D.O. Alella (Catalonia)
Wine from winery Alta Alella
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More about Alta Alella
Oenologist and entrepreneur, Josep María Pujol-Busquets, along with his wife, Cristina Guillén, began this oenological adventure by acquiring the farm Can Genís, with a noucentista reminiscence. This farm is located in the agricultural area of the Natural Park Serralada de Marina, between the municipalities of Alella and Tiana. José María is one of the most charismatic oenologist in Spain. Before he went into the military service, he had already taken his first oenological appearance in the winery Jaume Serra. At the age of 29 he became the technical director of Grupo Martini, owner of the winery and the wine brand Marqués de Monistrol in Penedès. He has travelled all over Spain: Rioja, Ribera del Duero, Priorat. And also around half of the world. However, his first experience in Allella was as the technical director, and also shareholder, of the winery Marqués de Alella and Cavas Parxet, for quite a few years. On the other hand, his wife, Cristina Guillén, launched a store specialised in wines in the nearby town of Badalona, which she still directs until this day. Josep María has always been passionate for everything pure, organic, and, alongside Josep María Albet i Noya he created the first project of organic wines in Priorat with Mas Igneus, which was born in 1996 with the collaboration of the Cooperative of Poboleda.
History of the winery
The Alta Alella started to take shape in 1991, when the first vineyards were planted along with the traditional variety of Alella, the Pansa Blanca (Xarello), followed by several varieties, among which we can highlight the forgotten Mataró, that had not been cultivated since the times of phylloxera. All of this was carried out whilst they built the winery and they refurbished the country house, which is now their family home. The property, in the shape of an amphitheatre, looks over the sea, and it is located in the natural park of Serralada de Marina. It is only 19 km from Barcelona, in the municipality of Alella.
However, it was not until 2001when they started to make their first wines, from the 6 hectares distributed on terraced and hillsides. The winery currently has 17 hectares of vines in the farm, located between 100 and 250 metres above seal level, and planted on sauló. This is one of the factors that mark the Alta Alella wines the most. Sauló is an acid soil with very low levels of active calcareous material, poor in organic matter and with low water retention. Since the beginning, the entire production of Alta Alella has been based on certified organic agriculture. This is why it has been declared and certified as organic since it was created.
At Alta Alella, each variety is planted according to the plot’s exposure. This way, they take advantage of the west orientation to achieve ripe grapes with a high alcoholic strength, suitable for sweet and red wines. On the other hand, the orientation towards the east it used to achieve a more aromatic and floral grape, suitable for cavas and white wines.
Currently, Alta Alella - Cavas Privat controls 50 hectares of production within D.O. Alella and D.O. Cava. They have strongly vouched for the recover of the native varieties Pansa Blanca (Xarello) and Mataró (Monastrell). They also experiment with resistant varieties that allows them to reduce the intervention in the vineyard and the winery. Moreover, they cultivate the white varieties Maccabeu, Parellada, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, as well as the red varieties Syrah, Petit Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache. They also have a small vineyard from the 50s with the variety Pansa Rosada, planted on a hillside.
The generational handover of Alta Alella is guaranteed thanks to the two daughters, Mireia, a biologist specialised in plant physiology and Máster in organic agriculture, and Georgina, Pharmacy student. Both of the actively take part in the company. Today, Alta Alella has reached its consolidation level as a farm and as a quality brand, vouching for wine tourism and the construction of a reception centre in a unique winemaking environment. It offers wine and cava lovers the chance to taste their products, the result of a traditional production process with the maximum expression, with the magnificent views of the Mediterranean.
Celler de les Aus
Celler de les Aus is their new project, based on know-how and the experience that they have accumulated over the four decades they have dedicated to wine. This strengthens the Pujol-Busquets Guillén family’s approach to achieving quality natural wines without using sulphur. Next to the farm is the new winery. Alfons Soldevilla, in charge of the project, highlights the “shade and silence” as new features of this winery, which was built with recycled material and fully integrated into its environment. At these facilities they make the wines that have the names of the birds that live in the park: Bruant, Capsigrany, Merla, Tallarol and Puput. Celler de les Aus is at the forefront of the Catalan production of extreme wines without sulphur. For the second year in a row, the radical wines of Celler de les Aus has received high scores in the Parker 2016 list. The winery has been placed as a clear reference in the production of quality wines without added sulphur.
