A Day with Vinitum
We have spent a day with Jordi Masdeu Catala’; In this article, we are going to tell you his story and that of Vinitum.
Located in Montblanc in the province of Tarragona, Catalunya, we ventured to a village surrounded by hills to interview a man, who through the most precious fruits of his land, managed to reach the tables of the most prestigious restaurants in the world.
We are talking about Jordi Masdeu Catala’ and the story of his company, Vinitum. You may not recognize his name but have most probably tasted one of his wines which are now sold in more than 20 countries and displayed on the shelves of the most important supermarkets in the United States, Japan and Europe.
Arriving in the Conca di Barbera area lies a small Catalan town, famous for the fruits of its land as well as its millennial history, we realized immediately here that wine is not simply a product to drink but more of a religion stored in ornate cathedrals and providing work to more than 2/3 of the population.
Sergi, the business partner of Jordi who began the first adventure leading to the creation of Vinitum explained to us the importance of the industry in the area. Vineyards have marked the landscape for centuries as can be seen from the ancient vines growing in the fields surrounding the Poblet Monastary and the Church and town hall of Santa Maria de Barbera dela Conca. Here the vineyards survived the war and are part of the culture and history of these mountains and it’s inhabitants.The three brands comprising Vinitum, Mas La Mola, Moli Dels Capellans and Cava L’atzar are an enological journey through the grape varieties that have made these valleys famous.
The story began with the creation of a small Catalan boutique production when Jordi and Sergi decided to use traditional methods re-using the only non-industrialized traditional mill in Europe.
A pioneering project in Spain giving life to five unique and distinctive bottles from Conca de Barbera: Atrepat, Atrevida, Mdc Trepat, Mdc Chardonnay and Illustrisim.
Shortly thereafter, Jordi embarked on the second chapter for Vinitum through the collaboration with renowned Sommelier Alessandro Marchesan aiming at a more experienced customer by creating a sophisticated product with a fuller, more intense taste that is found in all four bottles from this Priorat winery: Mas La Mola Negre, Blanc, La Vinyeta, and L’Expressio’ del Priorat.
In recent years, Vinitum has become an international company and a big source of pride and success for the area of Catalonia putting the wines of the region on the map, concentration many of it’s resources creating what will soon become the worlds most exported Cava. This wine spent 18 months in the bottle giving a beautiful crispness and intensity. The delicate and dine bubbles tickle your tongue with pure fresh flavours of crunchy apples and biscuit notes.
After discovering how the company’s history is characterized and contextualized, we decide to sit in on of the vineyards and ask a couple of questions to the man who made this possible; Jordi Masdeu Catala’.
- Hi Jordi! Can you tell us a bit about your background?
Three friends with a common passion, a way of living with the objective to produce fashionable artisanal wines.
We started our wineries from scratch, Mas la Mola in Priorat and Moli dels Capellans in Conca de Barbera.
I can’t take all the credit, this is teamwork. I am working closely with my partners Alessandro Marchessan (a well now sommelier) and Sergi Montala Guell (a winemaker that I meet in the Oenology School ).
I grew up in Catalunya in a small village called Montblanc in Conca de Barbera south of Barcelona, surrounded by vineyards and olives trees, my passion for wine started early when as a young child. I enjoyed helping my father and grandfather during the harvest and working the land.
- What made you decide to become a winemaker?
Winemaking was something I knew I wanted to do since I was young.
I love the creativity and magic to create wine and be close to nature.
Every day is a challenge to achieve the desired result and manage precisely all the necessary steps involved from cultivating grapes to the end result in the bottle.
- What do you love most about your job?
I don’t see this as a job for me, it is a way of living, the people you meet, the places where I am lucky enough to travel presenting my wines to Sommeliers, Chefs and consumers in countries around the world. The discovery of new techniques and the challenge of trying to make every year the best wine possible to reflect the harvest.
The passion and satisfaction to know that I am making a wine that will be enjoyed and savoured by people everywhere by capturing a year, a vineyard and a grape within a bottle.
- What makes your wines special?
They are individual and made with indigenous varieties, tasting of the place where they come from. I prioritize quality and pay attention to the smallest details.
- Why should people want to drink your wine?
Our wines reflect the way we like to drink, expressing purity of fruit, freshness, elegant and with a complex texture. Our mission is to supply our customers with a product that satisfies the most distinguished palettes and leaves a taste of the quality of life.
- Greatest achievements…
Coming first at a blind tasting for the “New York Times” with the first vintage that I produced Mas la Mola beating all other Priorat wines.
- What do you see for the future of the vineyard
I would like to see our children follow and continuing the legacy.
- Failures that have pushed you to work harder
We started our wineries from the scratch ourselves with no help
I am an entrepreneur, so every day I need to push and work harder.
- Glittery awards you have won
-The New York Times featured the best Priorat. (Spaniards of Distinction From Priorat)
-Ferran Adria last Dinner at El Bulli in London, featured wine Mas la Mola.
-Decanter Magazine Top 50 Wines of the year 2012 for Mas la Mola.
-Emirates Airlines 1st Class Placement for Europe and Asia flights, first Priorat ever to be served at 10.000 metres.
-Guia de Vins de Catalunya: Winners for 3 years in a row on the top wines and wineries from Catalunya.
-Jancis Robinson & Jane Macquitty Top 50 Winter Wines in The Times Christmas 2012 for L’Atzar.
‘Priorat’s famous slate licorella soils and terraced vineyards continue to produce polished, yet chunky reds. L’Atzar is Mas la Mola’s second wine, made from younger vines and less successful plots, hence its keen price. Enjoy its terrific 14 per cent alcohol, bold, inky, sweet, raisin and plum spice with beef for a festive treat.’ Jane MacQuitty, The Times
What it’s makers describe as ‘introductory’ Priorat.
-Grenache Day Jancis Robinson.
-Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar (94,93,92 points!) Mas la Mola/La Vinyeta Vella
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