A Visit to Bodegas Hispano+Suizas, Open Day During the Vendimia.

The Bodega´s Products.


Hispano+Suizas is a bodega within D.O. Utiel-Requena but also has the right to make D.O.Cava. It sits on the N322 from Requena to Albacete just outside the hamlet of El Ponton and opposite Finca Ardal.

The bodega itself appears old but the façade whilst original and originally an old local finca, is completely modern, both behind and more importantly underneath! The bodega is also sufficiently modern not to appear in either the guide by Juan Piqueras in 2000 or the Biblio Metropoli´s Guide to the Wine Routes of the Valencian Community which was published in 2004/5. The reason of course is that this is a very new project, dating back to the first wine in 2006 only!

Syrah in the Vineyard.

The project is the result of a friendship between three major protagonists all of whom had, and still have,  experience working in a big Swiss owned conglomerate Bodegas Schenk, now Murviedro.

Marc Grin, Pablo Ossorio and Rafael Navarro named the bodega after their origins. Marc is the Swiss born marketing arm of the enterprise, responsible for much of the design, who today combines his overseas marketing role for Hispano+Suizas with that of Murviedro.

Pablo is Technical Director of Murviedro and wine-maker at Hispano+Suizas, having graduated from the Requena Wine School and with International experience in Argentina and Italy. Pablo was chosen by his peers as best winemaker in the Valencian Region in 2008.

Rafa is in charge of the vineyards and is also winemaker at the bodega. His particular interests are getting the best out of some of the newer varieties in the DO such as Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc he is considered an innovative viticultor and is consultant to other bodegas in the area.

Freshly picked Cabernet Franc.

At 4000 vines to the hectare, all `en espaldera, ´ the bodega comprises some 60 hectares, most of which surround the winery itself. Apart from the newer varieties of Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc, Petit Verdot, the two Cabernets (Sauvignon and Franc), Merlot, Syrah and of course Bobal make up the red varieties and  Chardonnay and Verdejo the whites.

Having started in 2006 the bodega has survived on very small productions of each of its wines, initially Bassus Pinot Noir and Impromptu, a barrel fermented Sauvignon Blanc. The cavas followed, Tantum Ergo in two versions. First was the white, a Dom Perignon style blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and the rosado which is pure Pinot Noir.

Today there are eight wines in the range, all named with a musical theme reflecting what the bodega itself would describe as a slightly elitist approach to wines, nonetheless the wines are accessible ranging from 17.5€ to 38.5€ depending on the product. As the old adage goes, quality always sells, added to the rarity value of some of these wines the prices reflect the quality which is defined not just by tasting the wines but by the scores awarded by those who matter, Parker, Penin, Guia Sevi  and Gastronostrum. The rosado cava scored between 92-4/100 in these guides and has been described as the best in the world! In fact Penin has placed five of the wines in the very top range of wines from Spain, two years running.

Pinot Noir Fermenting.

The open day commenced with a quick look at the vineyard where harvesting of the Cabernet Franc was under way before moving to the reception area for the grapes where we were shown the chilling chambers where the grapes spend up to 36 hours resting before wine-making process begins. ( For more details see my archived post 11 February 2011. ) Here we also tasted the freshly harvested Cabernets.

Into the bodega you are struck first by the two rows of open-topped barrels with wine fermenting within, the cap of grapes ( whole berry fermentation) sitting thick on top and awaiting batonnage to extract maximum aroma and colour. The deposits are all small by many standards, reflecting the fact that this year may just be the first where they achieve the 85k bottle maximum production.

In the cellars.

Downstairs the small undercroft is full of oak barrels and bottles of cava in various stages of development and then the bottling area shares space next door with the wines which have been bottled, cased and which are ready for sales and distribution.

Then upstairs we visited the `hotel´, five rooms which are available for those following the Rutavino in Utiel-Requena and which are part of their contribution to wine-tourism in the area. In practice these rooms which are individually and differently decorated tend to be used more by visitors to the bodega from abroad and buyers from within Spain.

Back outside were joined by fourth member of the team, Vicente Cortes who was to introduce Rafa to us and then conduct a tasting of five of the bodegas wines accompanied by local snacks such as bollo and ajoarriero.

Vicente is head of national sales, accounting still for about 70% of the bodega´s production.

Vicente Cortes.

First wine was the Tantum Ergo Brut Nature from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. From 2009 I have found this wine to be consistent year on year ( so far) and the wine is straw yellow, clean and bright with green flashes. The bubbles are very fine and persistent. The nose demonstrates white flowers, patisserie and some citrus elements, and long-lasting. In the mouth full, good attack and nice acidity, citrus fruits and a long satisfying finish.

Second was the Tantum Ergo Pinot Noir, Brut Rosado from 2010. Pale strawberry  or rose-pink, fine persistent bubbles, good crown, clean and bright. On the nose predominantly red fruits, vanilla and a degree of toastiness. In the mouth it is soft, passes easily across the palate, good acidity and long fruity finish. A lovely wine.

Third was the 2011 vintage of the Impromptu Sauvignon Blanc. Yellow, with green flashes, clean and very bright. Good legs. On the nose fresh, intense tropical fruit notes, almost jammy. In the mouth rich ripe fruit is balanced with good acidity, the wine is satisfying and with a long finish. For me this is a wine to lay down and drink in 5 years or so when it will be better balanced and more honeyed.

Tantum Ergo Brut Nature.

Fourth was the Bassus Pinot Noir 2010. I had not tasted this wine since the DO´s bloggers tasting in 2010. Cherry red with a violet edge, long legs. On the nose cherry, blackcurrant and liquorice, whilst in the mouth full fruit, jam, concentration, caramel and a hint of coffee cream from the 10 months spent in oak. A very distinct wine from the only parcel of Pinot Noir in the DO.

Finally we tasted the 2009 Bassus Premium, a blend of Bobal, Cabernet Sauvignon , Merlot, Shiraz and Petit Verdot. Very deep black cherry, intense with long slow legs. On the nose red fruits, wood fruits, oak, vanilla and balsamic notes. In the mouth rich and very full bodied, smoky, red fruits, jam, long satisfying finish…a blockbuster!

A very interesting visit to yet another bodega which is quite different , reflecting the personalities of the owners and a very personal wine-making style. Well  worth a visit, the bodega has limited open days or  by appointment. www.bodegashispanosuizas.com/

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  • Gerald Hinzpeter  On September 26, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    Ricardo: Great Comments, – Murviedro Blanco Albal for me the best White Wine from the whole region. In fact I bought 72 bottles the other day. – Gerald –

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