This is a beautiful amphitheatre-shaped property overlooking the sea. It is located in Serralda de Marina Natural Park, just 19 kilometres from Barcelona. A family-owned venture, oenologist Josep María Pujol-Busquets founded it in 1991 and devoted himself to managing the vineyards organically from the very beginning.
Alta Alella produces roughly 300,000 bottles a year, two thirds cava and the rest still wines, and some 40% is regularly exported. The property comprises 17 hectares of vines planted on characteristic soils locally called sauló. The decomposed granite, without lime or organic matter, helps to give acidity to the wines. There’s a clear commitment to recover the local grapes Pansa Blanca (Xarel.lo) and Mataró (Monastrell or Mourvèdre), as well as to look into disease resistant plants that might lead to a minimum intervention both in the vineyard and in the winery. Other grapes grown are Macabeo, Parellada, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay (white) and Syrah, Petit Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Garnacha (red). There’s also an old sloping vineyard (coster is the Catalan word) which was planted with the local grape Pansa Rosada in the 1950s.
The range of wines is really large and includes nearly 20 different labels. Especially outstanding are the Gran Reserva cavas presented in elongated-shaped bottles (finely linear on the palate, with long citric nuances); the Mataró (Mourvèdre) sweet reds made with grapes that have been over-ripened on the plant; and, as a novelty, the new range of natural wines with no sulphur at all, which includes two cavas (the Capsigrany Pansa Rosa is really original), two whites, a red, and a Mataró sweet red wine.
Alta Alella also stands out for its tourist offer. Anyone visiting the winery will notice how lucky Josep María and his family are to live in the 1900s manor located in the heart of the property, and how generously they share such a privilege with visitors. Suggestions include yoga sessions by the vineyards, painting classes for kids using wine instead of crayons, tastings in English, and a wide range of cultural events. The icing on the cake would be the helicopter trip from nearby Barcelona which provides some terrific views of the coast.
Together with Albet i Noya from Penedès, Alta Alella is a partner at the Mas Igneus winery in Priorat.