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The DO Montsant has long been overshadowed by its famous neighbour, the DO Priorat, which surrounds it like a horseshoe. It is mountainous and challenging for both winemakers and hikers. Viticulture is dominated by the two red grape varieties Garnatxa and Carinyena. White wine is only grown on about 100 of the total 2,000 hectares. The soils are a mosaic of limestone, granite and slate with more or less red clay. The climate is temperate-Mediterranean, with the offshore mountains providing strong temperature fluctuations between day and night. Average temperatures range from 9°C to 21°C.

In 2008, a study was started that defined six sub-zones, in which the grapes take on different characteristics depending on the soil and microclimate. The vineyards, which are often small parcels, lie between 200 and 700 metres above sea level. Managing them in harmony with nature is a major concern of the wineries presented here.

The wineries on Catalonia's holy mountain

Acustic Celler

In 2003, Albert Jané Úbeda, son of a family of winemakers and wineries in El Vendrell, decided to start his own project in Montsant. Even then, he saw the great potential of the old Carinyena and Garnatxa vines for noble red wines. In addition, Garnatxa blanca, Macabeu, Xarel-lo for white wines grow on 37 hectares, some of which are organically farmed. The premium wine is called Auditori and consists of 100 percent Garnatxa Tinta. A new winery building, fully integrated into the landscape, was opened in 2021.

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Celler Cairats

It took ten years before Ramon Masip found what he was looking for in Montsant: twelve hectares of vineyards with old vines of native varieties and a winery dating back to 1906. Celler Cairats was founded on this basis in 2010 with the aim of combining the natural way of life of his grandparents with the careful use of modern technology. Markets and fashions change. A long-term vision based on a thousand-year-old wine tradition can therefore only be: Artisan wines with soul.

In order to preserve the vines, which are up to 60 years old, for as long as possible, the family business works with organic certification. The vineyards are criss-crossed by terraces with stone walls, where the cultivation of the vines is combined with olive and almond trees. The premium wines in the Cairats Col-lecció line are a single-varietal Carinyena from limestone soils and a single-varietal Merlot. This variety is not typical for the region, but Ramon Masip did not have the heart to uproot the 550 vines when he took over the winery. The only about 700 bottles per year confirm that this was a good decision.

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Celler de Capçanes

The Celler de Capçanes cooperative has made a remarkable transformation: founded in 1933 by five families, it now has 80 members. Oenologist and technical director Anna Rovira is the first woman in the history of the winery. Together with the winemakers, she extracts the magic of this terroir from the grapes. Thus, in addition to single-vineyard wines, four single-vineyard Garnatxa wines are vinified from specific soils - sand, clay, limestone and slate - to make the differences palpable. Meanwhile, 30 of the 250 hectares are certified organic. They are planted with Garnatxa negra, Garnatxa blanca, Macabeu, Carinyena, Tempranillo, Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir. Celler de Capçanes is also known for its kosher wines, which account for five percent of production.

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Celler Comunica

In 2010, Patri Morillo and Pep Aguilar founded their own winery, Celler Comunica, near the Sierra de Llaberia near Falset. Before that, the two wine experts, who were educated at the University of Tarragona, worked as consultants in many Spanish regions. Their aim is to press wines from their six hectares of vineyards with a pure and fresh character, without the influence of elements other than the grape itself. Wines the way they like them best themselves. 25 to 70-year-old vines of the Garnatxa, Carinyena and Syrah varieties are their vehicle for conveying the character of the Montsant and the granite sandy soils (known as Saulò in Catalonia). To achieve this, the wines mature on their lees for between ten and twelve months in stainless steel vats. The conversion to certified organic viticulture is underway.

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Cooperativa Falset Marçà

The agricultural cooperatives of the neighbouring towns of Falset and Marçà were founded in 1912 and 1917 by the farmers of both towns. In 1999 they merged to form the "Cooperativa Falset Marçà". The cooperative currently has about 350 members who are responsible for the vines and olive trees. They also produce nuts. The cooperative model has been deeply rooted in the region for over 100 years. The owners are the producers themselves. A team of professionals is responsible for the commercial and technical administration. The cellar master is Marta Ferré.

The winery is one of the "cathedrals of wine" in southern Catalonia. It was designed by Cèsar Martinell, a student of Antoni Gaudí, and is one of the outstanding examples of agro-industrial architecture of the early twentieth century and thus also a magnet for visitors. The almost entirely organically certified vineyards cover 250 hectares. The premium wines are the Cuvée Senyor del Castell made from Garnatxa negra, Carinyena and Syrah, and the pure Ètim Syrah.

