bob@l_bloggers; Part 2, Visits to Bodegas and a Final Lunch.

In the Old Musuem at Cisternas.

As the heat of Saturday evening began to fade away we set off again to make visits to two bodegas and enjoy dinner out in the vineyards!

Our first visit was to Les Solanos de Las Pilillas, the Iberian age bodega covered in the post before last, situated near Los Duques and Venta del Moro. ( See separate post in June 2011 Archive).

Following this we set of for Bodegas Cisternas, a fascinating and traditional group of family homes set amongst the vineyards and housing one of the most interesting collections of agricultural implements, classic farm vehicles, cooking utensils, and memorabilia off all kinds around the old bodega of Cisternas itself. Following a reception with a glass of wine and finger food we were shown around moving from bakery to garage, animal yard to tack room and so on until we finally reached the two rooms which make up the bodega where the collection is more wine orientated. Here we were treated to a meal of traditional home-made food from the region, prepared by the staff of La Sarten, the excellent restaurant in La Portera. Plates of local sausages, güenos, longanizas, chorizos and morcillas were accompanied by `poor mans potatos´ with fried eggs and then chargers full of lamb chops barbecued over vine cuttings. Sweet migas followed for dessert. Throughout the meal we had the wines selected for official events but with the migas we enjoyed the Bobal Dulce from Bodegas Torroja. We were also treated to the moscatel mistella made at the bodega, a deep amber coloured wine with huge hints of orange peel and ginger on the nose.

Over the meal I chatted freely with Jose Luis Robredo who was more than happy to talk about  the tricky problems facing DO Utiel-Requena including the call for wines to be labelled `Wines from Valencia´ ( not to be confused with DO Valencia), the falling price of grapes and the over-production in the area. I am grateful to him for his frank and open responses which left me more aware of the detail of the current discussions.

Traditional Tiles in the Latorre Bodega.

And then it was back to the hotel.

Sunday was set aside for visits to working bodegas and the three selected for me were a considerable contrast !

First was to Latorre Agrovinicola in Venta del Moro,  owned by the Latorre family which buys in grapes from other growers in the area. We commenced the visit with Luis Miguel Latorre Ochando. winemaker and technical director, who took over the bodega in 1968 with his brothers and who commenced a major increase in the size of the facility. We started with a visit to Casa Garrido, surrounded by the family vines and formerly home of the Marquesa de Plegamans. Then we moved to enormous  facility in the town itslf, capable of servicing the six million kilos produced by their 150 suppliers and providing some 83,000 hectolitres.

Much of this is sent in bulk to Valencia and elsewhere but since 1999 the bodega has carefully selected the best to make its own marques. Catamaran and Perreño are the two commercialised ranges from the bodega, whites from Macabeo, Viura and Verdejo and rosados from Bobal are excellent. However the investment in oak barrels and their own bottling plant has allowed them to introduce a range of crianzas, reservas and gran reservas under the Duque de Arcas marque. These are traditional in style, oaky and with lots of vanilla . The 2001 Seleción was reviewed in August 2010 in my post on the towns Certamen de Vinos ( see Archive ).

In the Vineyard from which Olivastro Takes its Name.

The bodega is set on a hill-side allowing much of the process to be done by gravity, grapes arriving at the top, sent to tanks below before fermentation, thence to huge concrete and ceramic deposits on a lower level still. The office block contains the barrel and bottle store in vaults below with the oldest wines going back to 2001.


Following our visit to Latorre we moved on to Bodegas y Viñedos Carres, Jose-Luis Torres Carpes´project in casas de L´Eufemia. I first visited this bodega in February 2010 ( See archive) and essentially not much has changed. It is still a garage sized project, the excellent 2008 Olivastro is still selling well, still has it´s explosive attack of fruit in the mouth and remains a well made wine with a long future. The 2009 and 2010 are both now bottled and I look forward to tasting them both in the future!


Finally we moved on to Vera de Estenas, the boutique winery which I first visited in September 2010 ( See archives for September 2010 and March 2011). Felix Martinez makes wines of superb quality and is a founder member of the Asociación Primum Bobal with the Casa Don Angel Bobal being one of the flagship wines.

After the visits we returned to the hotel for a farewell lunch. Again we were treated to traditional dishes ( with hotel restaurant touches) of ajoarriero ( the cod and potato dish ,) mortuerelo ( Valencian pate served warm ) and for main course solomillo in a rich sauce.


Bobal Bloggers.


The entire weekend had been meticulously planned to show us the region, its stunning countryside, some of its gastronomy, its tourism opportunities, its wines and above all the jewel in the crown….bobal! It was a huge success with something in it for the bloggers whether they are wine or gastronomy specialists. The junta of the DO deserve huge credit for the initiative and the Communications Department many thanks for the organisation, especially Carolina Donato, Laura Serrano, Carmina Carcel and museum manager Esperanza Alonso. Many new friendships were formed and I am sure the DO and its enotourism will benefit hugely from the publicity generated, not just now, but well into the future.


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