11-02-2013

DO Alella needs a “killer wine”

map

By far one of the smallest Denominació d’Origen appellations in Catalonia, DO Alella, with its nine registered cellars often gets overlooked. It’s ironic given its rather close proximity to Barcelona, a mere 25 minutes on the R1 train to El Masnou or 15 minutes by bus. But no, there are regions which are seen as flashier such as Penedès, Priorat, and to a lesser extent, Empordà.

It’s not that the wine in Alella is bad, far from it actually. Nor is it that the cellars aren’t inviting visitors, as they are quite active on that front (see, for example, the offerings at Alta Alella or Bouquet d’Alella). It’s more that Alella doesn’t have a “killer wine”. What is this? Well, it’s along the lines of the killer app in that it’s a wine that you feel like you need to have. Priorat has it because their wines are world renown with stunning Carignan and Grenache to be found. Penedès has it because of the bubbly Cava. Empordà is getting close to having it with the rebirth of wines in the region that are showing no end of potential, especially the old Carignan vines that grow up in the hills and of course, the Costa Brava.

Unfortunately, Alella doesn’t have this. They have some decent wines, although of those we’ve tasted to date none show something definitive, that “terroir” or “locale” expressed in the bottle. They’re perfectly suited to everyday drinking, but they don’t have that push or ‘it’ factor to elevate them beyond this point yet. Then of course some of the price points are unlike the wines, a bit tough to swallow. Still, despite this, for visitors in Barcelona who just want a quite dousing of Catalan wine, a short distance away, take a day trip and enjoy. Undoubtedly, Alella will indeed find that something that makes it buzz and then you can say you knew it before it was cool.