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Mas Donis Mas Donis Barrica 2013
Pair with chicken, salads and BBQ.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
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.
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.
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.
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.