Las Añadas de Utiel-Requena-End of Term Fiesta!


Las Añadas de Utiel-Requena, the presentation of new wines and, in some cases,  new vintages of the best wines from thirty-one bodegas from the DO East of Valencia took place on Monday night of this week. Attended by professionals from the wine and restaurant trades, opened by the Agriculture Minister, and essentially a serious presentation of some of the best from the DO, this event had all the feel of an end of term party with everyone out to enjoy a thoroughly social occasion.

Display of wines available at the fair.


   The event was held this year in the Alameda Palace in Valencia, after a flirtation with discotheques and  the Mercado Colon etc last year. It has been an interesting year in Utiel-Requena with structural problems, bad weather and mildew and odium all making 2010 a difficult year for the harvest which was 30% down. On the other hand the DO has shown some initiative in promoting itself, working with wine bloggers in April and creating a video with well-known Spanish pop band `Social Seguridad´in the summer.

None of these difficulties were evident on Monday night, I have rarely seen so many cheerful people, happily showing the results of their labour! For some this was the second or third public fair in less than a week after the Cava fair and the Hipercor tastings.
First visit was to chat to Jose Luis Torres Carpio of Bodegas Carres. I visited his new bodega in February this year after hearing stories about this fabulous new pure Bobal wine. ( See February post .) I was not disappointed then and can report the 2008 vintage remains superb. It still has its initial explosion of fruit, developing with all the original plum jam fruit evolving into coffee and smoky hints over a period. No flash in the pan this wine!
Next we talked to Viñedos La Madroñera, the `Feminine´bodega from Los Isidros near Venta del Moro. It takes its description from it’s all female management and its wines are often described as feminine for their soft fruity nature. I first tasted the 2006 Constantia Crianza last year, a blend of Bobal, Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The wine still is a deep plum colour, with mature plum jam fruit and redcurrants, spice and balsamic notes. In the mouth well-balanced, silky smooth, with soft tannins and hints of oak. Fortunately the 2007 was also on hand to try. A similar colour it was a little more closed on the nose. However it shows similar fruit and smooth tannins suggesting a consistency is being achieved. A few more months in bottle and this will open out nicely.

Viñedos La Madroñera.

   A nice surprise however was their introduction of a Vino Dulce, new this year and being shown for the first time. From Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, 14% ABV from 2009 this was to my mind a huge success. On the nose it was full of green olives but in the mouth, young  sweet and a real pleasure. At 4.75€ a 50cl bottle the stock of 2000 bottles will not last long….an experiment definitely worth repeating!
This is a Bodega on the visit list for Spring!
Following the success of its `Tantum Ergo Cavas at the previous weekends fair, a visit to `Bodegas Hispano-Suiza´was a must. I first tasted the Sauvignon Blanc, Fermentado en Barrica at last years Mercado Colon event and remember well the huge tropical flavours of this wine with its oaky overtones. A masculine robust wine. Also showing was the Bassus Pinot Noir which had been their contribution to the Wine bloggers tasting ( see April´s postings) .From 2008 and from the only plot of Pinot Noir grown in the DO . Cherry red with a violet edge, the wine has spent 10 months in wood. It has deep cherry fruit, liquorice and blackcurrant on the nose and in the mouth strong red fruit with toffee, coffee and a long complex finish. Winemaker Pablo Ossorio has made the most of this raw product and created a smooth wine which I love. Hopefully weather permitting I will get to visit the bodega this weekend on one of the open days.
Bodegas Emilio Clemente also presented a wine to the April Winebloggers event and on Monday were showing a wider range of wines. I spoke to sales agent Javier Alvarez at some length whilst trying the Florante, a modern wine from Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, with a little Tardana the local grape. Fermented in barrel in lightly toasted French oak barrels this is yellow straw with long slow legs and golden flashes. On the nose white flowers, sugared fruits and herbs with an unmistakable hint of fennel, in the mouth the wine is opulent, with spice, dried fruits, good structure perfect balance and an elegant long aftertaste. The latest vintage will shortly be available.

Some of the stands.

As well as the crianza and Peñas Negras range, a few chilled bottles from which were enjoyed on summer nights this year, they were showing top wine Excelencia. Rated very highly by top wine experts this wine is from a limited edition of 2500 bottles and is a vino de autor. From 50% Merlot, 30% Tempranillo and 20% Cabernet sauvignon, fermented in open oak barrels and aged for 16 months it is a deep cherry with a garnet edge. On the nose ripe red and black fruits, spice. In the mouth creamy, vanilla, chocolate and tobacco. A very meaty wine with a long aftertaste.
With a quick wave to Maria Jose from Chozas Carrascal and Hervé from Bodegas Torroja we passed by Vicente Gandia whose wines we reviewed recently at Utiel Gastronomica ( see October posts )and moved across the room to Finca Ardal.
I have only tasted these wines very occasionally and had the opportunity to talk to Luis Gil-Orozco Esteve from the Bodega which sits on the N322 near Requena. The last time I tasted the Ocho Cuerdas was also at the winebloggers event. This had been the 2004 vintage and now the 2006 was on show together with the Bobal 2005 and Larg Ad Lar a very fruity blend of Tempranillo, Cabernet and Bobal. This bodega deserves an article of it´s own and I hope a visit can be arranged very shortly.
Also showing and new to me were Bodegas Sinarcas with the Terra Ibera and Arcaz ranges and Pasiego from Criadores y Artesanos also from Sinarcas who recently opened new premises. This latter is also a bodega which requires a separate visit and article which will happen in the new Year.

Raquel Armero ( Dominio de la Vega) and Carlos Carcel, President of Ferevin and owner of Bodegas Hijos de Ernesto Carcel.


A quick chat with Felix Martinez from Vera de Estenas and we were on to Vinicola Del Oeste from San Antonio whose three wines Viña Castaro were on show.  Whilst chatting to Carlos Roldan Gonxalex we tasted the Crianza 2005, from Cabernet Sauvignon and Tempranillo grown near Camporrobles, 12 months in American oak and 14% ABV.
Meaty, smooth tannins and an easy drinker with lots of black fruits. By contrast the Reserva 2005 was a much more traditional style of wine. Similar grape selection but 16 months in wood makes this wine much more complex, powerful, and tannic with nice balsamic notes. Well structured and balanced with a long satisfying finish. Finally we tried the Seleccion 2005, a pure Cabernet Sauvignon with 2 years in wood and 14.5% ABV. Well balanced, meaty and complex, this is a wine which develops in the glass and needs decanting to drink at its best. Most of the wine is sold in Belgium and Germany.
Thirty one bodegas, multiple wines and three hours adds up to insufficient time to do everything justice. We also tasted wines from Altos Cuevas, Dominio de Aranleon, Carlos Carcel´s wines from Rebollar,  Ortiz Reserva Bobal 2000 and finished with the Arte Mayor cava and Arte Mayor Tinto from Dominio de la Vega.
2010 may not have produced a bumper crop or a particularly good one.Time will tell.  However you could not fault the enthusiasm of the bodegas attending nor help that know that 2011 will introduce some terrific new wines onto the market and that DO Utiel-Requena goes from strength to strength if this evening was anything to go by!
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