A Visit to Torre Oria. Bodega de San José.


`Lighthouse´ Style Tower at Torre Oria.

 

I have visited Torre Oria, the bodega situated in El Derramador,near Requena, before. The first time was many years ago in company of some visitors from England and long before the blog was born. Otherwise I have popped in occasionally to obtain  the odd bottle or two for tastings as several of their generic wines show good grape characteristics.

The bodega was founded by the family Oria de Rueda from Galicia about a hundred years ago.  The original house and office buildings form a courtyard  so that a tour is started on one side and ends in the tasting room on the other side having visited the extensive cellars which are contained directly underneath. The old deposits are no longer in use and a huge new building behind the bodega now contains the  new stainless steel deposits , huge barrel park and storage for the hundreds of thousands of bottles which the bodega produces and ages.

 

In the Old House.

The original building with it´s Galician style `lighthouse´ tower was designed by José Donderis and is now a National Historic Monument. In the early 1980´s the bodega was bought by a group of married couples from the area who created the new Cooperativa `La Solidaridad´. Of these some had experience in Champagne and Cava manufacture and it was their intention to make cava at the bodega. Of course this was not popular with the Cava producers, then exclusively situated in Catalunya and a long court case was needed before the Judges ruled that Cava was a style of wine, not a geographically defined area where it was made, and thus allowed Requena to make Cava together with one bodega in Turis, Castell dels Sorrells.

 

Christina, the Tour Guide and Some of the Bottles in the Cellar.

From 25,000 bottles initially today the bodega produces around six million bottles yearly. In 1991 the Bodega was bought by Group Natra who provided capital for it´s huge modernisation and new management.  The underground warehouse is some 2,400 sq metres, holding the barrels, with another holding the cavas in crianza and bottling line. The bodega grows Macabeo, Bobal,Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Garnacha  and Merlot.

The tour starts in the courtyard and moves into the old house, still sporting its original decoration. From here you move directly to the old bodega with its huge deposits, now used for ageing cava many bottles of which sit in the pupitres ready to be turned before disgorging and sale. Down below you move to the huge storage areas where cava sits `en rima´ or on the lees some of it for up to six years as they produce a `Centenario´ to commemorate the centenary of the founding of the original bodega.

Via a series of staircases you visit the barrel park with its heady smell of oak and wine, the underground warehouse where the reserves, crianzas etc are ageing and  where the huge numbers of bottles of cava are stored. Here you will see the wine resting on its yeasts, gently breaking down and adding proteins. Passing the new bottling line you return to the tasting room lined with Valencian art and containing a bar and hospitality suite as well as the bodegas shop.

 

The Barrel Park.

On this occasion we had tagged along with a group of visitors organised through Salas Granados in Valencia. On such tours visitors are invited to sample three wines from Torre Oria´s extensive range. First of these was a Brut Cava 12% ABV `Marques de Requena´which is made from the bodegas Macabeo. This is a floral wine with green apples and melon on the nose and with good attack and fruit in the mouth with fine persistent bubbles and good acidity. This sells at 4.80€ a bottle.

Second was the bodegas Rosado 2010 which is 100% Bobal. Actually this is quite a full coloured rosado, an intense cherry red with long legs and on the nose unmistakable strawberry and cream and vanilla scents. In the mouth it is fresh and quite full, a very satisfying smooth, creamy wine with a long finish. This sells for 2.80€ a bottle at the bodega.

Finally we tasted the Tinto Crianza from Tempranillo also from the `Marques de Requena´range. A medium density cherry red wine with long legs, unmistakably tempranillo on the nose with toasty and creamy notes from the crianza and malolactic fermentation in barrel. In the mouth smooth, elegant a very pleasant easy drinker. Like all the wines in the bodega there is an offer whereby if you buy six bottles of any wine you only pay for five.

 

Some of the Valencian Artwork in the Tasting Room.

The bodega produces several different ranges of wines  some of which I have reviewed elsewhere in earlier posts but this visit was not an appropriate time for an extensive tasting. I hope to visit again soon to discuss these other wines with the winemakers.

Torre Oria´s wines are amongst the more easy to find in the Valencia area and are sold in Carrefour and Al Campo. The bodega is a good example of a large organisation producing volume wines and is well worth a visit which can be arranged directly by telephone.

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