Bodegas Roura, You Sent Me Flying in D.O. Alella

302/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Alella – Alella – Bodegas Roura – “Tres Ceps” 2006

You Sent Me Flying……..,

ceps“Tres Ceps” 2006, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah

Cherry to ruby red color, bright surface and garnet rim. Elegant ageing aroma, candied fruit with some creamy oak notes, sweet/oriental spices and a background of roasted touches. Good intensity. Spicy. Sweet-toothed on the palate, very flavorful,fruity and meaty. Good balance between acidity-tannins. Velvety, with a large after taste and good persistance. Would need some nice cured meats, game and/or creamy cheeses. A red winner from Alella!

This is a region which used to be renowned around the world for high quality wines and I for one know that to be the case nowadays as well. I am discovering new wine cellars in this urban region, where some wineries have their vineyards amongst houses of the  small towns in the area. Certainly a very exciting place to visit and the closeness to Barcelona makes it ideal for half a day trip. Welcome to Alella, with a view to a kill.

Alella in the lower left corner

The Roura winery, founded in the early 80 in the hamlet of Vall de Rials, is a small, modern winery with quite a good reputation for their wines. They are not big or great wines but descent wines for a price/quality comparison that works well for the daily wine consumption. The produce their wines using grapes from the 32 ha. of vineyards the own and by purchasing grapes from another 22 ha. They produce a rose wine and a Merlot-based red, two white, a Xarel.lo and one Sauvignon Blanc. Additionally they make a aged red and a young red, with 4 months of American oak. Two barrel-fermented white wines complement the current range of wines from the cellar and the sparkling range consists of 4 Cava wines. This winery is working under the appellations D.O. Alella, D.O. Cava and D.O. Catalonia.

Alta Alella Vineyards

During the early 1980s, in the beautiful valley “Vall de Rials”, Roura conceived a project to continue a task that was begun more than 3000 years ago by Phoenicians and that reached its peak with the Roman Empire. There is historical evidence that Alella wine was exported to Rome from year 140 B.C. until year 250 A.D. It was highly appreciated by Roman nobility. Roura, convinced about the possibilities of the area, with its traditional vines and some new ones that had been recently introduced, embarked on the project of making high quality wines.

can roura

The winery started its commercial career in 1990, by providing the market white a white wine from 1989, a red Crianza wine from 1987 and a Cava Brut Nature. New references were gradually added and the present complete range of wines was reached through a gradual growth. During the continuous expansion phase in 2004, a new winery of 1,600m2 was opened and was attached to the D.O. Catalonia, in order to produce and bottle quality wines, mainly for the Latin American and Asian markets.

bodega-roura

The initial winery, with a total surface of 4,000 m, has the capacity to produce 500,000 litres and its current average production is 300,000 bottles, half of them being still wine, while the other half is Cava. Two cold stores are used for the fermentation and stabilization of wines. The first one includes a controlled fermentation system with a cold water circuit (11 tanks of 15,000 litres and 1 tank of 8,000 litres); the second one uses cold air for stabilization (8 tanks of 22,000 litres and 2 tanks of 12,000 litres).

photo

The subsequent winery expansion, divided into two half-underground floors of 1,600 sqare meters each, has been equipped with the new oenology technologies. It only holds the brands VALL DE RIALS and NORD-EST, with an average production of 500,000 bottles. With such expansion, the production capacity increases and the quality of the new products can be improved due to its high technification.

exportacion2

The granitic soil in a decaying state (granitic sand) allows a very fast drainage when rainfall is excessive and, at the same time, it facilitates deep root growth. This allows the existence of humidity deep in the ground in drought periods, which allows a better relationship of the plant with the environment. The micro-climate shows short mild winters and moderately hot summers, whit a fresh and pleasant sea breeze and the night’s dew. Varieties grown are: Merlot, Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Chardonnay, Xarel·lo and Sauvignon Blanc. Vines are planted in spacings of 2,500 per Ha; an espalier arrangement and double Royat pruning are used.

pruning

For the Xarel.lo variety, the goblet pruning system is used for old vineyards, while the espalier pruning system is used for the newly planted vines. Regarding the D.O. Catalunya, Roura provides a wine sampling with samples from different Catalan areas. Afterwards the wine samples are selected and assembled in order to offer good quality at competitive prices. For wine ageing they use 270 barrels of 220 litres each. 210 of these are made out of French oak, and the other 60 are made out of American oak.

roura sauvignon blanc 2009

Roura Sauvignon Blanc 2009

A fresh white wine produced by Roura under the appellation of D.O. Alella. Works well with cold fish starters and mushrooms dishes but also with a mild goat cheese. This is a pale, bright yellow coloured wine with greenish reflections. First nose has a touch of tropical fruit (pineapple?) and more and more grassy herbs as it opens up. And a bit of asparagus. The wine has a great mouthfeel, very smooth, with lots of lemon and grapefruit, and more herbs. There is a lot of acid that carries well into the finish but it is in check and pleasant.

