Around and About the Tastings, More New Releases etc Late Feb 2011.

Las Añadas French Cheese Almuerzo.

   The second half of a very busy February commenced with Las Añadas and their second almuerzo of the month, this time with an excellent selection of French cheeses. On offer were L´Enrobe  goats cheeses from the Perigord which came in two varieties one rolled in herbs the other in preserved fruit. These young cheeses ( about three weeks)   , were fresh and soft, and complemented well by their casings. The second was a lovely year old Comté from the Jura region. The Normandy favourite Camembert from fresh milk was one of the best I had tasted , tangy and melting in the mouth! Another medium textured cheese, Le Brezain was  followed by a classic Roquefort Tradition, creamy , salty and sharp.

This was accompanied by Pasamonte Blanco a pure Sauvignon Blanc from the excellent Vegalfaro bodega , DO Utiel-Requena. 2009 and 12.5% by volume the wine is pale gold and brilliant with long legs. For me on the nose nice tropical fruits and boiled lemon sweets, open and with white flowers. In the mouth dry, minerally with citrus notes and good acidity. Excellent with all the cheeses although it came up a bit short with the Roquefort!

This was followed by Vino-Valencia on the 16th who met in Palpito restaurant in Caballeros, right in the centre of Valencia´s barrio Carmen. Three excellent wines had been chosen. First, Florante 2010 a white from Bodegas Emilio Clemente, ( DO Utiel-Requena)a blend of Tardana and Macabeo, fresh fruity and an easy and very pleasant drinking wine! Second was Ocho Cuerdas ( named for an eight string guitar beloved of the vineyards´s owner!) from Finca Ardal, also DO Utiel-Requena  and at 13.5% ABV a blend of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

   This has spent 8 months in French and American oak and was very popular on the night.

As was the  Alvarez Nolting 2006 which made up the trio on the night . From the Fontanars Bodega and DO Valencia 13% ABV a blend of Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon this is a Vino de autor and has 18 months in French and American oak.

Palpito put on an excellent selection of tapas to accompany the three wines and a nice dinner afterwards. Full details of course are at  including tasting notes, an album of photographs of participants  and the food! Details of the 23 March event will also be available shortly. A recommended bar/restaurant which I am sure `vino-valencia´ will use again in the future!

Bocopa at Hipercor, a Tasting of DO Alicante.

 Unfortunately circumstances intervened and I was unable to attend the presentation by Félix Martinez of the stunning Malbec from Vera de Estenas on the  night of Thursday the 16th.

 The cycle of wine tastings from the Valencia Community continued on Saturday  19th with a presentation by Bocopa of three wines from this Co-op uniting 6 towns and 1500 growers. A fuller description appears in my post of November last year, `A Tasting of Vino´s Alicante´.

Moscatel is a key element of the Bodegas success and the light and fresh dry white Marina Alta  opened the tasting. Wines with moscatel in them are easily identified, even with just a small percentage in a blend as the grape imparts unmistakable characteristics. The wines from la Marina Alta comarca of DO Alicante are lighter and fresher than those of the Turis district of the Valentino in DO Valencia and the Marina Alta  is an excellent example, widely available from supermarkets.

Peachy with a hint of honey and apples it has nice citrus fruit in the mouth, smooth with a long balanced finish. This is a nice 2010 with just 11% ABV . Second wine was the Laudum 2007 Crianza, 13.5% ABV and from Merlot, Monastrell and Cabernet Sauvignon. A medium density garnet with good long legs on the nose mature red fruit, with a hint of wood and vanilla it is nonetheless a youthful wine. Easy drinker in the mouth and good quality.

Finally we were treated to the Marina espumante, a 7% ABV light fizzy wine! With a good crown, persistent fine bubbles this is a well made wine though much sweeter than the Marina Alta. On the nose elder flowers, vanilla and moscatel flavours. In the mouth it  passes easily but with a nice bite with quite an intense full finish.

Félix Martinez presents Wines from Vera de Estenas at Sorbito Divino.

