After a long and challenging – but very much fulfilling – year, I decided I’d earned some spoiling time. What could be better as a reward than good wine, a relaxing massage, and an amazing view from bed??
After a little bit of research and sifting through recommendations, I decided on my destination; the Cava & Hotel Mastinell in the Penedes area. Time to start the new year off right!
The five-star Cava and Hotel Mastinell greets you with award-winning architecture; the windows evoking the familiar form of stacked cava bottles and their enchanting bubbles. In short, I slept in a bottle of cava. The hotel stays true to this theme and the various rooms are named after traditional varieties from the Penedes region, like Xarel-lo, Macabeu or Garnatxa.
A little background on Penedes; it’s one of the regions where we first produced wine, and traditionally home to some of the best vineyards producing Cava – the Spanish Champagne. Obviously, the Spaniards couldn’t call their sparkling wines “champagne” as it would upset the French, so we call it CAVA, and produce it with the traditional Champenoise method ;).
Besides the amazing hotel, this location has an extensive vineyard and their own winery. Part of my experience it was a beautiful tour at the winery and a comprehensive explanation of the Champenoise process which we use to produce the bubbly drink.
Let me give you a quick overview as well:
The process starts with the finest quality wine to which they add some little bacteria. Those little devils feast on the sugar we naturally present in the wine (in some cases a little extra may be added) and through their digestion they release the bubbles that fascinate us every time we pour a glass of cava or champagne! Of course, when there is no more sugar left, the bacteria (yeast) dies so, don’t be afraid! In the picture below you see how the remaining sediments look and how (through slow and hard work) they are moved to the top of the upside-down bottle.
Some light added to make it more dramatic!
After the sediments safely settle at the top, the top three centimetres of the bottles are passed through liquid nitrogen. This freezes the sediments and they pop out the moment the bottle is open! Et voila!! Like this, we get the clean beautiful cava.
Of course, I had the wine and cava tasting, making sure my palate could feel every note of grapes, honey, herbs, and… some other ones I couldn’t quite pick out after third glass 😉
Interestingly enough the Mastinell winery marks the quality of their Cava with different colours on the labels. The good one gestates peacefully for nine months and has a white label. The very good one rests for a full 15 months of ageing and has a green label. The excellent, premium, out-of-this-world one than 30 months of ageing and it has the label black.
Now, going back to the rooms. I loved the abstract design of the windows! I could stare through this view all day long!
From bed I could see people tending the vines, preparing them for the next harvest. This time of the year the vines are in their dormant phase, ideal for pruning, which will keep tight control over the quantity and quality of grape production.
It is very interesting to see that even nowadays everything at the Mastinell vineyard is done by hands. We learned that whenever you see wood posts on a vineyard plantation, it means that everything is done manually, in contrast with the iron posts you see when machine labour is present.
I am so happy I am in here relaxing and not out there doing the work!
What a relaxing day indeed! I could stare out the window day and night, watching the nature hibernating. I loved absolutely everything during my stay, and I am already preparing to come back!