Just 12 miles, 15 minutes on a good day, from the port of Barcelona, is Catalonia´s smallest wine appellation, Alella. Named after the quaint town serving as the DO´s de facto capital, Alella is known regionally for its light fresh white wines and intense dessert wines. Of late, however, a younger generation of winemakers, better trained, and with modern technology, is making ambitious strides in improving quality, not only in whites, but in reds and sparkling wines or cavas.
Nestled among the soft foothills that rise directly from the Mediterranean Sea, you will find urban vineyards and Modernist-built wineries. The local viñadores are proud of their sandy granite-based topsoil, sauló, unusual for Spain, found on the sea-facing side of the hills, with its Mediterranean climate. This contrasts with the other side of the hills, the northern-facing slopes that suffer a Continental climate and have the more common limestone-based soil.
Alella makes for a perfect half-day tour or can combine easily with another half-day tour of the Penedes D.O., best known for its sparkling cavas, but now also a site of creative wineries reaching for world-class quality with local grapes.