As the most southerly designation of origin in Catalunya, Terra Alta is unknown by many. Admittedly, I was quite daft as to what they were doing down there until 2012, when I happened upon a small wine fair in Barcelona featuring the wineries of Terra Alta.
At that point their big emphasis was the Sóc Terra Alta garnatxa blanca 100x100 campaign, which aimed to promote and popularise the growth of white Grenache in the region. The grape does grow remarkably well, although where red Grenache grows, so does the white variant, thus it’s found in many regions at wildly varying levels of quality.
I find that there is a distinct quality to the white Grenache found in Terra Alta, which comes in two forms. It is a bit sweeter than usual which, if you like cooler climate whites, would probably speak to you. The second quality is the mineral style with a larger body. I find that the latter takes all the pieces of the region, puts them together and makes for the most elegant wine. This is what you find with the white Grenache from LaFou.
LaFou was one of the cellars I tried back in 2012 and at that point they were very new—their cellar was officially inaugurated in 2013 in the presence of Artur Mas. The owners are actually from Pla de Bages and run the Abadal cellar up there, which is a very different beast. For me, LaFou produces one of the best expressions of white Grenache to be found in Terra Alta, both back when I first tasted it in 2012, and more recent vintages.
LaFou – Els Amelers 2013
Pronounced mineral notes as well as white peach, pear, honey and white pepper. Great acidity that balances out an elegant, full palate and leads to an astringent finish. Very well-crafted and defined. €13.50