Around and About the Tastings and Valencia.


Around

Almuerzo at Las Añadas de España. 4 cheeses and Viña Lidon

The last couple of weeks have been an extremely busy time  for tastings of one sort or another. Las Añadas de España held the first of their almuerzos on 26 September pairing 4 French cheeses with the excellent Viña Lidon from Vera de Estenas. A nice nutty Comte AOC 1st year, a spicy, musty Brie de Meaux, salty sharp Premium Roquefort and L´Enrobe de papaya a goats cheese rolled in preserved fruit, all quite different in taste and style perfectly matched with the best barrel matured chardonnay from Utiel-Requena, perhaps reflecting the French style of the wine. Also served were a fig compote and artesan bread and it was fascinating to see how the wine stood up to combinations of the sweet and sour flavours.

Las Añadas also held a tasting on 7 October led by Isabel Vazquez. This was a comparative tasting of three chardonnays and three largely or entirely Syrah based wines. With a nice little twist the wines came from France and Australia allowing the tasters to compare and contrast not just wine styles but country and climate as well. In a very well prepared and explained presentation Isabel told us how these elements affected wine with climate, sun and soil all playing their part in what the grapes produce depending on their location. First wine was Chablis Cuvé La Sereine 2007 from the local cooperative La Chablisienne whose wines I have tasted many times over the years. The coop has access to many of the best plots in all four levels of Chablis and this first wine was textbook. The French generally look for terroir in their wines and this of course is grown on land consisting of ancient oyster shells! This is one of Frances most Northern AOC´s where the vines are subject to extremes of temperature with frosts in Winter and lots of rain. This is a wine which is known more for acid than sunny fruit! Lemon gold in colour, clean and bright there was a little citrus, floral notes and yeast. In the mouth good acid, dry fruit, minerals and a complex long bone dry finish. Second up was Chablis Premier Cru Fourchaumes 2007 also from La Chablisienne. The wine has spent 12 months on its lees in deposits and oak barrels and comes from better quality soil and better orientation for ripening. Similar in colour to the previous wine there was a little more fruit on the nose. In the mouth a touch of wood, more refined and smoother but still with plenty of fresh acid. In contrast Thomas Hyland 2007, the chardonnay from Adelaide, was an Australian wine from Penfolds and displayed more of the sun and tropical fruit associated with their brand. It was generally a more powerful style of wine, whilst identical in colour to the previous wines except perhaps for a touch more gold at the rim. There was more tropical fruit on the nose as expected and in the mouth it was fuller and fatter with more power and a good long full warm finish with just a hint of honey.  

Tasters at the Las Añadas chardonnay and syrah tasting

First of the Syrahs was Penfolds Koonunga Hill from the Barossa Valley 2007, although it is blended with 30% Cabernet Sauvignon. It has spent 12 months in wood. The wine displays huge amounts of colour and aromatics extracted from the skins, again a sign of a sunnier climate. Deep dark cherry with long legs. On the nose peppers, liquorice, smoky and spicy, later jammy with red and black fruits, eucalyptus and balsamics in the mouth it was smoky , spicy. complex, with smooth tannins. This is a commercial easy drinking style of wine. Second red was Crozes Hermitage from the Northern Rhone Valley, Guigal 2006 and 100% Syrah. This is very much a French style syrah, drier but still with very good colour. On the nose dry black fruit, spicier and more refined, smoky and with liquorice. In the mouth nice fruit, smooth tannins and much more subtle. Guigal is one of the best producers from this area using large wooden fermenting vessels as well as American oak to acheive a subtler wine where the wine is not dominated by the wood. Finally we returned to Penfolds and the Barossa Valley for Bin 28 Kalimna also 2006 and 100% Syrah. Again, similar in colour it was a little fuller than the Koonunga Hill. Good berry fruit and plum jam on the nose. In the mouth powerful subtle then warm spices and jammy flavours,smooth tannins, concentrated with eucalyptus,chocolate, and balsamics. This was an interesting tasting and an opportunity to visit some foreign wines for comparison and contrast…not always easy in Valencia! The International theme had started a few days earlier with a tasting held by Vins KM 0.2 a Valencia wine merchant with International wines amongst it´s stock. Norbert Korsmeier and Daniel Monsonis who run the shop in Calle Maestro José Serrano in the Russafa district invited Juan José Gonzalez of Cuvée 3000 to lead the tasting. First wine was Picarana Albillo 2009 at 14.5% ABV and Vinos de Madrid. This was pale gold in colour, clean and bright with a watery rim. On the nose very nice fruit with a touch of oak, quite fat and aromatic. In the mouth good weight balanced with acidity , fat , full long finish with a touch of clove. Albillo is not a grape I know, being local to the Madrid region, but this was an excellent wine.

