The wine of the week: Les Sorts Blanc 2021

In Les Sorts Blanc 2021, the change in style sought in this white from the DO Montsant that premiered with the 1998 vintage (then made with white grenache and chardonnay) is evident. Now it exhibits more elegance, thanks to a lower impact of aging in wood and a higher fruit load. It ferments in new 300-litre French oak barrels and fine-grain, untoasted. Its aging was carried out in barrels for five months, during which period the fine lees were periodically stirred.

The winemaker Alain Gómez, technical director of Celler Masroig, acknowledges that his idea was to “refresh” this wine by eliminating a good part of the impact of aging in wood. He sought to respect the varietal part more, finding the tertiary notes, those of aging, in a finer and more elegant way. 80% of its sales, which are made exclusively through hotel, restaurant and specialized store channels, are concentrated in Catalonia and Madrid. It was even served at Dabiz Muñoz’s DiverXO restaurant. The remaining 20% ​​is exported. Belgium, Sweden and Poland are the main international markets for Les Sorts Blanc 2021. This wine is one of the five most emblematic of the winery. With them, the Les Sorts range, this year will culminate the promotional campaign ‘Tots look for something‘, started in 2021 with digital stories. Various acts are prepared, such as a photographic exhibition with real stories.

Les Sorts Blanc 2021 has been served at the DiverXO restaurant in Dabiz Muñoz

The grapes of this white protected by the DO Montsant are born in old vineyards in the municipalities of El Masroig (Priorat) and La Serra d’Almos (Ribera d’Ebre). These are white Garnachas planted more than 35 years ago. Three rows of one of the vineyards owned by one of Celler Masroig’s partners were harvested by three cooperative workers due to the advanced age of the winegrower. From this winery it is stated that “it is one of our wines with a more special journey”. The commercial director of Celler Masroig, Rafael Pino, acknowledges that this white with wood was the result “of the sadness of seeing how the high-quality Garnachas from old vineyards that managed to survive were mixed with the rest of the grapes to make basic wines, losing our identity”. 2021 was one of the most productive vintages of the last five years in the DO Montsant, after the drought of 2019 and the notable impact of the mildew fungus in 2020. In the last harvest, 8.7 million kilos of grapes were harvested .


Harvest in Celler Masroig

CLV

The white grenache and the macabeo totaled more than 700,000 kg of grape, which represents more than 90% of the total white grapes harvested in the DO Montsant. 2021 was a very good vintage, both in quantity and quality. Very careful attention was paid to the vineyards after the great downy mildew plague of 2020. Between January 9 and 10 it snowed and between 60 and 80 centimeters accumulated. Good moisture reserves favored good flowering. Until August, the summer was dry, with occasional rain. There were no days of extreme heat. The month of September was rainy, and with little thermal oscillation, which made it difficult for the longer-cycle varieties to ripen. These rains in the first weeks of the harvest caused some problems, especially in the middle and southern areas of the DO Montsant, such as El Masroig. The accumulated rainfall from the beginning and until the end of the harvest was 130 liters.

Toast in one of the vineyards

Toast in one of the vineyards

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Les Sorts Blanc 2021 is pale straw yellow in color, crisp and bright. It breathes a special Mediterranean feel. It shows notes of spring stone fruit, white flowers and fennel, as well as a background of vanillas, smokes and cigar box cedar. Fresh and Mediterranean, and also glyceric. It shows balance between volume and acidity, with 13.5º of alcohol. In the mouth, the wood is better integrated than in the nose, and the good acidity sharpens it and gives it length. It will improve with more step per bottle. In fact, good aging potential is visible. It is a white with a very good value for money. The president of Celler Masroig, Andreu Fernández, highlights the change in this white’s profile, which he admits has surprised him. Fernández remarks that the wine “has left behind a greater unctuousness, with a wood that is only an accompaniment”. Now he likes it more.

A total of 9,000 bottles have been produced from this vintage, which was released on April 1st. The commercial director of Celler Masroig likes to harmonize this white with a cod carpaccio with a PDO Siurana oil. For his part, the technical director likes it with a tuna tartare with a few pickles. It also excellently accompanies dishes such as sea and mountain rice, a steak tartar, roasted meat cannelloni with a touch of foie, the local truita amb suc from Priorat or the grilled wild sea bass with Jerusalem artichoke from the Barcelona restaurant Gaig.

Celler Masroig winemakers

Celler Masroig winemakers

CLV

From Celler Masroig they assure that they maintain “the essence and personality of the first day, with the knowledge and innovation of the present”. Eulàlia Roca, export manager of the cooperative, assures that they are “the economic, social and landscape engine” of a town with just over 500 inhabitants. She adds that they look to a past with a 105-year history without stopping to look to the future as well. Founded in 1917, its objective is “to produce a good product without neglecting respect for tradition and showing the character that defines it”. They work “with persistence and conviction” on the red clay of their vineyards.

This soil, predominant in the area, influences the quality of the grapes. The light reflected by the red earth on the grapes contributes effectively to the fruit’s ripening process. Between vineyards and olive groves, its partners add up to 500 hectares. From this cooperative winery, which has been a pioneer in promoting new wines, it is betting on expanding and diversifying wine tourism activities. Since 2011 Celler Masroig has participated with other wineries in the Fira del Vi Solidari initiative, which contributes financial resources to the Obra Social Sant Joan de Déu to continue advancing towards personalized therapies for children with cancer who have not responded to standard treatments.

Les Sorts Blanc 2021 by Celler Masroig;  DO Montsant.

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Les Sorts Blanc 2021 by Celler Masroig; DO Montsant.

Grape: White Grenache

Price: €14.50

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