The wines and Cavas produced in the DO Alella have a distinctive Mediterranean flair.
Spain's tiniest designation of origin, the DO Alella is located at a distance of roughly 15 kilometres from the city of Barcelona. Named after the town of Alella, the designation of origin currently encompasses 18 villages. Due to urban growth, nowadays it has a third of the extension it had when the Spanish government approved its creation in 1956.
Two characteristics define the wines of the DO Alella. The first is the proximity of the vineyards to the Mediterranean sea, which imparts a saline note to the wines. The second is “sauló”, a porous soil made of decomposed granite which brings a crisp minerality. The vines are planted on an area known as Serralada de Marina, at altitudes between 60 and 400 metres above sea level. They are appropriately sheltered from the northern winds by the mountain range.
The climate of the DO Alella is typically Mediterranean: quite dry, with long summers and mild winters. Average annual temperature is around 16oC, and average precipitation is 600 mm per year. Occasionally, the vineyards planted on the highest areas can be affected by spring frosts.
The white wines of DO Alella are mostly made from Pansa Blanca, a local variant of the well-known Xarel·lo grape. This is a variety that produces crisp and savoury wines of a pale yellow colour, whose characteristics vary depending on the vinification process. When aged in oak, the wines have a clear note of baked apples, which turns into aromas of peaches and apricots if the wines have been produced through the skin maceration technique. The unoaked white wines and sparkling wines made from Pansa Blanca which are vinified in stainless steel tanks are reminiscent of yellow apples and pears. In all cases, the wines end with a note that typically conveys a remembrance of citrus and green almonds.
As for the red wines of the DO Alella, they are produced from Grenache and Mataró, a local variant of Monastrell. Lively and moreish, the unoaked red wines are pure expressions of red fruit. When aged in oak, they suggest ripe cherries, cocoa and liquorice, with deep mineral notes and a gently bitter finish.
Made basically from Pansa Blanca, the Cavas from Alella are usually produced through the traditional method. As of late, there has been a noticeable increase in the production of pét-nats. There are also some Blanc de Noirs sparklers made from Grenache.
To complete the picture, one must not forget the sweet and dessert wines from Alella, which are an important part of the identity of the region.
Finally, it is also important to note DO Alella's deep commitment to environmental sustainability and organic production.