in quality of its famous neighbor, consumers, sommeliers and winemakers are starting to have a greater appreciation of the charms of this region.

Not so surprisingly, the cooperative of Capçanes which produces Mas Donis is nestled among the foothills of the Montsant mountains. In the 1990’s, the co-op began making kosher wines for the Jewish community in Barcelona, and from this exposure in the capital of Catalunya, the property began to attract a greater level of interest. By 1995, a vast investment took place and the whole winery was completely restructured and modernized. Shortly after the modernization, Eric Solomon visited the cooperative and he was taken by how similar the soils and grapes varieties were to the Priorat where he had just started working with an unknown estate and a lesser known winemaker, Daphne Glorian. Tasting through the various tanks and barrels at Capçanes, he created a cuvée of Garnatxa and Syrah that he named Mas Donis – a wine he jokingly said was his “best Côtes-du-Rhône.”

Despite the similarities in cépage, the granite and schist terroirs here could not be more different than the calcareous soils of the Rhône valley. With time and experimentation – moving from barrel aging to aging entirely in concrete and selecting fruit from some of the oldest Garnatxa in the village, Mas Donis has evolved to show a more Priorat-inspired profile. A serious wine at an extremely friendly price.

Known for bold reds, crisp whites, and distinctive sparkling and fortified wines, Spain has embraced international varieties and wine styles while continuing to place the primary emphasis upon its own native grapes. Though the country’s climate is diverse, it is generally warm to hot. In the center of the country lies a vast, dry plateau known as the Meseta Central, characterized by extremely hot summers and frequent drought. Because of its location on the Iberian Peninsula, many of Spain’s wine regions are located on or near the milder coast, either of the Bay of Biscay to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the northwest, or the Mediterranean sea to the south and east. Each of these regions has its own unique soil, climate, and topography, as well as principal grape varieties.

In the cool, damp northwest region of Galicia, refreshing white Albariño and Verdejo dominate, though elsewhere the most popular wines are generally red. Rioja is Spain’s best-known region, where earthy, age-worthy reds are made from Tempranillo and Garnacha (Grenache), as well as rich, nutty whites from Viura. Ribera del Duero produces opulent, fruity, top-quality wines from almost exclusively Tempranillo. Priorat, a sub-region of Catalonia, blends Garnacha with Cariñena (Carignan) to make bold, full-bodied wines with a hint of earthiness. Catalonia is also home to Cava, a sparkling wine made in the traditional method but from indigenous varieties. Sherry, Spain’s famous fortified wine, is produced in a wide range of styles from dry to lusciously sweet at the country’s southern tip in Jerez. Since the 1990s, international varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Sauvignon Blanc have been steadily increasing in importance in several regions.

Rhône Blends

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With bold fruit flavors and accents of spice, Rhône red blends originated in France’s Southern Rhône valley and have become popular in Priorat, Washington, South Australia, and California’s Central Coast. In the Rhône itself, 19 grape varieties are permitted for use, but many of these blends, are based on Grenache and supported by Syrah and Mourvèdre, earning the nickname “GSM blends.” Côtes du Rhône and Châteauneuf-du-Pape are perhaps the best-known outposts for these wines. Other varieties that may be found in Rhône blends include Carignan, Cinsault, and Counoise.

In the Glass

The taste profile of a Rhône blend will vary according to its individual components, as each variety brings something different to the glass. Grenache, which often forms the base of these blends, is the lightest in color but contributes plenty of ripe red fruit, a plush texture, and often high levels of alcohol. Syrah supplies darker fruit flavors, along with savory, spicy, and meaty notes. Mourvèdre is responsible for a floral perfume as well as body, tannin, and a healthy dose of color. New World examples will lie further along the fruit-forward end of the spectrum, while those from the Old World taste and smell much earthier, often with a “barnyard” character that is attractive to many fans of these wines.

Perfect Pairings

Rhône red blends typically make for very food-friendly wines. Depending on the weight and alcohol level, these can work with a wide variety of meat-based dishes—they play equally well with beef, pork, duck, lamb, or game. With their high acidity, these wines are best-matched with salty or fatty foods, and can handle the acidity of tomato sauce in pizza or pasta. Braised beef cheeks, grilled lamb sausages, or roasted squab are all fine pairings.

Sommelier Secret

Some regions like to put their own local spin on the Rhône red blend—for example, in Australia’s Barossa Valley, Shiraz is commonly blended with Cabernet Sauvignon to add structure, tannin, and a long finish. Grenache-based blends from Priorat often include Carignan (known locally as Cariñena) and Syrah, but also international varieties like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In California, anything goes, and it is not uncommon to see Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, or even Tempranillo make an appearance.

SWS57747_2012 Item# 128902