Alta Alella PB
Region: Alella < Catalunya < Spain
Grapes: Pansa Blanca (Xarel-lo)
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Certified organic farming; 300 m elevation, sandy-granitic soils called Saulo; lightly pressed to obtain first pressing must, then fermented in stainless steel, zero added SO2; 12% ABV
Winemaker: Laura Bret
Patience’s Pick! 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.
We love all of their natty Cavas but I, Patience Boston (PB), especially love the PB, their still Xarel-lo wine! Obviously, I’m partial to my namesake wine, but after hosting Gonzalo of Alta Allela a few months back in San Francisco, I had the chance to drink the whole lineup (a lot), and PB is the one that stole my heart. Xarel-lo, typically used only as a blending grape for Cava, is salty and pritzy and tastes like like crispy pear slices. There’s a little flesh on the bones, and a racy acidity that lingers and lingers and lingers. Would be amazing with oysters or any seafood, but we first drank it with a brussel sprout hazelnut situation, and it was to die for!