  A couple of days off and then back into the swing of it at a new bar and vinoteca in Murillo, also Barrio Carmen for a presentation by Félix Martinez of three wines from Vera de Estenas. Sorbito Divino is another recommended bar just behind the central market with a selection of beers from around Valencia as well as a good selection of Valencian wines to drink or buy to try at home. Félix was assisted by the effervescent and very knowledgeable Rafa Perez in a tasting which wiped away any regret at having missed the Malbec tasting the week before!

First wine was the 2010 Viña Lidon, bottled in February and just released onto the market. This has always been my favourite chardonnay from Spain….this is the best vintage I have ever tasted ( going back to 2004!). Pale gold, clear and bright with long legs. On the nose it is very fruity, tropical and citrus fruits, bananas, pineapple and melon were gently balanced with vanilla and toasty flavours from the oak fermentation and short crianza…about 4 months in total. In the mouth the acidity was divine giving a white with full body and a long full finish. This is wine with ageing potential and had the assembled tasters waxing lyrical!

Second wine was the Tinto Madurado en Barrica, 2009, 50% Bobal blended with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Tempranillo and Syrah. Deep, bright cherry red, with very long legs! On the nose coffee, chocolate and caramels from the wood were followed by red fruits, especially cherries. In the mouth full, fruity, a touch of astringency and elegant very long finish…a product of a carefully controlled malolactic fermentation and crianza…..set to be a favourite!

Finally we tasted the Bobal 2006, 14% ABV The bodega´s top wine. Selected from the oldest best vines with the tightest bunches from the poorest soil this is `cock a snook´wine to previous generations of experts! About the time the bodega first started to make a pure Bobal with ageing potential the variety was considered as no better than a maker of fruity Rosados and for blending with something else – preferably a long way away!

Tasters listening to the Vera De Estenas Presentation.

     The wine is the usual very deep dark red with the characteristic violet-blue edge of Bobal. On the nose fruits of the forest, black fruits and elegant, smooth, quite open given the long time in wood. With aeration comes the wood. In the mouth, sweet initially, a wonderful elegant structure, a long finish and a wine with a long life ahead of it!

And next to compare this with Bobals made by the bodega from 1998 onwards in a very select vertical tasting  offered by Félix for a handful of afficionados next Saturday!

The following night Vino-Valencia offered the first in a set of one-off special tastings, this time of Olive oil from Oleícos del Cabriel who I visited last October ( see separate post) . Marta Navarro Cañas took the group through the short history of the company , the production methods, strict controls for ecologically produced virgin olive oil before a tasting of their two varieties from last years harvest, still awaiting release onto the market. This was followed by the opportunity to taste both with cheese from the award-winning Valencian cheesemakers Granja Rinya of Albal ( Valencia) and Lácteos Segarra from Elche ( Alicante) .

Saturday saw two opportunities to taste, one in the Hipercor cycle and the other an invitation from Norbert Korsmeier of Vins Km.O

Gregor Breuer of Künstler Wine Estate, Rheingau.

  This was to a tasting of five wines from Künstler wine estate of the Rheingau, Germany led by Gregor Breuer from the winery. I remember a very special holiday to the Rheingau when I was about 18 which kindled my interest in wine. Sadly shortly after starting on German wines with unpronounceable names I discovered wines from other parts of the world and since the early 80´s german wines have slipped under the radar.

What a shame because this tasting underlined how good German wines are! My loss!

Gregor  took us through the history and geography of the area. The vineyard is in a small area of the Rhinegau where the Main joins the Rhine river. The valley has soils varying from schist ( shale) at one end to loamy clay at the other, Künstler´s vineyards being at the latter.

It is a traditional winegrowing area with a history going back to Roman times but which sprang into organised life when Bernard of Clairfont´s monks arrived in the 1100´s. Pinot Noir was the dominant grape at the time , first documented in 1107 as a variety and Riesling got it´s first mention in 1435.

