- Priorat, Spain
The creators of Mas Alta, Michel, and Christine Vanhoutte, originally from Belgium, became enamored with the early wines from the Priorat and decided to relocate to the small village of La Vilella Alta to establish an estate of their own. In the process, they enlisted Michel Tardieu and Philippe Cambie’s help to start up their Bodega.
Mas Alta is currently 35 ha in size with additional acreage contracted from local growers. As with most properties in the Priorat, at the core of the estate are old-vine Garnacha and Carinyena that are up to 100 years old in age. They have also planted some new vineyards of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Garnatxa Negra, and Carinyena and an increasing number of indigenous white varieties, Garnatxa Blanca, Pedro Ximénez, and Macabeu. Over the last decade, there has been a transition to organic farming and the introduction of many biodynamic practices. As they have adapted to the region’s terroir, they have also begun to implement some changes to their cellar practices. Since its inception, Mas Alta has championed a lavish and expressive style of wine, but there has been a slow evolution in the cellar. More whole clusters are used in the fermentations, indigenous yeasts are employed, and a preference for aging in concrete, foudre, and well-seasoned, and larger barrels is prized over new wood and small barriques.