As Michael and I sat in the courtyard of Bouquet d’Alella, with the wind gently blowing the lush green trees providing a canopy from the late afternoon sun, I couldn’t help but be reminded of one of the closing scenes from Ridley Scott’s ode to Provence, “A Good Year” starring Marion Cotillard and Russell Crowe. The trees, the gravel, the heat broken by the gentle breeze and a gorgeous masia provided one of the most tranquil settings we have encountered in our journey so far.
The similarities between film and life continued, as the distinct baritone of Pau Rucabado Ferrer, Bouquet d’Alella’s owner and winemaker, echoed the same depth as Francis Duflot in the film. The only difference was Pau’s baritone was tinted with a strong Catalan accent as opposed to Duflot’s French tones. Nevertheless, Pau spoke about wine with the same reverence as his French counterpart.
Pau’s respect for the wines is steeped in family history, with the property and the buildings on said property remaining in the possession of the Cerda family since the 14th century. “Can Boquet” is the name of the masia on the grounds, and it’s where Pau, his wife, and her brother drew the inspiration for the branding of the vineyard. To convey their feelings about making wine, they incorporated the French spelling, Bouquet, into the name to give a tinge of floral to the representation.
The wines of Bouquet d’Alella are aged in the same cellar past generations of the Cerda family used, and in fact the cellar is a museum to that same past with two wine presses from the 17th century proudly displayed. You could almost hear the ancient activities of the family through those wine presses. The laughter, the contemplation, and discussions about making great wines still echo off the stone walls.
Pau and his wife began selling their wines in 2010, after a few years of reclaiming the old vines and planting new vines. Today Bouquet d’Alella features two whites, a Syrah, a Garnatxa negra, and a sweet wine called Pur Dolç. Even though the vineyard is young, already Bouquet d’Alella has received a score of 92 from Penin for its Blanc+, which Michael thoroughly enjoyed (as you can view above).
Not only do they make great wines, but Bouquet d’Alella also welcomes visitors for special events, customised breakfasts/lunches/dinners in the vineyard, bicycle tours with their own bikes, and a once a month “dinner by moonlight” set in the middle of the vineyard. You just have to give them a call or send an email to coordinate. All of this has strange parallels to “A Good Year,” especially the dinner by moonlight. Maybe next Pau should have movies and small concerts in one of the upper plots after harvest in the autumn?
Even though we were only supposed to stay for two hours, we found our time doubled due to our discussions with Pau about wine, philosophy, business, politics, and beaches. He even allowed us to meet a small private group which came in that evening for a family dinner in the vineyard, complete with a personal tour conducted by the winemaker himself.
While I’ve always wanted to be transported to the fairy tale wine world of Provence to discuss all things philosophical with the fictional movie character Francis Duflot, this is something that can’t ever happen. Thankfully, this desire has been quenched and embodied in Bouquet d’Alella’s Pau.
We highly recommend a trip to visit them for not only good wine, but great stories, and great food. I never did work up the nerve to ask Pau if I could bring back my girlfriend and reenact the final scene between Marion Cotillard and Russell Crowe in their courtyard (complete with complimentary soundtrack). Maybe next month during harvest, we’ll just show up to say hello.
Tim Brown (aka Timmer on social media) has been involved in marketing for over 20 years and a wine enthusiast since his first exposure to Duck Pond Winery in Newberg, Oregon, back in 1995. After coming to Europe in 2012, he made his home in Catalunya in 2013 and became enchanted with the wines and winemakers of the region. Now he shares his experiences so international visitors can enjoy the region’s wines, while continuing his work in the marketing world. Sommeliering and wine snobbery isn´t his thing, and he continues to learn more about wine from a Catalan perspective on a daily basis.