Bodegas Mas Alta
In a previous post I gave an overview of the Priorat and Montsant wine regions of Spain. Over the next few weeks I will be posting about individual wineries we visited in these two areas. I will begin with Bodegas Mas Alta. It turns out, as I discovered on this visit to Bodegas Mas Alta, that the winery produces a favorite wine of ours called Black Slate. I reviewed the wine last January on another blog, Wine Values and Bargains. It is a delicious wine reflecting the characteristics of the Priorat region, and it is a fantastic value at under $20.
When we arrived for our visit at Bodegas Mas Alta, the winery was a filled with activity. The winery was experiencing the “crush” at full throttle. Grapes were being brought into the winery, sorted, and delivered to the fermenting tanks. The sorting occurs in two phases. In the first sort, grape clusters are inspected, with any bad fruit removed. The clusters are processed, releasing all the grapes from the stems. At the next sort table, individual berries are inspected and any bad ones removed. The next stage was something I had not seen in any of the many wineries I have visited. The sorted berries drop into a rubber basket about 5 gallons in size. A worker then picks up the basket and dumps the grapes into a large cylindrical stainless steel bin. When that bin is filled with the grape berries, it is attached to a pulley system. Using a hand-held remote control device, the worker directs this cylindrical bin until it is directly over a large cement-fermenting tank. The grapes are then dropped into the fermenting tanks. Check it out in this video.
We love the setting of this winery as you drive along the steep switch-back roads. The winery has a majestic look, Spanish in style and blending in perfectly with the terrain. From the front patio of the winery we get a stunning view of the village, Vilella Alta, sitting on a hill above the winery. This is where we tasted and discussed the wonderful wines of Bodegas Mas Alta.
Bodegas Mas Alta is owned by a Belgian couple, but they entrust much of the winery operations to enologist Bixente Ocagrain and his wife Diane. They greeted us (14 wine bloggers) and led us on a tour of the winery and a tasting of their wonderful wines. The winery is located in the town of Vilella Alta and is in a nature reserve. If you are visiting the Priorat area, be sure to visit this winery. You will enjoy everything about your visit.