A Visit to Bodegas Carlos Carcel, El Rebollar.

From a case of Wine.


Officially Bodega Hijos de Ernesto Carcel and situated in Calle Bodegas, this is the enterprise of the younger Carcel, Carlos who is also President of Ferevin. Carlos and elder brother Ernesto inherited the bodega from their father , also Ernesto, in the 1980´s and following a period of service in the armed forces and college in Vallodolid Carlos joined his brother in running the family business, producing `Rebollar´ in 1982. The brothers decided to invest in a bottling line , one of the first of the small producers to do so,  and gradually their wines began to grow in recognition.

By 1991 they were investing in oak barrels and showing their wines in competitions across Spain, garnering certificates and diplomas and with it greater recognition. Today some 80% of the barrels are American with the remainder being French.

Carlos Carcel.

When the brothers split the business in 1992 Carlos retained the family bodega and Ernesto built his own nearby ( See July 2011 Archive). The bodega had been built in 1948, just up the road from their grandfather´s original bodega which still stands today. It is a series of large concrete deposits lined with epoxy resin with cold plates for keeping the temperature of fermentation down, with pumps and three types of filters for the different styles of wines. Next door in  a modern building Carlos has the bodega, barrel cellar and store of wines on the lees as he also makes a sparkling wine of which more later. Here also the grapes enter the bodega from the vineyards, the furthest  of which is just three kilometers away before being consigned either to deposit directly for the maceración carbonica wine or via the press for the remainder. Carlos has Garnacha, Bobal, Tempranillo, Macabeo and Cabernet Sauvignon on his 20 hectares comprising of thirteen parcels of land.

New Bottling Plant.

Here also are the offices, bottling line and sales department and Carlos would like to remodel this area, put attractive traditional wooden doors on the entrance and create a tasting area for visitors.

Carlos was described by Joan Piqueras in his book ` The Coming of Bachus´, the definitive work on the wines of Valencia as a winemaker who will pass into the history of the region for his work on promoting the Bobal grape, producing the first Bobal fermented in barrel towards the end of the 1990´s, a wine which was well received by other winemakers locally and nationally. This was made from vines with ages between 50 and 90 years of age, some planted by his great-grandfather in 1906. Today Carlos produces a Reserva from Bobal and is marketing the 2001.

Carlos is also President of Ferevin, Requena´s annual wine fair and in his five years tenure of this post has seen the opening of its own permanent headquarters in the old district of Requena, La Villa. Here visitors can choose from a huge selection of wines from Utiel-Requena which the organisation promotes on behalf of it´s members. This years fair takes place between the 25th and 28th of August in the Avenida Arrabal.

In the Barrel Vault.

Throughout our visit Carlos explained the different techniques used for the different styles of wines he produces. These fall into two broad categories or marques, Vallé de Tejo which ( reflects the location of the vineyards at the foot of the Picos de Tejo in that part of the corridor between the mountain pass up from Buñol and the plain of Requena, where the winds from the sea and those opposing from the land, meet.) The second marque is Carlos Carcel and this reflects the modern wines he is making. In total he has thirteen wines for sale at the bodega and produces a relabeled wine for export to China which bears the date of the vineyard planted by his great-grandfather.

We commenced a comprehensive tasting with the Carlos Carcel sparkling white, a `Methodo Propio´ wine made from mature Macabeo grapes. Unlike Cava where the second fermentation takes place in the bottle Carlos´s wine starts its fermentation in deposit and is then transferred to bottle when the sugar levels are right to finish its one and only fermentation. It has no sugar added and when fermentation is complete it sits on the lees for two years. Carlos made an initial run of 2000 bottles for fun. As there was no labeled bottle in the fridge we sampled from  a bottle with it´s crown cork and plug of yeasts intact.

Dis-gorging the Methodo `Propio´.

Once the bottle had been disgorged, the wine showed a pale, golden colour, clean and bright with a good crown and persistent fine bubbles. On the nose, toasts, patisserie and melons in the mouth, mature melon fruit, round and balanced with just a hint of acidity at the finish. Fresh and elegant and 6€ a bottle at the bodega.

