93/365 – Catalonia – DOQ Priorat – Poboleda – Mas Sinén/Burgos-Porta– Mas Sinen Coster 2005
…, some wineries are well worth returning to and for me there is no doubt, which one would be my choice, if I could only visit one for the rest of my life! Must consider the fact that I’m a lucky so and so, since that decision is a hypothetical one! But for the matter at hand. It rests nestled among the valleys of Priorat and it is not that it is hidden in any way, but once there, that’s how you’d feel about the place. A hidden gem, where time stands still and tranquillity is at its best. Conxita and Salvador have developed this rural location to a true embodiment of the Priorat!
This is one of the first cellars in the Priorat that I visited about four years ago and I keep coming back. Alone, even thou the owners are not there, I find it to be a oasis of calm, where a good book and a nice bottle of wine easily can find one another. A perfect location for a picnic and a breather from the, in comparison, hectic life of my village! Visitors and friends are also introduced to this welcoming producer, making sure they always get to taste some of their finest vintages! The hosts and owners are some of the nicest people always happy to share their treasure with seekers of the true Priorat.
Not all wine makers of the Priorat are new comers, such as the always mentioned, Barbie, Palacios, Pastrana etc. because in wine terms, the 30 years the aforementioned have been here is to be considered yesterday. Some have roots that go deeper than 30 or so years. The Burgos-Porta families are from Poboleda and wine runs in their veins, always have, always will!
The viticultural family tradition of Burgos-Porta date back to the early nineteenth century, overcoming crises such as those in the 70-ies and the 80-ies, or the ones of the last millennium, during which Salvador Burgos came to preside the cooperative union of Poboleda. The current company was established by Salvador Burgos and Marta Porta, and their daughters, in 2003 to develop natural and organic wines on the 15 acres of vineyards surrounding the Masia Mas Sinén.
The vineyards are planted on terraces of licorella soil, at an altitude of between 300 and 500 meters, with vines of up t 50 years of age. They also have a small number of vines planted on costers, which is basically a slanting hill that is not terraced. The wines are elaborated under the direction of Toni Coca. Traditional methods coexist with the latest technology for the manufacture of wine and is controlled by the CCPA (Catalan Council of Ecological Agricultural and Production). Sustainable growth of the winery takes to sell a large part of the production to other wineries, in order not to lose the desired quality objective in coming few years to produce 25000 bottles, as well as increasing the number of different labels.
The small winery is surrounded by vineyards and the first this you will experience is a “the walk” with Salvador or Conxita, or both. They will accompany any and all visitors themselves, wanting to transmit their feeling and story. As it is, well if not impossible then at least inconvenient, to get to Mas Sinén on foot, you will be arriving by car, parking it just outside the stone building, which is the winery itself. Here, is where the greeting takes place, and if it start with a handshake and a good day, it certainly will end with a hug, once the visit is over and you happily go back home knowing you will return!
“The walk” takes about an hour, walking uphill visiting the vineyards, the olive trees, the carob and the small forrest. There is also a tasting of water that takes place, but more about that once you have the opportunity to come and visit. They will explain the special soil of the Priorat and the climate, during which time you will be amazed by the views offered from the very top of the hill. If you are inclined to adopt, you might be able to be an adoptive parent of a vine or two and even get to plant them yourself.
Downhill to return to the winery and the excitement rises as the upcoming tasting is not far away. Before the tasting there are only two more stops. The receiving area during harvest, the press and the elaboration area is one unit. The other is the cellar, that is the bunker, as I like to call it. If you would fly over the property, you would be able to point out the barrel room/cellar, as it is fully integrated into the nature and covered with grass and plants. If you have very good eye sight, you might be able to see the only thing that would give up its location, the little air outtake on the very top of the cellar.
The stone house, outside of which, the whole experience started is one again visited for the tasting. The house itself is constructed so that it has three floors. The lower one being the elaboration room, the stainless steel tanks for fermentation are either full or waiting for the next harvest. The middle, and also level with the entrance, is the reception and pressing room and from this one, the third is reached by a staircase. Beautiful arched windows,on all sides of the room, allowing views of the vineyards and giving plenty of natural light. This is where Salvador and Conxita finally open some 3-4 of their wines, which are to be tasted and enjoyed! Welcome to Mas Sinén!
Some 90% of this elegant wine has been aged 12 months in French oak and 10% in American oak of medium roast.
Cherry color with ruby reflections. The primary nose is deep and mineral with black fruit, blueberry and underbrush. It is followed by spice, vanilla, coconuts and violets. It has a nice balance which shows great harmony. The mouth is wide and long conveying good acidity. Ripe oranges, fruity, some animal notes. Elegant tannins , although it has some roughness which evokes fresh fruit and a mineral feel. Lingering long aftertaste that takes us to the land of the vineyards. A complex and elegant wine, which needs some aeration helping it to show its full potential.
287 to go!