A Valencian Xmas Wine Selection


A Valencia wine selection for Xmas Day.
 
So what to drink on Xmas day? Which Valencian wines will best complement the traditional smoked salmon, roast turkey and trimmings etc? The answer I suspect is probably anything you fancy from this rapidly improving and versatile wine region!
 
For an aperitif it has to be D.O. Cava. Interestingly Cava does not have to come from a specific region but is a national D.O. where the wine has to conform to traditional method rules. Nonetheless the Carlota Suria Cava Brut Nature from Pago De Tharsys on the outskirts of Requena was my choice for today.11.5%ABV and from 80% Macabeo and 20% parellada 20 year old vines grown at 600 metres above sea level in their own vineyards this is a splendid wine. The cava has medium but persistent bubbles when poured but without a large crown. Medium straw , clean and bright. On the nose there are hints of citrus fruits, fennel and sweet pastries. On the palate the wine is big, initially apple then complex deep vanilla flavours, it is full ,persistent with a long balanced finish.  An excellent accompaniment to foie gras on toast neither dominating nor dominated. www.pagodetharsys.com
 
Second wine to go with the smoked salmon was a barrel fermented chardonnay from Vera de Esteñas. This young white 2008 vintage 100% chardonnay is a favourite and spent 2 months in oak yielding a 13%ABV wine. Straw yellow gold with green hues, clean and bright with long legs. On the nose there are elegant tropical fruit flavours and vanilla. It displays an elegance matched on the palate which is full, well balanced with sunny fruit, acid and wood tones harmonised beautifully with complex yeasty afternotes in a long finish. www.veradeesteñas.es
 
And so to the reds. First up is another favourite, Finca Collado DO Alicante Tinto 2004 is from predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon with Merlot from grapes surrounding the bodega and at 550 metres above sea level. Having spent 14 months in french oak the wine is a healthy 13.5% ABV. Cherry red and even to rim the wine is clean with medium legs. The nose is nice brambly fruit with complex spicy tones and on the palate wood fruits predominate a smooth slightly woody wine with a long full finish. Good with turkey! www.fincacollado.com
 
As a contrast I also opened ( well it is Xmas!) the Pago de Tharsys 2003 from 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc.
A garnet centre leads to a touch of terracotta at the rim, clean and supporting long legs. The nose is more restrained with plummy fruit and on the palate  nice and  smooth with the fruit balanced by the dryness of the Cabernet Franc and a  long finish.This wine is a steady 13.5%ABV having enjoyed 11 months ageing in French and American oak.
 
This is a vineyard well worth the visit. A friendly guided tour is followed by a tasting in the bodega where a range of wines from the property and other worthy neighbours can be purchased. The DO Cava from Bobal is my top of the range and the bodega is also now producing two aguadientes or orujos from their own grapes. More details from www.pagodetharsys.com .
 
Finally for pudding, or to be accurate to go with the chocolate truffles a Mistela moscatel. This vino de licor `Sol de Mediteráneo´ DO Valencia is produced at the nearby Cheste Coop but marketed through the giant Anecoop organisation which unites wine and horticultural coops across europe. At 15% ABV the wine is produced by first chilling the grapes to concentrate flavours. Nonetheless the wine produced is a fresh moscatel, typical of the area at the base of the mountains between Valencia and Requena ( Hoya de Buñol ). Pale gold with bright green hues the nose is unrestrained sweet fruit and honey! On the palate it is altogether fresher but concentrated and full. It stands up well to dark bitter chocolate.
 
So was this a representative sample? Almost certainly not as there was no dry muscat or Monastrell from Alicante, no Bobal from Utiel-Requena, no Garnacha from Pedralba, no Merseguera or Pedro Ximinez from the Alto Turia or Serranos etc etc. No it was a personal selection and tomorrow is Boxing day, there is cold turkey left so who knows what might be opened?!
 
 
 
 
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