Mas Doix, This Is The Life in DOQ Priorat

377/365 – Catalonia – DOQ Priorat – Poboleda – Celler Mas Doix – Salanques 2006

This Is The Life……..,

md_331706_535aaa5d7a8112b2394740a4b0d16210Salanques 2006, 65% Garnacha, 20% Cariñena, remaining 15% is a mix of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot

Cherry red color with garnet rim and dense tears that stains the glass. Medium-high layers. Delicate aromas of red fruit, cherries, spices, licorella and pepper. As secondary there was toast, dairy notes, some licorice and balsamic. Marked minerality and hints of herbs with a background of black fruit. The palate has a fresh entry with good body, silky tannins, good acidity and a fairly persistent aftertaste with hints of fruit jam and minerality. WOW, what a delicious wine!

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!

DSC_0079

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.

Valenti and two friends in the vineyards, the Montsant mountain in the background!

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….

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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!

The barrel room at Mas Doix!

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.

The wine graveyard at Mas Doix, all the vintages produced. Have to come back one dark night.....

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.

DSC_0298

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.

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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.

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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.

DSC_0118

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.

DSC_0136

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.

461796_376535239030800_1656395303_o

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”.

461796_376535225697468_103988386_o

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.

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8 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and SweetEasy Wine Tours

Celler Burgos Porta, You Never Can Tell in DOQ Priorat

198/365 – Catalonia – DOQ Priorat – Poboleda – Celler Burgos Porta – Mas Sinen 2006

You Never Can Tell…..,

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….., what the weather is going to be like, so you just have to make the best of it and eveb though it has been raining most day yesterday, I still feel great! After several weeks of travel, from my village in Catalonia, I have now finally reached the summer destination of 2014. My parents in laws summer cabin in the very north of Sweden. This is a place without vineyards but with a magic feel that is hard to explain. We, me, my wife, parents in law, dogs and cat are going to spend at least 6 weeks here, enjoying long walks, reading, bad bad internet connection and amazing cooked dinners and bbq:s. Not to forget the daily fishing, both fly and lure. This is where I reload the batteries and relax 100%.

I’ll still keep on writing the daily wine notes and posting some pictures, maybe not always pictures of wine and vineyards, as this should be considered the summer special. This is a isolated place, where the sun never sets and the nights are white. Looking out my window with a view, I see the lake stretched out in front of me and if I reached out, I’d be able to touch it.

My dear wife and father in law have started the first bbq of the season and soon we are sitting down for a scrumptious meal. Mother ion law is up to her favourite summer distraction, cross words and the dogs and the cat are relaxing as they have been out almost all day! Pictures and regular updates will be coming. Welcome to my world! Now……., less blablabla and more wine, please!

Mas Sinen 2006

Mas Sinen 2006, 35% Garnacha, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Cariñena and 10% Syrah

The very warm aromas with mineral (Priorat) and balsamic notes like rosemary and incense surround the blackberry, black currant and plum aromas perfectly. Mas Sinen has a very complex and expressive nose. In the mouth, it is very warm, powerful, but also very elegant and fleshy. It has a long lasting and intense but elegant finish, filled with minerals, berries, balsamic notes and cacao. This is an absolute wonder to be enjoyed at anytime. It will pair perfectly with stews, red meats, cured cheeses (Manchego, Mahon…) Great for sipping. Keep it and enjoy it for the next 15-17 years!

Time After Time….

…, 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!

1383533_686690488015272_633184557_nThis 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.

1235401_662743097076678_1105951850_nNot 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!

Conxita Porta and Salvador Burgos from Celler Burgos-Porta, Mas Sinén and some friends.

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.

1208815_662742837076704_307530657_nThe 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.

1375822_686690294681958_913562379_nThe 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!

1391990_686689881348666_1455240547_nThe 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.

524514_662742627076725_2029355123_n-1Downhill 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.

1229945_662744133743241_1504350622_n-1The 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!

182 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle

Celler Mas Doix, Cheek to Cheek in DOQ Priorat

74/365 – Catalonia – DOQ Priorat – Poboleda – Celler Mas Doix – Mas Doix 2008

Cheek to Cheek…..

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!

DSC_0079

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 and a friend in the vineyards. Hard to imagine that anything good will come out of these rocks and small stumps of vine!

Valenti and a friend in the vineyards. Hard to imagine that anything good will come out of these rocks and small stumps of vine!

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.

Valenti and two friends in the vineyards, the Montsant mountain in the background!

Valenti and two friends in the vineyards, the Montsant mountain in the background!

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….

DSC_0241

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!

The barrel room at Mas Doix!

The barrel room at Mas Doix!

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.

The wine graveyard at Mas Doix, all the vintages produced. Have to come back one dark night.....

The wine graveyard at Mas Doix, all the vintages produced. Have to come back one dark night…..

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.

DSC_0298

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.

DSC_0304

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.

DSC_0250

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.

DSC_0118

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.

DSC_0136

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.

461796_376535239030800_1656395303_o

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”.

461796_376535225697468_103988386_o

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.

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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!

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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!

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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!

307 to go!