Los Mejores Vinos de la Provincia de Castellon- Castellon´s Best Wines Fair 2012.


After  visiting the 2nd edition of this fair last January I wrote about the fightback in terms of its wine-making in Castellon province.  I am glad to say that having  just returned from the 3rd edition of the fair, once again held in the gardens of the Old Casino in the heart of the city the fightback continues. One of the features of both events has been the number of new Bodegas which are springing up all producing quality wines, some within the Vins de Terres de Castellon classification, others Vinos de Autor ( expressions of the wine makers style-and often outside all the rules) and still more under the now agreed  IGP Vinos de Castellon qualification…..one step away from full DO status.

The fair is organized by the Asociación de Sumillers de Castellon y Provincia and sponsored by the Regional Government and this year was not just opened by the Agriculture Minister but counted on a visit by none less than the new President of the Valencian Community who awarded the certificates for the best wines.

Wines From Banús.

Amongst the new Bodegas was Banús, which I had visited in November last ( see Archives) and José Luis Sanchez updated me on the progress with the building works for the barrel park and new shop as well as giving us a taste of the entire range, now all bottled. I am pleased to report that the wines have developed well since the November sampling from deposit.

The Rosado , with its pale pink strawberry colour and a blend of Garnacha, Cabernet Sauvignon and Monastrell  was creamy with a long minerally dry finish. The Tinto, a light cherry red with black fruits and cherries was also nicely balanced and easy drinking. At 2.95€ both are now on sale under the Banús label.

ILDVM is the label for the next range, mono-varietals of Cabernet Sauvignon and Tempranillo. Both wines were youthful in appearance, the Cabernet a medium density bright cherry and the Tempranillo,  darker and fuller. The Cabernet still retains its peppery nose  whilst the Tempranillo is jammier in the mouth. Lovely wines and both available for 4.95€ a bottle.

Top of the range are José Luis´s Alvaro Gil Vinos de Autor. The best of the Merlot and the Syrah which were so impressive in deposit have had around 4 months in medium + toasted French oak and have just been bottled.  The Merlot is deep purple in colour and full of jam, a very full wine and the Syrah is spiky, dry with chocolate in the finish. Both have very good varietal characteristics. They sell for 5.95€.

All in all a very impressive start for this new Bodega in Benlloch.

Vicente Flors.

In January last year I had visited the bodega of Vicente Flors in Les Useres ( see archives ) and been very impressed with his two wines, Clotas and the more youthful  Flor de Clotas. The new vintage of Flor de Clotas 2010, pure Tempranillo ( the 2009 had about 5% of Cabernet Sauvignon) medium density cherry red with long legs. On the nose liquorice, chocolate , red fruit jam, spice and in the mouth round tannins and a very long finish. The 2008 Clotas remains excellent, all the better for another year in bottle! I am looking forward to the new Monastrell which should be presented in May and to a future vi dolç which Vicente hopes to have ready next year!

Favourite wines for the Vilamarxant wine club are the Magnanimvs range from Gabriel Mayo Garcia of Vilafames. So a visit to his stand was a must to introduce him to new members! The white is still a lovely fresh wine, light, fruity with citrus and apricots and a beautiful balanced long finish. The Platinum, the top red has a wonderful coffee and cream nose and smooth oak in the mouth…….wonderful and Gabriel received a prize for his wine!

Segorbe is home to Devinos y viñas, the bodega producing Odisea and Perdición to much critical acclaim.

The white, Macabeo, is pale with a very fragrant nose, bananas, ripe melon, and in the mouth is light with good acidity and a long finish. The Rosado from Cabernet  Sauvignon had the expected strawberry and cream nose but in the mouth demonstrated ripe redcurrant which persisted before a good long dry finish. Very well-balanced this was a favourite on the day.

The third in the Odisea range is the Tinto Roble, a blend of Merlot, Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon with three months in oak, a youthful cherry colour , fruit and round tannins, very nice. Finally the Perdición a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon with twelve months in oak is cherry red with long legs, quite smooth on the nose,  mature red fruit,  spices, liquorice. In the mouth green pepper, toasted oak and red fruit jam. This is a wine which needs time.

La Mariana.

Also  new were `La Mariana´ a blend of Garnacha and Cabernet Sauvignon, project of Miguel Juan Vidal and produced in Les Useres although the vineyards are in Benlloch. The 2010 has a little more Garnacha than the 2009 and was youthful, very fruity and easy to drink. The 2009 was more vegetal on the nose,  mature and drier on the palate, a wine for food. I look forward to trying these wines again in Benlloch in April and talking to the winemaker.

Barranco Magro is a Vino de Autor from Villahermosa del Rio . The vines are at 750m above sea level on the slopes of the Penyagolosa, the regions highest peak. A blend of Garnacha Tintorera, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah the 2009 was an intense cherry red, on the nose red and black fruits, spices and touches of the French oak in which it has spent a year. In the mouth red and black fruits,  round tannins, long finish. A powerful wine which needs to be kept and drunk with food.

Barranco Magro.

We tasted wines from other bodegas such as Clos Déscarragordes, Masia de la Hoya , Vega Palancia, Vinya Natur , Alcovi and Mas de Rander , catching up with some old friends and tasting new vintages.

Special mention must go to the Barranc d L´Infern 2010, the new vintage from Vinya Natur and the Lagrimas, a wine made from over mature fruit which was very popular.

I very much hope to visit this bodega in the next few weeks.

Finally also worth special mention were the two sweet wines from Mas de Rander, a mistela and a Vin de Licor both from Moscatel de Hamburgo,  Moscatel de Alejandria and Garnacha. The difference between the two is that the latter has had six months in oak. Both are unctuous and a fine way to end a meal and a wine tasting!

Another bodega on the `to visit´ list this spring.

This a fair not to missed in the future. The progress being made to give wines from Castellon their rightful place and recognition and the enthusiasm which is producing quality wines from new bodegas should be supported.

Esteban Martinavarro of Vinya Natur.

 

 

 

 

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