74/365 – Catalonia – DOQ Priorat – Poboleda – Celler Mas Doix – Mas Doix 2008
Dancing cheek to cheek with a wine? With this one, yes! Every day! Heaven, I’m in heaven……, how can I not be, true enough that wine is not always wine but sometimes, like today, it is so much more. When it chooses to transmit a feeling that elevates you to heaven, you know it’s something above a red colored beverage, made from grapes!
But the again, who brings pizza to a wine tasting? I’ll tell you who and let me rewrite that, not pizza, Catalan coca! Something different, offering delicious produces on a owen baked dough. Pizza? Call it what you wish, I want more!
Valenti Llagostera, wine maker and owner of Mas Doix starts us of with the wine tasting of the younger wines together with coca. He is slightly late as he had to stop at the local coca-place to pick up the two versions of coca, available this day.
After a well needed breakfast intake of, wine and coca we continue to the vineyards, which are amongst the oldest in the Priorat. When in Rome….
Later, we would continue to try the aged reds at a local restaurant, Porta del Priorat, just outside the village of Poboleda, to enjoy hearty stews as that is what’s considered to accompany the wines best. And the Coca (pizza), yes I will have that again and yes it works well with the wine!
Five generations of the owners’ family have had ties with viticulture and wine making, Mas Doix is not the new kid on the block! But it was only in 1998 that Josep María Doix and his cousins, Ramón and Valentí Llagostera, decided to create the bodega while harvesting grapes in centuries-old vineyards.
With this effort, the new era of the family tradition was reborn, taking up the hard to follow accomplishments from the 19th century when the wines made by Jaume Extrems Doix won Gold and Silver medals in Barcelona and in Paris during the World Fairs in the 1870s.
The Phylloxera plague dealt a severe blow to the business, but staring the evil bug in the eye, the family was able to quickly replant the vineyards with native rootstock of Garnacha and Carinena.
The grapes were taken to the Poboleda co-operative and made into wine up until 1999 when the new bodega’s first vintage was released. Currently, the family members, who are all very aware as well as extremely proud of their inheritance, divide their time between vineyard husbandry, winemaking and marketing.
Mas Doix is still a small and modest bodega, whose philosophy is based on the utmost respect for the region’s winemaking tradition, and whose aim is to transmit the true essence of Priorat via its wines.
The vineyards are located at 350 to 600 metres above sea-level, unfold at the foot of the sierra del Montsant on steep slopes with poor slate soils (called locally ‘llicorella’) in a region dominated by dry, rigorous microclimates.
However, their location also benefits from the fresh north-westerly breeze, which lowers temperatures and gives rise to a slower ripening process and, in turn, to a late harvest. Low-yield vines lead to limited production, yet the wines made at the bodega are fresh, balanced and elegant, with the subtle mineral charge typical of DOQ Priorat.
Valentí Llagostera explains that: “They are distinguished wines, made to be enjoyed, to share with friends and serve as a starting point for good conversation – wines which are an essential part of a certain way of life”.
The lunch was memorable but the wines were heavenly and never to be forgotten. Got to try the Les Crestes 2009, the Salanques 2006 and the Mas Doix 2008. Each with its own personality, and if they were to be tried separately, without comparing them to each other, all would have superlatives written all over them.
The Crestes and Salaques will have their own review in due course, as they deserve at least that respect! Now, let’s focus on the Mas Doix!
Mas Doix 2008, 48% Garnacha, 50% Carinena and 2% Merlot
A Priorat wine to be, if not considered excellent, it is at least more than great with an extraordinary personality and character. Limited production ( 5,000 bottles) and made from centuries-old vines (some planted in 1902 ) located on the farm that gives its name to the wine and occupies about 3 ha of steep vineyards with typical licorella soil.
The year 2008 was excellent with optimal weather for the proper development of the grapes. The average out-take of grapes, per vine, is just 400 grams. Aged for 16 months in new French oak barrels . Bottled in May 2010 without filtering . Rested about 12 months in the bottle. We decanted, during the lunch, for an hour before serving. Another hour or son wouldn’t have been amiss. A wine with a long evolution ahead. Prediction, 2020 – 2024, I’d like to be around for that!
Intense and deep purple color. Clean and bright. Elegant tears, dense and slow. Intense and very expressive aromas. Concentrated and complex. Lots of berries, compote mixed with fine and subtle spices and slightly roasted . An elegant and mineral touch, very pleasant and harmonious. In the mouth it is superb! Great volume. With a striking cool, silky smooth step. Very balanced. High presence of tasty tannins and an extraordinary refreshing acidity. Very persistent and long, with subtle sweet memories.
Heaven, I’m in heaven!