Alella is currently one of the smallest D.O or appellations in Spain, with only nine registered wineries to its name and just over 300 hectares of vineyards. Yet, this part of eastern Spain has been producing wine for centuries and has long enjoyed a close proximity to Catalunya’s stunning capital, Barcelona, which is a mere 20 minutes by car. As was the case through-out Western Europe, the Romans – who christened Barcelona as Barcino – introduced widespread vine cultivation across Catalunya in the 1st Century AD. However, after the fall of the Western Roman Empire wine production in the Catalan region all but ceased to exist, it could not survive the onslaught of the Gothic and Vandal tribes from the North, or the Moors who invaded Spain in 711. Catalunya’s wine resurgence occurred in the Middle Ages, re-introduced by religious orders from Burgundy and the Rhine who brought their wine knowledge to Catalunya. Alella’s wines subsequently achieved great recognition and were served at the Royal Court in Aragon to great acclaim.
As the region’s fame grew so did its vineyards and by the 18th century there were many more vines along the Mediterranean coast than there are today. Trade with the Americas in the 1700s brought great prosperity to the Catalan wine trade, although the advent of the Phylloxera louse during the end of the 19th century devastated many of the vineyards. In the 20th century Alella became famous for producing Spain’s sparkling Cava, which is today primarily made in the much larger Penedes zone south of Barcelona. It was awarded D.O protection in 1953. Although Alella’s vineyards continued to shrink as urban development encroached on the land, the 1980s heralded significant improvements in the winemaking methods as much needed investment was used to modernize equipment and standards. Today, a visitor to the region will encounter several, quality focused wineries, whose passionate owners are constantly striving to raise the profile of their often excellent wines.
Alella, which takes its name from a small town in the Maresme region about half an hour up the coast from Barcelona, is a tiny yet important sub-region in the Catalan landscape. The vineyards are located along the coastline but also run into the foothills of the Sierra de Parpes range. The best terroir is to be found in the higher altitude sites on the Parpes slopes, which enjoy a more continental climate sheltered from the sea breezes. Wines of real concentration, balance and structure are increasingly being produced from these superior sites. Conversely, the oldest vineyards that run along the coast tend to producer softer, less structured wines with a lower acidity. The coastal vineyards are planted to dark soils, whereas the higher altitude areas, known as Valles, contain more limestone in the soil structure. The distinctive quality of the Alella terroir is the all-important topsoil, known as Saulo in Catalan. This sandy, granite-based soil retains heat and ensures that full ripe
Clients will be collected around 9:30 at the hotel or accommodation in Barcelona to travel to the charming Alella town (20 minutes).
Day will consist on visiting 2 traditional catalan wine cellars enjoying a guided visit and a private tasting followed by a gourmet menu at Can Cabus.
Possible Wineries Visited: Alta Alella , Alella Vinicola. Bouqute D´Alella, or Marques de Alella