I first encountered Mastinell a few years ago when I stayed at the remarkable five-star hotel they have. The rooms are designed to make the hotel look like it’s a stack of Cava bottles (above). It works well, even though the idea sounds odd. This time I was visiting in a professional capacity, not staying at the hotel. It’s located just outside the town of Vilafranca del Penedès. ‘Mas’ is farmhouse and ‘tinell’ is a tinaja. Initially the winery name was two words, but now they just write it as one word.
This is a famly business, and the vineyard was purchased in 1995 by Manuel Valderamma. He has other businesses, including maintenance companies. So he ended up buying hotels (he owns the Olivia group of hotels), and because of this when he bought Mastinell he built the hotel to create a 360 degree wine experience; it was opened in 2013.
This is a 200 000 bottle winery, and the split is now 50/50 Cava and still wine. The Cava focuses 100% on long ageing, and they try to do high end with the still wines, too. The youngest Cava right now is 2016, and the oldest current release is 2011.
I visited with manager Beatriz Marti and winemaker Sandra Estebez (she comes from Galicia).
The vineyards they farm are organic, and these are roughly 50% of their needs. The grapes they buy are organic too. They pay more than 3 times market value for the grapes. ‘If you want to age your wines you need quality grapes,’ says Beatriz. Normally, grapes sell for 30-33 c a kilo, but they pay 65-90 c a kilo.
The winery became famous a few years back when it won a blind tasting for a royal wedding in Spain that involved 70 different Cavas.
Mastinell Carpe Diem Eco Gran Reserva Brut Nature 2016
A blend of Macabeo, Parellada, Xarel.lo and Chardonnay. This has lovely freshness and purity with bright citrus fruit and some subtle almond and lime characters. Juicy but also has some depth and complexity. I really like the purity. 93/100
Mastinell Cristina Eco Gran Reserva Extra Brut 2016
A blend of Macabeo, Parellada, Xarel.lo (20% fermented in oak barrels) and Chardonnay. This is bold and richly flavoured with some nuts and spice as well as savoury edged pear, apple and peach fruit. There’s a nice depth here, with great balance between the fruit and the savoury elements. 92/100
Mastinell Brut Nature Gran Reserva 2014
This has lovely toasty, spicy, savoury depth with some sweet citrus and pear fruit as well as some grip. There’s nice density with lovely focus and some spicy, herby notes. This has a lovely concentration and intensity, with a bit of pithy bitterness on the finish. Lovely fruit, but also some savoury complexity. 93/100
Mastinell Brut Real Gran Reserva 2011
6 g/l dosage. This is complex and powerful with fresh lime and citrus fruit, as well as some creamy texture. Taut with some freshness as well as a bit of grip. Nice focus with a hint of earth and spice. 90/100
Mastinell Chapo Chardonnay Reserva 2015
12.5% alcohol. Distinctive with a green herbal hint and some pear and apple fruit, as well as notes of bean and pea. Would make a good pairing for asparagus. 84/100
Mastinell Brut Rosé Reserva 2020
11.5% alcohol. This is Trepat. Fresh, sappy, fruity and lively with a direct citrus core to it. Very fresh and linear with bright tart cranberry and cherry fruit. Such precision with some herby hints on the finish. 92/100
Mastinell Irene Sumoll Negre 2022 Penedes, Spain
Juicy and vivid with tart cherry fruit and a lovely citrus line. Bright and focused with juicy acidity. 92/100
Mastinell Eliane Chardonnay 2022 Penedes, Spain
Pure and bright with pear drop, citrus, lovely brightness and good focus. Very fruity and linear. 90/100
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