Random Trivia Question: Without looking at a map, where is the youngish Spanish DO, Montsant, located?
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If you're at all familar with the concentrated, chewy wines of Priorato, wine from Montsant tastes like a slightly less pumped up sibling.
Acustic* Cellar Vinyes Velles Nobles Garnatxa i Samso 2005 ($13-$16) - For those who don't speak Catalonian, Garnatxa is Grenache and Samso is Carignan. This wine tastes nothing like many other Grenache-containing wine you may have sipped from Spain. The style is decidedly modern - as are many wines from neighboring Priorato. Acustic is big, brawny and chewy. It obviously spent around a year in oak, which is a good thing as minus those months in wood, Acustic would have been flabby. In fact, my tasting note of Acustic dealt in textures rather than flavors. The interaction of brawn and spine is what makes this wine very appealing. Try this wine with grilled lamb chops, sauteed portobellas or a takeout gyro.
While most of my recent Spanish sipping has been of the "cheerful chugger" variety, this representative of Montsant reminded me that for those who venture above the $10-level, many of Spain's wines are bound to surprise with style & complexity.
*There was some poetic malarky on the rear label describing the wine as 'acoustic' - unplugged, as it were. However, I don't quite get it as the wine claims much of its character from being 'plugged in' to the barrel.