Alella D.O. (est. 1956) is one of Spain’s smallest appellations. It’s greatest challenge has been the encroachment of urban development, as it is located just 15 miles north of Barcelona. Sandwiched between the ocean and mountains, the vineyards are located within the foothills not far from the sea. The oldest vineyards, closer to the sea, experience a Mediterranean climate while more recent plantings, at higher elevations are cooler and experience a more Continental climate. Allella has a distinctive topsoil known in Catalan as “Saulo”. Based on sand derived from eroded white granite, it provides both good drainage and heat retention to help ripen grapes in an otherwise humid environment. The primary grape in the region is Xarello, locally known as Pansa Blanca. The varietal is used for the production of both Cava and still white wines.