Spotlight on Xarel·lo

Good lord I’ve gotten to love the Xarel·lo grape and this month, in my Barcelona Metroplitan column, I pay a loving tribute to it.

While Xarel·lo (pronounced sha-rel-lu in Catalan) is a white grape widely planted in Catalonia, it is often easily dismissed as merely one part of the principal three grapes in the typical Cava blend. There are many in the region–especially in Penedès where the grape is found most abundantly–who believe that its days of being part of the chorus are over and it should be in the spotlight. Their dedication is seen in some recent festivals devoted to the grape as well as the “natural” wine crowd having taken to it given that it does well with amphora and other slightly experimental/ancestral production methods.

After several tastings of single varietal bottlings of Xarel·lo I can safely say that I’m one of the converts as well. Always blowing my mind as to the potential of Xarel·lo are the wines of Porcel·lànic by Ton Rimbau but their prices which start at 60€ retail due to the unique albeit expensive clay bottles. Given this, I’d like to offer up a couple of other wonderful bottles that are a bit more friendly on the wallet.

Loxarel Xarel·lo 2014
Loxarel is serious about this grape so much so that their winery’s name is derived from it: lo-xarel. But this young wine forms a perfect introduction to the grape. Aromatically fresh, elegant, and expressive with white fruit notes. Bright and exciting in the mouth, it opens up the palate wonderfully for seafood appetizers.

100% Xarel·lo 13% 11€

Xarel·lo d’AT Roca 2014
One of the more exciting new Xarel·lo bottles to come about. The production is just 1,300 bottles from one high altitude vineyard near Ordal called, Casa Llarga. A wonderfully aromatic expression of mandarin blossoms, smoky, light minerality, and basil. Full and creamy in the mouth, it doesn’t have as long a finish as some but makes up for it by having great volume for a white wine.

100% Xarel·loe 13% 18€