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 mostly Pansa Blanca and a little Garnatxa Blanca from the vineyard at his parents’ house, and the highest elevation vines he works. The grapes were hand-harvested and destemmed before pressing to stainless steel tank. The wine was co-fermented with wild yeast in tank, then aged on the lees in bottle for 9 months (method ancestral) before disgorging at under 2g/L residual sugar, and finished without fining, filtration or added SO2.
La Rumbera is comprised of Pansa Blanca from 7 different parcels planted on granitic soils around Alella. The wine is fermented with wild yeasts in stainless steel, with 2 hours to 2 days skin contact, depending on the maturation of the grape. The wine is then raised on the lees in steel vat for 6 months before being bottled without fining or filtration and no added SO2.
El Rumbero is a red blend from two plots close to the Mediterranean Sea and to Oriol’s winery. A blend of Garnacha, Syrah and Merlot, some of which are macerated whole bunch, some of which are direct press. Aging in stainless steel before being bottled without fining, filtration or added SO2.
La Bella is 100% Pansa Blanca from the Vinya d’en Costa vineyard just north of Barcelona. The grapes were hand-harvested and skin macerated for about 2 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.
La Bestia is 100% Pansa Blanca from the Vinya d’en Mundu vineyard just north of Barcelona. The grapes were hand-harvested and skin macerated for about a week before pressing to tank. The wine was wild yeast fermented and raised oxidatively on the lees for 10 months before being bottled without fining, filtration or added SO2.
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 is the last vintage; the vineyard was recently sold to a developer.
Lloritu comes from a single parcel about 40-50m away from the Mediterranean Sea. Jaqué is a hybrid grape also planted in the USA under the name Black Spanish. One night on the skins before pressing. A new vineyard for Oriol as of 2018. Lloritu is named for a type of fish in the Mediterranean.
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 12 hours skin contact, then raised on the lees in vat for 6 months before being bottled without fining or filtration. Harvested every year with family and friends on the national day of Catalunya.
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.
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.
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.
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.