82 to go!

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Parxet, You’ve Got Time in D.O. Alella

293/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Alella – Tiana – Bodegas Parxet – Marques de Alella Pansa Blanca 2012

You’ve Got Time………,

pansablanca

Marques de Alella Pansa Blanca 2012, 100% Pansa Blanca

Clear golden color with yellow reflections, very illuminating and visibly dense tears. Intense aromatics that are fruit forward, peache and ripe pineapple, alongside herbal aromatics of aniseed. In addition, there are warm creamy oak aromas that are very elegant. The nose has a touch of minerality, with some slightly saline notes, all of this is very characteristic of the environment of where the grapes were cultivated. This wine is big on the palate, creamy and very well-integrated acidity that is very refreshing. The retronasal effects of the wine leads back to the primary aromas felt on the nose. with its ripe fruit and smoky notes, along a herbaceous background.

An elegant wine that will make you want to open another bottle, due to its aromatic and flavor complexity.

What I miss, at times, is the possibility to multiply into two or three, so that I could cover more ground and be at several places at the same time! I wonder why they (Egyptians and Babylonians) decided we should have only 24 hours in a day? Does not work for me! So, probably have to do something about it. Sleep less? Spend fewer minutes in the bathroom? Stop writing the blog? Nope, not an option! I have way to much fun doing just that! Some people don’t believe time truly exists. They maintain that at the most fundamental realm of human reality, the universal concept becomes defunct. Now; it’s all very well to have a theory and everything, but as the ten or so wines have to be tasted and that takes some time, I say…. those scientific types are a bunch of crazy bastards.

zig-direction

 

Whit food like this, during days like these, I actually like to cut through the wine with some beer!

Whit food like this, during days like these, I actually like to cut through the wine with some beer!

The D.O. Alella has a Mediterranean climate, with less than 600mm of rainfall per year and an average annual temperature of 15°C. Nonetheless, each vineyard is influenced by the microclimates of the area, where variables such as altitude, differing slopes, proximity to wooded areas, prevailing winds etc, can alter the characteristics of the grapes. The Alella region is formed by a great mass of granite. The soils are generally poor in nutrients, with low water retention and a moderate pH. It’s texture is variable: from the rough sandy sauló on the maritime side of the area, to the sandy clays on the inland plain.

parx_fic_1

The Bodegas Parxet company has around 200 hectares of vineyards in the districts of Sta. Maria de Martorelles, Montornès del Vallès, Sant Fost de Campsentelles, Alella and la Roca del Vallès. The varieties planted are principally Pansa Blanca. They also have Macabeu and Parellada, all three of which have a medium to long vegetative cycle. Introduced varieties – with excellent results – Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, which both have a shorter cycle.

celler1

The vineyards are planted at a density of 3.700 vines per Hectare with 2,2 m between rows and 1.2m between the vines. This creates competition between the plants and enables, together with the trellising, to achieve a high leaf canopy area (1,4 m2). The rows are planted from North to South, and where possible on flat land. Whilst the older vineyards are still in Gobelet (bush-vine) form, the newer plantations are all trellised using the Cordon de royat system. The vines are pruned short, leaving 4 spurs with 2 shoots each to achieve the ideal balance of vigor and production.

bodega2_21

Different types of grass are sowed between the rows to limit the vigour and production and improve the qualitative potential of the vines forcing their roots deeper. This also facilitates mechanisation and minimizes erosion on the steeper slopes. In the vineyards they apply a reasoned approach to phytosanitary protection, requiring a deep knowledge of the habitat and the biological cycle of plagues and parasites as well as the climatic characteristics of the area.

 

91 to go!

 

Alella Vinicola, in D.O. Alella

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

tallfoto

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!!!

alella5

113 to go!

