Select P.F. Chang’s China Bistros in Arizona and Texas are featuring Capafons-Ossó Vessants through the end of 2008 (or while supplies last). Why is this important news you ask? Capafons-Ossó was named “Spain, Winery of the Year, Priorat” in the Wine & Spirits Top 100 Wineries issue, and the Vessants label is not easily found in the States. It is such a rare jewel, I find myself looking (ok, begging) for an excuse to travel to Arizona or Texas before the end of the year.
Vessants, meaning “slopes” in Catalan, is from the Montsant region surrounding Priorat and is a smooth, complex, fruit-driven, red blend of Garnacha, Cabernet, and Merlot grapes grown on mostly hillside (aka – sloped) vineyards. The wine delights with aromas of berries, dried fruits and slight smokiness, while the palate renders signs of velvety and delicate tannins and a long elegant finish. Vessants ages for 12 months in American and French oak barrels and rests for a minimum of an additional 6 months in the bottle. How was P.F. Chang’s fortunate enough to acquire the last remaining cases of the 2004 and 2005 vintages? By personally requesting them from the winery owner, Señor Francesc Capafons!
I had the pleasure of accompanying Mary Melton, Corporate Beverage Director for the bistros, on an educational tour of several Spanish wine regions. With Nicole Andrus and Jamie Conahan of Folio Fine Wine Partners as our tour guides, we were able to immerse ourselves in five different winegrowing regions and meet and taste with eight different wine producers. Though choosing a favorite from our tour would be near impossible, Sr. Capafons’ gentle nature and apparent pleasure in preserving the natural landscape and environment of the land was enough to forever endure him in our hearts. A man widely admired and respected by his peers in the Priorat and Montsant winegrowing regions, Sr. Capafons considers his vineyards “natural laboratories,” and believes maintaining equilibrium between his land and nature is of paramount importance. While the Capafons family has been practicing organic farming for more than 50 years, only recently have they begun the 7-year process to obtain organic certification under European law. In addition to farming their vineyard properties organically, the Capafons family also propagates native aromatic herbs in each of their vineyards to promote better water retention (none of the Capafons-Ossó vineyards are irrigated). Sr. Capafons also believes the essential oils of these aromatic herbs filter into the soil and are absorbed by the vines, providing his wines with additional depth and structure. By naming Capafons-Ossó “Spain, Winery of the Year, Priorat,” I would wager that the Wine & Spirits judges would heartily agree.