An Interesting Bottle Came My Way….!

First in a new series of short blogs on wines which may prove impossible to find, are simply one-offs or just something different!

And to kick off the new series I invited fellow blogger Javier Prats around to try three interesting bottles ( well two – he brought the third!) Javier is writing a special blog on Bobal, the autoctonal or regional grape from Utiel-Requena, which eventually will become the definitive work on the variety. Appropriately we tasted two Bobals on the night but started with a white from Alicante. This blog contains  our combined notes of the wines we tasted.

Javi Prats, friend and fellow wine-blogger.

First wine was from Finca Collado, ( DO Alicante) a bottle of 2010 Moscatel from surplus grapes, which were trodden by foot in the traditional way by Mari Carmen and Guillermo. This wine is strictly not available commercially and is a limited edition of three hundred bottles… it fits the criteria for this series exactly! They are usually given as  gifts for friends of the bodega who visit.

And what an interesting wine it is. I have tasted old single varieties of both Chardonnay and Moscatel from this vineyard from   2004 as well as the vintage blends of the two from 2008, 2009 and 2010 which make up the vineyards commercialised but excellent Blanco.

This 2010 monovarietal is truly interesting and distinct. You can never hide moscatel , it is so aromatic but before you get there this wine is a fascinating pale gold with hints of red like an old picture frame, with good legs. On the nose bananas, something else sweet , aromatic, apricot skins. In the mouth very nice soft fruit, but good acidity,  almonds, and  it finishes  with a little apricot. It has bananas on the nose from the acidity, but very nice and will improve in bottle. From a bodega incapable of making indifferent wine at the moment!

Second was a …….bobal…..but from outside Utiel-Requena! VCPRD Manchuela, Senorio de Monterruiz 13% ABV, this is a young wine from vines planted in 1965 from the 2010 vintage. The fact that it comes from outside Utiel-Requena is not the only characteristic which makes it worthy of a place in this blog. Oh no! Because after alcoholic fermentation in deposit, it then undergoes malolactic fermentation in tinajas…..yes, the terracotta jars which date back originally to the Iberian people period ( iron age to you and me .)

A lovely cherry red, quite youthful in appearance and with the characteristic violet edge, medium density with legs full of glycerine. On the nose initially mature fruit, slightly smoky, and minty. In the mouth, smooth tannins, mint, nice acidity, quite fruity with blackberry, jam and hints of minerals…it comes from river-stone soils rather than the sandy soils of Utiel-Requena.  We felt this would be perfect with barbecued local sausages, grilled lamb or pork chops.

We returned to it three-quarters of an hour later by which time it had softened, and become an easy drinker and very smooth. Perfect with the plates of old cheese and ibericos which accompanied it!

Finally the blockbuster which had caused the evening to be set up in the first place!

`Lonecesario´ a pure Bobal from Casas del Rey , near Venta del Moro in Utiel-Requena. 2007, produced by Fernandez Pons and 14.5% ABV. What makes this wine special……well there are only about four barrels of it, say 1200 bottles and at around 9.85€ it is worth every centimo for scarcity value …never mind the contents of the bottle!

This wine is a deep black cherry colour, very deep density, the legs were just heavy with glycerine, long, slow and very fat! On the nose forest floor, rosemary, pine roots, spices, balsamic notes, very concentrated fruit, prunes, toast from the wood, with a mineral note   (the rock below the soils here hold mineral waters) thyme and quite jammy fruit emerges later!

In the mouth immediately soft and smooth, an explosion of fruit which is reminiscent of Olivastro, passes easily across the palate, meaty, quite fat, and again reminscent of the excellent Arte Mayor from Dominio de la Vega! ( Two excellent comparisons). And, when we came back to this later it was typically full of chocolate and coffee flavours.

Three excellent wines to start this off…now to find some more for up-coming tastings!

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