Hailing from Vilassar de Dalt in the heart of the Alella appellation, Oriol Artigas actually came to winegrowing serendipitously. He originally wanted to be a chemist (ala Jules Chauvet), but after working a harvest in Penedès, Oriol realized that a career in a laboratory wasn’t for him and enrolled in an enology program soon after. He then worked at several wineries across Catalonia, which led him to teaching enology at the local university. Landing a steady job enabled Oriol to explore his true passion: a project revitalizing old coastal Alella vineyards and making supremely transparent, non-interventionist wines that evoke the nearby Mediterranean, wines laced with garrigue and sea salt.
Located just 15 kilometers north of Barcelona, Alella is a lesser-known region but has one of those familiar stories: A vineyard area that dates back to Roman times, once renowned for producing exceptional wines, and thanks to the appetite for seaside real estate, has now been whittled down to very little vineyard land. At just 220 hectares, Alella is one of Spain’s smallest D.O.’s. But the proximity to the Mediterranean, granite soils called sauló, and a plethora of native (read: old) vines has inspired a cadre of growers to set up shop here and work to protect this area from extinction. There is no doubt that the quiet revolutionary Oriol Artigas is at the vanguard of this movement.
Oriol began making wine casually, simply to be enjoyed amongst friends. But slowly he started to realize his calling, devoting himself to a career in winemaking full time in 2011. Oriol loved how it allowed him to showcase his homeland and roots, and how it allowed him to meet new people and discover the world. Since the official start of the project, Oriol has continued to grow each year, evolving and finding new ways to showcase the unique Alella terruño.
His over-arching philosophy is to “cultivate the vineyards in the most natural and least interventionist way possible, to allow the grapes to express in the most intense way the landscape from which they come.” He works about 12 hectares in total, mostly of old vines. He allows vegetation to grow between the vines, prunes very little, and works the vineyards primarily along the lunar calendar. In the winery, fermentations are completely spontaneous, aging is primarily done in steel vats, and sulfur is never used at any point in his process.
Oriol makes a wide variety of wines (sparkling, white, rosé, and red) the color of the wine being defined by which grapes grow in the vineyard. Ever restless, he is regularly adding to his repertoire of vineyards and wines, relying on the wisdom of the folks who originally planted these wild vineyards to make his cuvées.Each wine that Oriol produces has a beautiful refreshing texture with a subtle intensity of flavors - convivial Mediterranean wines with heart and soul.
La Rauxa is an ancestral method sparkling wine made with Pansa Blanca from a single parcel of young vines on granitic sands. Unfined, unfiltered, and undisgorged.
La Rumbera is all Pansa Blanca from 7 plots on sandy granitic soils. half of the grapes were destemmed and crushed and macerated on the skins for 3-4 days; the other half was destemmed and macerated without crushing for 9 days. Fermented and rested in stainless steel.
El Rumbero is 100% Garnatxa Negra from 2 vineyards on granitic sands. Fermented whole cluster in mostly stainless steel tanks and rested in the same vessels.
La Perla is 100% Pansa Blanca from a 73-year-old east-facing vineyard on frantic sand and gneiss. Fermented whole cluster for 10 days in stainless steel tanks, then pressed to the same vessels to finish and rest.
La Bella is 100% Pansa Blanca a 76-year-old north-facing vineyard planted on granitic sands directly across from the vineyard for La Bèstia. Destemmed and fermented in mainly stainless steel (some used oak barrels) with the skins for 14 days, then pressed to finish and rest in stainless steel tank.
La Bèstia is 100% Pansa Blanca from a centenarian south-facing vineyard on schist soils directly across from the vineyard for La Bella. Destemmed and fermented in mainly stainless steel (some used oak barrels) with the skins for 11 days, then pressed to finish and rest in stainless steel tank.
La Canya comes mostly from Garnatxa Blanca grown in a 1.5ha vineyard very close to the Mediterranean Sea trained in espaldera, plus a northwest-facing experimental young-vine parcel of Godello (named “Mas Pellisser”) trained en vaso located more inland by the winery. The grapes were co-fermented with wild yeasts in stainless steel vat seeing 2 days of skin contact, then raised on the lees in vat for 6 months before being bottled without fining, filtration or added SO2.
El Monstre is a field blend from the Peça d’en Blanch vineyard close to the town of Alella. The grapes were hand-harvested and whole cluster macerated for 11 days before pressing to tank. The wine was wild yeast fermented and raised on the lees for 10 months before being bottled without fining, filtration or added SO2. 2018 was the last vintage; the vineyard was sold to a developer and ripped up.
La Prats is a single-vineyard field blend with 30 different varieties planted with southeast exposition, located 1-2km from the Mediterranean Sea. Some vines are over 100 years old. The grapes are co- fermented with wild yeasts in stainless steel vat with a day or two of skin contact, then raised on the lees in stainless steel tanks before being bottlingHarvested every year with family and friends on the national day of Catalunya, September 11th.