At Alta Alella they are aware of the importance of keeping a balanced biodiversity and agricultural ecosystem that respect the flora and fauna of the surroundings. The regulations exclude all kinds of treatments with pesticides or herbicides. Therefore, many of the techniques they use are ancestral. The vineyards are planted on hillsides and terraces with exposures that are suitable for each variety. This is why the harvest is carried out manually throughout two years, thus causing a same vine to be harvested up to three times, in the search for the optimal ripening of each plant.
The winery was specifically designed for microvinifications. The small deposits allow them to ferment each plot separately, allowing them to pick the grapes in their optimal ripening point, according to each plot and variety. All their wines ferment at a controlled temperature in stainless steel deposits or in new French or American oak barrels.
All the racking processes are performed by gravity, thus avoiding the use of pumps. Even the daily pump overs that are carried out during the maceration process are done with no pumping. The wine is decanted into a stainless steel container that is placed under the deposit. With the help of a forklift truck, the wine is poured over the skins, on the top part of the deposit. The maceration processes for red wine are carried out using the submerged cap technique. This way, the floating skins and the pulp are kept underneath the surface of the wine, favouring extraction.
The macerations vary from three to four weeks, depending on each variety, each plot and each vintage. The red wines undergo malolactic fermentation in the barrel. This process requires a little extra monitoring, but it offers significant advantages regarding colour fixation and other polyphenolic elements. White wines and base wines for cavas do not go through the malolactic fermentation so they can preserve the maximum freshness.
Wines from Alta Alella
Below is a list of all the products made by Alta Alella:
There is quite a wide range of varieties. The aim is to transmit the expression of the terroir above the varietal character. However, we must highlight that the production processes are specifically carried out in accordance with the vintage.
Alta Alella PB is a young varietal white wine made with Pansa Blanca (Xarello). The aromas of flowers and white fruit (pear and apple) prevail, on a background of green almonds, fennel and ripe lemon. Voluminous in the mouth, with a sweet, fresh touch, reminiscent of aromas of ripe white fruit with a saline hint.
Alta Alella GX is a young varietal red wine made with Red Grenache. On the nose, the aromas of red fruit stand out, covered with floral aromas (violets). In the mouth, it is extremely fruity, with nuances of red fruit. Fresh and very well balanced. It has a fruity aftertaste, with amiable tannins.
AA Parvus Chardonnay is a white varietal wine that ferments in barrels, where it remains for 3 months. It has a great aromatic complexity, with a combination of fruity aromas (banana, mango, papaya and peach) and white flowers, along with the subtle notes of its ageing. A fresh entry, with a fruity mid-palate. Fatty, unctuous and with a balanced acidity. The notes of its ageing are present in the aftertaste.
AA Parvus Rosé is made with Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. It has a good aromatic intensity, with prevailing fruity aromas of strawberries, raspberries and notes of violets. It has a background of tomato plant leaves. Its entry in the mouth has a sweet and elegant touch, with nuances of red fruit aromas. Its mid-palate is fatty, fruity, fresh and very balanced, with a long and persistent aftertaste.
AA Parvus Syrah is a varietal wine that ferments in barrels, where it ages for 12 months. It has a good aromatic intensity, with prevailing aromas of violet, ripe black fruit (blackberries, plumbs) with balsamic and spicy notes that are characteristic of the Syrah and the ageing in barrels. In the mouth, it presents aromas of ripe fruit, with a saline and bold touch, and a fresh and modern finish.
AA Cau d’en Genís is a varietal white wine made with Pansa Blanca (Xarello) from a selection of the best grapes from the oldest plot of the farm, which is over 60 years old. This wine is aged for 6 months on its lees. It has nervo, and a direct and metallic aroma, quite characteristic of the Sauló variety. It has a fresh attack, saline, mineral, very persistent and long.
