Winetasting for Bloggers in Utiel

Winetasting for bloggers in Utiel.
Wednesday 7 April saw a special winetasting event held at the Bodega Redonda, HQ of the CRDO Utiel-Requena. This was on the initiative of an internet site that promotes Spanish wine and was held especially for wine bloggers. It was a recognition that social networking sites such as facebook and the internet play a large part in todays market and provided an opportunity for a number of wine producers to promote their products and talk directly to people who disseminate the information widely. It also provided a social event for some of the bloggers to meet for the first time and exchange ideas.
The event was opened by Juan Manuel Gonzalvo Mancilla of who explained the philosophy behind the event. He was followed by Vicente Perez, President of the CRDO Utiel-Requena who welcomed everyone to the tasting.
Bodega Redonda, Utiel.
Eleven winebloggers and or t.v and film producers attended the event including some from Madrid and Alicante.
Vicente Perez and Juan Manuel Gonzalvo.
Each of the bodegas represented brought one wine to taste and discuss with the bloggers.
The first wine was from Bodegas Torroja and this was their  Sybarus 100% Tardana 2008 with 12.5% ABV.
This was the first pure tardana I had tasted although the variety is added to blends to give a little  `seasoning´. It is vinified from very ripe grapes, fermented amd macerated cold to obtain maximum aromatic extraction. I found it pale straw but with a golden edge, quite intense. On the nose the fruit was tropical with melon, pineapple and peaches. On the palate good fresh acidic attack balanced by a good structure, balanced and wih a long finish. A very nice wine.
Second was the Marques de Caro Rosado from Cherubino Valsangiacomo 12%ABV. This is also 100% Bobal a variety which is noted for  excellent pink wines. This did not let me down in any way. Rose raspberry in colour it was clean and bright with long legs. On the nose redfruits gave way to floral tones and a touch of syrup. On the palate it was initially smooth, with nice raspberry fruit good acid and a long finish. All round a well crafted aperitif or accompaniment to seafood dishes.
A view of the tasting table.
Next wine was from the Requena Cooperative Coviñas. This has a number of local co-oops affiliated to it and makes a range of wines including the Enterizo range. The Enterizo rosado is a deeper rose colour than the previous wine, clean and bright with a violet edge, common with bobal from which it is also made. This has a huge fruity nose with both black and red wood fruits, caramels and strawberries. On the palate it is very fresh with nicely balanced acid and fruit and a long dry finish.
Fourth wine was from the Dominio de la Vega. Situated in the village of San Antonio between Requena and Utiel the Dominio is a casa bodega sitting in its own park surrounded by vines and dates from the 19th century. Originally built by the Conde de Villamar the bodega was selling its wines under the Anacal marque but also sells wines with the Dominio name and is especially noted for its cava made in the restored deposits in the old bodega. However they chose to show their Tinto Bobal 2009 bobal which has spent 6 months in wood. The wine is produced from vines with an average age of 45 years, which have been subject to rigourous controls before hand picking. Raquel Armero from the Dominio explained that the grapes were cooled to 10 degrees to macerate for 72 hours before a controlled fermentation at 25 degrees for 12 days. This takes place in 500 litre casks of american and french oak and includes the secondary malolactic fermentation. The wine remains in cask for 6 months.
This produces a a wine intensely garnet in colour, with a a violet edge and long legs which colour the glass. The nose is intensely fruity which leads on the palate to a complex wine with raspberry, blackcurrant, chocolate, balsamic tones and vanilla. It is a full bodied red with a long finish but sadly you will not to be able to try it until 1 May when it will be released on to the market. At around 6€ this is one I will be revisiting!
Dominio de la Vega Bobal .
Viñedos y Bodegas Vera de Esteñas produce wines I have written about before, notably after Utiel Gastronomia last October.  Their choice was a Martin Bermell Merlot, a new marque first launched in 1994. The wine is fermented in new oak but only spends 2 months in wood. It is a tinto joven of 14%ABV. Quite intense ruby red with good legs the nose is complex with woodfruits, vanilla and toasted notes. On the palate it is balanced and surprisingly round with good fruit and smooth tannins from the wood. Well balanced this another wine from this bodega I would happily drink again.
Vereda Real have long produced a fruity bobal called Bobalia Roble. This is a wine I have been buying from the local supermarket whenever they have it in stock. The  2006 Tinto Barrica was on show which has spent an average 3-5 months in different oaks. This was clean, shining garnet with long legs. There is a smoky aroma I get from this wine which I have occasionaly found before in bobal, together with red fruits and minerals. The minerals are carried into the palate together with spices and soft tannins. This wine does not dissapoint and was up against stiff competition on the night!! At least two of my blogging colleagues found this and the next wine to be their favourites.
