Of all the cuvées produced at Mas Alta, Artigas has the highest percentage of Garnatxa (about 70%), with Cabernet Sauvignon and old-vine Carinyena making up the balance. From steeps slopes of schist in a warm terroir, Artigas is a silk and rich wine aged in French oak barrels – 1/3 new, 1/3 second fill and 1/3 third fill.
In the Priorat you can find local families who have tended their vines for generations as well as newcomers drawn to the possibilities of this terroir. Even the founding members of the modern Priorat include representatives of both camps.
The creators of Mas Alta, Michel and Christine Vanhoutte, originally from Belgium, became enamored with the early wines they tasted from the Priorat and decided to relocate to the small village of Vilella Alta with the goal of establishing an estate of their own. In the process they enlisted the help of Michel Tardieu and Philippe Cambie to start up their Bodega. Lest you think this is an entirely foreign affair they did hire Bixente Oçafrain as their winemaker, a name not common in either Belgium or the Rhône valley.
Mas Alta is currently 35 ha in size with additional acreage contracted from local growers. At the core of the estate, as with most properties in the Priorat, 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 and Garnacha. Most of the vines are planted on schist, known locally as llicorella, with a few areas of clay-limestone soils. At harvest the grapes are brought to the newly built cellar where they are partially destemmed, crushed and fermented before aging in concrete, foudres or French oak barrels.