Prior to the Phylloxera outbreak at the turn of the 19th century, Capçanes was very densely planted but, after the devastation caused by this insect, only about a fifth of the original vineyards was replanted, predominantly with Garnacha (Grenache) which was the popular grape variety. Some of those vineyards, approaching 100 years old, still exist and are in production although yields are low.
To compete in the wine market, change was needed and, in 1933, five families from the village collaborated to establish a cooperative that would handle large quantities of grapes economically and efficiently. The foundation of the cooperative led to a change in the commercial prospects for Capçanes; suddenly they could offer large volumes of wine at competitive prices for bulk sales. The cooperative processed the village´s production and the wine was sold off in bulk until 1980 when they started to sell their grapes off prior to fermentation. This state of affairs continued until 1998 when the decision was taken to process all the village´s grapes at the cooperative.
However, the real changes had begun in 1995 when, down the road the Priorat DO started to gain status, people in Montsant DO started to realise the quality of the grapes they were growing. The impetus for the change came about when the Jewish community of Barcelona asked Capçanes if they could produce a kosher wine. This demanded the installation of new equipment allowing the winemakers to identify, isolate and vinify under controlled ‘Lo Mebushal’ conditions, small parcels of high quality fruit. The ground was laid for production not only of Kosher wine but also limited quantities of a range of fruit-driven wines. The Kosher wine was a success and the Capçanes brand, Flor de Primavera, enjoys a reputation amongst the highest in the world. Capçanes wines are very much in the new style of Spanish winemaking – with a focus on purity of fruit – but also conserves its identity and roots. They look for full-bodied yet elegant and sophisticated wines. They carefully age them in oak barrels and use old, low-yielding bush vines of the indigenous varieties; Garnacha, Cariñena and Tempranillo, alongside international varieties such as Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon. They make their wines under the strict supervision of the Rabbi of Barcelona, Lo Mebushal Kosher Le Pesa.
At Capçanes, two winemakers pool their talents. Ángel Teixido is one of the most experienced winemakers in the area and is in charge of the vineyard, too. He is even still familiar with traditional Priorat winemaking methods like Rancio, Mistela and Vin Blanc, which he learnt under his father. Further on there is Jürgen Wagner, a German who has lived in Spain for 20 years, having studied at Geisenheim and the University of Tarragona. Jürgen brings his international experience to composing and styling the blends. Ángel upholds the roots and unique terroir of Capçanes.
"Vall del Calas is a high altitude, late-harvest, Merlot-based blend. The grapes undergo temperature-controlled fermentation (27-29C, with indigenous yeast) and maceration for 15-25 days. All three varieties were vinified separately and malolactic fermentation started in the tank, finishing in the barrel. The wine underwent light filtration and was aged for 13 months in light and medium-toasted French oak barrels up to three years old. After blending the wine was aged for six months in the tank before bottling.
Deep red colour, Vall de Calas has complex aromas of ripe dark fruit, wild herbs and berries. It is very spicy, with some vanilla, dark exotic fruit flavour nuances. Intense and concentrated, it is perfectly balanced with nicely vibrant acidity, an elegant Glycerine sweetness and serious ripe tannin structure. It would be a great match for braised veal shank or partridge.