100% organic Spanish top wines
The quality of any wine starts in the vineyards, and this holds true more than ever in the case of organic wines. Organic viticulture is more demanding than it's conventional counterpart, but when the viticultural practices are quality-focussed, with low yields in the vineyard, it becomes considerably easier. As the vines find an adequate balance with their surroundings, they develop greater resistence to plagues. Furthermore, the excellent drainaige of the sauló soils, together with the sea breezes help to maintain a healthy, quality crop. The regulations governing organic farming (European regulation 2092/91) exclude all synthetic chemical treatments (herbicides, pesticides and chemical fertilisers). In Catalonia, the body responsible for enforcing these regulations is the Consell Català de la Producció Agrària Ecològica.
Instead of chemical fertilisers, we use organic compost to maintain the soil's balance. Every autumn the vineyards are sown with a mix of three grasses that help fix essential nitrogen, carbon and cellulose. The grasses are cut in the spring and ploughed into the soil to act as compost. As the rules only allow surface treatments, we use sulphur and copper hidroxide to combat oidium and mildew. The totrix moth is treated with bacillus thurigiensis. Like all aspects of organic farming, timing is essential to guarantee the effectiveness of the treatments and hence the quality of the grapes..
The cellar is specifically designed for micro-vinifications. The small sizes of the tanks enable each parcel of land to be fermented separately, thus allowing us to wait until the moment of peak ripeness for each variety and plot. All wines are fermented under strict temperature control in stainless steel tanks or new French oak barrels. Wherever possible, wine is moved by gravity rather than pumps. Even during macerations when the wine is regularly pumped over the floating skins, this is achieved by drawing wine off into a stainless steel basin, and with the help of a forklift truck, poured back over the floating skins. Moreover, the macerations are done using a technique known as "submerged skins" whereby the grape skins or châpeau, which usually float to the top of a fermenting vat, are artificially kept below the surface of the wine to favour extraction. The length of maceration varies according to each wine and grape variety, but is usually between three and four weeks. Malolactic fermentation in the reds is done in oak barrels, a process which requires a little extra care, but offers significant advantages in fixing colour and polyphenols in the wine. The whites and base wines for cavas do not undergo malolactic to maintain optimum freshness.
For our cavas, the base wines are then bottled together with additional yeasts and sugar for the secondary fermentation in the bottle. They are laid in the cellar and age for between 18 and 36 months before being disgorged.
2006 Dry summer months advanced the collection of this year's harvest allowing for obtaining good alcoholic maturation but irregular phenolic development. Rains in the end of summer caused later harvesting varieties to have a longer maturation period increasing their quality with a standard healthiness. A vintage very similar to that of 2005.
2007 Exceptionnal vintage characteristed by a very dry summer with unusually cool temperatures. The high temperature differences between night and day gave a smaller, very healthy crop, somewhat earlier than usual. Almost ideal ripening conditions giving well structured wines.
Alta Alella vineyards on a mountain slope
Alta Alella's renowned wine cellar