2006 Fra Guerau Red
Fra Guerau [FRA grr-OW] takes its name from a 12th century local monk who had miraculous powers. The story goes that he cured Queen Sança of an unnamed illness and was given land as a reward where he built two chapels. After that, Fra Guerau (Friar Guerau) retired to a cave and spent the rest of his days in secluded meditation. There are 104 acres of vines planted on the Fra Guerau estate, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Tempranillo and Monastrell (known in other parts of Spain as Mataró and in France and California as Mourvèdre) as well as the traditional Montsant grapes—Garnacha, Cariñena and Syrah. The Fra Guerau estate vines are between 7 and 19 years old.
Medium-deep purple in color with a vibrant bluish-rim. The nose is complex and attractive offering aromas of violets and wild blackberry and blueberry preserves with subtle spices. The flavor grows on the palate, opening up to the round tannins with a long and rich finish.
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Because of its elegant balance, Fra Guerau will match well with a wide variety of foods, or can be served as an aperitif with a plate of olives or a selection of cheeses.
The Denominación de Origen (D.O.) of Montsant [mont-SANT] was created in 2001, carved out of the much larger D.O. of Tarragona. It virtually encircles the famed Priorat D.O. The Montsant region is a few hours drive southwest of Barcelona and only a few miles from the Mediterranean.
The landscape, like Priorat, is rugged and stony, with centuries-old hand-hewn terraces climbing the steep mountain sides with a Mediterranean climate. As in Priorat, the best wines of the region are red. The wines are often very concentrated with deep color and high alcohol, due to rainfall and the warm summer climate. Traditional grapes include Syrah, Garnacha and Cariñena. There are small plantings of Garnacha Blanca and Macabeo for white wines.
Winemaker Judit Llop followed traditional methods with grapes kept on the skins following fermentation and maceration for 22 to 28 days, depending on the variety. The final blend is aged in new mixed French and American oak barrels for 12 months.
The 2006 vintage can be classified as a very good year for our grapes. The absence of precipitation and very low temperatures during the first few months of the year marked the start of the vines' growth cycle. Widespread budding started in mid-April, but the lack of rain in both winter and spring led to poor budding, smaller clusters and lower production in June. The rain in early September benefited the grapes, as the clusters arrived at the winery in outstanding condition. Harvest began in mid-September, a week earlier than the previous year, and ended in mid-October.
30% Red Garnacha (Grenache)
10% Cabernet Sauvignon
Fermentation: Stainless Steel
Cooperage: 70% American Oak, 30% French Oak
Acidity: 5.7 g/l