Cava Hotel Mas Tinell, Bottle of Wine in D.O. Penedes

376/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Penedes – Vilafranca del Penedes – Cava & Hotel Mas Tinell – Gisele 2011

Bottle of Wine……..,

Gisele-webGisele 2011, Xarel.lo and Muscat

Very brilliant, golden yellow with light gold reflections, a really nice color. Medium intensity nose with clean and fresh citrus accents, floral notes, white stone fruit, slightly smoky, nutty and well integrated wood. Very pleasant nose that continues with some tropical fruit such as lychee, banana and pineapple. On the palate, it is unctuous and complex with balanced acidity. Slightly greasy texture that provides good body to the wine. It has a very expressive retronasal finish ennobled by the slight wooden undertones from the barrel aging from one of the varieties, Some of the Xarel.lo wine was fermented in French oak barrels with subsequent battonage. It is complex and evolves by releasing different aromatic tones once opened. It lingers in the mouth, very unctuous, with toasty and spicy hints.

The Bottle…..,

…… people in the bottle, there’s people livin’ in the bottle. Well, maybe not living there but at least visiting for a while and enjoying five star service. Hotels can have many shapes and forms, I know, it used to be my line of work. Many years with boutique hotels in both Europe and Africa, and I still haven’t seen what I saw in Vilafranca del Penedes, people living in a bottle. Marketing ploy or just another expression of Spanish design?

Techo-Hotel-Mas-TinellMany wineries all over Spain have been designed by famous architects but not just for the sake of creating a beautiful building, but also something that works, both environmentally and when it comes to the workability as a winery. In the case of Mas Tinell, it is a two step project. The winery as such has existed for quite some time but the current owners acquired it 1989 and only recently, in 2013 they opened what must be one of the coolest looking hotels in the area!

DSC_0849Have you heard of Mas Tinell in Vilafranca del Penedes? If you have, then you know that it is a unique building. A 5 star hotel remarkable for its peculiar shape, which resembles two rows of bottles of cava put into rhyme. It is a project of the architects Josep Lluís Juanpere and Escamis (GCA Arquitectes ) who won the Gold Medal in the 2011 “Shanghai International Interior Design Festival.

cava-hotel-mastinellAmongst building materials, ceramics highlights a clear identification with the Modernism of Antonio Gaudí, which decorates the roof, achieving an impressive aerial view and in complete harmony with the carpet of vineyards stretching through the Penedes. What’s more, it is also a sustainable building. Visiting a place like this is not only about wine, but also ecotourism and spoiling oneself. The building has cross ventilation, rainwater is reused and it has a biomass boiler.

DSC_0870A good example of sustainable architecture, which in turn respects the environment and the environment in which it is located. The idea of ​​integrating the environment of a building with vines, being that the land surrounding the property is all vineyards and the way that the bottles are stacked during fermentation in rhyme (second fermentation) is what captured my attention the first time I drove past it.

cava-hotel-mastinell-1How would you like to spend a night or two in a bottle? I know I for one, wouldn’t mind that notion at all! There are a total of 11 guest rooms and 1 suit, so it is to be considered a boutique hotel. All rooms are designed in a way so that the guests feel like they are sleeping in a wine bottle.

cava_hotel_mas_tinell_habitacio_0016-1The circular shapes all over are illustrating bubbles.  It is comfortable, spacious and welcoming and the ground floor restaurant serves some amazing courses. A part from the guest rooms and restaurant, there is also a tasting room and a convention center for up to 160 people.

DSC_1002However, it is not only for its exterior shape and its relationship with the environment that makes it unique. As you well may know, it is located in the region of Penedès, an area that enjoys a typical Mediterranean climate ideal for growing grapes. This region is home to approximately 95 % of all Cava elaborated. It is for this reason that the setting of the hotel is one of the best for those who want a true wine tourism experience in situ.

All the rooms are named after grapes. Nice touch! This one is Trepat.

The Mas Tinell is a small winery with a clear Mediterranean spirit, sociable, active, very natural and current, yet respectful and identified with the tradition of the land and has been all these things during their 25 years of existence.

The bubbles are everywhere!

Mas Tinell was founded in 1989 . Its headquarters, surrounded by vineyards and built in traditional architectural style of a Catalan farmhouse, houses modern facilities featuring cutting edge technology to produce white wines, Cava and red wines of exceptional quality and limited production.

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During the visit I was very well received by the young but commited General Manager of the hotel and also got to meet with the wine maker and the winery workers. This is certainly a place I’m going to return to, to enjoy a nice meal with some great wines and to stay a night in the bottle!

