Mas Sinén: the masia at the end of the road

Mas Sinén is at the end of 2 km of dirt track starting from the village of Poboleda’s comparatively huge church (popularly known as the Cathedral of Priorat). This small winery, with the official name of Celler Burgos Porta, was started seven years ago by Salvador Burgos and Conxita Porta. Salvador has long experience in the wine world, having led the Poboleda Cooperative for several years and taken part in the Mas Igneus project, and comes from a family with winemaking tradition starting in the early 1800s.

The couple revitalized the estate, which included old vines in costers and a 17th century masia (country house), overhauled the main structure to house the winery and built a partially underground aging cellar. Wine goes from winery to aging cellar by gravity.

The old house is surrounded by the vineyards, with soils in which the slatey llicorella predominates. In the higher reaches, the steep costers hold the old Carinyena and Garnatxa vines while the lower grounds have been planted more recently with Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Vineyard management follows the rules of the Catalan Council for Ecological Agriculture Production (CCPAE) and bottle labels are stamped to that effect. They are now also embracing biodynamic farming practices.

Technical management is in the capable hands of Toni Coca, a well known consulting oenologist of several Priorat and Montsant wineries.

Production is small and self-limited, with a maximum of 25.000 bottles not yet reached. The remaining grapes are sold to other wineries.

In selected years they produce a white, Mas Sinén Blanc, 100 % Garnatxa Blanca with 5 months aging in French oak. It is well structured, round, with slight wood hints, buttery and with a lot of fruit.

As for reds, the Mas Sinén Negre is a blend of Garnatxa, Carinyena, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, aged for 12 months in French oak. Moderately deep cherry red, very clean to the eye, with aromas of tobacco and black fruit. In the mouth it is velvety, without outstanding tannins, confirming the black fruits and with a long finish.

The top wine, Mas Sinen Coster, comes from the older vines of Garnatxa and Carinyena, growing in the steep costers, and is aged for 12 months in French oak. It is one step ahead of its brother in everything: deeper colour, more complex and intense aromas including red fruits (cherry) and leather notes. In the mouth is bigger, more powerful, with a very long finish and more mineral notes. I am not a fan of very old wines, but I am curious to see its development over 10 to 20 years.

It is a pity for us Catalans that a lot of the already small production is exported, boosted by high ratings from Parker. However, it is a good excuse to visit Priorat’s rugged terrain and hardy people and share a bottle.


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