Terra Alta & Lafou’s White Grenache

From my latest column on Barcelona Metropolitan (also here)

As the furthest south Denomination of Origin in Catalonia, Terra Alta is oft unknown by most. Admittedly I was quite daft as to what they were doing down there until 2012 when I happened upon a small wine fair that took place in Barcelona on Pla del Palau featuring the wineries of Terra Alta.

At that point their big emphasis was the “Sóc Terra Alta garnatxa blanca 100×100” campaign. They were aiming to lay a bit of street cred for White Grenache in Catalonia being optimal when grown in Terra Alta. The grape does grow remarkably well although it’s the case that where red Grenache grows, so does the white variant and thus it’s found most everywhere 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. The first is a bit sweeter which, if you like cooler climate whites would probably speak to you. The second is the more mineral style with a larger body. It’s this style that I find 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.

They were one of the cellars I tried back in 2012 and at that point they were very new, only inaugurating their cellar officially in 2013 with the attendance of Catalan President, Artur Mas. The owners are actually from Pla de Bages and have the Abadal cellar up there which is a very different beast than LaFou. But I fondly remember LaFou in 2012 as much as I do three years later as for me, is one of the best expressions of White Grenache to be found in Terra Alta.

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 in to an astringent finish. Very well-crafted and defined.

100% White Grenache 13.5% 13.50€