Around and About in Valencia ( Where to Eat and Drink).

Around and About in Valencia ( Where to Eat and Drink.)
The summer holidays are over, the gota fria is predicted before the weekend converting Valencia from  Summer to Autumn overnight but, events around the city have started again. For instance Valencia celebrated the Oktoberfest this week in the dry river bed with thousands enjoying steins of beer in the September sun.
Casa Montaña is a more than 100 year old taberna, famous throughout Valencia for its traditional tapas and attention to quality wines. Situated in El Cabanyal, near the port you can find it at C/ Jose Benlliure 66. The bar is very traditionally decorated with tiles, old barrels etc, and has a restaurant at the rear accessed through Calle Escalante. Two friends and I decided to test it´s reputation and visited just a couple of weeks ago. We were seated at a table just outside the kitchen and enjoyed watching the staff preparing the meals and dressing them for the pass. We shared a plate of bravas, one of tomato salad with bonito, croquettes of bacalao, stuffed pimiento peppers, ajo arriero and bread with which we drank Drassanes, a young red wine with bags of fruit from Cherubino Valsangiacomo, the Chiva based bodega. By the glass this was 2.25€, very reasonable. The food was presented in an almost regimented fashion, the bravas in equal straight lines but there was no complaint about the quality of it. We thoroughly enjoyed the experience and recommend Casa Montaña to visitors to Valencia. The meal incidentally averaged out at 17€ including coffees.
Casa Montaña holds regular winetastings and other events and can be followed through or facebook.
Casa Montaña in El Cabañal.
Las Añadas de España also commenced their programme of tastings and almuerzos this week and Almuerzo on Tuesday morning was a sampling of the high quality products from Georges Thiol from the Mayenne in France. We were presented with a plate of artesan bread together with Fondant de Pato, Paté Forestier with wild mushrooms and Bloc de Foie al Natural. This was served with a gelee of rose petal and a glass of Juve and Camps Brut Millesime 2006 Cava. We started with the pate which was rich but light in texture and had superb flavour. The fondant de pato was quite firm, having been strengthened by the addition of meat in the mix, but was completely smooth and spread easily. The foie was , foie, smooth and rich and all went well with the rose petal. These accompaniments such as  violet petal gelee and onion marmalade are common place in France and give a lift to these  liver based products. 
Pate Forestiere, Fondant de Pato and Bloc de Foie from Georges Thiol.
Juve and Camps who are based in San Sadurni d `Ánoia are a family based firm dating from the end of the 1700´s.  They owe much of their present fame to expansion in the 1940´s. The Brut Millesime 2006 is an aged chardonnay. It has a good crown, is gold in colour, has persistent fine bubbles and is bright. On the nose it is buttery, oaky, with tropical fruit and unmistakeably chardonnay! On the palate, a nice aged cava, full, well structured and balanced, with a touch of oak and a long full fat finish. The 2001 vintage won the Nariz D´Or,   Spains premier wine competition so it´s quality is not in doubt.
Juve and Camps 2006 Brut Millesime DO Cava
Almuerzos are held fortnightly on Tuesday mornings and cost around 5-10€ depending on what is to be sampled. Info from .
Also resuming activity is the social networking group Vino-Valencia whose members met in Alter Ego in Conde Altea, near the Colon market last night. Bringing together professionals and ex-pats from several countries Vino-Valencia also promotes wines from the Valencia region. For 10€ members enjoy three glasses of wine from bodegas who sponsor the event and three tapas, one matched to each wine, whilst networking with each other. At the end of each event the restaurant provide a set meal with wines provided by the bodegas for 15€ if they want to stay. Vino Valencia has been running for a year and has held events across the centre of Valencia in six different restaurants.
Last night saw wines from three  Bodegas new to Vino Valencia. First was a DO Cava from within Castellon, `Babel´, a pure Macabeo from the 2007 ( although the harvest took place in August 2006) (?) vintage , and 12% ABV. Pale lemon clear and bright with a good crown and persistent fine bubbles, on the nose light and yeasty and in the mouth a long dry finish. This is a wine, light and fresh for current drinking and was perhaps, a little green for my taste.
Cava `Babel´ and tapas served at Vino Valencia´s September event.
Second wine was `Esperit´ also a pure Macabeo from Castellon ( La Barona) but aged three months in new American oak. From 2008 this was pale lemon, clear and bright with citrus ( Orange ) and floral notes and vanilla. In the mouth fresh, with toasty vanilla and oak , well structured and nicely balanced long finish. At 4-5€ a bottle this is an interesting and attractive wine.
`Adriano´ from Bodegas Haya.
Finally from Requena we tasted the Adriano 2007, a wine from Bodegas Haya a blend of Tempranillo and Cabernet sauvignon. With four months maturing in barrel this was an intense deep red colour. Mature red and black fruits on the nose with toast and wood in the mouth it was velvety and full with a persistent long finish and balsamic afternotes, possibly the result of over-ripe fruit.
Founded by Dora Birindelli, an Italian with a masters in events management, and Piet Bos , a genial Dutch guy with a history of web design and tourism projects behind him Vino-Valencia has just celebrated its first anniversary. Piet has returned to Beijing with his wife Mia and Dora is considering how to take the organisation, essentially a social networking organisation currently with a passion for wine from the Valencian Community, forward.
A number of ideas are being considered and hopefully by the time of the next event on 20 October there will be some exciting new developments to be announced! 
Dora Birindelli adresses Vino-Valencias birthday event.
Finally in a idle moment in Valencia we called into Taberna Balconcillo ( the little balcony ) in Calle San Fernando just off the plaza redonda in Valencia´s centre. This is a friendly little wine bar with wine by the glass ( currently a Rioja  `Pierola´) and a range of tapas and other meals. A modern bar it is always welcoming and has become a regular stopping off point. Well worth a visit in  an idle moment or after a visit to the Mercado Central! 
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