Pansa Blanca - food & drink blog
Worry not, those of you intrigued by my promise of wines from Ribeira Sacra. I’m looking into it. In the meantime there’s this.
Marqués de Alella is situated literally about 20-minutes from the city centre, inland from the Costa Maresme. The winery doesn’t make much, but what it does, it does with due style and diligence using endemic grapes like the white Pansa Blanca, which is used in their cheapest bottle. I remember going to a tasting there years ago, and being amazed that wines of this quality (they only make four, all whites) should come from somewhere so close to the city. I don’t know why that should matter, but somehow it does.
OK, my inherent snobbery aside, what’s so good about this particular Pansa Blanca? It is after all just the name used for Xarel.lo once you get into the Alella district. Here, and I think this is probably a lot to do with the closeness of the Mediterranean compared to say the Penedès, Pansa Blanca has a lot more oomph than its more popular namesake. There’s depth and character to it that often seems lacking in the wines from further south. It is juicy, but not overly fruity as it can be, and it’s got a lovely tight structure that makes it really refreshing rather than cloying. Again I think this is a lot to do with the sea air, tightening up the pores if you like and generating grapes that ripen more slowly and in the meantime develop – and retain - lots of light and subtle flavours.
A lot of single variety Xarel.lo wines taste to me like pear drops. This has greengages and limes, even a slightly grassy colour, but there’s a splash of sea air in there too. So drink it as an aperitif by all means, but also think of it as an outdoors, playtime kind of a wine: something to take on a picnic, or have with tapas.