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.


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).


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.


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.


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!

Alella Vinicola, in D.O. Alella

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


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!!!


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………,


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!