Daily Archives: November 16, 2011

Lomejordegastronomia 2011…and a Somewhat Reduced Tasting of Vinos Alicante.

2010, twenty bodegas from Vinos Alicante in a big stand and no time to go and taste the food or see the gadgets or demonstrations on a day visit!

2011, five bodegas on the Vinos Alicante stand, some others lurking elswhere, including Francisco Gomez in the `Monster House´ and Heretats de Cecilia hosted by a couple of restaurants…..plenty of time to visit the stands of the restaurants, specialist chefs, turron stands, cookery equipment, Cruzcampo for a refreshing beer ( and tapa) as well as catching up with some friends!

Tapas from Iberostar Hotels and Resorts.

Much bigger than Gastronoma in Valencia this fair was one I visited last year and enjoyed a superb tasting of wines from DO Alicante and was looking forward to much of the same this year. As it happens, I thoroughly enjoyed this years fair simply because the smaller number of bodegas present allowed a bigger opportunity to appreciate some of the food on offer!

On arrival I made straight for the stand of Finca Collado to catch up with Maria Carmen de la Vega. Kindly she introduced me to Francisco Quiles, current generation wine-maker at Primitivo Quiles, the oldest of the Fondillon houses in Alicante. Although inheritance has split the bodega from the vineyards of this wine-making firm founded in 1903,( although the history goes back to 1780 )  the family vineyards still produce the grapes for these very `peculiar´ wines.

Francisco Quiles of Bodegas Primitivo Quiles.

Very ripe and even over-ripe grapes are key to the house style. Based in Monovar the family firm has been making wine for generations and the oldest solera dates back to 1892. Although relatively `new´ Fondillons history as a wine goes back to the post medieval period, is mentioned in Shakespeare´s works and was a major export from Alacant to England and the Royal Houses of many European countries.

Today the house wines come in rather more styles and I was lucky enough to try a good sample……a visit will be necessary to properly appreciate the complete range!

There are a white and a Rosado but on this occasion I stayed with the reds, starting with the Roble, 2009, Monastrell ( 60%) and Merlot and around 13.5%ABV with six months in French and American oak. A medium to deep cherry red with very long slow legs, on the nose plum, mature fruit, spicy even with hints of the crianza. In the mouth, full, meaty, quite dry mature fruit and hints of oak.

The 14% ABV Crianza, 2007 and pure Monastrell from  80% American oak with the rest Allier from France has also spent time in bottle before release. Ruby red with hints of terracotta edge, medium density, strong red fruit and vanilla nose, smoke and spice. In the mouth full but well-balanced, mature fruit, long satisfying finish and a wine for food.

Gazpacho Manchego from Los Chispos Restaurant.

The Raspay 2005, `Tinto Brut´  is also 100%  Monastrell , 14.5% ABV and from a batch of just 12,952 bottles. Described by Francisco as on its way to being a Fondillon, the vines are restricted to producing just one kg of grapes, from very mature fruit and subsequently aged in old oak barrels before longer bottle ageing. This results in a quite unmistakeable wine, intense ruby-red, terracotta edge and long glycerinous legs. On the nose spicy, jammy and with notes of barrica. In the mouth aged, round, smooth, oak and very mature fruit. Long finish.

Finally we tasted the Fondillon Gran Reserva Solera 1948 with 16% ABV and aged in  very old `tonnelles´. From grapes which are left on the vine to dry out, then undergoing a long fermentation and ageing, topped up with new wines as the older and lower part of the solera is drawn off. The wine is amber, clean and bright with long glycerinous legs. On the nose old dried grapes, raisins, initially hints of sweetness then a dry acidity, smooth tannins…..wonderful old wine. No wonder the old `Sun King´, Louis the 14th of France enjoyed it….or its predecessors at least!

Having set the gastric juices going it was time for some food, what better than a Gazpacho Manchego made with rabbit, partridge and snails with peppers and served on a torta de gazpacho with guindilla peppers and an anchovy? From the kitchens of Yeclas´ Los Chispos restaurant. For a very good price of 3€ a generous plate followed by a full refill was offered, accepted and despatched!

Wines from Murviedro.

