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It was a process of change over several decades that turned Montsant into the important Catalan wine-growing region it is today. Viticulture itself has a centuries-old tradition here, but after a heyday in the 19th century, the phylloxera disaster brought quality viticulture to an almost complete standstill.

The revival began a good 30 years ago. The area, which initially belonged to the DO Tarragona, began to distinguish itself from the mother region with independent wines of increasing quality. The producers reaped the reward in 2001: the separation from Tarragona and classification as DO Montsant.

The next, possibly even more difficult step was to break away from the shadow of Priorat, Catalonia's world-famous wine-growing flagship, whose growing zone is almost completely surrounded by the vineyards of Montsant. The path taken by the Montsant winemakers to achieve this was the only correct one: a return to indigenous grape varieties and what they are capable of achieving on the different terroirs of the often rugged landscape.

Today, Montsant is perhaps better off than ever. It is a paradise for lovers of powerful, spicy red wines and yet far from the arbitrariness that this description might suggest. The spectrum ranges from accessible, easy-to-understand young wines, the best of which are juicy, fresh and animating, to polished, dark, powerful red wines of international style, which of course still exist, to profound, complex, Mediterranean-spicy individualists that underpin their usually striking alcoholic power not only with sufficient substance but also with depth, aromatic subtleties and sometimes astonishingly fresh juice. They are above all the ones on which the growing reputation of Montsant is based.

Of course, there are also hybrids of all kinds. Some highly traded prestige wines from autochthonous varieties and often ancient vines unfortunately lose their originality to such an extent thanks to massive alcohol and hearty use of wood that drinking them, despite all their recognisable quality, becomes a rather tedious affair. And in the end, every wine wants to be drunk with pleasure, not only revered, even the most famous and most expensive.

Speaking of expensive: in addition to the qualitative range, the price range in Montsant is also quite high. But the two parameters do not always correlate. Good wine can often be had here for very little money. Sometimes it is so good that much more expensive wines have difficulties keeping up, at least as long as they focus on strength. It's the same here as everywhere else: power and heaviness can be had by all, but true greatness is only defined by the subtleties. The rapid development of the Montsant's qualities in recent years, however, makes it clear that more and more producers are becoming aware of this fact.

White wine plays a subordinate role in Montsant, but can be remarkably good. The rosés are mostly easy to drink, but we have not yet discovered a conspicuous character of origin in them.

We tasted around 150 wines for this special, all blind and all but the simplest varieties several times over at least 2 days. We present the best results here. As always, you will find links to all the tasted wines with detailed tasting notes as well as the producers at the end of the lists.

BEST OF Montsant Red wines - vintage 2021

BEST OF Montsant Red wines - Vintage 2020

BEST OF Montsant Red wines - Vintage 2019

BEST OF Montsant Red wines - Vintage 2018

BEST OF Montsant Red wines - Vintage 2017

BEST OF Montsant Red wines - Vintage 2016