Not that far up north though. I've wittered about Alella before a couple of times, but for all it's charm, we had never seen the town in full swing. This weekend was the traditional town festes, including a posh car-park piss up with all the local producers vying for your tickets (€5 for three glasses and a glass to take home [broken en route]).
We got off the bus sometime around noon and it was already ram up and baking. The gigants were patrolling the streets with bands of medievally-dressed Catalans, and there were a bunch of stalls lining the main street, whose cheeses and pastes we sampled and liked but forgot to buy. To brunch we approached a stall with plump and fresh looking pastries, and I went for a patates braves filled bun, including the mayonaise. It was the nearest thing to a chip barm i've ever had abroad and made me feel quite queezy.
We passed by the three wine shops that I know around the centre, where merriment was had in attempting to neck table wine from porrons.
We then swung round to the main event which was heaving, and queues for forming at each stand. We all went for different options to kick off, me a 2006 garnatxa blanc from Joaquim Batlle, a couple of autoctonous pansa blanca joints from Alella Vinícola, sec and semi sec, were sampled; and a cava from Perxet rounded off the round.
It was agreed that the local grape was a winner for starters, floral and light with enough character to justify the €5 you'd spend on a bottle.
Round two before lunch and we switched up again. I went for a chilled Syrah from Alta Alella (mistake), our two debutants sneaked a Rioja and a Ribera del Duero from somewhere, and Natalia, still on the cava, was seduced by the minimal elegance of a chardonnay 2006 from Alta Alella; clearly the most appropriate and ultimately rewarding choice.
We found a lunch spot, the always excellent Companyia d'Alella, and were looking forward to one of the local speciality dessert wines only to find that everything had shut, in true siesta style, until eight in the evening. We found some of the staff from Alella Vinícola off-duty, who hooked us up with half a bottle of their garnatxa negre/ syrah rosé, which was finished in a wendy-house as we waited for our chariot home.
Another good day out in the Maresme. As we'd been left wanting more, I'm tempted to attend some of the setmana del vi at the end of the month.
'Til then, Sitges hosts it's wine festival next weekend, which I may very well report back upon.