A Coco (formerly El Ginjol) is 75% Pansa Blanca and 25% Garnatxa Negra from a vineyard of 23-year-old vines on granitic sand. Cofermented (the Garnatxa was left whole cluster and the Pansa Blanca was destemmed) in stainless steel tank with 5 days of skin contact, then pressed to finish and rest in the same vessel.
Lloritu is from a parcel of hybrid varieties: 50% Jaqué (a.k.a. Black Spanish) and 50% unknown white grapes. Destemmed and cofermented with 2 days of skin contact in stainless steel tank then pressed to the same vessel to finish and rest.
El Rall is 50% Merlot, 20% Garnatxa Negra, 20% Syrah, and 10% Sumo from 4 vineyards planted on granitic sand. Destemmed and fermented in stainless steel tank with 3 days on the skins, then transferred to a mix of stainless steel tanks and used barrels to rest.
Bardissots Bardissots is a line of wine Oriol makes in collaboration with two local growers and friends, Pep and Pilar. The following wines are a part of this project.
Oriental Blanc is 100% Moscatel d'Alexandria from a parcel of 6-year-old vines on granitic sand. Fermented whole cluster in stainless steel tank with 6 days of skin contact, then finished and rested in the same vessel.
Oriental Negre is 100% Ull de Llebre (Tempranillo) from a parcel of 6-year-old vines on granitic sand. Fermented whole cluster for 8 days in stainless steel, then pressed to the same vessel to finish and rest.
La Grita comes from an 80 year old vineyard planted with Parellada outside Alella near the town of Montblanc belonging to Pilar’s family. Parellada generally only gets to about 10% alcohol. Aged in stainless under flor for 6 months.
L’O is made from old-vine Pansa Blanca from an amphitheater style vineyard north of Oriol’s winery planted on granite soils. This particular cuvee comes from the coolest part of the vineyard. About 1 week whole bunch maceration, followed by a few months of aging in a single 300L oak barrel.
Ramiru comes from a vineyard 5km north of the winery that is planted with Garnacha Blanca, Garnacha Tinta and Jaqué. The grapes were hand-harvested and skin macerated whole-cluster for 5 days in plastic tubs before pressing to fiberglass tank. The wine was co-fermented with wild yeast and raised on the lees for 10 months before being bottled without fining, filtration or added SO2.
Pixaca is 50% Pansa Blanca, 40% Sumoll and 10% Jaqué Blanc (a hybrid grape) from a parcel of 84-year-old vines on granitic sand. Cofermented with the whole clusters for 10 days in stainless steel, then finished and rested in the same vessel.
Faisana is 60% Ull de Llebre (Tempranillo) and 40% Pansa Blanca, Garnatxa Blanca, Garnatxa Negra, and others from a 69-year-old parcel on granitic sand. Cofermented with the whole clusters for 6 days in stainless steel tank, then pressed and bottled before fermentation finished for Pet Nat. Unfined, unfiltered, and undisgorged.
Beier is 100% Beier from the west-facing Can Perdiu vineyard northeast of Barcelona (Oriol believes it’s the only Beier vineyard left in Catalunya). The grapes were hand-harvested and whole-cluster macerated for about two weeks before pressing to tank. The wine was wild yeast fermented and raised on the lees for 10 months before being bottled without fining, filtration or added SO2. Besàvia is from the south-facing, mix-planted Can Voalrd vineyard co-planted with old olive trees northeast of Barcelona. The grapes were hand-harvested and whole-cluster macerated for about two weeks. The wine was co-fermented with wild yeast and raised on the lees for 10 months before being bottled without fining, filtration or added SO2.
Sammay Sammay is a collection of juicy, easy-drinking and well-priced wines from Oriol.
Sammay Blanc and Sammay Blanc Pet Nat are equal parts Xarel-lo, Macabeu and parellada from young vines on sandy granite soils around Alella. Hand-harvested, , pressed whole cluster, and fermented on the skins for 5 days in plastic vat before pressing to stainless steel tanks. A portion of the wine was bottled before fermentation finished for pet nat. 10% ABV. Unfined, unfiltered, and undisgorged. No added SO2.
Sammay Negre and Sammay Rosa Pet Nat are100% Trepat from young vines on sandy granite soils around Alella. Hand-harvested, 50% of grapes pressed whole cluster and 50% were added to the juice to infuse and macerate during fermentation in plastic vat before pressing to stainless steel tanks. A portion of the wine was bottled before fermentation finished for pet nat. 10% ABV. Unfined, unfiltered, and undisgorged. No added SO2. 3 Porcs! is a collaboration between Oriol, Francesc from Cellar Frisach, and Alberto from Cellar Tuets, friends and natural winemakers in Catalunya. The wine is a co-fermented blend of three different grapes, changing every year, one grape variety contributed by each of the three winemakers. Bottled only in magnum.