I Love This Region Of Spain
Most people when it comes to Spanish Wine think of 1- Rioja and 2-Ribera Del Duero both which are Tempranillo based. I have spoken about my favorite 2 areas who are very close neighbors in the Northeast corner of Spain 1- Priorat and 2- Montsant. These areas are shaded in purple on the Spain Wine Map above. One of my favorite producers of wines of Spain is The Gil Family famous for their Juan Gil (Heel) wine 100% Monastrell.
Bodegas Juan Gil
Gil Family group is made up of certain small wineries scattered throughout the Spanish geography that have been joining the family group since 2002.
Can Blau Winery. An Old Favorite
For years this was my go to wine and haven’t seen it on the market till it arrived last week as one of our Special Priced Direct To You Wines. I was so excited when I saw the bottle that I couldn’t wait to take one home and reacquaint myself with this Purple Beauty I used to drink a lot of. Cellars Can Blau, founded in 2003, is one of the oldest projects of the Gil Family in Jumilla. Placed in El Molar, in the DO Montsant, (Catalonians say MUN=SAN) this winery is the most diverse project regarding the grape varieties and the type of soils. Differently from its illustrious adjacent DO Priorat, in DO Montsant they work with unique varieties such as Cariñena or (Mazuelo) and Grenache, (Garnacha) and Syrah, planted in and adapted to different types of soils.
Soil Numero Uno
The vines for all 3 grapes are about 30-40 year old vines. This is the CLAY or SANDY Soil Type where the Carinena (Mazuelo) Is Grown
Soil Numero Dos
The Syrah is grown on this Limestone and Chalky Soil which translates to excellent minerality and so different than French or American Syrah.
Soil Numero Tres El Mejor (The Best)
Saved my fave for last. 2,000 feet up in the mountains we have just like the neighbors in Priorat D.O. they have the BLACK SLATE llicorella in Spanish. This is where the old vines Garnacha grows. Just like Priorat this Garnacha needs water and all there is is this quartz like black slate material. The old vines break through that slate and go way down deep to get some water which produces small berries, small yields, and explosion of fruit flavors and minerals.
Review: 2016 Can Blau, Montsant, Spain
The wine is comprised of 40% Mazuelo (Carinena), 40% Syrah and 20% Garnacha from the Black Slate. The wine is aged for 12 Months in French Oak Barrels. It took a solid 2 hours or longer for this wine to open up. It is a baby. In fact I am reviewing the wine on Day 2 after opening to make sure it had proper aeration. Dark Purple almost black in the center. Medium Plus Viscosity with 14.5% ABV. I call these wines, Salami on the nose lol. It may be a new descriptor but it is extremely aromatic with beautiful wood smoke notes (Just like when I worked with my dad in the meat business and his company used to Smoke Salamis), Incense,Blueberry, Black Raspberry, Sweet Plums, Lavender, Spice Box, ….I MEAN AROMATIC!.
On the palate, medium plus body, blueberry pie filling, black raspberry, anise, tongue tingling minerals, with the acidity smoothing out the tannins and driving the fruit flavors to a lingering, graphite, chalky, spicy finish. If this doesn’t express terroir I don’t know what wine does? It’s almost like it hasn’t been 10 years since I have tried a bottle of Can Blau but boy am I happy I have it to offer to my guests now. Bring on the Whole Pig, Paella, Earthy Vegetables like Portobellos or even a simple Roast Chicken. Drunken Goat Cheese from Spain or Mahon or Manchego would be great cheese options as well as …yes…. Salami ( I can’t help it…It’s a Salami Wine) I will score this wine 92 out of 100.
The Gil Family has achieved what they wanted. Their small group of wineries express the indigenous grapes, the soil type and the terroir. Can Blau says Priorat or Montsant!. It’s $15.99 and I strongly suggest you try this wine because on a wine list in a Restaurant I would sell this for $55.00. The perfect wine for BBQ season coming up around the corner. This purple beauty is comprised of 3 Types of Soil, 3 Types of Grapes and it all comes together in One Really Really Good Wine… Salud
Grape-fully yours, Larry