Possibly one of the oldest and smallest Denominations of Origin in Spain. This is the D.O. Alella, an area lying to the north of Barcelona, between the Mediterranean and the mountains. There, on sandy loam soils, and under the influence of a central coastal Mediterranean climate (with mild winters and hot summers), vines have been growing since Roman times, divided into two regions: the Vallés Oriental (on the other side of the Coastal Mountain Range) and the Maresme (right on the seashore).
This is an area where wine is felt and experienced very intensely. It was also devastated by the phylloxera plague in the 19th century. It is now home to Oriol Artigas, a young winegrower who works as a Marketing and Advertising teacher in higher education as well as in the wine industry, cultivating his vineyards. In these 12 hectares spread over several municipalities (Alella, Llinars del Vallés and Vilassar de Dalt), this winegrower is determined to produce wines that express the landscape they come from.
He works in a winery located in Llinars (on the north-eastern border of the D.O.) which is owned by Francesc Tartera, a neighbour who made an agreement with Oriol Artigas: if he helped work the vineyard, he could use the winery to make his own wines. The deal has already paid off, with more than 10 wines on the market, including Oriol Artigas La Canya, a white wine made from the local native varieties like Pansa Blanca, Godello, Garnatxa Blanca and Picapoll.
These grapes grow on old vines (between 11 and 27 years old) planted at an altitude of 160-370 metres, where they are cultivated in a completely organic way, with the minimum possible intervention. “The hard work has to be put in the vineyard, which is where everything starts,” says Oriol Artigas.
To make Oriol Artigas La Canya, the grapes are harvested by hand. When they reach the winery, they are destemmed, crushed and pressed. After this, the next step is to wait for the spontaneous fermentation to start with native yeasts. From there, Oriol Artigas La Canya spends 7 months on lees in stainless steel tanks. Finally, true to his principle of minimal intervention, Oriol Artigas La Canya is not stabilised, clarified or filtered. No sulphites are added during bottling.
Oriol Artigas La Canya is a juicy white wine with a Mediterranean character, made with Pansa Blanca (50%), Godello (35%), Garnatxa Blanca (10%) and Picapoll (5%). The nose is fresh, soft and fruity, with floral and saline touches. The palate is meaty, with a strong mineral core, complemented by notes of lemon, apple, quince and salt. The finish is remarkable; long and persistent, with spicy touches.