Elegant, Ethereal Garnacha from Terroir Sense Fronteres
Terroir Sense Fronteres — Catalan for ‘Terroir Without Limits' — is a celebration of Grenache, and an oft-misunderstood region, Montsant--the mountainous region that fully surrounds the more famous DO of Priorat.
Dominik Huber, a talented and deeply passionate winemaker, manages to showcase Grenache’s delicate, nearly ethereal side, and from Montsant’s soils he extracts impressive minerality. He's one of Catalonia’s top winemakers, and a superstar of the New Spain movement, a loose union of winemakers who value Spain’s long winemaking history — and its old vineyards, many of which have lay abandoned for decades. Their farming methods are low-intervention, and most eschew techniques of over-extraction or the over use of new oak.
Many winemakers see Montsant as 'Priorat Jr.', and work to maximize extraction, body and alcohol. Dominik, on the other hand, focuses on its incredible terroir: steep mountains, soils of clay, limestone and gypsum, and perhaps most importantly, a distinct diurnal shift (warm, sunny days and cool nights). All the farming is organic (and manual — the only non-human help in the vines is a mule named Frida), and no oak is used, just cement and stainless steel, to retain the integrity of the fruit and the land.
Vertebra de Figuera is 100% Grenache. It's featherweight, and elegant: opening up a bottle, you’re greeted with notes of red cherry, fennel and granite on the nose, and on the palate, there’s lingering acidity, barely there tannins and a mélange of red fruits and minerals. Although there’s plenty to contemplate, this playful wine offers lots of immediate pleasure. The vines range from 40-80 years of age, and are all planted to pink clay and chalky gypsum.
Negre de Montsant is a blend of Garnacha and Carignan (75% of the former and 25% of the latter). It comes from predominantly clay soils, and where the Vertebra is ethereal, Negre is solidly of the earth, with notes of raspberry, blackberry, crushed violets and earth; Carignan adds heft to the body, and a hint of dark fruits, and the acidity is perfectly balanced.
From the beginning, we’ve loved Dominik’s groundbreaking Priorat winery, Terroir al Limit. By focusing on lift and elegance over sheer density, he’s made wines worth contemplating, and we see the same spirit in his Montsant Garnacha. These are wines of beautiful clarity and precision; truly emblematic of the dynamism of the New Spain movement, balance is prized above all else.
Brambly fruit, raspberry and blackberry mostly, with a juicy liveliness and mouthwatering acidity. Elegant and refreshing, with fine tannins and an easygoing structure, and rounded out by a long, baking spice- and licorice-laced finish.
Terroir Sense Fronteres, Vertebra de la Figuera de Montsant, 2018