Celler Alta Alella, Am I Wrong in D.O. Alella

233/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Alella – Alella – Celler Alta Alella – Alta Alella Privat Mataró Rosat

Am I Wrong………,

mataro

Alta Alella Privat Mataró Rosat, 100% Mataró

Mataró Rosat has a lovely dark orange to bronze color and carries fine and steady bubbles. 30 months ageing does that to a Cava. The nose is floral and intensely coated with roasted notes from the long aging. There’s some fine underlying notes of red berries bit they don’t stand out. Some Danish pastry and raspberry. Great entry, fine and elegant with an integrated effervescence. Long, persistent and very tasty.

Alta ODQ Concepts

Am I Wrong or Am I Right! I have to say that Alella was something that I never heard of during my first year and a half here in Catalonia. I guess I was fully busy covering Priorat, Montsant and the “famous” wine making regions here. Opened my eyes when I first came in touch with wine makers from Alella during a wine fair in Barcelona. Off course all of them were raving about their own region of Alella and the wines produced there. That is and will always be the case with wine makers, my region is the best and my wines are certainly the very best. No need to drink anything else! Full stop!

Alta Alella vineyards

Here in Catalonia and the rest of Spain, as well as most, if not all Mediterranean countries, local products are the best! Originating from Croatia, having a mother that always held to her principles of all things from my island, as well as the island it self, is the best in the world! That’s it! No discussion! Mother dearest, have you been to all other parts of the world? Have you tried products made in other parts of the world? Truth being, my parents always spent their summer vacations in Croatia and in their opinion, why bother going anywhere else when the best was right there?

My kid brother (with the best baseball cap) with my dad. In the best boat, in the best waters in the best country in the world!

Now, I grew up in Sweden. Whole different ball game. In Sweden, you can’t say that all things Swedish are the best, it’s a rule! Stick with it! Good thing about Swedish alcohol politics (having a state monopoly on alcohol), is that the Systembolaget provides wines from all over the world. And due to this fact, I dare say that Swedish consumers are knowledgeable and picky when it come to wine. This is my background, now back to D.O. Alella!

Alella Vineyards

I keep discovering wineries all over Catalonia. I have been enlightened when it comes to the DO:s and know most of them quite well. I do not know all the producers and I guess it will take another lifetime to visit them all and try their, in most cases, wonderful wines. Is Alella the best in the world? Well, the day you are there, the day you sit in the sun outside the winery, you are visiting that day, having a glass of wine or Cava in your hand, YES! That very day, Alella s the best wine growing region in the whole world!

A glass of wine in the sun

D.O. Alella is conveniantly located only  15 km to the north of the city of Barcelona, which makes it the closes wine making region to this bustling city and perfect for a day trip. It is one of the smallest DOs in Spain as the vineyards have been encroached upon by urban development. Presently it only covers one third of the area that it covered in 1956 when it was established.

Alta Alella Winery

Wine production has existed in the area since the time of the ancient Romans, mentioned by Pliny the Elder in his Naturalis Historia and by Martial in his Epigrams, during this time known as vins laietans. Structures have been found at the archaeological site of Veral de Vallmora, near Teià, showing that wine was made there from the 1st to 4th centuries AD. During the Middle Ages Alella wine was served at the court of the Kings of Aragón. As all wine making regions in Europe, Alella to suffered from the phylloxera at the end of the 19th century but the vineyards were successfully replanted using rootstock from the New World.

New World Rootstock

During the 1920s the region was famous for its Cava. In the 1980s new varieties were introduced and the wine-making methods modernized. The wineries are urban mansions that are built on the slopes overlooking the sea. The height above sea level of the vineyards determines the variety grown and thus the type of wine produced.

There are two distinct areas within the DO:

Maresme, on the foothills overlooking the sea, is influenced by the sun and the Mediterranean breezes. The hills protect the vines from the cold winds and condense the humidity caused by the sea. The wines from this area are smooth with low acidity levels.

Alella in the lower left corner

Vallès, on the interior slopes facing inland, has a more continental climate. The wines are stronger and more acidic.

The most interesting feature of the D.O. of Allella is the distinctive topsoil which is known as sauló in Catalan. It is basically a white granite-based sand which is very porous and retains heat very well. This helps the grapes to ripen, while the low water retention properties are compensated by the local humid microclimate. The older vines grow freely while the newer vineyards have been planted on trellises. Planting density is between 2,000 and 3,500 vines per hectare. 

