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El Camí

El Camí

An enticing, fruit-laden new red from one of Catalunya’s most feted winemakers.

DO Montsant

Medium to deep red in colour with blue streaks. Lots of fresh dark fruit on the nose like prunes and blueberries, floral notes of violets and a touch of Mediterranean scrub. In the mouth this is a dense but fresh wine with fine tannins and a long finish.
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Technical details

  • Producer: Bell Cros
  • Region: DO Montsant
  • Vintage: 2020
  • ABV: 14.5%
  • Grapes: Cariñena, Garnacha

Food pairings

This wine will go well with:

  • Red meat
  • Poultry
  • Pasta
  • Rice dishes
  • Vegetables

Who makes it

The story of Bell Cros is the story of Ann and Peter Skoglund, two Swedes with a nose for good wine and a good dose of entrepreneurial flair. Having sold their business in Sweden, the couple were looking forward to a relaxing retirement in Barcelona when they discovered the vineyards around the village of Falset in DO Montsant. Bitten by the wine bug, they bought their first vineyard in 2017 and what began as a hobby quickly evolved into a serious business.

The couple put down roots and were quickly welcomed by the local winemaking community, many of whom now collaborate with them in the vineyard and the winery. As Ann and Peter’s adventure evolved they realised they needed to focus on premium wines made with the local Cariñena and Garnacha grapes. So, who better to draft in to help them than revered local winemaker Joan Asens, voted Catalan winemaker of the year in 2019, who was born and raised in Masroig, a village just down the road from Falset. In the 1990s and early 2000s, Joan was enologist and confidant of Alvaro Palacios, one of the central figures in the rebirth of Priorat, the DO next door to Montsant, and his winemaking pedigree was assured with iconic wines like L´Hermita which was first bottled back in 1993 and which, to this day, remains one of Spain’s most famous wines and is revered by collectors all over the world.

Joan quickly organized the Bellcros estate, dividing the 17 hectares into 20 separate vineyard plots according to altitude, soil type and aspect. Production got underway and the winery’s range now includes 7 still wines and a sparkling wine made using the metodo ancestral (ie the wine is bottled before fermentation is complete and finishes fermenting in the bottle). From the 2023 vintage onwards, all Bellcros wines are certified organic.

The grapes

Garnacha is one of the most widely grown wine grapes in the world and in Spain it's about the third most grown red grape behind Tempranillo and Bobal.

It's a late-ripening variety which enjoys hot, dry conditions, which makes it a reliably robust choice for winemakers. In the northeast of Spain, Garnacha tends to produce quite soft, easy-drinking red wines. It's low in tannin, so you don't get that astringent, dry sensation in the mouth. But because it's late ripening it can also be quite high in alcohol as the fruit has more time to develop the sugars which then become alcohol in the wine.

In terms of fruit, in younger wines you’ll pick up good bursts of red fruit like strawberry and raspberry. And in the varieties made with older vines that have been aged for a little you start to get sweeter, deeper fruit flavours reminiscent of figs. Occasionally you might also find a lick of white pepper just on top of the wine, which can add a nice touch of character.

Where it's made

Often overshadowed by its more famous neighbour Priorat, the Catalan DO Montsant should not be ignored. Like much of Catalunya, Montsant is defined by its landscape of mountains, hills, ridges and slopes. Changes of altitude and orientation are the order of the day, and the region transitions from warmer, lower stretches in the south-west corner to higher, wilder areas towards the north.

Soils too are very varied with everything from granite and slate (known as llicorella in next door Priorat) to sedimentary rock or limestone. Winters are generally cold and summers dry and hot, with humid evening winds from the Mediterranean helping to hydrate the vines during the ripening period.

Old vine Garnacha - or Garnatxa as you’ll see it referred to in Catalan - both red and white, are the dominant grape varieties here, but with all the variations in altitude and soil type you’ll find plenty of different styles. Cariñena (spelt Carinyena in Catalan, and known as Carignan outside Spain) is another variety popular in Montsant which you can find blended with Garnacha or on its own.

How it's made

The grapes are harvested manually usually in the second half of September. They spend 29 days macerating on their skins before undergoing alcoholic fermentation in stainless steel tanks. 30% of the wine is then aged for 6 months in oak barrels, while the remaining 70% remains in the stainless steel tanks.

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