And the next was of course Jose Luis Torres Carpio´s Olivastro. I visited and wrote about the bodega ( Carres ) in February. On the night I felt the wine had lost a little of the explosive fruit I remembered from my first tasting but Jose Luis was decanting and the bottle may have been open a while. It is a wine which develops in the glass and may well be developing in bottle as well. This is still one of my favourites.
Olivastro from Boegas y Viñedos Carres.
Finca Ardal is situated on the main road to Madrid at Requena. It is a family run business with great emphasis on presentation. Innovative but traditional in background they presented Ocho Cuerdas.  The 2004 Bobal is an intense ruby red, and 14%ABV tinto crianza. It has spent 2 months in french and american oak. Garnet even in colour to the rim with long legs. The nose displays nice wood fruits, wood and toasty hints. On the palate it is soft and smooth, lean and with nice dry fruit. It displays a long satisfying fruity finish.
I have yet to visit Chozas Carrascal but have tasted many of their wines at fairs before. I had not written about the Las Ocho before which is named for the eight varieties that make up the blend. Although there are eight varieties present Bobal and Cabernet sauvignon predominate. This may vary year to year as the final assemblage is done by blind tasting and thus the Monastrell, Garnacha, Tempranillo, Cabernet Franc, Syrah and Merlot will all have a part to play in seasoning the blend. I found the wine to have good vanilla, fruit and toasty scents. The palate displays a good attack, lots of intense fruit, powerful, rounded, with vanilla, coffee and minerals. This is another wine to return to and bodega to visit and I will be taking up Maria José´s offer to do that shortly.
Blog Seleción is a great name for a wine provided for a bloggers tasting! This Torres Luna wine is a crianza 2007, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Sirah, Merlot and bobal and 15.5%ABV. Torre Luna is in the hamlet of Campo Arcis and they have about 20 hectares of vineyards with a tradition for the regions own grapes. This wine is garnet, even colour to the rim and with long legs. The nose displays nice wood fruits, wood and toasty flavours. On the palate it is soft, smooth, lean with dry fruit and a long finish with touches of wood. Quite different from the other wines but then we were experiencing a lot of wines which have very individual charcteristics.
Blog selección, it does exist!
The next wine was from Pasiego. Criadores Artesanos was created in 1997 in Utiel by three friends with a passion for wine and 13 barrels between them. Today the business has expanded but the passion remains. The Pasiego Autor, 2005 is 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Bobal and 20% Tempranillo. and has spent 13 months in French, American and hungarian oak. This wine is 14%ABV and is garnet with long legs. On the nose it displays some of the oak together with full fruit and leaves a long lasting scent. Powerful and meaty on the palate  this is an elegant wine with a very long finish.
This is the friends major work of art and what a collaboration it is!
Christina Correoso, oenologist at Bodegas Emilio Clemente introduced their Excelencia Edición Limitada 2006. 50% Merlot, 30% Tempranillo and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16 months in wood and 14.5%ABV. Christina explained this Vino Autor is entirely hand made from beginning to end and only 5 barrels are produced. Garnet and with long legs the nose displays lots of red and black fruits, jam, and chocolate and spice in a quite complex mix. After undergoing a malolactic fermentation in the barrel the wine is left on the lees for 16 months. This gives it persistence, roundness, elegance and a wonderful balance. Bodegas Emilio Clemente are great users of the social network site Facebook and promote their wines with energy and pride.  Do not miss an opportunity to taste when you come across it.
Excelencia from Emilio Clemente.
And to the penultimate wine which displayed a character quite unlike any other wine. Bodegas Hispano Suizas also have a preference for the regional varieties but like to make innovative wines that are for enjoyment and to drink- not for museums! The Bassus Pinot Noir 2007 13%ABV certainly acheives that in spades! Cherry red with a violet edge, the wine has spent about 10 months in wood. The nose displays mature cherry fruit with blackcurrant and licquorice. On the palate you are immediately struck by the powerful mature red fruit with  strong coffee and caramel notes and a long complex finish. The wine is entirely hand made and enjoyed a light pressing only. This is certainly a wine to look out for and to try.
Lastly I returned to the beginning and tasted again the Pago deTharsys Unico, unique for being the only Cava made exclusively from bobal, a true blanc de noir. I wrote about this wine after the first cava fair and it remains one of my two favourite cavas from the region, full of flavour and depth.
Tharsys Unico Cava.
Although not exclusively a Bobal tasting the majority of wines did have the autoctonal or regional grape at it´s centre. A lot of effort recently has gone into promoting the variety which as can be seen from the above produces quality wines in a huge variety of different styles. Amongst those promoting the variety is Zev Robinson who produced a documentary about it which is available on DVD from Las Añadas and a trailer can be seen on You-tube. This is well worth a look.
Zev Robinson being interviewed by a blog tv team.
This was a very special tasting and my thanks go to those who organised it, attended and enjoyed it! 
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