Jesús del Rio Mateu, proprietor of the Masroig-area Mas de l’Abundància – doesn’t just have an enviable name; he’s also got an enviably amazing vineyard view, enviably old vines, and sits enviably close to one of Spain’s critical-darling DOs, Priorat.
He also has an enviably-close relationship to a good importer, Folio Wine Partners, owned by the Michael Mondavi clan, who, Jesús is quick to point out, love to visit his hilly, llicorella-heavy eight hectares of aging vines.
“‘Can you fell the energy?’ That’s what they said when they were here,” he told me during a media tour visit to his Montsant DO estate. And while Jesús’ “house of plenty” certainly has its own energetic charm, my guess is that the tingling vibes felt by the Mondavis on their visit had more to do with the overhead high-tension power lines. Either that, or it was the pent-up tension in their shoulder-blades being released after taking in the glory of the scenery.
Anyway… the dramatic views of Priorat and the encapsulating Montsant mountain ranges from Jesús’ vines seem to have imbued him with senses of both literal and figurative perspective about the place; after all, this region of Spain has belonged to monks, aristocrats, Romans, and Arabs. Jesús puts it this way: “this doesn’t belong to me; I belong to it.”
The “it” in this case, coupled with ample sunlight, elevation, slope, and a continental climate, have combined to produce Montsant wines that are nearly as compelling, dramatic energetic, and “deep” as Mas de l’Abundància’s location…
2016 Mas de l’Abundància “De Calpino” (Montsant, $52)
In my experience, it can be tough to find a 100% Grenache Blanc that feels whole and complete on its own. This is not one of those cases; here we have a GB that’s total from start to finish. The vineyard is slate-heavy, and was planted in 1892, so we are talking legitimately old vines here. Heady, floral, mineral, tropical, rich with stone fruits, creamy, silky, big, and yet totally lovely, this is one of te best whites I encountered over all of the Montsant DO.
2016 Mas de l’Abundància “He Ma” (Montsant, $NA)
Sure, the title evokes He-Man, but this Cabernet Sauvignon / Grenache / Carignan blend is far from burly; in fact, it’s focused, bright, floral, and fruity (think blue and red berries), with excellent vibrancy. It’s an easy-drinking red that manages to still be intelligent.
2016 Mas de l’Abundància “Flvminis” (Montsant, $25)
With similar blending components to the “He Ma” (10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 60% Grenache, and 30% Carignan), this bigger brother is decidedly more serious, more plummy, more polished, and more powerful. It’s savory, too, full of violets and ripe, sweet berry fruits. What I admired most about this red, however, was how well it exuded a sense of purity and transparency despite its ample palate weight.
2013 Mas de l’Abundància “Abundància” (Montsant, $NA)
The biggest bro of the lineup is a 60/40 Grenache/Carignan blend, with fewer than one thousand bottles made from organically-farmed vines that are in excess of eighty years young. Rich, plummy, spicy, floral, and complex, with licorice and stewed fruit notes, this red starts with silk, moves to tart, spicy plums, and finishes with toast and mineral. It’s alluring, sexy AF, and simply a gorgeous sipper. Dramatic stuff from a dramatic place; and you’ll feel the energy, even if you’re not within spitting distance of an overhead power line…