The SOMM Journal

April / May 2018

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 102 of 108

102 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } APRIL/MAY 2018 { discoveries } WHEN YOU PRESS Jürgen Wagner on where his passions lie outside of wine, you'll likely receive an unexpected response. "I've always loved comedy—and comics," confesses Wagner, who oversees exports and winemaking for Spanish winery Celler de Capçanes. The winery, located in the Montsant DO at the edge of the Priorat DOCa region, can be found about a two-hour drive southwest of Barcelona. This interest may seem like an aside, but it's actually served as a direct influence in Wagner's work with Capçanes. The debut of "La Nit de les Garnatxes," his four-part series of 100 percent Garnacha, unveiled a rather whimsical outer shell for its packaging: a comic strip depicting a graphic explanation for each bottling that's as witty as it is educational. And while Priorat has established a reputation for producing stunning Garnacha-based wines, the surrounding Monstant region, established in 2002, is gaining ground thanks to forward-thinking winemakers like Wagner. "When people talk about Garnacha from Spain, specifically in the past ten years, there was a tendency to describe the wines as over - ripe, noisy, and over-flavored (too extracted)," Wagner says. "I wanted to bring finesse into the wines, and I want our Garnachas to be like the Pinot Noirs of Southern Europe." The production of the series' four wines all utilized identical winemaking methods: The grapes were picked at the same time, micro-vinified simultaneously, and inoculated with the same yeast. Each has only one variance—the soil—so if Wagner and Chief Winemaker Anna Rovira are the comic-book heroes, those soils of sand, clay, limestone, and slate are the sidekicks that proffer special powers to the wines. The comic pictorials, each hand-wrapped around the bottles, artfully describe the taste profiles of the individual terroir. The glass bottles for the 2016 release of La Nit de les Garnatxes (SRP $24) have four boxes, with one ticked off on each to delineate which influence in soil type you'll detect as you taste. If winemakers Jürgen Wagner and Anna Rovira are the comic-book heroes, those soils of sand, clay, limestone, and slate are the sidekicks that proffer special powers to the wines. Where Garnacha Gets Its Groove Back CELLER DE CAPÇANES WINEMAKER JÜRGEN WAGNER BLENDS HUMOR INTO HIS MONTSANT DO WINES by Meridith May SAND: From deep-rooted, struggling old vines. Lithe and pretty red fruit; precise, gorgeous acidity and notes of dried rose petals. "The climate is cooler from these vineyards," explains Wagner. "The fruit is fresh and cleans the mouth like a good Pinot Noir or Beaujolais." CLAY: Results in the highest sugar level of the series. Juicy with notes of animale, tomato leaf, and beets in tilled soil; rich and fleshy from a high nutrition content. LIMESTONE: Chalky nose and palate; grown in poor soils that reflect the heat. The wine is lively and vivacious with zingy acidity. Notes of cranberry, rhubarb, and spiced red rose make it complex and fresh. "This one gives me goosebumps," Wagner says. SLATE: Dark, inky, and the most intense of the four expressions from small berries with thick skins. A nose of dark bitter - sweet chocolate, coffee, and black fruit. Powerful with an added power core of tar and graphite. PHOTO COURTESY OF CELLER DE CAPÇANES Comic strips wrap the bottles of Celler de Capçanes La Nit de les Garnatxes. EXPLORING THE SERIES

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The SOMM Journal - April / May 2018