2013 Alta Alella Privat Organic Cava Brut Nature, Catalonia
The ‘Privat’ Cuvée represents the entry-level offering in Alta Alella winery Cava range.
This is the sparkling wine from this Catalan producer you are most likely to find on shelves or restaurants. All the other Cava cuvees are much more confidential and often going onto very fine dining restaurant’s lists.
But entry-level here, doesn’t mean cheap or bad. Far from it in fact.
As we’ve found out with our tasting notes below, this wine gives a first taste to what Alta Alella is able to produce from totally organic grapes.
I was lucky enough to spend a day visiting Alta Alella winery on the height North of Barcelona city, hanging around the vineyards. The winery is located in an area that has its own appellation: The D.O. Alella Wine Region.
You can find complete information about the producing winery following the link at the bottom of this post.
Some Winemaking Info:
Harvest is carried out manually in small boxes at the optimum moment of ripeness for each of the varieties (Pansa Blanca (Xarel·lo), Macabeu, and Parellada is a typical Cava traditional blending style, no Chardonnay or Pinot Noir here). The grapes are lightly pressed to extract only the first pressing must, and then the fermentation is done in separated vats for each batch (generally each batch comes from a different vineyard).
This wine is made using the traditional method, and aged on its lees for a minimum of 15 months.
It is released on the market just after being disgorged.
The nose is razor-sharp, full of a minerality that brings a subtle irony tension to the smelling experience.
The first note I picked up on is butter. But not a cooked butter like in a biscuit or rich cake, fresh butter rather which leaves plenty of room for every other aroma to be revealed.
There’s the typical hay (an aroma that I often find in Cava), but a nice and elegant one here, accompanied by fresh lemon.
With the butter tone, the whole smells like lemon curd.
Spicing things up a little is slightly minty character. A basil-infused lemon curd would be my best possible comparison for the overall nose.
The palate is bone dry in a typical Brut Nature Cava style. (no addition of sugar at all during bottling while most sparkling wines see some sweetness added).
This relative ‘purity’ of the taste, without the sometimes fooling influence of sugar, leaves the minerality spotted on the nose shine through the palate as well. It’s sharp, acidic, citrus-like, but not aggressive, fine bubbles and a delicate oily texture softening things up a little.
One easily identify a little saltiness, rather typical of the Alella area brought in by the Saulo grounded granitic soils.
The wine finishes on toasted bread and hay, with some sort of earthiness combined with spiciness, like an earthy radish that brings both a delicate earthiness and a slight spicy heat.
This is a delicate and complex Cava sparkling wine that does require a certain education to be fully enjoyed. It’s dry and almost austere in some regards on the palate, yet with gentle delicate flavors of flowers and mild citrus that smoothen the feelings.
If you do appreciate the dryness, acidity, and minerality in wine, then you’ll be able to enjoy the complexity and refinement in this Privat Cava that brings purity of flavors as well as depth which is a very difficult exercise for many wines.
If purity and dryness are not always your thing, then food will bring the balance back into the experience. At the end of the day, this is a sunny wine for sharing and pairing. Delicate sea food dishes, subtle creamy entrée will do wonders to accompany this truly interesting wine.
Awards and References:
Wine & Spirits Magazine August 2015 – 88/100 – Best buy.
Wine Enthusiast 2015 – 88/100