9 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and SweetEasy Wine Tours

Celler Marti Fabra, The Way To Play in D.O. Emporda

205/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Emporda – Sant Climent Sescebes – Celler Marti Fabra – Verd Albera 2009

The Way To Play……..,

Verd Albera 2009

Verd Albera 2009, 60% Garnacha Blanca, 30% Muscat, 5% Grenache Gris, 5% Chardonnay

Intense straw yellow colour with greenish reflections. Clean and bright. A very interesting style with lots of spicy citrus fruit and a smoky minerality. Whilst still crisp and dry, there is a richness from the lees ageing and the Muscat does in no way take over the composition, a very fine tuned wine, just like Bill Evans, this is the way to play!This white wine made by Marti Fabra surprises by its freshness and by its sweet character at the same time. It has a wide, voluminous and unctuous mid palate. Its intense notes of fruit and its creamy aromas are released along with a touch of herbs, which together with this wine’s great acidity, result in a very balanced and very fresh palate, slight hint of white pepper. Its long elegant finish leaves mineral sensations.. Good with salads and smoked fish, also meatier fish such as monkfish. Would also go well with light pork dishes

Another top wine from Narti Fabra, which I yet have to try....., so many good things to look forward to!

Another top wine from Narti Fabra, which I yet have to try….., so many good things to look forward to!

Verd Albera is made with a highly unusual blend of Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris, Muscat de Frontignan and Muscat de Alexandria, with a touch of Chardonnay. The grapes undergo maceration for several hours, before gentle pressing. The must is then decanted to remove impurities. Fermentation takes place on the lees so as not to lose varietal character and aromas. The wine is then filtered in a way that leaves the fine lees, which are then used in the ageing process. The vineyards from which it is made are located in poor slate soils surrounded by abundant vegetation. Its careful elaboration follows the principles of organic farming.

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This property has been in the family since the 12th century and they have documents relating to vineyards from 1305. Emporda has many similarities both in grape varities, climate and terroir to Roussillon just over the French border. They also share the uncompromising tramontane wind which drys the land and vines meaning little need for treatments. The poor soils consist mainly of meteorized slate which adds a clear mineral edge to the wines and keep yields naturally low. The vineyards are located on the slopes of the Alberes mountains, amongst a variety of wild aromatic plant species such as bay, fennel, thyme, lavender, mint and rosemary, which are responsible for the floral, spicy and mineral aromas found in the wines. The wines are beautifully made and quite unique.

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176 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle

Domenech Vidal, Long time ago, D.O. Penedes

16/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Penedes – Vilobi del Penedes – Domenech Vidal – Masia Freye, Parellada/Muscat 2012

Long Time Ago……

A.D 1865 – A.D. 2014 = 149 Years of wine making. To keep something like that up takes more than passion. Call it perseverance and love for the land or just inheritance. The roots go deep but the traditions go way deeper! Imagine your forefathers starting a business and today you are the one clearing the path for the generations to come. New cellars and wine makers emerge all the time but the old remain, change and evolve to the modern ways, still having the history to rely on.

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In the year 1865 the US Civil War was ended, Lincoln was assassinated, Rudyard Kipling was born and more importantly Francisco Jose Domenech started the business of wine making. Only 22 years later the phylloxera devastated the entire Penedès vineyards.

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The cellar of José Domènech Soler (1864-1958) one of the pioneers in replanting uncontaminated vineyards. The winery gained enormous prestige in the region that ended with the recognition of King Alfonso XIII after visiting the winery in 1904.

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After retrieving the vineyards in the area during 1905, José Domènech Torné (1896-1957), acquires all vineyards of the Masia called “La Sala”. “La Sala” was occupied during the Spanish Civil War being partially destroyed by the end of it. After retrieving the Masia, José Domènech Torné produced the first bottles of Vallformosa Cava.

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The Domènech/Vidal family acquires new vineyards to meet market demands. One of these estates is Masia Freyé, a place of retreat and source of inspiration for the Domènech/Vidal family.

 Masia Freye, Parellada/Muscat 2012
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Pale yellow with green hues. Intense and fruity aroma with citrus (grapefruit) and exotic backgrounds (lychee and passion fruit) combined with subtle floral notes of orange blossom. The blend of Muscat with the finesse of the Parellada offer a range of high intensity taste of white fruits. Soft while fresh palate. Balanced with an elegant, lingering finish. Very good coupage of Parellada/Muscat. An authenticity which should appeal to wine lovers.

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Now, go to your local fish monger, get some clams, saute in olive oil with garlic, red pepper flakes and white wine. Finish of with chopped parsley! Together with this wine makes a nice afternoon snack!

351 to go!