Alta Alella Vineyards

The winery of Alta Alella is a family business project that started in the early 1990’s. Wine entrepreneur and enologist Josep Maria Pujol-Busquets and his wife Cristina Guillén began this winemaking adventure with enthusiasm after purchasing the art-deco Can Genis Estate, located in the agricultural part of Serralada de Marina Natural Park between the towns of Alella and Tiana.

The family at Alta Alella

In 1991, Alta Alella planted its first vines alongside the other traditional variety of Alella, Pansa Blanca (Xarel·lo), followed by a diversity of grape varieties, including  the long forgotten Mataró grape which had not been cultivated since the phylloxera epidemic. During the 1990’s the winery and the laboratory were built and the main house was renovated.

The Mataró grape

After a period of ten years, in 2001, Alta Alella was about to produce its first still wines, the fruitful result of the 6 hectares distributed over terraces and slopes. Currently, in the DO Alella, Alta Alella has 17 hectares situated at an altitude of 100-250m above sea level. Since the undertaking the entire production of Alta Alella has been based on certified organic farming, consciously preserving the biodiversity of the surrounding Natural Park. Therefore, many of the techniques used are as ancient as winemaking itself. The harvest is carried out manually — the grapes are carefully selected– over a period of about two months.

The new barrel room at Alta Alella

Today, Alta Alella has evolved into a highly mature vineyard and as a prestigious brand. The newly-built Visitor Center where wine lovers have a chance to discover Alta Alella’s privileged location while tasting the still and sparkling wines. This beautiful site is overlooking the magnificent view of the Mediterranean Sea.

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle

148 to go!

Quim Batlle, You’re My Latest, Greatest Inspiration in D.O Alella

190/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Alella – Lugar la Sentiu/Tiana – Quim Batlle – Foranell Garnatxa Blanca 2008

You’re My Latest, Greatest Inspiration…….,

foranell-garnatxa-blanca-251169_p

Foranell Garnatxa Blanca 2008

Green flashes in the pale straw yellow, typical for the wines from the region. The nose provides primary aromas of citrus (mandarin and grapefruit, etc.), with very pronounced ripe fruit (peach and banana). Light ageing in French oak brings hints of vanilla and cocoa, while the terroir gives flavors of spices and minerales. The mouth has an excellent structure, wide step and a very persistent after-taste. Pairing with original, sensational dishes that contrast the flavours of the wine, like prawn carpaccio with pistachio oil or cod with garlic mousseline.

tartarun-fish-restaurant

 

The grape variety of White Grenache or Garnatxa Blanca is known under several names. You might have heard of Garnatxa Blanca as Garnacha Blanca, the x in the first is the Catalan spelling. The other known names are Garnacha Gris, Garnacho Blanco, Grenache Blanc, Lledoné, Silla Blanc, Sillina Blanc…., this is the variety that forms the Foranell White Grenache.

garnatxa-blanca

The White Grenache is a Spanish white grape variety and it is found widespread throughout Spain, being particularly abundant in Tarragona, Zaragoza and Teruel. This is a variety cultivated  in D.O. Alella, Carignan, Cigales, L’Emporda-Costa Brava, Navarra, Priorat, Rioja, Somontano, Tarragona and Terra Alta primarily, but we can also find it in Aragon, if we wander outside Catalonia. According to the Order APA/1819/2007, the white grenache is recommended in the regions of Aragon and Catalonia, in the latter being known as Garnatxa Blanca and Lladoner Blanco of the vitis vinifera variety; it is also authorized in Navarre, Basque Country and La Rioja.

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As a plant, it is quite productive and disease resistant, producing not very large but compact clusters. The berries are medium-sized, round, yellow-green in colour. The grape variety Garnatxa Blanca, is in certain areas vinified on its own or blended with Macabeo, Parellada to produce Cava and Pedro Ximenez or Moscatel to prepare Mistelas. In the case of producing varietal wines they usually give of a nice level of alcohol, fresh, full-bodied and elegant wines, with a pale yellow color, on the nose it is quite floral and shows loads of ripe fruit aromas and flavours.

quim-batle

191 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle

The winery of Alta Alella, Tell Me If You Still Care in D.O. Alella

188/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Alella – Alella – Alta Alella – Merla 2012

Tell Me If You Still Care……,

Merla300x451

Merla 2012, (Natural Wine)

