This is the sister wine to the Cava in this month's Select Six, and along with a Solera-style sweet wine we carry, the three tell a compelling story of a unique grape. Roughly 99% of the Cava produced comes from the part of the region to the South of Barcelona, but the district of Alella is a small island of Cava production just to the North and along the coast. Over the last few centuries that isolation has allowed the vines to essentially self-pollinate, and their version of the Xarel-Lo grape has evolved into its own distinct strain, here called Pansa Blanca. It is the same concept behind the wines in Montalcino being made from their own form of Sangiovese, the same evolution of plant traits. The differences in appearance are subtle; the way the clusters sit on the vine, slight thickness of the skin. But the flavors are noticeable, and when grass-roots wineries like Marfil combine the grape with native yeasts and the influences from the nearby coastline, the resulting wines are true standouts.
If you are looking for another wine as a frame of reference, think Muscadet from the Loire, especially the older vine single vineyard bottlings. Bright light gold in the glass with immediate coastal sea spray and seashell aromas with tones of citrus and green skinned apples. The palate is absolutely stuffed with similar flavors on an impressive texture that fills the mouth, almost coating with its unfiltered richness yet finishing quite clean and racy. The older vines and meticulous care making the wine show through in the overall presence, an unexpected and unique pleasure for the more adventurous wine fans, simply because you will be hard pressed to find another one. Ideal for anything seafood related, the brinier the better, and capable of standing up to all but the most extreme of preparations.
The Best of the Best.
We offering free tastings on these wines in the store every Thursday and Friday, and a 10% discount off the retail price through the duration of the day. Come on by and give them a try!