[ Drink: ] Wine Profile – Espectacle

Espectacle is a 100% Garnacha red grown in the Montsant DO of Spain – adjacent to the celebrated wines of Priorat – and is owned by Réné and Isabelle Barbier (Owners of Clos Mogador in Priorat), Fernando and Marta Zamora (Oenologists and teachers at University of Tarragona), and Charlotte and Christopher Cannan (Owners of Clos Figueras in Priorat). Here, on the highest elevation site in the appellation, we find the source for what has become a true “nectar of the gods”.

Photos begin to tell the story, but until you stand atop this mountainside vineyard, it is impossible to fully comprehend the steepness and elevation of this one-of-a-kind plot. Elevation and ancient vines – more than 100 years old – conspire to produce one of the greatest examples of Grenache/Garnacha made anywhere. Grapes from this 5 acre plot are harvested by hand and treated with the nurturing care only employed in the production of the most expensive and collectible wines in the world. The vineyards are managed and farmed by Rene Barbier’s team, from Clos Mogador.

Following harvest, grapes are transported to winery in shallow boxes, and chilled for 24 hours in a cold store at 4°C. First selection is carried out by hand, then destemming followed by a second round of selection which is carried out by vibrating sorting table. Maceration (soaking of the juice on skins) and slow cool fermentation take place over 30 days in a single large French oak circular vat. Following fermentation, the wine is left to rest and age for 14 to 16 months further in the same oak vat. This wine ranks amongst the most sought-after and tightly allocated in all of Spain with only 5,000 bottles produced each year.

They say great wines speak to a sense of place. Somehow Espectacle finds a way to scream and whisper – all at the same time. There is no doubt that this wine offers up a spectacular and explosive array of red and black fruit flavours and aromas in its youth, but to asses it one these virtues alone is to grossly underestimate this serious and profound wine. This great red, coaxed from ancient vines on this steep mountainside vineyard, exhibits a balance, finesse, delicacy and complexity which is almost mindful of great red Burgundy. This is the high wire act that the greatest expressions of Grenache/Garnacha walk – indulging our senses in the obvious and overt pleasures of fruit, while taking quiet confidence in the clear presence of the finer attributes that take wine to the next level.

Paraphrasing a tasting note from one of a leading wine critic, Espectacle is certainly the greatest example of Montsant ever produced and one of the finest Grenache-based reds made anywhere.