This winery located in the village of Poboleda was established in 1998 by the Doix and Llagostera families. There are records of several generations crafting award-winning wines at the Paris (1878) and Barcelona (1888) Universal Exhibitions. Phylloxera caused an abrupt halt and impoverishment in the region, yet some of the first Carignan vines planted after the plague are now used for the extremely scarce and expensive 1902 Centenary Carignan. Grapes grown by the founders used to be sold to the local cooperative before they set up their own business.
Poboleda is one of the highest and coolest villages in Priorat. Valentí Llagostera says that the dry cold northwestern winds are responsible for the wine’s high acidity. Grapes in this village mature more slowly than in other parts of Priorat -in fact, Mas Doix usually starts picking grapes a week later than in Gratallops. This is why they can make fresher wines that “lift people from their seats”, says Llagostera.
In 2019 Mas Doix entered into an unlikely alliance with Cliff Lede, a Canadian producer based in Napa Valley and owner of Cliff Lede Vineyards and Fel Wines, who took a 50% stake in the Catalan winery. The inflow of capital made it possible to build a new winery on the outskirts of Poboleda, amongst the vines, and greatly boosted international sales.
The winery owns 20 hectares of vineyards that are farmed organically with some biodynamic practices. Undoubtedly, the four-hectare Doix vineyard is its most prized asset, with Carignan vines planted in 1902 and 80-year-old Garnacha vines. They favour indigenous Carignan and Garnacha grapes, so they have grafted their Cabernet and Merlot vines with them. Syrah is the only international grape they grow —it represents 10% of the blend of entry-level reds Les Crestes and Salanques.
Garnacha accounts for 80% of the blend in Les Crestes (€17 in Spain, around 40,000 bottles, eight months in barrels). Juicy and boasting lots of red fruit, Les Crestes is one of the region’s best value wines. Some of the grapes come rented vineyards, but these are taken care of by the Llagostera family. Salanques (€32, 16,000 bottles, 15 months in French oak) blends 65% Garnacha and 25% Carignan, a variety which is central in all of Mas Doix’s top reds. It accounts for as much as 55% in Doix (€80, 5,000 bottles, 16 months in French oak), a concentrated yet subtle fresh Priorat; the single-varietal 1902 Centenary Carignan (less than 1,000 bottles, €300, 16 months in French oak) is extremely concentrated and mineral showing vibrant fruit. The 2015 vintage saw the release of 1903 Garnacha Centenaria, which costs the same as the Cariñena but production is slightly lower. This wine is one of the best expressions of this variety to be found in the slate soils of Priorat.
In recent years, Mas Doix has expanded its range of white wines. Murmuri (5,500 bottles, €21) is predominantly Garnacha Blanca with three months of lees ageing in stainless steel tanks, whereas the more complex Salix blends 20% Macabeo and 15% Pedro Ximénez with the Garnacha Blanca and combines lees ageing in stainless steel tanks and oak barrels. This wine stands out for its textured, enveloping mouthfeel.
In all cases, fermentation takes place in stainless steel vats. Even if most of the Mas Doix wines could be labelled as vi de la vila (the local designation for village wines), the winery is reluctant to use this relatively new category.
Wine lovers willing to visit Mas Doix can tour the winery and taste three wines for €24 or alternatively, visit the vineyards and the winery and taste five wines, including the two premium old-vine wines, for €80. Tastings are also held in Barcelona for those unable to travel to Priorat. Mas Doix also holds a 13-kilometre trail run among vines with a gentler 9km alternative that can be done on foot. Like other wineries in the area, they make their own olive oil from Arbequina olives. The winery has an online shop