DO Utiel-Requena continues with its wine educational programme, this time bringing their `Jornadas´ programme to Valencia City itself, with the attendance of VIvid.
Monday and Tuesday 7/8 March saw two very special events which were held in the Royal Academy of Valencian Culture.
In support of the Territorio Bobal initiative to have Utiel-Requena and its predominant grape variety granted UNESCO world heritage status the DO organized two separate events.
The first was a conference on the Bobal variety, its value in agricultural terms, its quality as a producer of wines, and how it has shaped the life of Utiel-Requena.
The second was a tasting of five wines from the variety, exemplary wines which demonstrated the quality, potential, ageing characteristics and versatility of the variety.
Neither the history nor the quality of the wines are any novelty to VIvid. We have followed closely the UNESCO campaign, attending regular presentations and reporting on them, tasting the wines and even presenting them in tutored tastings ourselves, most recently in a training course in the English language for the DO itself.
What made this pair of events different was that they were presented by Jose Vicente Guillem Ruiz ( Pepe) whose standing in the wine world in the Valencian Community is unparalleled.
Born in 1945 and qualified as an `Agricultural Engineer´ he is a specialist in the industry, management of companies in the sector, has been Director of the Requena Estación de Viticultura and Enologia and is an expert with links to both the Valencian Institute of Agricultural Quality and the Agriculture Ministry of the Valencian Government.
He is President of the Proava tasting panel for the Concurso de Vinos Valencia, the Provinces most important wine Competition on which VIvid are jurors.
We attended the specialist tasting precisely because we knew we would learn something more about the wines we regularly use! And so it proved to be.
First of the five wines was an Espumoso, Pago de Tharsys Unico 2008, a wine made by the Traditional Method but not allowed to be called a Cava because the Bobal variety is not permitted by the DO. The vines are well known to us, we helped harvest the 2014 vintage. With more than 20 years of age they are from an ecological vineyard. Gold in colour, brilliant with gold flashes, this wine has 20 months on the lees in bottle before disgorging. Fine persistent bubbles rising in spirals from multiple points in the glass, typical summer fruits of apricot, toasted almonds and white flowers on the nose and repetition in the mouth, this is a quality wine with a long, full finish. Elegant.
The Parreño Rosado 2015 is a `classic´. Fresh rose in colour with the typical violet edge of the variety on the nose it is all bubble-gum strawberry and pear drop boiled sweets! Fresh, well balanced in the mouth and with a wonderful acidity and volume, yet fresh and easy to drink. The best vintage we have ever tasted.
Al Vent Bobal 2014 is also a young wine from Coviñas. Black cherry in colour it shows slightly menthol notes, fresh cherry and blackcurrant fruit as well as the childrens sweets characteristic of the variety. With notes of a short period in barrel it is unctuous, balanced and seductive. A wine to share with friends.
Caprasia Bobal/Merlot 2014 from Vegalfaro is distinct for the varieties having been picked in mid September and the last week of October, vinified separately then blended after just three months in second use oak . Cherry red, with lots of red fruits on the nose the acidity of the Bobal is counterbalanced by the sweet plum fruit of the Merlot. Well balanced, fruity and a delight to drink!
Finally the Casa Don Angel Bobal 2011 from Vera de Estenas with 18 months in French oak . Cherry in colour but with its characteristic purple edge, something which barely diminishes with age it had a distinctly oaky elegant nose, ripe plum, chocolate, liquorice and smoky notes . Powerful but still young on the nose. In the mouth intense with black fruit, cinnamon, vanilla, cedar wood, an elegant wine with a long finish and many years life ahead of it.
This was a masterclass in all senses of the word, a tasting not to be forgotten.