Valencia´s Wine and Food Fair Reaches New Heights – Part 2.

Valencia´s Wine and Food Fair Reaches New Heights! – Part 2.
This year I made a special effort to visit the stand showcasing the Vins de la terra de Castellon. People forget that Castellon once had a thriving wine industry that exported huge quantites of wine the UK annually as well as Bordeaux to bulk up claret. Phylloxera, new wine laws, the Civil war and compulsory replanting of vineyards all played their part in the decline of the industry to what it is today, barely even a shadow of what it once was. That there is activity is attested to by fellow wineblogger John Maher who has been to both an organised  tasting and visited a vineyard in Castellon. You can read about this at your leisure at if you want to know more.
That the activity is passionate despite difficulties was explained to me by Guzman Orero Clavero, Secretary to the Associació Vitivinicola de Castello and owner of Masia de la Hoya. He talked while I tasted three wines from the Palancia, one of the three growing districts of Castellon. First was the Vega Palancia Tinto 2005, Jose Molina´s wine from Ázuebar. A blend of Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon and Garnacha it is 13.5%ABV and sells for 6€ a bottle. This was a deep red with long legs. On the nose a touch of wood was balanced by blackberry fruit and vanilla. In the mouth it is very fruity with smooth tannins, vanilla and a long dry finish.
Before moving on Guzman told me some of the history and how he is now trying to give the people of Castellon something of their heritage back with quality products. Certainly with a total production of only 250k bottles annually the ten bodegas will not have much to export after the local families, bodega owners and restaurants have had a share. This is just as well as Guzman complained that they got no support from distributors who are much more interested in other products. It is therefore a production limited to the local market which explains why the wines are not seen more often in Valencia.
Second wine was Sanjuan Chardonnay Edición Limitada at 13.3%ABV from Viver. This was a very good yellow, almost light golden colour. It had an interesting nose and one that stumped me for a description! On the palate it was balanced and had a long finish.
Next up was Masia de La Hoya Orero Seleción 2006 and 13%ABV. A blend of Tempranillo,  Merlot and syrah which has had a crianza of 12 months in French, Rumanian and American oak. The Masia is in Segorbe, famous for it´s Arles style bull runs and jamon and sausage fair in late summer. There is a strictly limited production of 3000 bottles only half of which Guzman is selling. He said he was losing money but was still happy! The wine is deep cherry red almost ruby, with long legs. It has warm sunny black fruits, blackberry and vanilla, and on the palate this is replicated with soft tannins. It is meaty and satisfying. Quite an easy drinking wine. Guzman also produces a rosado and varietals from Merlot and Syrah and an Añada 2005.
This was an interesting look at different wines from the Community but I can´t help but feel the producers have a mountain to climb in the current market. More information from , and .
Guzman Orero Clavero (left ) and wines from the Palancia in Castellon
One of the pleasures of this fair is trying various embutidos and other preserved and fresh meat products from the artesan butchers. Requena has it´s own fair in February and so I tend to try other producers at this fair such as Casa Toribio from Xirivella, and those of El Canto  from Mislata pictured below. This latter firm had an interesting
range of Longanizas in particular with ajo tierno or wild mushrooms which makes a pleasant and interesting change from the standard variety. These were available barbecued and had good texture and flavour. Also exhibiting were the honey producers from Utiel gastronomica, the October fair held in Utiel.
Honey products at the fair.
Miguel Velazquez´s family have owned Bodegas Los Frailes since 1771 and made wine in the new style since 1999 when the vineyards were reorganised. I commented on his After3, the vino dulce at the Muscat fair organised by D.O. Valencia last February. The vineyards are at Fontanars de Alforins.
This year they have been experimenting with a white wine, `wine with no name´. 13% ABV and 2009 vintage this is 40% Muscat, 40% Sauvignon Blanc and 20% Verdil, the autoctonal grape. It is fermented 50% in Oak and 50 % in stainless steel before blending. There are just 1000 bottles available, or were rather, before the fair! It is pale lemon, clear and bright with long legs. On the nose the spice , grass and cats pee and tropical fruits all try to get out at once. A very expressive nose is followed on the palate with a nice fresh attack, tropical fruit but a long dry finish, very round at the end. Félix intends to make this wine next year but with the addition of a little Viognier. Can´t wait!
I also tried the new 100% Monastrell 2009 and 13%ABV which sells for just 3€ a bottle. This has 4-5 days maceration to extract aromas and is a lovely deep cherry red, with long legs, the colour coating the glass. This is a youthful red with boiled sweets on the nose before great fruit on the palate, this is gentle easy drinking with a touch of minerals at the finish.
La Moma 2007 is a 50-50 blend of Monastrell, the autoctonal grape and Marselan, itself a cross between grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon. This has spent 15 months in French oak and is 14.5% ABV. It is a similar deep cherry red with long legs. Fuller and spicier on the nose it was also more open with nice jammy fruit. On the palate nice blackberry fruit, dry but not lean, with a long elegant finish and a lot in it.