Juan José González of Cuvée 3000

Second wine was the 30 Mil Maraveides also a Vino de Madrid 2008 and 14.5% ABV from Garnacha 45% and 55% Syrah. Deep cherry red with a violet edge , long legs which coloured the glass. On the nose nice smoky fruit, spice, blackberry and minerals, in the mouth dry initially, then plums, licquorice and a long finish with just a hint of astringency. This is not a wine for keeping and after vinification and settling into bottle the wine is ready for immediate drinking. I had tried this wine in August at Bodegas Torroja and in the interim period the wine had settled down and was a little less hard. We then moved to South West  France, Three Trees Vin D´Oc Domaine de Majas 100% Chardonnay. Pale old gold in colour, clear and bright with long legs. Initially buttery on the nose with white  flowers in the mouth the fruit was quite mature, with fresh acid and minerals. Bone dry. This is a boutique winery chiefly selling to the Japanese market. Three Trees also produce a pure Syrah from the same area and we tasted the 2008 next. A wine which has earned 88 points in the Parker guide, it was deep cherry red with long legs colouring the glass. On the nose slightly vegetal then fruits of the forest, violets and spice and a youthful nose. On the palate dry, powerful with subtle fruit and a long warm finish. Next was a Cotes de Beaune 2007 from Domaine Newman La Grande Chateleine. Pure Pinot Noir this burgundy is 12.5% ABV. A Light low density cherry red, with long legs. On the nose bitter cherry fruit,warm. On the palate elegant, quite dry with less fruit than expected but a lovely long balanced finish which invites you back for a second mouthful. From some of the best plots in the AOC.

Wines at the Vin KM 0.2 tasting.

Utiel Gastronomica takes place the weekend of 22-24 October in the Paseo Alameda , Utiel. This is one of the best fairs and after lower attendances last year caused by the onset of the crisis and lower temperatures the organisers put together a sample of what to expect at the Nuevo Centro in Valencia last week. Bodegas represented were Vera De Estenas, Murviedro and the Coviñas Cooperative. Also present were the oils from Oleícos del Cabriel, the Navarro Cañas family firm producing the best olive oil produced within the CRDOP Aceites de la Comunitat Valenciana. Marta Navarro Cañas showed me the two oils they produce, Aurora real a Virgen Extra Ecologico and Laderas de Cabriel  a virgin olive oil from their Venta del Moro property. Also available were embutidos, jamon and salcichons from the Requena firm of Carnicerias Encarnita. The fair is the showcase for the food and wines from the Utiel-Requena comarca and visitors will be able to taste food and wine extensively during the weekend including local gastronomy. Tasting tickets are available and a souvenir glass and cazuela are provided. Murviedro were showing a number of their wines in Nuevo Centro and I tried the Luna de Murviedro a brut cava of 11.5%ABV and from pure Macabeo. The wine is relatively new to the market but is already an award winner. With nice bubbles and a good crown it is pale lemon in colour. There was not a lot of fruit on the nose but on the palate was fresh with more fruit,  and good attack. A light but nice cava.

Oils from Oleícola del Cabriel.

From Coviñas I tried the Aula Merlot Crianza 2005 of 13.5% Abv. Coviñas is the excellent Requena cooperative responsible for the Enterizo range whose Bobal rosado was winner of the Els Bodeguers tasting in April and a regular in the house this summer. Aula is a step up their range from Enterizo, this wine won the Zarcilla de Plata in 2009. Deep cherry red, dark with good legs. On the nose nice ripe plum fruit, full. On the palate smooth with a touch of wood, satisfying long finish.
The rest of the month sees fairs in L´Álcudia and Utiel, tastings at Vins KM 0.2 and Las Añadas and other events to be reported on in due course. The next but one post will also cover two or three restaurant reviews from around the Utiel-Requena comarca for those visiting the area.
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