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Autòcton Celler Blanc '16
The Autòcton wines are made by Albert Jané, who is also the force behind the wines of Ritme Celler (featured in this month’s $30 & Under Wine Club). Like that project, Autòcton was created with a focus on making wine that expresses the unique terroir of Mas Vilella. Jané, whose other wine projects include Acústic and Autòcton Cellers, is a native of the town El Vendrell, in Penedès, and is part of a family that has been involved in wine since the early 20th century. After many years working alongside his father and brother and in other areas, he returned home to Mas Vilella, his family’s estate, to make wine and work to improve the prestige of the region and its local varieties.
The Autòcton winery comprises 8 hectares of vineyards on an estate of 20 hectares in total, located in the Serra del Rotllat mountains at the start of the protected Montmell nature reserve. The vineyards are near the Mediterranean Sea and always with the powerful mountain range of Montmell in sight. Autòcton means “native” in Catalan.
The 2016 Autòcton blanc is composed of 75% old native vines of Xarel·lo, 15% Macabeu, and 10% Xarel·lo red, all of which are planted close to the farmhouse and hand harvested. The wine was partially fermented in (300- and 400-liter) French oak casks and in stainless steel tank, and was aged for ten months on its lees, with bâtonnage (stirring of the lees) each week.
We scored a great deal on this wine, which normally is $26+ dollars. Even better, this wine has been “aging” at the distributor. This is a perfectly mature example of Xarel·lo, displaying the richness and texture the variety is known for. It offers citrus and stone fruit notes, minerality, and lots of savory notes, such as wild thyme and other herbs. This is such a great food paring wine, and it will match with heartier fish, such as mackerel, but it is also great with grilled, herb-crusted chicken.
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