Alta Alella: an unforgettable wine-tasting-tourism experience ...

By Marina La Forgia

One of the most special moments of my trip to Catalonia was the visit of Alta Alella, the nearest winery to Barcelona, a magical place where I could breathe one of the purest air, to observe with delight the most beautiful landscapes and finally to taste a good quantity of its fabulous wines made under the concept of organic agriculture.

Just reaching the winery, on top of Alella, picturesque Catalan village, we can see the magnitude of this family project headed by Josep Maria Pujol-Busquets. Located only 2 kilometers from the Mediterranean Sea, the vineyards are strategically distributed along slopes and terraces. The soil is sauló, the main characteristic of the wines of Alta Alella: an arid acid soil, little organic matter and low water retention. The view of the vineyards with their different varieties is imposing.
Reflecting the characteristics of the land is the main objective of its owners. That's why its dedication to producing special, unique, natural and well cared wines. The variety of labels offered to the market (one of them is present here in Quebec) responds to two appellations: DO Alella and DO Cava. Sparkling or still, these are wines that do not go unnoticed and worth discovering. The cavas rest and grow in the cavas between 15 and 60 months.
Some white wines come out fresh and irreverents. Others mature with wisdom. Perhaps it is thanks to the soil where the grapes grow, maybe its Mediterranean climate, perhaps it is the dedication and passion of the winemaker ... Beyond the possible causes that turn these wines into different wines, all seem to me well accomplished, elegants and specials.

Here, my favourites with its tasting notes:

PB 2016
Made with the Pansa Blanca variety (the xarel.lo in the rest of the Catalan region) this is a white wine that has enchanted me with its fresh floral and fruit aromas. It has a discontracted character with pleasant notes of pear, almond and lemon that has captivated me. A net and affordable wine to discover the true and purest essence of this variety in this terroir.

Lanius 2014
A wine also elaborated with Pansa Blanca but of a more unctuous and elegant form, with an aging of 6 months in bottle. In the nose, citrus fruits are notorious, to which are added notes of honey, vanilla and caramel. In the mouth, it is a wine with structure and envelope. It still retains a typical freshness that can be translated from its always mineral character.

The Bird's collection
Each label is named after a bird that flies over the area, they are delicate and highly perfumed organic wines. It is his collection of "natural" wines.

Bruant 2014
First cava made without sulfurose, 100% Pansa Blanca. A wine that we call from ecological agriculture. It has rested between 9 and 21 months before going to market and has no addition of expedition liquor. A very delicate wine, fresh and fruity. In the mouth, their notes of very subtle almonds and honey have seduced me. A different sparkling, ecological... transparent!

Capsigrani 2015
This cava comes from the variety Pansa Rosada, which gives it a color between grayish and pink in appeal. Made in the same way as the Bruant, it is a fine and elegant bubble wine with notes of citrus and very refreshing flowers. In the mouth, the nuts are also perceptible. Its organic character makes it even more representative of the particularities of this unique soil.

The cavas of Alta Alella and its careful design of unique bottles!

Laieta Gran Reserva 2013

Already facing a superior range, the Laieta Gran Reserva is a Brut cava of great personality. A blend of the best plots of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pansa Blanca unique and very delicate. With a very fine bubble, it leaves a very pleasant velvety sensation on the palate. Aged 30 months in bottle is a cava elaborated under the traditional method of the highest quality.

Opus Evolutium Gran Reserva 2012
Once again, the best ecological grapes of Chardonnay, Pansa Blanca and Pinot Noir are chosen to make this cava. Before the assemblage, the Chardonnay makes its fermentation in oak barrel which gives to the wine its buttery and nutty notes. It is a cava that in the mouth is enveloping, unctuous and very delicate. With a minimum of 36 months of aging in the cellars, the Opus Evolutium Gran Reserva is neither more nor less than the favorable "evolution" of the "opus" of this winery: another sublime wine.

And as a dessert, a very particular sweet red wine ...

Dolc Mataro 2013
Mataro is another name of the Monastrell variety. For this wine the grapes are harvested in the over ripening, Hence its character as sweet wine. A true delight that we enjoyed at the end of the visit, as the conclusion of this experience full of senses.

Alta Alella, offering one of the best experiences in wine tourism, I consider it a "must" when visiting these Catalan lands. I thank the winery team, Georgia, Mauri, Laura and Valérie, for allowing me to visit it with my family and have tasted their best wines in a dream environment. See you soon, I hope!


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