AA Lanius is a white wine made mainly with Pansa Blanca (Xarello) and other complementary varieties. This wine ferments in barrels and is aged for 6 months. It has a great aromatic complexity, with aromas of ripe fruit and fennel, and a background of candied orange peel and vanilla. It has an amiable entry, a tasty, unctuous and very elegant mid-palate, where the balance between the ripe white fruit and the roasted notes from the ageing in the barrel stand out.
AA Xtrem is made with Mataró and other complementary varieties, with an ageing of 12 months in barrels. This wine is only made in extreme vintages, with hot and dry summers where this variety expresses their most rustic side. This is quite an aromatic wine. The balsamic notes, notes of ripe fruit, tobacco and ageing notes stand out and are very well integrated. In the mouth, it is tasty and extremely structured, with quite a personal rusticity.
AA Orbus is a varietal wine made with Syrah. It is only made in cool vintages, during the ripening process when there is a greater thermal gap, characteristic of the more continental areas. It goes through malolactic fermentation in barrels and it is aged for 14 months. It has aromas of violets, ripe fruit, balsamic notes, spices (cloves) and tobacco, very well integrated with vanilla and toasted notes from the ageing. Tasty, voluminous and well structured. It has nuances of ripe fruit, balsamic and spicy notes. It has noble, well integrated tannins. A long and complex finish.
AA Banc de Neu is a sweet white wine made as an ice wine and mainly with the variety Pansa Blanca (Xarello). It goes through the malolactic fermentation in barrels and it is aged for 4 months. It has aromas of peach and Conference pear in syrup, citrus and white flower, integrated into a subtle background of toasted notes from its ageing. In the mouth, the fruit in syrup and the citrus notes appear once again, very well integrated with the ageing tastes. It has an exceptional balance between acid and sweet.
AA Dols Mataró is a more international wine. The oxidative tradition has been replaced with fruit, and an ageing of 2 months in barrels. The aromas of candied fruit, plumbs, dried figs and blackberries stand out, with subtle notes of Italian cherry tomatoes, orange peel and Japanese green tea. Unctuous, very tasty, with nuances of candied black fruit, with a unique balance between the tannic sensations, the acidity and the sweetness.
They are made with very expressive varieties and daring coupages, along with a very personal presentation that transmits a language suitable for consumers with cosmopolitan criteria. They try to raise cava to the category of a great wine, capable of marking a new standard, but with the same base of earth and climate, evolving as to varieties and production system. All the cavas are launched on the market right when they are disgorged (disgorgement date on the bottle), to guarantee that they are consumed at their optimal time.
AA Privat Brut Nature Reserva is made with Pansa Blanca (Xarello), Maccabeu and Parellada, with an ageing of 15-27 months in stacks (rimas). It presents aromas of white fruit (green apple), citrus and green almonds. In the mouth, it is light and fresh, reminiscing the aromas of white fruit. Integrated bubbles and a delicate aftertaste.
AA Privat Rosé Brut Nature Reserva is a single-variety wine made with Mataró (Monastrell). It is aged for 15-27 months in stacks (rimas). It shows varietal aromas of violets and red fruit (redcurrants, strawberries). In the mouth, it is light and fresh, reminiscing the aromas of red fruit. Integrated bubbles and a delicate aftertaste.
AA Privat Chardonnay Brut Nature Reserva is a varietal cava that is aged from 15 to 27 months in stacks (rimas). It shows aromas of pineapple, citrus and almonds. In the mouth, it is strong and elegant, with a fine and persistent bubble. A well structured cava with a long and fresh aftertaste.
AA Privat Brut Reserva is made with Pansa Blanca (Xarello), Maccabeu and Parellada, with an ageing of 15-27 months in stacks (rimas). It presents aromas of white fruit (green apple), citrus and green almonds. Fine bubbles. In the mouth, it has a sweet entry, it is light and fresh, reminiscing the aromas of white fruit. Integrated bubbles and a delicate aftertaste.