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Galilea by Fiona

Galilea was born in 2014 from the collaboration between Swiss owner Fiona Alexandra Fischer and oenologist René Barbier, who co-founded Celler Laurona in 1999, the first winery in the DO Montsant (the appellation was created in 2001), and is the owner of the famous Clos Mogador winery. Both share an almost fanatical love of terroir and wines that are a reflection of tradition and territory. They share a vision with Galilea: "To make discovery a goal, invention an ideal and innovation a necessity to produce authentic and modern wines that age beautifully." Using traditional winemaking methods without any additives or chemicals, they embark on a scientific odyssey anchored in a truly eco-friendly approach. The premium wine is called Pythagora, made from 100 per cent Garnatxa negra and fermented in barriques.

Galilea by Fiona is like its creators: a perfect combination of freshness and excellence.

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Josep Grau Viticultor

Josep Grau founded the winery near Capçanes in 2003 and produced 300 bottles at that time. Today he produces 13 different wines on 36 hectares of vineyards, mainly small series from Garnatxa negra, Garnatxa blanca and Carinyena. Josep Grau's first and most important principle is to accept the fruits that the earth gives him in the same way. For this reason, the winery is certified organic and does not interfere with the winemaking process in the cellar. The winery is surrounded by vineyards and stone terraces: "They tell us every day about their age and the centuries of viticulture in this area, which for the many generations before us was both a source of suffering and satisfaction," says Josep Grau about his deep connection to the land. "We want wines that reflect the land, its fruits, but also this rugged land."

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Mas de les Vinyes

Founded in 1999, Mas de les Vinyes is a family winery with a long tradition of wine, olive and fruit growing. The family has been working on the estate on the banks of the river Montsant since the 1930s. In the past, the grapes were brought into the Cabacés cooperative, but since 2000 the main activity has been the cultivation of 20 hectares of vines and the processing in their own cellar. The vines, which are up to 50 years old, benefit from the dry Mediterranean climate and the significant temperature differences between day and night.

The grape variety mix is a mix of old varieties like Garnatxa, Carinyena and Macabeu and new ones like Merlot and Syrah. Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the oldest in the region and also forms the basis for the premium wine Racó d'Atans Crianza tinto, which is allowed to mature for one year in barrique and three years in bottle. The Traca i Mocador tinto is a collaboration with the school friend of the current owner Josep Borrás, the internationally renowned model Oriol Elcacho. The two wanted to create a wine that describes their friendship. Traca i Mocador doesn't have to look for an occasion, Traca i Mocador is the occasion when friendship reigns at the table. It is a wine full of humour and simplicity (Traca), but also full of elegance and detail (Mocador).

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Celler Ronadelles

Jaume Giral and his oenologist Eva Prim work biodynamically on their 40 hectares of vineyards. In doing so, they emphasise the diversity of soil types and relief. This allows each wine type to show its personality and uniqueness. Since founding Ronadelles in 2002, Jaume Giral has always followed his guiding principle at crucial moments: Originality above all, sometimes this has meant all or nothing. In doing so, he and his team have broken through walls of the "establishment" and have gone their way hand in hand with tradition. Today, they are proud to be a reference for a more humble, innovative and friendly wine culture, associated with quality, imagination and attitude. The premium wines are called Giral Vinyes Velles and Jaume Giral Reserva and Gran Reserva. Visitors are always welcome at the winery, and there are opportunities for guided tours and tastings. At the Quatre Molins restaurant, the wines can be tasted as an accompaniment to exquisite local cuisine.

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Cellers Sant Rafel

Pilar Just and Xavier Peñas returned home from Barcelona in 1998 and bought the Mas d'en Rafel estate. Of the 46 hectares, half is forest, as the land has not been cultivated in the last 50 years. Under the undergrowth they discovered ancient dry-stone walls ("marges"), which are used to transform steep slopes into plantable areas, and which they continue to maintain with painstaking manual labour. On 7.5 hectares, there are up to 60-year-old vines of the varieties Garnatxa blanca, Garnatxa negra, Carinyena, Merlot and a little Cabernet Sauvignon. The premium wine is called Carinyena Solpost from very old vines on granite soil and is a good example of how Carinyena grows and develops on this type of soil. Pilar and Xavier are proud to have returned to their roots at Mas d'en Rafel, and thus to be part of a centuries-old history where people have created a small viticultural universe with mountains and vines, and which they can call home.

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Celler Vendrell Rived

Founded in 2000, Vendrell Rived is a family winery where all members work together to grow grapes and make wine. The owner and cellar master is Josep M. Vendrell Rived. Thanks to his grandparents, who planted and maintained the vineyards for many years, he and his family are now able to cultivate 25 hectares with Garnatxa (Grenache) and Carinyena (Carignan). This has been done organically certified since 2011. Celler Vendrell Rived produces cuvées from Garnatxa and Carinyena as well as a white wine from Macabeu and Garnatxa blanca. The Miloca Garnatxa from limestone soils and the Miloca Carinyena from granite soils are pure varietals. All wines are Spiegel of their origin and their tradition.

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