Since it gained DO status over 50 years ago, Alella has been up against a fierce competitor: urbanisation. The thriving city of Barcelona has invaded its space but this bijou region is well worth exploring for both the character and quality of its wines especially if you are looking for variety in your Spanish white wine repertoire.

Wine has a long history here dating back to the Middle Ages and in more recent times export markets have played an important role in establishing the region’s name as ex-patriot Catalans have often insisted on the wines of their homeland.

Even though the region is relatively small, it features three distinct areas. The coastal area is home to most of the Garnacha Blanca vines. The slightly higher middle area (up to 150 metres) features granite bedrock which is favoured by Pansa Blancà, Pansa Rosadà, Garnacha Tinta and Ull de Llebre. The highest and coolest area, the Valles region, is mostly planted to Pansa Blancà vines as well as varieties which have appeared since the 1980s such as Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

Alella’s crisp, floral, youthful white wines are an ideal match for the excellent local gastronomy, especially the seafood. The local white Pansa Blancà grape, similar to Xarel-lo, is the grape with the most outstanding character in these wines but other white varieties have emerged adding variety to the mix in recent years. As a result the region’s wine styles are now an interesting blend of the traditional and the modern.

A wide selection of Alella’s wines can be tasted at the headquarters of the DO, the historic Masia Can Magarola, a charming country house which dates from the late 13th century.