High up in the Montsant mountain range, surrounded by the scenic beauty of olive groves, terraced vineyards is the exciting Montsant DO. It’s an area that has made tremendous strides in quality over recent years and where the region was once known for cheap jug wine, Montsant is now awash with exciting small producers producing very good, well priced red wines.
As recenlty as 2001 the vineyards in the Montsant growing area were part of the much larger Tarragona DO. Neighbouring Priorat continues to overshadow the area with its unique soils and eye watering investment, but Montsant is an interesting, colourful area with plenty of mini microclimates to entertain the wine geek.
In reality, Montsant is the most up and coming wine area in Catalunya. There is a wealth of good drinking wines made using a blend of multiple grape varieties and generous use of oak tend to make these wines food friendly. Montsant’s propensity for tannin and rich forest fruit flavours make for a great accompaniment to the area’s selection of meat dishes.
One of the striking things about Montsant is still the relatively low prices. Picking up great value is quite simple; it’s an appellation that doesn’t turn nasty on the consumer when it attempts to brave it alone.
Generally the area is perfect for the cultivation of red wines. A Mediterranean climate is tempered with north easterly winds.
Today Montsant is a mixture of small family wineries and large co-operatives. It’s a healthy mix that contributes to a dynamic and lively scene.
The main red grape varieties are Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, Ull de Llebre (Tempranillo), Samsó (Cariñena) and Garnacha.