Cherry coloured wine with good aromatic intensity which highlights fruit aromas, amongst which blackberry’s stand out. Some nice licorice notes of well integrated oak ageing and slight woody notes but not at all overwhelming. On the palate, its acidity makes the wine fresh and again, loads of fruity notes. Soft tannins that are very pleasing, long and persistent after taste. The Cavas from Alta Alella are some of my favourite Cavas but this is certainly a great and different natural wine! Lo and behold the crux of the issue and the great secret of Merla: the raw material with which this wine is made. ​​Interspecific grape: a hybrid designed from clones crossing a few varieties that have proven resistant to various vine diseases. A grape-name-in-time, resulting from genetic engineering but is capable of delivering a very noble expression wine with rich fruit load (blackberries, plums) on a mineral background, delicate tannins and with fresh acidity and generous mouth. I LIKE!!!

Natural-wines1

I have to say that Alella was something that I never heard of during my first year and a half here in Catalonia. I guess I was fully busy covering Priorat, Montsant and the “famous” wine making regions here. Opened my eyes when I first came in touch with wine makers from Alella during a wine fair in Barcelona. Off course all of them were raving about their own region of Alella and the wines produced there. That is and will always be the case with wine makers, my region is the best and my wines are certainly the very best. No need to drink anything else! Full stop!

Alta Alella vineyards

Here in Catalonia and the rest of Spain, as well as most, if not all Mediterranean countries, local products are the best! Originating from Croatia, having a mother that always held to her principles of all things from my island, as well as the island it self, is the best in the world! That’s it! No discussion! Mother dearest, have you been to all other parts of the world? Have you tried products made in other parts of the world? Truth being, my parents always spent their summer vacations in Croatia and in their opinion, why bother going anywhere else when the best was right there?

My kid brother (with the best baseball cap) with my dad. In the best boat, in the best waters in the best country in the world!

Now, I grew up in Sweden. Whole different ball game. In Sweden, you can’t say that all things Swedish are the best, it’s a rule! Stick with it! Good thing about Swedish alcohol politics (having a state monopoly on alcohol), is that the Systembolaget provides wines from all over the world. And due to this fact, I dare say that Swedish consumers are knowledgeable and picky when it come to wine. This is my background, now back to D.O. Alella!

Alella Vineyards

I keep discovering wineries all over Catalonia. I have been enlightened when it comes to the DO:s and know most of them quite well. I do not know all the producers and I guess it will take another lifetime to visit them all and try their, in most cases, wonderful wines. Is Alella the best in the world? Well, the day you are there, the day you sit in the sun outside the winery, you are visiting that day, having a glass of wine or Cava in your hand, YES! That very day, Alella s the best wine growing region in the whole world!

A glass of wine in the sun

D.O. Alella is conveniantly located only  15 km to the north of the city of Barcelona, which makes it the closes wine making region to this bustling city and perfect for a day trip. It is one of the smallest DOs in Spain as the vineyards have been encroached upon by urban development. Presently it only covers one third of the area that it covered in 1956 when it was established.

Alta Alella Winery

Wine production has existed in the area since the time of the ancient Romans, mentioned by Pliny the Elder in his Naturalis Historia and by Martial in his Epigrams, during this time known as vins laietans. Structures have been found at the archaeological site of Veral de Vallmora, near Teià, showing that wine was made there from the 1st to 4th centuries AD. During the Middle Ages Alella wine was served at the court of the Kings of Aragón. As all wine making regions in Europe, Alella to suffered from the phylloxera at the end of the 19th century but the vineyards were successfully replanted using rootstock from the New World.

New World Rootstock

During the 1920s the region was famous for its Cava. In the 1980s new varieties were introduced and the wine-making methods modernized. The wineries are urban mansions that are built on the slopes overlooking the sea. The height above sea level of the vineyards determines the variety grown and thus the type of wine produced.

There are two distinct areas within the DO:

Maresme, on the foothills overlooking the sea, is influenced by the sun and the Mediterranean breezes. The hills protect the vines from the cold winds and condense the humidity caused by the sea. The wines from this area are smooth with low acidity levels.

Alella in the lower left corner

Vallès, on the interior slopes facing inland, has a more continental climate. The wines are stronger and more acidic.