We then looked at two wines from the Vallé de Tejo joven range. We started with the 2010 Macabeo, macerated a little longer to extract all the aromatics. This was clearly succesful as the wine has a good yellow colour, is clean and bright with good legs and on the nose white flowers, ripe melon and ultimately wild fennel. In the mouth beautifully balanced, fresh, smooth and dry with good acidity and a long finish. 2.60€ a bottle.

The rosado is a blend of 45% Garnacha and 55% Bobal. Quite deep rose and strawberry red colour, initially floral on the nose with rose-hip, red currant and bubble gum all of which are present in the mouth where it has a good balance and a minerally long finish. Very nice! 2.60€ a bottle.

We moved up to the Carlos Carcel range for the Macabeo 2010 with 5 months crianza in American oak. This wine is pale golden-yellow, clean bright with good legs. On the nose the oak is marked but smooth and elegant and reminded me of a white reserva from Tondonia! In the mouth the wine is very smooth, fruity. The wine enters crianza with a little natural carbonic gas from the fermentation. This acts as a barrier between the wine and the oak and allows the former to take up the flavours more slowly. The result is an elegant classy white which at 4.90€ is a very well priced wine.

From the Wall of the 1948 Bodega.

First red was the Maceración carbonica from the Vallé de Tejo range. This technique for producing wines by fermenting the whole grapes and then lightly pressing to extract youthful fruit, colour etc is not traditional in the region and although one or two other bodegas have the technology Carlos believes he is the only wine-maker currently producing a wine by this method. It is a deep  cherry red, medium to full density with long legs. On the nose boiled sweets, mature fruit, and a violet floral touch. In the mouth youthful, fresh, boiled sweets ( golosinas) but round, with smooth tannins and a very long fruity finish. And it is from pure Bobal, quite different to what was expected! 3.60€ a bottle.

Moving up we tried the 2006 red with 14 months crianza from the Carlos Carcel range, a blend of the four reds. A medium density, cherry red wine with long legs. On the nose complex with a lot of mature fruit, laurel and a little clove. In the mouth smooth,  powerful , good body, red and black mature fruits, a long satisfying finish.

Finally we tried the 2001 Bobal Reserva, the flagship wine from the Vallé de Tejo reserva range. This wine has spent two years in deposit then a further two in oak, before a long period in bottle. I have fond memories of trying the 1999 last August in Requena and the memories were not upset! The 2001 has not acheived the slightly terracotta edge of the 1999, showing just how well the colour lasts as it was still a deep cherry red colour with a touch of violet at the edge. On the nose mature red and black fruit, balsamic notes, eucalyptus and liquorice. In the mouth very smooth, full fruit, balanced, meaty and powerful with lovely touches from the oak. Smooth , elegant and one of my favourite Bobal Reservas! Around 10€ a bottle and worth every cent. A wine to keep for a lot longer yet!

Range of Wines Available at the Bodega.

Our comprehensive visit came to an end and we had enjoyed a three-hour period which seemed to pass very quickly. I hope to visit again and the wines will certainly be regulars now at tastings and here at home!






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  • CLARENDON HILLS SYRAH  On July 25, 2011 at 2:23 am

    I would love to visit Bodega with my best friends. This seems exciting. Thanks for posting this one. Great job! Cheers!

  • Tim  On July 31, 2011 at 11:28 pm

    Hi Ricardo – I’m finding your blog very enjoyable and useful; I am in the UK and am starting up a wine importing business with a definite mediterranean slant so places like Valencia and Almeria will definitely feature.

    I was introduced to Bobal at a tasting in London a couple of years ago and want to find out more about it.

    I am hoping to go to the Requena festival of food & wine this October, I have not been able to find out much (in English at least!) about it – is this a big event in terms of wine?

    I hope you don’t mind if I ask you a few questions in preparation for my visit!


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