2015 Alta Alella PB Pansa Blanca Organic White, Catalonia
At the winery, most dry white wines are made with the autochthonous Pansa Blanca (Xarel-Lo) grape variety, famous for its contribution to the typical Spanish Cava blend.
This ‘PB’ wine is the entry-level Pansa Blanca (Xarel-Lo) wine by Alta Alella.
Being a still dry white wine, this wine is a good way to discover the expression of this grape variety with the influence of any sugar or bubbles like you would have in a sparkling Cava, or any influence of a barrel aging like in the Lanius white.
It is also obviously the most affordable still Xarel-Lo in the range, and the easiest to find on shelves, more bottles being produced than other more confidential cuvées.
Like all Alta Alella wines though, PB is certified organic.
For the winemaking geeks, here are some facts:
The grapes were harvested in as healthy a condition as could be to allow a short maceration at a very low temperature. This skin contact enables to extract the primary flavours and express the true characteristics of the grape. The whole is then gently pressed, and only the first pressing musts are used. Fermentation in stainless steel vats at low temperature follows.
So how good is this 2015 still dry PB Xarel-Lo organic wine?
The nose is a little bit shy, discrete. Or perhaps it’s because my wine is a little too cold. But hey, this a wine from the rather warm Catalunya region by the Mediterranean, to be enjoyed chilled, and not too far from the sea!
More seriously, the aromas translate a floral and fruity expression: elderflower, grapefruit, and gentle stone fruit characters with apricot and white peach.
The wine is really revealed on the palate. The hints of fruit aromas perceived on the nose actually turn out to be an explosion of floral fruitiness in the mouth.
It’s a stone fruit orchard in a misty morning. It’s fresh, somehow mineral, but more importantly it’s the stone fruit and their flowers combined in a gourmet fragrance.
It’s like if our orchard would have the ripe apricot and peaches hanging on the tree branches, but also the enchanting smell of their flowers (which obviously doesn’t normally happen in nature, having flowers and fruit in a tree at the same time that is, but it does happen in wine: proof is given here!).
The stony, irony minerality persists rather well on the finish, giving the wine depth. This almost-salty minerality is quite typical of the granitic Saulo soil found on the Alella D.O. and particularly on Alta Alella’s estate.
Taste is balanced, with a crisp citrusy acidity that forms the wine’s backbone and sustains its freshness. This acidity is well matched by a touch of perceptible sweetness, though the wine feels dry overall.
A very pleasing and fragrant, fresh and crisp white wine filled with appetizing floral and fruity characters.
An obvious minerality cuts through the fruit’s exuberance, providing the wine with focus as well as depth.
A great wine to experience the Pansa Blanca grape variety that is rarely produced as a varietal wine. A delicious expression here, the wine is organic which is always a plus (when it’s good).
An ideal wine for the warm summer nights, or for when you want to feel it’s summer (even if it may not be).
Pair with grilled (and perhaps spicy) seafood. Smokiness is an element the wine doesn’t have that such a dish would bring marrying the fruitiness deliciously. The wine’s minerality would resonate with the iodine tone of fish, shells, or crustaceans.
Rich Spanish seafood tapas entrees is what comes to mind for a perfect match. I wonder why that is? Probably because the wine is Spanish (or Catalan should I say) and I know it.