The most interesting feature of the D.O. of Allella is the distinctive topsoil which is known as sauló in Catalan. It is basically a white granite-based sand which is very porous and retains heat very well. This helps the grapes to ripen, while the low water retention properties are compensated by the local humid microclimate. The older vines grow freely while the newer vineyards have been planted on trellises. Planting density is between 2,000 and 3,500 vines per hectare. 

Alta Alella Vineyards

The winery of Alta Alella is a family business project that started in the early 1990’s. Wine entrepreneur and enologist Josep Maria Pujol-Busquets and his wife Cristina Guillén began this winemaking adventure with enthusiasm after purchasing the art-deco Can Genis Estate, located in the agricultural part of Serralada de Marina Natural Park between the towns of Alella and Tiana.

The family at Alta Alella

In 1991, Alta Alella planted its first vines alongside the other traditional variety of Alella, Pansa Blanca (Xarel·lo), followed by a diversity of grape varieties, including  the long forgotten Mataró grape which had not been cultivated since the phylloxera epidemic. During the 1990’s the winery and the laboratory were built and the main house was renovated.

The Mataró grape

After a period of ten years, in 2001, Alta Alella was about to produce its first still wines, the fruitful result of the 6 hectares distributed over terraces and slopes. Currently, in the DO Alella, Alta Alella has 17 hectares situated at an altitude of 100-250m above sea level. Since the undertaking the entire production of Alta Alella has been based on certified organic farming, consciously preserving the biodiversity of the surrounding Natural Park. Therefore, many of the techniques used are as ancient as winemaking itself. The harvest is carried out manually — the grapes are carefully selected– over a period of about two months.

The new barrel room at Alta Alella

Today, Alta Alella has evolved into a highly mature vineyard and as a prestigious brand. The newly-built Visitor Center where wine lovers have a chance to discover Alta Alella’s privileged location while tasting the still and sparkling wines. This beautiful site is overlooking the magnificent view of the Mediterranean Sea.

193 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle

Bouquet d’Alella, Sabor a Mi in D.O Alella

187/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Alella – Alella – Bouquest d’Alella – Bouquet d’A Blanc 2013

Sabor a Mi…….,

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Bouquet d’A Blanc 2013, 65% Pansa Blanca, 35% Garnacha Blanca

Bright straw yellow with green hue. Fresh aromas of flowers, white fruits with a soft citrus fragrance. Soft in the mouth upon entry, followed by fruity flavors and fresh, nicely-balanced acidity. Smooth and silky. Long finish with long lasting “terroir” flavours. The wine shows Mediterranean character in its purest form. A fresh Middle Sea white, to be enjoyed with friends. Prepare a nice pasta dish and a few bottles will flow easily.

enoturisme

Bouquet d’Alella, an adventure which the Cerdà brother and sister bravely set out on in 2010, was born out of the motto, “Live Tradition, Experience Innovation”. They were inspired by a tradition handed down by their father – Antonio Cerda – embodied by the masia (the farm house) and vineyards, and by the dream of creating a contemporary product, a quality product, with a vision of the future.

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Playing with the name of the family estate –Can Boquet– and the term bouquet, the French word to describe the set of aromas released by a wine, the name Bouquet d’Alella was created. Here they produce and sell quality organic wines as well as focusing on wine tourism, offering wine related leisure activities just 15 km from Barcelona. Welcome to my world!

Bouquet-Alella-calçotada-vinyes

The estate has had 13 hectares of vineyards for over 25 years, now cultivated using organic techniques, located near and around Allela, Teia and Vilassar de Dalt (D.O. Alella). This distribution of vineyards means that there is a good representation of the various different sub-climates and soils of the Maresme. The white varieties planted are: Pansa Blanca and Garnacha Blanca. While the reds are: Syrah, Grenache Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Monastrell.

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Through experimenting with these variables, they produce quality, reflecting the winery’s single-minded objective of bringing out the quality of the native grape varieties. The winery is located inside the beautiful 14th century masia (Can Boquet) situated near the town of Alella and surrounded by vineyards. Here tradition coexists with the latest winemaking technology used to produce small quantities of quality organic wines with great personality.

Foto-Bouquet-Panoramica

They handle the entire process with the greatest of care: the grapes are selected by hand in the vineyards, gentle pressing is carried out and only the free run juice is used, and fermentation (both in vats and in the barrels) is temperature controlled to ensure the vinification is very well managed. The wines are left to rest in the masia’s old cellars, some aged in new barrels of French, Central European and American oak.

blancBOUQUETalella

194 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle