Observation, inspiration, respect
Visitors to the Mas d’en Gil estate are often emotionally moved by what they see. A few metres after leaving the main road, the views open up to show off the vineyard which is the essence of Priorat. Vineyard terraces, hazelnut groves, rows of olive trees: the aesthetic element however is based on order. There is simplicity and yet it is filled with an invisible, but palpable orderliness. The track continues upwards towards the house with can be made out in the distance, protected to the rear by silhouettes of mountains. There is a sense of height, clarity, with the winds carrying aromas of forest floor, wild fennel, wood and stones.
This land has inspired the organisation of Mas d’en Gil. The different terroirs, aspects and microclimates have determined the crops planted, the function and buildings constructed. There is a will to delve deeper and for respect as well as a pact with nature: to care for and listen to the land. This is how it has been and how it always will be, today with the new energy which the biodynamic farming methods have brought to the land.
This “bell munt” (“beautiful – mountain”), the iconic, mesmerising mountain which frames Mas d’en Gil gives our village its name, Bellmunt del Priorat, the municipal area which brings the southern part of the DOQ Priorat to a close.
Located just a kilometre from the vineyard estate, the centre of the village stretches along two ridges with their respective ravines on either side slipping away steeply downwards towards the Siurana River. Bellmunt’s economy is still based on farming, dating back generations and yet it is also a village well known for its famous mines which were worked as far back as the Romans. From the sixteenth century onwards, the mineral extracted here was used in the well known Reus style pottery. The most interesting building in the village is precisely the former headquarters of the Mines, the “Casa de les Mines”. Built in 1905, it is the best example of Modernista or Art Nouveau style architecture in the Priorat. Currently Bellmunt has a population of around 250 inhabitants.
The sound of the “Garbinada” or sea breeze
Mas d’en Gil’s location as well as that of the whole Bellmunt municipal area benefits from a differentiating climatic factor, which is extremely important in the summertime: the easy access of the “Garbinada”, the refreshing south-easterly sea breeze which blows in from the Mediterranean on the hottest of afternoons in summer. It helps plants to absorb the moisture needed to continue the ripening process.
This “Garbinada” wind is tactile and can be heard. Its gentle murmuring is the music which caresses the vine leaves and the silver olive leaves.
The Dynamics of Life
Biodynamic farming practices, which sets the pace of farming life at Mas d’en Gil continues and has become more professional since our family bought and took over the running of the estate. Based on observing and understanding our surroundings, we are looking to find synergies between the physical elements of the place, the intangible components of the environment and visible and microscopic life.
We aim to favour interaction, making harmony possible whilst expressing transparency and personality. We work the vineyards according to the Moon Calendar and biodynamic precepts. We also rely on horsepower or should we say mulepower in the form of Clara who has become a symbol of our search for purity.
The rhythm of planting
Mas d’en Gil is based on a coherent and constant planting rhythm as well as methods and moments which throughout the year make sense to our estate, as work carried out respecting Nature. The diversity of plant life and crops offers balance and rich nuances and from a practical point of view enables us to manage our work in the fields.
The most widely planted crop is the grapevine, spread over 43 hectares (106 acres).The great majority of the vineyards are planted with red grape varieties: Garnatxa (Grenache) (65% of the total planted vineyard area) and Carinyena (Carignan) (20%). 10% of the vineyards are white indigenous rape varieties: Garnatxa Blanca (White Grenache) and Macabeu (Viura).
The other emblematic crop planted at Mas d’en Gil is the olive tree. We have 2,000 hundred year old Arbequina variety olive trees, planted on “coster” or steeply sloping plots as well as on terraces. The acclaimed olive oil we make is fruity and of high quality. This farming estate, bursting with Mediterranean character is completed with almond and hazel groves, planted in the cooler parts of the estate, together with areas planted with barley and other cereals which we use as compost or animal feed.
A Mosaic of crops and vegetation
hectares of Vineyards (111 acres)
hectares of Olive trees (37 acres)
hectares of Almond trees and hazelnut bushes (25 acres)
hectares of Cereal crops (12 acres)s
hectares of Woodland and fallow land (123 acres)