Espectacle by Selecció Ingrid at Auditori

Fifteen months ago I had the luck to be invited to enter the GMT, which has nothing to do with Greenwich or time, but rather surprisingly stands for Grup de Matemàtics Tastavins, or Mathematician Winetasting Group. The other five members are Maths Professors in the Autonomous University of Barcelona (I am a pharmacist by training). I had longed for years to become part of a tasting group, but somehow the expected background of its members did not include this specific profile. Nevertheless, no formulas or equations are needed for the tasting we do: it is basically hedonistic (three different bottles for six people), and we do not rate the wines apart from an informal “Which one do you like best?”

Led by a master wine blogger, Jaume Aguadé of Vins de Catalunya, we have had some memorable sessions; among them the one last week. We tasted three wines that had in common coming from very old Garnatxa negra vines:

  • Auditori 2008, Acústic Celler, DO Montsant
  • Espectacle 2006, Espectacle Vins, DO Montsant
  • Vinyes Altes Selecció Ingrid 2005, Clos Dominic, DOQ Priorat

All three were decanted one hour before the tasting. An additional hour would have been welcome.

Albert Jané, from the family that owns Jané Ventura in DO Penedès, moved to DO Montsant to start his own project, Acústic Celler, in the village of Els Guiamets. Using 60+ year old garnatxa vines (aptly described as “magical old vines” in the label) coming from three small plots with poor sandy soils, and with thirteen months in French oak, Auditori is the top product of the winery.  

It was the youngest of the three wines; it showed in its dark, intense colour with still bluish overtones in the rim, and the comparative lack of tertiary aromas. But anyway the nose was overwhelming, kaleidoscopic, with lots of fruit (mainly red) and spice (at one moment it positively smelt like a pepper-pot) developing over the two hours that we enjoyed tasting. In the mouth acidity and tannins were very present, but rounded and integrated, with length and width. A great wine, and no doubt that a few years in the bottle will help to develop its full potential.

Espectacle Vins is a joint venture of the Barbier and Cannan families, of Clos Mogador and Clos Figueras fame, to make wine from a centenary Garnatxa vineyard in Montsant. The wine is actually produced in the Celler Laurona winery, partially owned also by the Barbiers. Once the fruit is ripe, it is harvested manually in small boxes and kept for one day at 4ºC. After berry selection and gentle pressing the grapes go to a new French oak vat where both alcoholic and malolactic fermentations take place; afterwards the wine is aged for some fifteen months. 

Cherry to crimson in colour, with medium intensity, the nose is extremely complex, with layers of black and red fruit, tobacco, balsamic notes. It fills the mouth but silkily, with great elegance and finesse. 

Espectacle is an intellectual wine. This is a nectar to enjoy reflectively, putting forth all one’s senses, not carelessly. Supremely subtle and elegant, it needs time and wrist work to release its complexity. 

As explained in a previous post, Clos Dominic is a small family-run winery in Porrera, DOQ Priorat. The best cask from its century old Garnatxa vines in La Tena vineyard goes into the Vinyes Altes Selecció Ingrid, named after one of the daughters of the owners, Dominic Bairaguet and Paco Castillo. Fermented with its own wild yeasts, it is aged for eighteen months in French oak. 

Colour is similar to Espectacle, but with higher intensity. The nose is very particular, probably in part due to the non-standard yeasts. Red and black fruit, wild balsamic herbs (rosemary, thyme, all those that grow in and around La Tena), spices, liquorice, cigar box, cocoa, the lot. 
Ingrid Castillo Bairaguet ready to pour for Jay Miller

The mouth is packed with flavour, good acidity, ripe tannins, and the minerality coming from the slatey soil. Round, very long. A wine that impacts the senses. A wine to be enjoyed shamelessly, boisterously.

Towards the end of the tasting, as mentioned before, the question of which was the best of the three came up. As a backdrop, Parker ratings: 94 for Auditori 2008, 96 for Espectacle 2006, and no rating for Clos Dominic Selecció Ingrid…yet.

Auditori was handicapped by its youth, and the jury is still out about the other two. Espectacle or Ingrid? As somebody said, Audrey Hepburn or Marilyn Monroe? George Clooney or Brad Pitt? Rolls Royce or Lamborghini? Probably depends on when, where, with whom, with what…although I have always loved Lambos…



  1. M'ha sorprés el "Grup de Matemàtics Tastavins"... M'has donat una idea.. fundar un GFT... (físics)... :).