L´Alcúdia Feria de Gastronomia 2010.


I feel sorry for the people of L´Alcúdia because in two of the three years I have visited the feria it has poured with rain, coinciding with the Gota Fria! Nonetheless many visitors still attend this fair , one of the better small fairs with its wide range of gastronomy on show. And despite the weather the exhibitors also show huge enthusiasm for their products.

The public enjoy the fair.

The fair is one which in past years has been a showcase for the Valencian Communities cheese manufacturers with a `street of cheese´where visitors can taste a range of differing cheeses from Castellon to Alicante. Despite the absence this year of  the Community cheese producers association there were still three companies available with a choice of cheese and milk products to try and/or buy. Best to my mind was Quesos  Cati whose products have won awards in International competitions.

 
Apart from cheese there were Sharon fruits ( Kaki),  olive oil , olives and other  preserved vegetables, meat and meat products such as the embutidos from Requena and Ontinyent the local housewives with their bunuelos and one stall selling really thick pieces of bacalao and even an oven cooking bread over olive wood.
 
I knew that one of my favourite bodegas, Finca Collado, were not attending this year and hoped therefore to have a bit more time to sample some of Daniel Belda´s wines. There were some gaps in my knowledge of the full range and I hoped to plug these! This Fontanars property is well known across Valencia and I often show their wines at the tastings I organise. This is also the time of year when the first wines from the current vintage are released by the bodegas and for Belda this means the pure Verdil blanco and pure Merlot Rosat 2010. I need not have worried as Helena Velasco the export manager whom I have met before spotted me in the crowd and welcomed me over.
 
We started with the new release 2010 Verdil at 11.5%ABV and selling for just 3€ a bottle. Verdil is a local grape to the region and produces fresh clean wines. The Belda is extremely expressive, pale lemon in colour clear and bright. The nose screams out at you, cats pee and gooseberry, and in the mouth very full, but fresh with nice acidity, but then short. This wine was bottled last week and I think it was probably early December last year before I tried the 2009 new wine which by then had filled out. This does seem like a wine which has just left its stainless steel tank and needs more time in bottle. It is from a limited stock of just a few thousand bottles. I have already identified this wine as one I want to drink next summer and will be reserving some cases!
 
The Merlot Rosat 2010 from Daniel Belda

Similarly in short supply will be the Rosat 2010, 100% Merlot and 12%ABV. This will sell for 3.5€ a bottle and is a wonderful pale rose colour which the photograph does not quite capture. Only 5000 bottles of this have been produced and similarly I want some for next summer when it will show best. To the eye a lovely pale rose colour clean and very  very bright. On the nose golosinas and cominolas, respectively boiled and jelly sweets . On the palate lovely strawberry fruit, nice fresh acidity, with a beautifully balanced long finish. Roll on summer 2011!

 
Also just released is the 2007 Tempranillo Crianza with 10 months in wood and 13%ABV  which is from a production of 15k bottles and will sell for around 4€ a bottle. A medium depth garnet colour with long legs. On the nose quite light but in the mouth a nice burst of fruit, smooth tannins and long full finish. A nice easy drinker this one.
 
Second monovarietal  was the Merlot 2004 at 14% ABV and 7.5€ a bottle. Deep cherry red in colour with good density this was from a bottle originally destined for the US  with its silly Surgeon Generals health warning on the back label. On the nose wonderful fruit, plum jam and a touch of balsamicos and in the mouth full, silky , long, satisfying and with a jammy finish…another easy drinker.
 
The Pinot Noir 2003 from a production of 8.5k bottles sells for 10€ a bottle. A southern example of the grape this still shows good varietal characteristics. A nice medium cherry red with little on the nose in the mouth it too was rich and ripe , smooth , full, and with lovely balance. Quite a contrast to the Cotes de Beaune tasted last week.
 
The Ca Belda has won the Bachus de Plata at the Vinofed Bachus 2010 Certamen. This is the bodegas jewel in the crown and at 14% ABV is a blend of Garnacha Tintorera and Monastrell. This was a deep dark cherry red with long legs. The fruit is quite reserved but the glasses did not help in this respect. In the mouth red and black fruits , blackberries particularly, very full, smooth and opens out warmly and has nice balance. A very good wine.
 
Wines from Heretats de Taverners.

Heretats de Taverners are also a Fontanars based bodega. I first came across their wines earlier this year at a Vino-Valencia event when the Mallaura was presented.

 
I had not tried many other wines from their range, in fact only the `Vern´ which I have also shown at a wine tasting. Their white is `Reixiu´ and comes from a production of just 3k bottles, and sells for 7.5€ . It is 80% Chardonnay and 20% Sauvignon Blanc and 12.5% ABV. The wine has been fermented and then raised in oak for just two months. It is pale gold with bright flashes, with nice white flowers and citrus fruit on the nose. In the mouth full, round, buttery, but quite dry with a long finish.
 
