2 Pájaros 2012, 14.5% abv – DO Montsant – Celler de Capçanes
Now we have reached the last instalment of the four Carignan Heroes from my post about this underestimated grape variety. The second of two glorious wines from the DO Montsant in Spain – this one without a suggested musical pairing, unfortunately. Feel free to listen to “Take Five” by Paul Desmond again while reading about 2 Pájaros, however.
Celler de Capçanes is a cooperative located in the tiny village of Capçanes that – at least these days – manages to contradict most of the negative stereotypes both of Spanish wine and cooperatives in general. There are two winemakers sharing duties and they are working with superb material, including vines going back over a hundred years. One of the greatest Garnacha wines I have ever had came from here, and that is really saying something. The current reputation of the cooperative started with their work on kosher wines, for which they are rightly famous.
2 Pájaros (it means “2 Birds”, if you don’t speak Spanish and aren’t handy with the Google) is made with 100% Samsó which, as with the previous wine, means Carignan in this case. The vines are over 50 years old and planted in schist, granite and clay – the grapes are hand-harvested. The wine is macerated for 20 days in large oak barrels, then aged for a further 12 months in 300 l barrels. Only 1800 bottles are made.
The joke about this particular wine’s name is that the “two birds” are the two winemakers (Jürgen Wagner and Ángel Teixido) responsible for making it…two “crazy” birds, as they apparently refer to themselves. The wine certainly isn’t crazy – it’s a terroir-driven, expressive and top-notch. But, as a 100% Carignan wine, it is definitely outside the mainstream. The price is also close to exceeding my pain threshold.
The Tasting Note
A vivid, deep ruby in the glass. Perfume of sweet, dried herbs, raspberry and cranberry, with an appetising hint of earth alongside ginger and chocolate. And is that a hint of black truffle?
On the palate, it reveals itself in spectacular fashion as a vibrant wine, with great, developing complexity, excellent balance of alcohol, tannin, acidity and concentration. Tannins are just a bit coarse, but there is some superb salty minerality and spices. The finish could be a tick longer, but the wine is so fresh and fun, belying its concentration, that it barely registers.
The wine will certainly profit from a few years in bottle, but who wants to wait when it is this enjoyable to drink on the fruit? The salty, mineral finish cries out for food, as does the fresh acidity. Bring on the tapas!
The One-Line Takeaway
A superb expression of the grape and soil, but bring your credit card.