About 100 kilometres inland from Barcelona lie the Montsant mountains: a rocky, Wild West-style landscape peppered with vertiginous, sloping vineyards. If you’ve ever flown to Barcelona, you probably landed at Reus airport, which is also nearby. Since 2001, Montsant has had its own protected wine region (Denominació d’Origen in Catalan), which is where this Zerran Tinto 2014 hails from.
Catalonia’s most famous wine export is Cava, but the Montsant region is more associated with Grenache. And sure enough this blend is made with 50% red Grenache, 40% Mazuelo and 10% Syrah.
“Hang on… what’s Mazuelo?” I may have heard you ask. I was wondering the same thing, but research reveals it’s another name for Carignan: the affordable, medium-bodied variety often used in southern-French blends.
The first thing you notice on the nose are vivid blackberry, leather, coffee and toffee notes. On the tongue there’s a slight cherry menthol kick, with strong tannin and alcohol flavours. Despite being aged in French oak for 16 months, the oak flavours are well integrated and don’t dominate the blend.
The blurb on the 8 Wines website, where I got this wine, says it doesn’t need decanting. I’m not sure I agree. This is not a wine to chug down gleefully, but to patiently swirl and sip. It’s certainly an interesting blend, and a new one on me.
4 NINJA STARS
Zerran Tinto 2014, 14.5%. £12.48 at the time of writing from www.8wines.com Use the special Wine Ninjas code WNINJAS8 at the checkout and you’ll get an 8% discount on any orders over 100 Euro.