Which are they? For whites, there are two recommended grapes: Garnatxa blanca and Pansa blanca (aka Xarel.lo). Other accepted: Chardonnay, Chenin blanc, Macabeu, Malvasia, Moscatell de gra petit, Parellada, Picapoll blanc and Sauvignon blanc. Red varieties: Garnatxa negra (recommended), Cabernet Sauvignon, Carinyena, Garnatxa peluda (hairy) Merlot, Monastrell, Pinot noir, Sumoll negre, Syrah and Ull de Llebre. Many vines of the local varieties are over 50 years old, and grown as bushes. International varieties are younger and usually trellised.
The most well known type is the white made from Pansa blanca, the local name of Xarel.lo. It can be young or with oak aging. Chardonnay is the second most important white grape, and the others are usually complements in the blends, with the odd monovarietal. Excellent sweets, both red and white, and some outstanding soleras.
Alella wines, with their mild climate, tend to be lighter and more elegant than wines from other Catalan DOs with harsher climatic conditions.
My favourite wineries: this is difficult. Quality is generally high and with only seven winemakers…Anyway:
- Alta Alella, with organic production
- Marqués de Alella, mainly whites
- Alella Vinícola (Marfil), attention to the soleras
Let us hope that these seven stubborn, resilient groups will resist the alluring offers for their land and continue to produce these wines, with a very defined personality within the Catalan wine world.