Miguel Velazquez and a selection of wines from Los Frailes.
I have tried wines from the cooperative in Moixent before and remembered the excellent Pedro Ximinez white. Pablo Cortés Ángel is their enologist and speaks excellent English, the result of a year spent at the agricultural college in Cirencester after studying at the University Polytechnic in Valencia. This dry white is 100% P.X. Clos de La Vall. It is 14.%ABV and sells for 4.95€ a bottle. The wine is fermented dry and spends 6 months in Crianza on the lees which gives it great depth and flavour. Yellow straw, clean bright it has a very elegant nose full of fruit,  flowers and a touch of wood. On the palate some extraordinary flavours develop, such as apple, pineapple, toffee and caramel, nuts but it is also creamy and everything is beautifully balanced before a concentrated long finish. I love this wine.
The crianza tinto Clos de la Vall is a blend of Tempranillo, Monastrell and Cabernet Sauvignon. It is 14%ABV. This is  deep red, with long legs and youthful edge. Mature fruit on the nose, elegant touch of oak which expands as the wine is in the glass. Powerful in the mouth, this is an easy drinking red. Finally I tasted the Reserva Clos de la Vall which is the same blend of varieties, 14%ABV  but 12 months in oak. This shows a bit more garnet with  good clean legs. On the nose there are red fruits,spices and a touch of tobacco. On the palate smooth, nice blackberry fruit with  round tannins, and an elegant long finish.
This coop group also produces a fine olive oil, `Pagos´ from trees with over 100 years of age. It is elegant smooth, strong with a nice bitter finish.
Wines from the st Pedro Apostel Coop in Moixent.
A visit to the D.O. Valencia stand to pick up some information pointed me ultimately in the direction of Bodegas Los Pinos. Also based in Fontanars this was another bodega I had not encountered before….clearly I don´t get out enough!
A bodega which also produces ecological wines Elia Ochando , Sumiller and Montse Garcia talked me through some of their wines. The Blanco Salvatge 2008 is a blend of Sauvignon blanc, Moscatel Grano Pequeno and a little Viognier. It is 12.5%ABV. This was pale lemon with green flashes, clear and bright. On the nose floral notes, and gooseberry. On the palate delicate, fresh, citrus notes and and a long dry finish. Excellent for pasta, cheese and chicken dishes. The rosado, is from garnacha for colour and monastrell and is 12.5% ABV. It sells for 6.25€ a bottle. Deep rose in colour, clean and bright with good legs. On the nose very floral and red fruits and on the palate full, round fruity, raspberry and nice acid. Good for pasta, rice dishes and paté.
The tinto salvatge is 13.5%ABV and a blend of Cabernet Franc and Monastrell. Intense cherry in colour with long legs. On the nose it was initially closed as it was chilled. However on opening out morello cherry and blackberry emerged. On the palate blackberry and cherry with a long finish Very nice easy drinker this for 6.25€. Next was the Los Pinos Barrica 2006, 14% ABV. This is Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot with 4 months in French oak. Deep ruby red with long legs, on the nose nice fruit and a touch of smoke. On the palate sweet blackberry and blackcurrant, nice round and easy to drink. The Crianza 2007 at 13.5% is a blend of 30% Monastrell, 50% Cabernet sauvignon and 20% Merlot. This was a deep ruby colour with long slow legs. On the nose caramel and toffee and in the mouth the wood was more evident, with smooth tannins and quite lean. For red meats and stews and a more serious wine. Another bodega to watch out for.
Elia (left) and Montse with the Dominio Los Pinos range.
Some months ago I was doing some research into the wines around La Portera and came across a reference to a bodega producing wines called the `Moon thief´. There was no link and very little to go on and shortly afterwards I discovered Bodegas Cueva who were the first bodega I blogged on and reported on in Part 1,  also from  La Portera. Last week in Las Añadas I came across the Moon Thief and Eclipse on their shelves, wines from the earlier reference. So imagine my surprise when I came across the wines at the mostra! Fernando Martinez Relanzon talked me through the project and showed me the two wines. First was Ladron de Luna, a wine whose grapes were taken from vineyards of five friends ( all enologists) who dreamed up the project. The wine is garnet with long legs, the nose with light fruit but in the mouth very elegant, smooth with soft tannins oak and blackberry fruit and a long satisfying finish. The Eclipse was much deeper in colour, purple with  a violet edge which coloured the glass. The nose was to my mind still quite closed, the palate displayed minerals and tannin and clearly a wine of potential which with more time in bottle will develop further but which quite clearly is not for drinking yet. Fernando explained it was neither fined nor filtered  which will give it greater depth later. I look forward to trying both wines again in the future to see how they develop as this seems another interesting project. Good website at
And so my glass was upturned and my caserolita emptied. I never had time to go back to taste further wines or food from the exhibitors. I found the fair exhausting after just three sessions, how the exhibitors managed four and a half days I don´t know, but the standard has been exceptional.
Absolutely The End! 
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