Xarel-lo is a grape found primarily in the Northeastern region of Catalonia.  Go here to hear how to pronounce this word.  It is commonly used in the production of Cava (Spanish sparkling wine).  The two other grapes often used in Cava are Viura and Parellada.  I have tasted a handful of 100% Viura wines but only recently stumbled upon a 100% Xarel-lo and jumped at the opportunity.

Albet i Noya is a producer with a long history.  In 1998 they began a project in collecting and planting seven different varieties that have been more or less lost over the ages.  Along with the experimental varieties they produce, they make a few classics as well such as Tempranillo and Chardonnay.  Check out their whole selection here.

My notes on Albet i Noya Xarel-lo, 2008: Great clarity with very little color.  Medium strength aromatics of stone fruits, asparagus, and a touch of warm bread.  This wine has fairly high amounts of acid, is very crisp on the palate with flavors of cream, tart stone fruits and grass.  The finish is lacking, but all in all I was very pleased.  I would describe this wine as somewhere between a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc with its crispness & a Gewurtz with its generous aromatics and heavier body.  I paired this wine with a Tempura fried artichoke hearts with a mild chipotle sauce & it went over very well with guests.

If you can find a 100% Xarel-lo at your local wine shop, snatch it up.  Add this to your list of interesting wines that you have experienced.

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