The versatile Catalan personality of the powerful Pansa Blanca or Xarel-lo grape
Made of what is called the finest white grape of Catalunya Xarel-lo or Pansa Blanca this 2011 Marques de Alella from the tiny, but highly-regarded DO of Alella is certainly a luscious white wine with a high acidity, stone fruit, pear and citrus flavours, some mineral elements and distinctive, slightly bitter finish. For me it embodies the land where it is cultivated, a good structure to begin with, Mediterranean at heart and driven by the powerful personality of the variety. A yummy wine as one of my companions said drinking it for the first time.
The DO Alella is one of the smallest and also one of the oldest in the Iberian Peninsula. You don’t have to travel far from the northern outskirts of Barcelona to reach DO Alella. Located between the forest and sea the scenery is stunning. Each vineyard area has a microclimate of its own, where variables such as altitude, differing slopes, aspect and wind can alter the characteristics of the grapes. Marqués de Alella has vineyards in the districts of Sta. Maria de Martorelles, Montornès del Vallès, Sant Fost de Campsentelles, Alella and la Roca del Vallès, mainly Pansa Blanca, but also some Chardonnay.
In the 1980s Marques Don Juan Peláez Fabra decided to restore the reputation of the tiny DO of Alella to the one it had in the 1950’s, as one of the top wine producing regions on the Iberian Peninsula. By combining old with new techniques the area has been modernized and gained a reputation for still white wines, with as reigning queen the Pansa Blanca grape. The Pansa Blanca or Xarel-lo can be used for still white wine (these wines can age gracefully), or in a blend for the sparkling Cavas.
Marquès d’Alella Pansa Blanca scored 9,50 in the 2013 Guia de Vins de Catalunya.