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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Sip Cava in Catalonia


3. What to Do

Vinseum is housed in a thirteenth-century royal palace.  

Skip the familiar cava-producing giants—Codorníu and Freixenet, both headquartered in Sant Sadurní d’Anoia—and instead head to MasCandi (guided visits, $12), an ecofriendly winery run by four young oenophiles 6 km north of Vilafranca del Penedès. In 2010, they began planting historic Catalan grape varieties that hadn’t been harvested since the 1800s. Top off the tour on the sunny terrace, sipping a bright, tart glass of Brut Nature cava ($9 per bottle).

Drink organic cava while standing in the vineyard of origin at the family-owned Parés Baltà (guided visits, $16), about 5 km northwest of Vilafranca del Penedès. Bump along on a four-wheel-drive guided tour across the winery’s five estates and see their organic methods firsthand, like flocks of grazing sheep that help fertilize the land. Pick up a bottle (or five) of Parés Baltà Ros de Pacs ($11), voted best Spanish rosé by the New York Times last summer, or splurge on the organic cava Rosa Cusine 2007 ($40), which debuted in October and received a limited production of 500 bottles.

Be the first to explore the new Vinseum ($7; call ahead to confirm open hours), the first museum dedicated to the wines of Spain, which is going through the finishing touches of a five-year makeover in a thirteenth-century royal palace that was once the seat of the Catalan–Aragon crown. Take advantage of the Vinseum Menu ($47), a gastronomic package that includes museum entry, a five-course meal and wine tasting at MerCat, and a 20 percent discount on selected vineyard tours.

Published on Dec 8, 2011 as a web exclusive.

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