2016 Alta Alella Mirgin Gran Reserva Brut Nature
Region: Alella < Catalunya < Spain
Grape: Macabeu, Pansa Blanca, Parellada
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Certified organic farming; sandy-granitic soils called Saulo; after gently pressing the grapes to extract the free-run juice, each of the varieties ferment separately before a second bottle fermentation of the traditional Champenoise method, and then a minimum of 30 months aging; zero dosage, zero added SO2; disgorged; zero-zero; 12%
Winemaker: Laura Bret
The Alta Alella estate sits inside of a protected nature park,18 km from Barcelona and just 2 km from the Mediterranean Sea. In this tiny appellation of only 9 producers, the family-run Alta Alella has been farming organically, making “grand cru” site-specific Cava and also a range of natural wines (which owner Josep-Maria Pujol-Busquets, prefers to call ‘radical wines’) for years, way before it was a thing. Their natty wines even have their own production facility separate from the main cellars, housed in recycled shipping containers from the Port of Barcelona, called Celler de les Aus (Cellar of the Birds), because each wine is named after one of the birds that haunt the richly biodiverse vineyards and the Serralada de Marina Natural Park surrounding them. Since starting out in 1991, the team has worked to recover old vines and plant new ones of local traditional varieties. Certified organic since 2017, they are the first in the DO Cava to produce Cava without added sulphur.
The estate produces a bunch of different Cava and Pet'nat, but this is their Reserva wine, which means longer aging. It's 2016 vintage Cava made in the Champenoise method, with a minimum of 30 months aging. Creamy and elegant, with fine, persistent bubbles and a briny, herbal, citrusy palate, this wine feels fancy and drinks like expensive Champagne goes on vacation to the coast. Here, she's a lighter, fresher, more fun version of herself, without all of the heavy, yeasty baggage. And, it's an amazing value for what is essentially organic Cru Champagne, priced to be your house fancy bubble for the holiday season. Yes please!