A Bridge to Mountain Wine
by Michael Douglas Bosc
Wine is fascinating, well I think so, and I have often been asked why I bother to write about it as I am not ‘an expert’.
Well I do so for several reasons actually, apart from the obvious I find it rather educational. But reasons well:-
First): is to write about wine from a “duffers” view-point. As someone who knows nothing about it except they like to drink it. None of the snobbery that goes with some writers is here, I tell you exactly what the vintners tell me.
Second): I have found that each Celler is different in the way it produces wine. If you add to this it’s history and tradition then you have fond a Celler which brings an individual taste to the wines produced there.
Third): The care, sheer joy of the Vintners in what they are doing and a ‘want’ to share their wines and methods with the rest of us. To listen to these experts talk about how they produce their wine, including their family history is the most gratifying thing a writer could wish for. I have been made most welcome by everyone on my visits and been taught a lot about wine, this Celler was no exception.
I have visited quite a few Cellers in the region around my home, but this particular Celler is rather intriguing. It is tucked quietly away behind Falset which is the heart and control centre of the Montsant and Priorat DO regions. Unless you knew exactly where to look, you would never find this little mine of a vineyard. Here they grow grapes in several types of soil each field a different grape giving a different taste, and body to their wines.
I first met Toni on his stand at the Mora la’Nova Fira last October, a young man who has studied hard, loves his job and knows his wines. He is the latest vintner in a long family tradition which started with his great, great, great, great-grandfather a Doctor, in 1827. After the devastating vine blight of the 1920′s, his great, great-grandmother Maria Pau and her two daughters re-started growing vines. The wine produced then was mainly red and of one blend, however, today is a much different story.
Toni has worked hard to reclaim more of the fields from the mountain, clearing and in some cases, replanting the terraces. These are south-west facing but each field has different soil. As we walked towards the top of the mountain
we crossed a small rickety bridge which linked the lower and upper terraces when walking. Here I could see the different terrain, in some fields the soil was clay in others it was a cross between sand and grit whilst the last soil type had a definite mineral feel. There are various mineral mines around the area which give vines grown in this type of soil a slightly peppery aftertaste but they also lean towards a more bodied red wine.
Walking on ever upwards towards the top of this little mountain, I could see the hard work Toni had put into this vineyard and I do mean hard. Each terrace is wide enough for a man to walk comfortably between the rows but there is no room for a mechanical picker. Everything here is done by hand and some of the vines are years old grown in the old way, and Toni is very proud of the history that goes with each variety.
The Celler itself is small with only two stainless steel vats the others in true tradition are concrete. Once the wine is made it is matured in French Oak barrels which add to the wines flavour.
Well you cannot find a more diverse selection which comes from one Celler than here. There are 5 different reds and Rose. Because of the ground they are grown in each wine has its own taste, and story to tell the drinker.
Besides making his own wine which is made totally by hand and produces around 50,000 bottles of excellent red wines, Toni has been in partnership with Pep and Patri since 2011. Since 2010 Pep and Patri have rented part of the celler for their wine making. But the wine that they and Toni make together comes from the mineral grown vines, which gives this wine it’s peppery after taste resulting in a very smooth and very desirable and to coin a phrase ‘lip smacking’ red.
These wines are really worth discovering they say more about the talent of this man and his colleagues than anything you could write. Toni tends his vines with the love and passion of a true Vintner, tradition is all, when try them you will begin to understand the hard work that goes into producing such nectar.
You can contact Toni on www.pascona.com give them a call then you can say you have tasted some of the best Montsant wines going you will not be dissapointed.
(c) Michael Douglas Bosc