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Sacred Thirst Selections

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Quim Batlle

 

 Celler Joaquim Batlle

battle_quim.jpg

Three train stops north of Barcelona, hiding in the hills behind the towns of Tiana and Masnou, is the D.O. of Alella. Only 20 minutes from the center of Barcelona, this region has been planted to vine since the 1st century. The wines were written about by Pliny the Elder and served to the Kings of Aragon in the Middle Ages. Yet despite the ridiculous proximity to one of the world’s great cities, today they are relatively unknown.


Quim Batlle is one of only 9 registered wineries in this tiny D.O. of Catalunya. His winery, home and 3 hectares of steep, terraced vineyards are perched at 300 meters above the Sea on the ridgeline above Tiana. The soils here are comprised of white, granite based sand called Sauló. This topsoil both reflects light and holds heat, allowing the grapes to ripen in the much cooler climate of the ridge tops. Everyday at 4pm a light wind called Foranell comes from the sea and aerates the vines. This wind, coupled with the Sauló soil, is the basis for the unique terroir here.


Quim grows only 3 varieties: Pansa Blanca (genetically identical to Xarello), Garnatxa Blanca and Picapoll (genetically identical to Clairette). The farming is certified organic. The winemaking is with native yeast and a short skin maceration (10 to 15 hours) for all wines. Fermentation is in stainless steel with 1 year of aging on fine lees in steel and often times aging in bottle as well before release. These are terroir driven wines with a salty, granitic character that faithfully reflects their ancient home high above the Mediterranean Sea.

 
 

Joaquim Batlle "Foranell" Picapoll Alella 2013

Picapoll is perhaps more famously known as Clairette, which grows in the Southern Rhone Valley.  Foranell's Catalunyan rendition of Picapoll is salty, brisk and reminiscent of the sea.

 

Joaquim Batlle "Foranell" Pansa Blanca Alella 2011

Quim maintains that while Pansa Blanca is genetically identical to Xarello, it is nevertheless unique in its expression and flavor profile to Xarello found in other parts of Spain. It is floral and somewhat oily, but nevertheless displays a vibrant acidity. A show stopper.

 

Joaquim Batlle "Foranell" Garnatxa Blanca Alella 2010

Salty and stoney are descriptors that come to mind with this firm example of Garnatxa Blanca.  Very well balanced and full flavored while not being heavy on the palate. A versatile food wine that brings the ocean and the earth to the table.

 

Joaquim Batlle "Foranell" Brut Nature Alella NV

Picapoll is not the same variety as Picpoul de Pinet. Rather it is otherwise known as Clairette which grows in the Southern Rhone Valley. Skin contact and extended ageing sur lattes (in the bottle and resting fine lees) contribute nuances of hazelnut, oat biscuit and apple.