Pinyolet is the name of the unique type of soil that makes superior wines in the Montsant appellation. If the best wines in Priorat are produced from Licorella soils, the most singular wines from Montsant are produced from vines tended in Pinyolet soils. A pinyolet is a pebble of limestone that results from the erosion of limestone boulders only found in the upper hills of Montsant. These pebbles of limestone communicate an element of minerality and brightness that is unique to the best wines of this terroir. Even though Montsant is next to Priorat nothing could be more different. Montsant is cooler and higher in elevation than Priorat. The cooler nights allow Garnacha to retain more acidity and make wines that are uplifted, floral, full of tension, more elegant. In the words of Neal Martin “If Priorat is Pauillac then Montsant is Margaux”. Pinyolet Seleccion is produced from old Garnacha and Cariñena vines that are organically grown. The Masroig subzone of Montsant, were Pinyolet Seleccion is produced, is considered by the farmers of this region to have the best and oldest Cariñena vines.
WHAT MAKES THIS WINE UNIQUE? Old vines tended in the sought after Pinyolet Soil of Montsant. Sustainably grown, dry farmed old vine Garnacha planted from 1946-1982 and Cariñena in 1928. The subzone of Masroig, is the best suited area in Montsant to grow Cariñena. Special microclimate that is windy, warmer and drier than other subzones within the region. These conditions allow the long-cycle Cariñena variety to fully ripen without danger of been affected by Sodium.
RATING HISTORY: 2012 91VN; 2011 90RP; 2010 93RP; 2009 91RP; W&S Magazine's Feb 2012 Vol.31, No.1 "2011 Best Catalan Wines" & "Best Buy Wine"
GRAPE: 80% Garnacha, 20% Cariñena. Sustainably grown vines planted from 1946-1982. Tended in limestone (pinyolets) soil at 520 m (1,706 ft) elevation.
PAIRING SUGGESTIONS: A good pairing would be game birds like quail, pheasant, goose or duck, as well as roast chicken with garlic and dried herbs or roast pork tenderloin. Veal, pork or beef sausage prepared with savory herbs would also be a very good match.
VINIFICATION AND AGEING: 12 months in 2 year old French oak barrels of 225 Lit
PRODUCTION: 2,000 cases
LOCATION, SOIL, CLIMATE: These vineyards are located within the the Masroig district of Montsant at 520m (1,706 ft)elevation in Zone 5. The Pinyolet limestone soil combined with the organic viticulture communicate with great precision the mineral identity of this great terroir. Night temperatures in Montsant are cooler than in Priorat allowing its grapes to ripen slowly thus preserving its aromatic purity to a higher degree. If Garnacha in Priorat is black, Garnacha in Montsant is red.
TASTING NOTES: Bright purple. Elegant aromas of black raspberry, cherry and candied flowers. Sappy and sweet, with a smooth texture and lively red fruit character. Finishes long and sweet, with a suave floral note lingering. Notes by Josh Raynolds Sep/Oct 2011
All photos: Friederike Paetzold