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………,

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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194 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle

Standing in Catalonia! I love living here!

156/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Alella – Alta Alella – Cava Bruel

Standing In………

Cava Bruel, 100% Pansa Blanca

This is a organic product of high standards, like most products made by Alta Alella. It has a minimum of 15 months on lees in the bottle, methode champenoise, which makes it a reserva and with no added sugar it is a brut nature. Pale yellow color and fine bubbles. It demonstrates perfect  floral aromas and green almond flavors. It is a a light Cava, very soft on the palate, fresh and  medium persistent. This is a Cava to be enjoyed during a lovely, warm, spring evening, maybe overlooking the Mediterranean sea?

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Catalonia is a land of immense beauty with no less that 11 geographically unique wine districts awarded with the D.O. status, denomination or designation of origin, and is also the main producer of the Spanish sparkling wine Cava, which with its own D.O. makes for 12.

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During one day it’s possible to combine a hike in the mountain, a dip in the sea, and a walk through the vineyards. The Catalan nature offers the most stunning sceneries; from the sandy beaches of Costa Daurada to the steep hills of the Priorat vineyards, from the lush and billowing Penedès region, to the emblematic Monserrat Mountain.

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The weather is suitable for tourism throughout the year. The winter is mild and dry, and the almond trees are in blossom already in February. The spring and autumn may come with a day of rain, but mostly the sun is shining from a sky as blue as the cornflower. In March, life slowly returns to the vineyards, and the young leaves paint them a fresh pale green.

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September is a busy month in the vineyards when the grapes are ready for harvest, and in October the colour symphony ranges from green to yellow, and from orange to red. In November it’s time for the olives to be picked, and for the end of the farmers’ year to be celebrated with the harvest feast in most rural villages.

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In Catalonia’s diverse wine regions, more and more producers are making exceptional wines, using sustainable methods both in the fields and in the cellars. Most acclaimed internationally are the intense and fruity red wines from Priorat, the result of a dry and hot climate, the slate based soil and labour-intense farming methods.

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In Penedès, the queen of the wines is the sparkling Cava, made of local grapes, and in it’s best versions it’s a crisp dry Brut Nature. But more regions are reaching the international market with interesting wines, and each region offer it’s own unique reason for a visit.

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The Catalan cuisine is very complex and sophisticated, ranging from the seafood from the coastal areas, with the mushrooms of the forests, and meat from wild pigs and rabbits. Catalans are known for a brave mixture of taste and ingredients, and have come up with the sea-and-mountain style cooking, “mar i muntanya”, where meat and seafood come together in a delicious combination.

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Dried fruit and nuts are commonly used both in sweet and savoury dishes, and olive oil is a must in almost any recipe. Garlic, tomatoes, and peppers are staples, and bough fresh from the vegetable markets in the local village. In the mountainous interior, pork is turned into a wide variety of cold cuts and salamis, genetically referred to as “embutidos”, and to the local sausages like “longanissa” and “fuet”.

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Welcome! Benvingut!

223 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle

Celler Altrabanda, Peeling an Orange in D.O. Alella

55/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Alella – Bienni – Serralada de Marina – Castell Ruf

Peeling an Orange….

“Land of Light, Open Character” Curious things are going on in Catalonia! Strange people, strange wine makers and strange wines. Never have their been so many crazy geniuses gathered in one place, this is a good thing, mind you! The other day you were introduced to apple juice and Garnacha! Today we are heading to the winery of oranges and Pansa Blanca! Hope you enjoy reading as much I enjoy drinking wine!

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Serralada Marina is a winery located in Martorelles , Barcelona , dedicated to making wine under the corporation Serralada Corps. When in 1999 Joan Plans decided to reostart the winery, he did so under the curious name Altrabanda (“more over” or “the other side”) refering to their location. The vineyards are located across the mountains that separate them from the Catalan town of Alella .

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Plans always had vineyards growing up and after a 20 year hiatus modernized the winery and waited for the right circumstances to start making wine again. The products are sold under the brand Serralada Marina and sold in restaurants in the area and abroad. The Alella , to which ALtrabanda belongs, is the smallest D.O. of the Peninsula, with 560 hectares of planted vineyards, located north of Barcelona.

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Altrabanda is the only winery in the D.O. of Alella that produces all its white wines with the local variety of the territory, Pansa Blanca . The winery has products such as an orange wine, vinegar and vermouth, named Castellruf , all of them are 100 % Pansa Blanca.

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Joan Plans, owner of the winery, says: “If the local variety is the Pansa Blanca it is because over the years it has proven to be the variety best adapted to the climate and the characteristics of the territory.”

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Castell Ruf, Vi de Taronja, Pansa Blanca & Sweet Orange

Light orange color with hints of gold. Aromas of sweet orange. The nose is of good intensity, fruity notes of orange, subtle peach, white flowers and aromatic herbs at the end. The palate has good entry, smooth, fruity, medium acidity, structured and slightly sweet on the palate with a good finish and medium long aftertaste. This is a sweet dry wine, if there is such a thing?

318 to go!