2011 was an `excellent´ year for DO Valencia in more than one way. Firstly of course the summer was long, dry and not too hot, something which generally was true across Spain and led to yields of high quality fruit…..so the wines had the potential which seems to have been met to make the top qualification as in 2005 and 2000.
Then , of course, you can say that selling 45 million bottles of wine is no small achievement. 56 million litres of wine were produced, some 6% more than in 2010. Much of this wine has been exported with China leading the way, but sales to Russia, Mexico and Brazil have also increased which is just as well given that home consumption in Spain has fallen over recent years even if it has now steadied a bit.
And then there are the numerous awards being picked up by bodegas for the excellent wines they are producing. As the DO are keen to point out their wines have garnered awards at competitions in Brussels, Bordeaux, London, Berlin and of course at Biofach, the German competition for ecologic wines. Murviedro continue to lead the way with the other big bodegas such as Gandia and La Viña being joined by smaller bodegas such as Torre Oria, Arraez, Enguera, Baronia de Turis, Los Frailes and Zagromonte ( Torrevellisca).
DO Valencia is made up of very different wine-producing sub-zones from the dry whites of the Alto Turia, largely made from Merseguera, the Valentino with bodegas such as El Villar producing a range of wines from the lower Turia valley, Moscatels from around Cheste, Turis and Montroy as well as the Clariano, producing excellent wines of all varieties ( including exotics such as Viognier and Gewürztraminer from Xativa to Font de la Figuera.
The Noche del Vino is held in the Botanic Gardens in Valencia, a mature haven of cool breezes in a city now feeling the start of the summer heat. Under specimen palms ( amongst others) some 33 bodegas representing the sub-zones set up their stands and generously dispense their wines commencing with an initial session for professionals from the restaurant and hotel trade, the press, bloggers and caterers who are then joined by the public.
Early in the evening whilst the heat is still at its worst dry whites are the refreshing option and we started with excellent fresh, fragrant whites from the Co-op San Pedro Apostel from Moixent, the second of which, a pure P.X., is a big favourite. Also from Moixent we tasted the Cullerot 2011, Pablo Calatayud´s new vintage of the four variety blend made in terracotta amphorae which is only recently bottled. This has all the fruit flavours and body of it´s predecessor but needs a little more time in bottle yet.
Clos Cor Vi is a new enterprise from Luis Corbi also of Moixent. Here he is making a pure Riesling, fresh and with good acidity, a pure Viognier, fuller with a good fruity body and a blend of the two from new varieties to the area.
Mar de Sao is the white from 40 Grados Norte, the bodega in Fontanars which shares space in Torrevellisca´s bodega, another fresh easy drinker from a young operation. This was followed by the pure Tempranillo Blanco from Antonio Arraez in Font de Figuera, curious but very pleasant to drink with a rose gold colour!
Also amongst the whites tried were Belda´s Verdil, the lovely Alturia from Buñol ( an aromatic blend of Malvasia, Merseguera and Moscatel) , D´Alba ( a dry moscatel from Bataller of Castelló de Rugat ) Bressol ( the Merseguera from Alfonso Sanchez in Siete Aguas) and the Mersegueras from Alcublas and Titaguas.
As the evening cooled it was time to try some younger reds.
We started with Setze Gallets, Pablo Calatayud´s blend of Garnacha, Monastrell, Mandó and Merlot , where he has experimented with the packaging producing a tetra-brick as well as a traditional bottle! A fruity medium bodied joven style it is an easy drinker.
Dominio de los Pinos from Fontanars produce a tinto barrica from Tempranillo, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon , fruits of the forest and jam blended into an easy drinker with four months in oak.
Also from the Clariano, we re-visited the Cup de Cup from La Casa de las Vides which I reviewed in my last post.
Other reds worthy of mention were the Bressol Merlot from Sanchez Zahonero, Rafael Cambra´s Bonhomme, the 1920 from Baronia de Turis and the Argentum from Torrevellisca.
The Noche del Vino is of course also an opportunity to chat to producers and other acquaintances from Valencia´s wine world. It is also the opportunity for the winners of awards selected by the D.O. to receive them publicly and Sylvia Cases, journalist and presenter did a sterling job announcing the long list of those selected this year whilst the Agriculture Minister Maritina Hernandez handed out the certificates etc.
Above all it is a very pleasant evening which provides the ideal opportunity to try a huge range of the excellent and diverse wines from Valencia´s biggest D.O. and its growing number of quality producers and varieties of grape! Long may it continue.