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Vinseum, Museum of the Wine Cultures of Catalonia
&
Mascaró Cavas
by
Kathy and Terry Sullivan

Vinseum Museum of Wine Cultures of CataloniaSummary: Vinseum, Museum of the Wine Cultures of Catalonia takes visitors through the history of the Catalonia land where wine has been produced for centuries. In the museum some of the signs describing the artifacts include an English translation. The museum has a wine tasting room. On the day of our visit, we enjoyed a private tasting of cavas from Mascaró.

While participating in the 50 Best Cavas Media Tour, we visited Vinseum in Vilafranca del Penedès. The museum is located in the center of the town, a historic district. Mascara wines were available for us to taste after our tour of the museum.

The importance of Vinseum may be best described on one of the posted signs.

Vinseum Museum of Wine Cultures of CataloniaThe VINSEUM storeroom is teeming with artefacts: fossils, desiccated birds, music scores, paintings, tools, pottery, old books, instruments, photographs, posters, engravings, films, stones, glass silver and bronze objects, antiques, wineskins, barrels, sulphate sprayers, wine labels, grape presses… This enormous variety of items helps us to understand the history of a land with a long winemaking tradition and to reconstruct its human and natural past from the viewpoint of the present day. Through the material and immaterial heritage preserved by VINSEUM, we can also explore the past, present and future of the world of the vine and wine.

Vinseum Museum of Wine Cultures of CataloniaEntering the first floor of the Vinseum we found ourselves in an immense, bright reception area with high ceilings and a stairway leading to the second floor.

Vinseum Museum of Wine Cultures of CataloniaAfter an introduction by our guide, we went to the upper floors where we discovered a variety of displays featuring the history of vineyards and wine in the Catalonia region. The museum has more than 17,000 historic items. Artifacts from past centuries are on display in glass enclosed cases (such as the wine vessels pictured above). Miniature dioramas portray workers in vineyards and shipping barrels of wine. Numerous antiquated vineyard and winemaking equipment are on display.

After spending a lengthy time browsing the museum’s collections we returned to the first floor for a wine tasting in an adjacent room. The tasting room offers a sophisticated atmosphere with shining white lights glistening on stemware that dangle above the counter. The tasting counter is circular with numerous bar stools surrounding it. A staff member stationed in the center of the circular counter, can quickly reach any of the wine tasters. The circular counter promotes conversation among the visitors.Vinseum Museum of Wine Cultures of Catalonia

Mascaró Wine Tasting

Less than 50 km from Barcelona in the village of Vilafranca de Penedés, is Mascaró winery. The winery has been in the Mascaró family for three generations. The logo for Mascaró was created to show a mythical beast showing half man and half lion. According to a Mascaró pamphlet. “On the one had, the lion presents strength, sovereignty and beauty, on the other, the man suggest intelligence and sensitivity.” While at Vinseum, we tasted several Mascaró cavas in the tasting room.

History of Mascaró

The winery was founded by Don Narciso Mascaró Marcé. By 1946, wines under the Masceró name were being sold. Don’s son, Antonio began exporting the Mascaró wines. Antonio’s daughter, Montserrat, joined the company. She now completely runs the business.

Two properties are owned that are used to make cavas: Mas Miquel and El Castell. Grapes are hand harvested and taken to the cellar in lugs. The grapes are pressed, but only the free run juice is used to make the wine that will be the base for the cavas. Mascaró winery believes in aging on the lees for extended periods of time. They produce reserva cava, aged for a minimum of 15 months, and gran reserva cava, aged for a minimum of 30 months.

Mascaró Cavas

Vinseum Museum of Wine Cultures of CataloniaPure Cava Reserva Brut Nature was a blend of Macabeo and Parellada. This cava was aged for 24 months. The light yellow cava with 12% alcohol offered freshly baked bread and citrus notes. The cava was very crisp. The retail price is 12€.

Cuvée Antonio Mascaró was a blend of Parellada, Macabeo and Chardonnay. This cava was aged for more than 30 months. The light yellow cava had 12% alcohol. The crisp wine had notes of apple and freshly baked bread.

Reserva Brut Nigrum a blend of Parellada, Macabeo and Xarel-lo had 12% alcohol. The light yellow cava was aged for more than 24 months. The wine retails for 8€. This was one of our favorites.

Rubor Aurorae Cava Brut Rosado was produced with 100 percent Trepat. The red-orange cava had 12% alcohol. The cava offered dark red fruit notes. Retail price is 12€.

Ambrosia Semi-Dry Seco was a bend of Parellada, Macabeo and Xarel-lo. The light yellow wine was 12% alcohol. The wine aged for 24 months offered notes of mineral, tropical fruit salad and sweetness. The retail price is 7€.

Vinseum, Museum of the Wine Cultures of Catalonia provides a tremendous amount of information to visitors. If you are spending time in Catalonia, consider visiting the museum for several hours and perhaps end with a glass of wine in the museum tasting room.

Vinseum
Plaça Jaume I, 5
08720 Vilafranca del Penedès
Spain

Mascaró
C/ Casal,9
08720 Vilafranca del Penedès
Spain

 

 

Article written November 2014


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