Alella Vinicola, in D.O. Alella

271/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Alella – Alella – Alella Vinicola – Mayla Rose 2013

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Mayla Rose 2013, 87% Syran and 13% Pansa Blanca

Grapes obtained from organic vineyards.  It has a beautiful strawberry colour with bluish highlights and it is quite delicate and attractive. It has a high intensity nose in which red fruits (strawberries, blueberries), flower (violet) and fine lees stand out. It is a very original blend and for me personally something totally new, which I can say I quite like. In the mouth, it is fresh and very tasty and is characterised by the original, natural sparkling point that intensifies all sensations, inviting you to drink it again! The wine was aged in stainless steel tanks on its own fine lees from November to February in order to give the wine more lubrication and volume, and to prepare it to improve its evolution throughout time. Likewise, the second fermentation was done in stainless steel tanks for two months to obtain the desired sparkling point. It is a great aperitif, ideal for accompanying light dishes, salads, pastas or tapas.

Alella 1

1886 was the year the Phylloxera plague reached Alella and by 1894 it had affected the local vineyards with extreme virulence. Many owners were ruined and had to sell their properties. In 1888, the first American stemmed vine was planted in Alella. The first harvest after the Phylloxera plague was in 1894. On July 15 1906, Alella Vinícola was founded as a co-operative with the character of an agricultural trade union, and its first 54 member associates contributed, at the beginning of the business, with around 513,000 vines. In September of the same year, Jeroni Martorell was commissioned with the building of the wine cellar and Alella Vinícola’s company headquarters in a modern style.

By 1911, 800.000 vines had already been re-planted. The recovery of the vines and of production was complete. Of all the vines in Alella, 513.000 belonged to the Alella Vinícola union. The founders of the co-operative were concerned about authenticity and certification of origin. This is why the labels carry the wording” Alella Legítimo” (“Genuine Alella”). Alella Vinícola became a guarantee of the authenticity of Alella wine, operating de facto as a Regulatory Council for the Guarantee of Denomination of Origin (Appelation Controlée), by pursuing any illicit use of the name Alella. In 1918, the most exclusive stores offered to represent the Alella Vinicola wines on important markets: Argentina, Cuba, London, New York, Chile, Peru, Bolivia, etc. These exports increased the prestige of their wines. In 1923, 900.000 of the one million vines throughout the Alella municipality belonged to the union.

Alella 2

In 1928, the trademark MARFIL was registered and the co-op’s wine came to be known as Marfil Alella. The name arose because of the colour of the wine and the caps that sealed the bottles. The 1920’s and 1930’s saw significant growth in the wines of Alella Vinicola. The prestige of MARFIL wine reached its peak: “and Alella Vinícola received its ultimate blessing when in 1928 a Spanish king – Alfonso XIII – gave Marfil Alella the distinction of his royal seal of appointment, in preference over a very famous foreign brand”. The co-operative’s wine has been awarded national and international prizes, prominent among which is the gold medal received at the Barcelona World Fair in 1929. This distinction was the only one awarded unanimously to a Spanish brand.

During the post-war years, demand was twice as high as capacity. Alella Vinícola had to restrict the number of deliveries. Unscrupulous shopkeepers became wealthy thanks to the name of Marfil Alella by selling wine from anywhere except Alella. In 1942, the cooperative took the initiative of asking the town hall to take suitable measures to protect Marfil’s good name. Four years later, measures were taken to create a Regulatory Council for the protection of Alella wine. In 1947, Jeroni Martorell oversaw the extension of the building, taking advantage of the slope of the land to improve the wine-making process. The grapes were received in the higher area while the wine matured in the lower area. On 13 May of 1953, the Regulatory Council of the Alella Denomination of Origin was established.

Alella 3

In 1956, the 50th Anniversary of the foundation of Alella Vinícola was celebrated and the Bye-Laws of the Regulatory Council for the Guarantee of Denomination of Origin was approved. Between the 1950 – 1970’s, the co-operative kept up its good results. At the end of the 1970’s, increasing pressure by urban development led to the destruction of many vineyards, which were converted into plots on which second homes for people from Barcelona were built. The lack of Alella wine in the shops during certain periods led to disappointment among loyal customers. During the 1980’s, part of the wine cellar installations were renewed. Many of the wooden vats were replaced with stainless steel tanks in which to commence the production of young wines following the introduction of new varieties. On 23 June 1998, the Alella Vinícola co-operative became a private company. It was the beginning of a new era!

Alella 4

Starting with the 2002 grape harvest, MARFIL wines were presented in a Bordeaux bottle and the classic Rhine type bottle was abandoned. In addition, a new brand was born in the cellar: IVORI, a white wine fermented in oak barrels and whose production is based on a local variety. The 2003 grape harvest initiated the production and renovation of the vintage VIOLETA wine, a sweet wine produced with Garnacha Tinta (red Garnacha) from old vines, which had been made for many years in the cooperative. “Pansified” white raisins (pansas blancas) are also vinified to obtain sweet white wines. Only 14 kilometres from Barcelona, they now have 50 hectares of old and young vines which allow them to produce nearly 80% of the grapes needed for the production of their wines. As well as a guided-tour through the wine cellar, it is also possible to have a walk through the vines along the Rials Valley, with their spectacular views of the sea, our vineyards and the city of Barcelona behind them. Welcome to Alella!!!

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113 to go!

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