The wines of Murviedro are seen at every fair and  as I have noted before not only win prizes but also they often offer a new range. In this fair they were launching the Coleción range. Following  a palate cleanser of the Luna de Murviedro cava I sampled  both the Tempranillo and then the Syrah.

The Tempranillo, 2010, Vino Joven, 13%ABV was a medium density cherry red with good legs. On the nose caramel, red fruits, and in the mouth red and black fruits, open, nicely balanced . A very nice easy drinker which , it seems is the point of the range which also contains a Petit Verdot amongst the reds.

The Syrah by contrast was whilst a similar colour and appearance generally, full of spiky raspberry fruit, nice medium body warm in the mouth, with red and black fruits, depth and also easy to drink. Nice, must look out for these wines.

Jamons and Jamoneros from Iberico de Bellota.

Jamon, pata negra, bellota, 5 jotas, cebo, bodega, reserva, gran reserva…..just some of the words which accompany this classic and Spains most famous product. Whole legs ( and shoulders) of Iberico pigs produced on the Sierras in Extramadura, from towns with names like Guijelo, Cordoba,  and Jabugo. Most famous of all of course is Joselito who were presenting their jamons but there were many more to choose from, many on offer, and many offering plates to try at a cost…..very little was available for a free sample. One I did get to sample was from Ibesa, Los Pedroches. www.ibesa.es whose website is full of information ( except the prices for the products in the on-line shop!)

For more information on Jamon see my archives, September 14th 2011.

There are no shortages of outlets at these fairs and just occasionally a beer is very welcome!  Yesterday was no exception so a Cruzcampo accompanied a small tapa plate of arroz abanda before moving on to the next stand.

Cruzcampo Cervesa and Arroz Abanda.

Carabibas, Sierra de Cabreras, is a wine I discovered last year in Villena…….yes, I am pretty sure I wrote about it first! A brand new bodega operating out of a warehouse in Salinas the wine ( 2009 ) from a tiny production of less than 5000 bottles was astonishing! Although sold out by early 2011 there are still thankfully some bottles left for aficionados to compare with the similarly small production 2010, bottled in July of this year. Now with a year in bottle the 2009 which debuted at 18€ a bottle is deep black cherry, the fruit still colouring the glass, with long fat glycerinous legs. On the nose plum , damson, incredible fruit and depth, and in the mouth huge body, meaty, immense depth of fruit, a modern concentrated wine with a massive long full finish. I am so glad I have some of this at home to keep for the future!

The 2010 is a similar colour with long legs. This year it has its Vinos Alicante accreditation. The bodega believe the wine is better integrated at the same stage than the 2009. For me the nose was less marked, the 2009 was much more forward this time last year. In the mouth however the wine is deep, still a little closed, tannic, lots of blackcurrant with a concentrated finish if a little astringent yet. However there is no doubt of the potential of this wine, powerful, a vino de guardar…..now, how to get some of this before it sells out!

Marzipan sweets on a Turron Stand.

A further excursion took us past the stand of sausages and cheeses from the Balearics, a stall  selling chefs and waiters uniforms, chocolates from the museum of Comes, the Cofradia de Arroz de Valencia selling generous portions of the best soul-food, arroz al horno, another selling awesome looking pans but with no information whatsoever on where to buy them or how much they cost!

Turron, the classic almond based sweets of Valencia were evident on the stand of the CRDO Jijona and Turrons of Alicante, preserved sugared fruits, honey and much ,much more were there to tempt.

A Fine Selection of Modern Pans and Pots!

We also visited the stand of Caserio San Juan del Obispo, producers of natural cider (Tareco) , aguardiente ( Alquitara del Obispo ) and an aged cider aguardiente ( Salvador del Obispo) with 9 years in wood which gives it a deep amber colour. Sadly not on sale this Spanish rival to calvados gets my vote! I think we might be ordering some of this when we can afford a treat!

Our time at the fair came to an end, but not before the last opportunity to talk to the owners of Finca Collado, Paco and Amparo and congratulate them on this years harvest before enjoying a glass of the 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot…. one for the road for the non-drivers! They seem immensely happy with their project in the safe hands of Mari-Carmen and Guillermo and wine-maker Joan.

Another gastronomic experience well worth the travel time! And one hopefully to be repeated next year!

Arroz al Horno from the Cofradia de Arroz.

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