In the 1600´s a mini-ice age saw the Pinot Noir being grubbed up and Riesling became the dominant grape as it is today.  85% of all plantings are Riesling. The vineyards are in Hockheim where there have been vineyards since 1271, and from which German wine became known as `Hock´because we couldn´t pronounce the name properly…although I suspect Victoria and Albert whose favourite wines these were probably did not have that difficulty!

Norbert Korsmeier of Vins KM.0 .

   First wine was a 2009 Riesling, Hölle , Kabinett Seco. Hölle means `steep´in Old German and is the name of the vineyard which is  chalky clay. The wine is pale lemon yellow , clean and bright with long legs and 6 gms of residual sugar. 12% ABV on the nose it has classic peaches, apricots and is quite floral. The wine is fermented in stainless steel. In the mouth pull, peach, apricot, with a lovely dry bite from good acidity, beautifully balanced, a class wine with a long satisfying finish.

Second up was another 2009 Riesling from `Steilweg´or the steep path vineyard and 13.5% ABV. Due to the natural acidity it was decided to ferment this in the large 1200 litre wooden barrels so famous of old German art! These are not to add wood to the flavours but simply to round out the wine. Slightly paler in colour, the apricot was more powerful on the nose. It was less floral. In the mouth smooth, powerful with predominant apricot flavours and even better acidity than the first wine. This is a wine with a long finish and which, for a white benefits from decanting and aeration. Stunning!

Third wine was a Chardonnay, 2009 Trocken, from Herrnberg Vineyard. Here there is a lot more limestone in the vineyard. Again fermented in Stainless steel, the wine is pale yellow with long legs. On the nose melted butter from the malolactic fermentation, nice tropical fruit and creamy. In the mouth quite high alcohol, (14% ABV ) and creamy smooth then milky, a long dry finish but round. From the same latitude as French Chardonnay and champagne. Lovely…..

This was interesting because the bottle had been opened for a tasting the previous day and was much fuller and rounder than I remembered it when I tasted a newly opened bottle recently….a wine to age clearly!

Wines from the Künstler tasting.

  The next wine was a Pinot Noir, or Spätburgunder, 2008 from Riechenstahl ( Rich valley) vineyard. 14% ABV and traditionally made in the big barrels, the wine is cherry red, light to medium density and has long legs. On the nose ripe cherry, cream, spice ( clove) and full. In the mouth elegant, dry, spicy, complex, smooth with a long silky finish. Would be great with game dishes.

Finally we tasted a 7%ABV 2009 Kirchenstüch ( Church lands ) Spatelese ( late harvest) Riesling. You would not know this aperitif wine was low in alcohol! Pale lemon, clean and bright with good legs, the wine is severely botrytised with 90gms of residual sugar! On the nose sweet pears, stewed gooseberries, cream. In the mouth Riesling, more sugary sweet and less acidity but light, fruity and balanced. An aperitif now but in ten years it will dry out a little and be perfect with duck in an orange sauce!

If not currently available all these wines will be shortly from Vins KM.O in Russafa together with a growing range of excellent wines from around the world…..well Europe anyway!!!!

Finally the month ended with the Pedralba wine circle enjoying a birthday lunch for one of the members after their eighth monthly tasting.

Wines were largely from Castellon and gave members a comprehensive look at this newly revived wine growing area which was historically important as a wine exporting area….see my Jan 30 post,  `A tasting of the Best Wines From Castellon.´ Wines included Baron D`Alba Clos d´esgarracordes Blanco, ( from the deposit) Esperit Blanco from Bodegas El Rosso, the red from the same bodega, Flor de Clotás from Bodegas Flors , Vega Palancia Tinto Viticultor, and Barranc L´Infern  from Bodegas Vinya Natur and to balance ,Pedro Moreno Bobal Rosado from DO Utiel-Requena and Sein 2008 from Vinessens of Villena, DO Alicante.

March looks just as busy with two invitations hitting the in-box today, the Sausage fair in Requena next weekend  and of course the Valencia Wine and Food fair in the dry riverbed to look forward to starting on the 30th and continuing until the 3rd of April!

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