AA Privat Laietà Brut Nature Gran Reserva is made with Pansa Blanca, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, with a minimum ageing of 30 months in stacks (rimas). It shows aromas of white fruit with a background of flowers, red fruit and almonds. In the mouth, it is unctuous, dry and fruity, with a well structured fine bubble, still preserving its freshness. It has a persistent and very tasty aftertaste.
AA Privat Laietà Rosé Brut Nature Gran Reserva is a varietal wine made with Mataró (Monastrell). It is aged for a minimum of 30 months in stacks (rimas). It shows aromas of violets and red fruit, typical of this variety, with a fine mid-palate. It reminisces aromas of red fruit and the aromas of its long ageing in the bottle. Marked mineral and saline notes, very tasty and persistent.
AA Privat Opus Evolution Brut Nature Gran Reserva is made with Pansa Blanca, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. It ferments in stainless steel deposits and in barrels, with a minimum ageing of 36 months in stacks (rimas). It presents aromas of ripe white fruit and flowers, with a background red fruit and walnuts enveloped with the mineral and saline notes, typical of this area. In the mouth, it is balanced and structured, reminiscing the aromas of ripe fruit and dried fruit and nuts.
AA Mirgin Brut Nature Gran Reserva is made with Pansa Blanca, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. It ferments in stainless steel deposits and in barrels, with a minimum ageing of 36 months in stacks (rimas). On the nose, it is intense, floral, with aromas of ripe fruit covered with toasted notes, typical of its fermentation and ageing in oak. In the mouth, it offers tastes marked by the minerality and unctuousness, reminiscing aromas of ripe fruit and toasted notes.
AA Mirgin Rosé Brut Nature Gran Reserva is a varietal wine of Pinot Noir that ferments in stainless steel and barrels, ageing for a minimum of 36 months in stacks (rimas). On the nose, it is intense and complex, with prevailing aromas of red fruit and a background of toasted notes. In the mouth, it shows the complexity of the ripe fruit, very well integrated with the toasted notes from its fermentation and ageing in oak and on its lees. It combines with the freshness provided by its effervescence. Long and persistent aftertaste.
- Wines from Celler de les Aus – Natural Wines
Below the limit of 10 mg/l of SO2, the European regulations allows the removal of the mention “Contains Sulphites” that appears on the label. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) allows the “Organic Wine” certification.
AA Bruant Brut Nature Reserva Ecológico is made with Pansa Blanca (Xarello), with spontaneous fermentation at a low temperature and an ageing of 9 to 21 months in stacks (rimas). No sulphites or any other products are added during the production process.
It presents floral aromas of white fruit (pear, green apple) and of green almonds, with a subtle background of burlap and hazelnuts. A light and fresh mid-palate, with a very well integrated and persistent bubble. It has tastes of white fruit and almonds, reminiscing the aromas on the nose.
AA Caspigrany Brut Nature Rosé is made with Pansa Rosada, planted on a hillside in 1951. it has a minimum ageing of 12 months in stacks (rimas). This cava has a greyish colour, with a pinkish background and fine bubbles. Floral aromas, of pink grapefruit and green almonds. It has a structures, fresh and persistent mid-palate, with a slight daring rusticity.
AA Tallerol is a white varietal wine made with Pansa Blanca (Xarello), fermented in amphorae made with ‘sauló’ soil from the vines and in cement vats. The aromas of white fruit (pear and apple) prevail, with green almonds and citrus (tangerine peel). It has a full and tasty entry, reminiscing aromas of white fruit. A long, balanced and extremely fresh aftertaste.
AA Merla is a varietal red wine made with Mataró, fermented in wooden vats and aged for 3 months in barrels. It has a good aromatic intensity, with prevailing aromas of fruit (blackberries) and liquorice, with subtle, well integrated notes from its ageing in barrels. Its acidity makes it a fresh wine, with soft tannins, which give a pleasant and persistent taste on the palate.
AA Puput is a sweet varietal red wine made with Mataró, aged for 7 months in barrels. The notes of candied fruit (plums, dried figs) and orange peel stand out. It is tasty with a great balance between its tannins, acidity and sweetness.