Bellum El Remate
Bellum el Remate is one of the finest examples of late harvest old vine Monastrell in Spain. It is produced from old vines planted in 1941. It is produced in the high elevation limestone subzone of Yecla. This area, known as Campoarriba by the locals, is where the best and oldest Monastrell vines come from. This exotic, not overly-sweet Monastrell tastes like a high-end Port yet it only possesses 15.5% alcohol. Bellum el Remate's subtle sweetness makes it more complex than other “sticky” wines! Bellum means, battle or war in Latin and refers to the concept that anything worth achieving in life requires a battle. Since its beginning in 2002, Bellum's objective is to produce elegant, age-worthy Monastrell wines. Bellum El Remate has always been highly awarded by many wine critics worldwide. Out of 5,000 wines, the 2006 vintages were awarded by Mundus Vini, "The Best Wine in Spain" among all categories. Bellum El Remate received the one and only Spanish Grosses Gold Medal.
WHAT MAKES THIS WINE UNIQUE? A Port-like “sticky” that has only 15.5% alcohol. The wine's sweetness is not overpowering. Made from vines planted in 1941. Less than 300 cases are made.
RATING HISTORY: 2009 92IWC; 2006 93RP; 2005 90WA&IWC; 2004 91WA; 2003 93RP
GRAPE: 100% Monastrell. Sustainably grown vines planted in 1941. Tended in chalky and sandy soil at 713 m (2,339 ft) elevation
PAIRING SUGGESTIONS: This “sticky” is a great match for various types of desserts, including chestnut-flavored custard, rich almond or walnut cakes, ice cream (especially savory flavors) and a wide range of cheeses, creamy and hard.
VINIFICATION AND AGEING: Bellum El Remate is fermented naturally to 12%. Once fermentation is finished, the skins are distilled to make a high-quality grappa that is used to fortify the overall alcohol content of Bellum El Remate to 15.5%. The wine is aged for 30 - 48 months in French oak barrels.
PRODUCTION: 300 cases (6 pack)
LOCATION, SOIL, CLIMATE: The Bellum vineyard is within the Campo Arriba district of Yecla (Zone 8), at 713 meters (2,339 ft.) elevation. Yecla's higher altitude results in cooler temperatures than neighboring regions, which makes wines that are brighter and more aromatic. The soils are composed of limestone and chalk with clay and gravel subsoils, low in organic matter. The soils are deep and have good drainage. The clay subsoil retains water, which is essential for the health of the vine in this arid climate. This results in greater overall concentration and complexity in the wine. The average temperature from May-October is 66F, with only 13 inches of rain per year. The climate is Mediterranean with a light Continental influence, due to its higher altitude.
TASTING NOTES: Deep ruby. Deep, smoke-tinged aromas of ripe blueberry, boysenberry and dark chocolate. Thick and rich, showing intensely sweet dark berry character but also good energy thanks to tangy acidity and spiciness. Finishes on a sweet blueberry note, with supple tannins, a hint of smokiness and excellent length.
All photos: Friederike Paetzold