The Mallaura 2006 is 14% ABV and sells for 8.80€. From Cabernet sauvignon, Monastrell, Tempranillo and Garnacha Tintorera it has spent 14 months in barricas, both French and Hungarian oak, either new or second year wood. A medium density dark cherry red, it has good legs. Quite closed on the nose, but what there was was plum fruit. In the mouth better fruit, blackberry, smooth tannins and a nice balance with long full finish. Much more approachable than last time I tried it. Heretats de Taverners also posess the only plots of Graciano vines in the Mediterranean. The variety  is normally a mainstay of Rioja. The story runs that the young plants were sent in error,  planted anyway as an experiment  and  have adapted well to their new location.
 
Quesos de Cati´s stall.

This Graciano has been sold as top wine of the property and is matured in second year French and American oak. It sells for 11.5€ a bottle. A good cherry red, with long coloured legs, on the nose red and black fruits but quite lean. On the palate full, with a good body, nice smooth fruits and tannins and quite soft long finish.

 
Now however a new wine has been added to the range, a Reserva from 2006 which sells for 23€ a bottle and is called Ben Viu. A former owner, a judge in Valencia had a reputation for having held a good life. This wine is a homage and record to his pious life. 90% Graciano and 10% Cabernet sauvignon just 2406 bottles were produced. Another very deep rich red wine, with good legs, it was closed on the nose. In the palate it was fresh, having been chilled, but very fruity, very silky smooth with a touch of balsamics in the aftertaste..a very nice wine.
 
Finally from this producer I tried the Punt Dolç. This wine is 15.5% ABV from Monastrell and Garnacha Tintorera. Sold in 50cl bottles from a production of 1492, it sells for 12.5€. Medium density with very long legs which colour the glass it is a little closed on the nose but it is clear there is jam there and I think this was a fault of the tasting glasses again. In the mouth I was expecting a communion wine but in fact this sweet wine has jammy fruit which finishes dry. The bodega was also showing an oli d´oliva verge extra with good flavour.
 
Castell dels Sorells is a DO Cava producing family firm from Turis, a firm which produced the first Valencian cava in 1983. Francisco Javier ( Paco ) Lázaro talked me through the wines and invited me to visit the bodega soon. The wines are produced from the classic grape varieties for cava which are Macabeo, Xarel-lo, Parellada and interestingly Malvasia. The plots are either in DO Valencia or DO Utiel-Requena  and are bought in. They produce 7 different cavas.
 
First up was the Brut Nature Gran Reserva at 11.5% ABV and Paco had two versions of this wine open, the original style with at least 4 years in the bottle in contact with the lees and the version currently being marketed. The former is pale gold, a nice even colour and with persistent bubbles…fortunately there were some decent glasses from which to try the wine! On the nose nice and yeasty, toasty and in the mouth full, toasty, very nicely balanced and smooth. A lovely wine. The newer version was generally paler, and a bit lighter in flavour but with a better crown of bubbles. I preferred the former.
 
Also showing was the Rosado Brut Nature also 11.5%ABV. It sells for 10€ a bottle. It is from the trepat variety, a red grape found in Cataluna. Dark strawberry in colour, with good bubbles and crown, on the nose strawberry and other red fruit. On the palate lovely fruit, balance  and long finish. A very nice cava!
 
Final bodega for the day was the Teulada Coop from the Marina Alta North of Alicante which produces a range of wines but is probably best known for the aged moscatels. On show were a white, Viña Teulada Blanco from Moscatel Romano which was pale lemon, clear and bright. On the nose almost  cats pee and gooseberry but in the mouth this was bone dry, most unusual for the style of the area and not perhaps my favourite wine of the day. On the other hand the Viña Teulada tinto joven 12.5% ABV was from Garnacha and and sells for around 3€ a bottle. This was garnet in colour with good legs and on the nose youthful with black fruits, quite expressive and jammy. In the mouth full, ripe, mature and smooth. A pleasant easy drinker.
 
And so with 2pm arriving all too quickly the fair finished for the morning session, leaving just enough time to buy some salt cod to make  ajoarriero and an olive and olive oil loaf to go with it later. One complaint about this fair this year. In the past the souvenir glass has been ISO standard which are good for tasting. However this year a horrible squat water style glass was introduced which is quite unacceptable. Most fairs now understand a decent size glass is required and before next year the organisers need to remedy this and take a leaf out of Ferevins book!
 
Roll on next October.
 
 
 
 
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