Around and About…. Some Hipercor Wine-Tastings in Valencia.


At Hipercor.

At Hipercor.

 

For some  years Hipercor have held a series of wine-tastings on Saturday mornings, championing wines from the Valencian Community. Now in its thirteenth year the cycle commences  in October with bodegas and co-operatives from Utiel-Requena and is followed by those from Alicante in the New Year and D.O. Valencia in the Spring, finishing in June.

The format is the same, some 40 tasters gather in the Activity Room in the Ademuz Centre at 11.00 and enjoy a tasting, tutored by the wine-makers or owners of the selected bodegas which lasts around an hour and a half. ( Entry is by ticket). The tasters are an eclectic mix of professionals, wine lovers and the plain curious

Over the last three years I have attended several of these tastings which are often used by the bodegas to introduce new wines or wines from the new vintage. This autumn other events have prevented me from getting to more than three of the eight so far but in the New Year I hope to attend  rather more of the eighteen remaining tastings!

Las Ocho from Chosas Carrascal.

Las Ocho from Chosas Carrascal.

The first tasting I did attend was wines from Chozas Carrascal, a tasting led by Xesco, the bodega´s winemaker. I first visited the bodega in 2010 ( see Archives 7 Sept 2010) and a fuller description of the bodega and its philosophy will be found there.

Since then the bodega has achieved `Pago´ status, the highest quality denomination  that can be obtained in Spain. We tasted four of the bodegas wines.

The first was the DO Cava, Brut Nature 2010, a blend of Macabeo and Chardonnay. Now straw yellow, clear and bright with persistent ,fine bubbles. On the nose patisserie, butter, citrus and fresh fruits. In the mouth fresh, a good structure is complemented by brioche there is a long mineral finish. This is a wine to accompany food such as paella.

The Las Dosces 2010 tinto is a blend of Bobal, Tempranillo and Syrah. Cherry red with a violet edge, a good deep colour with medium legs. On the nose cherry, red and black  fruit, plums. In the mouth fresh, well-balanced fruit and tannins with a hint of oak. Long finish, an easy drinker.

The third wine was Las Ocho which takes its name from the eight varieties which make up the blend. The wine on show was the newly released 2009 DO Utiel-Requena but in future vintages this will be a `Pago´ wine.  I had been lucky enough to attend the launch of this wine at the Bodega back in early September and this was to be the second time I had tasted it. Now as then it has a deep cherry red colour with violet hues, long glycerinous legs and a jammy, brambly nose, sweet mature fruit, but also oak, balsamics and  cream all of which are present in the mouth as well. Here the wine is well-balanced, with a brambly long finish, almost sweet. I remember Julian the owner describing this as being like a Priorat wine. It is certainly a wine to keep for the future, very big and satisfying!

The Bodega´s flagship wine is the Cabernet Franc 2009 from a production of just over 4100 bottles. Very similar to the last wine in colour but without the violet. It too has brambles on the nose, oak and hints of forest floor. At first a little astringent, lean, then raspberry fruit, ripe, with a very long finish. This has very French characteristics and could be a big wine from the Loire Valley. I have tried this with cheese and with dark, pure chocolate which it accompanies perfectly. It is the sort of wine which does not need food but could comfortably and satisfyingly savoured over a long evening!

Wines from Vera de Estenas.

Wines from Vera de Estenas.

A month on and I was able to attend the tasting of wines from Vera de Estenas, I bodega I have visited several times ( see archive Sept 14, 2010) . Three wines were on offer at a tasting hosted by owner Felix Martinez.

First wine on this occasion was the 2011 Viña Lidon, a pure Chardonnay with barrel fermentation which for me is characteristic of good Macon wines and consistently the best wine from the variety produced in the area. Pale gold with green flashes, clean, bright and with glycerinous legs. On the nose fresh, clean, a little bread, oak, then lychees, guava, white flowers, and citrus. In the mouth creamy and fresh, well balanced , good structure mature fruit and a grapefruit long dry finish. This is a very elegant wine from an excellent vintage.

Second wine was the 2010 Crianza, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Merlot and Bobal. A medium bodied, cherry red wine with long glycerinous legs. On the nose fruity, mature red fruits, balsamics and a little eucalyptus. In the mouth medium body, caramel, coffee-cream, toffee and a hint of terroir. Fresh easy drinker.

The Casa Don Angel Bobal is legendary! The 2009, now being marketed is a worthy latest release. One of the best tastings I have ever attended was a tasting of wines going back over 10 vintages of this wine. ( See Archive 6 March 2011). Intense bright red with violet edge and long very glycerinous legs. On the nose mature black fruits, jam and minerals. In the mouth powerful, meaty, plum, blue flowers, lilac, liquorice, clove, tobacco and thyme. A complex mouthful, quite forward for the vintage but one to keep for a very long time. Wonderful wine!

Getting Down to Work!

Getting Down to Work!

The third of the tastings covered five  wines from Dominio de la Vega.  This is a bodega I first visited in 2010, ( see Archive August 13, 2010) . Dani Esposito, the wine-maker led the tasting which commenced with the Sauvignon Blanc 2011 which has had three months in French oak. A naturally aromatic grape variety this wine is bright yellow, clean, bright and with long legs. On the nose it is indeed aromatic, tropical fruits and pineapple pre-dominant. In the mouth it is very fresh, medium bodied, with good acidity, and great length, full of exotic fruit flavours, a really easy drinker.

Second wine was the Bobal 2011 which has had 4 months in oak. A lovely cherry red with violet edge, medium bodied with good legs. On the nose , full, fresh, fruity, youthful, with liquorice. In the mouth good red and black berry fruit, good depth and with coffee-cream in the finish. Better than the 2010 but still needing four months more in bottle.

The third wine was the first of three cavas.

Dani Esposito.

Dani Esposito.

The DO Cava, Brut Nature is 100% Macabeo, from the 2011 vintage and with 12-14 months in  contact with the lees was disgorged this month. A little deeper in colour than the Sauvignon Blanc, golden-yellow, green flashes, with fine, persistent bubbles, clean and brilliant. On the nose, toasty, patisserie and in the mouth fresh, good attack, nice acidity, lovely ripe fruit and a long finish. Good entry-level cava.

Next up was the excellent DO Cava, Rosado Brut Pinot Noir. This was from the 2009 harvest with three years in contact with the lees and is a pale strawberry colour with fine, persistent bubbles clean and bright. On the nose fresh red fruit, raspberry, complex, yeasty and a little brioche. In the mouth fresh fruit, a good `bite´, red fruits and very clean. This is a real favourite with friends and very good value at less than 10€ a bottle.

Finally we tasted the Brut Reserva, also from the 2009 vintage, a blend of Macabeo and chardonnay also with three years in contact with the lees but also with some wood ageing before the second fermentation. This is a deep gold in colour with long, slow , fine, persistent bubbles, clean and with a nose full of ripe apple, melon, patisserie and notes from the oak. In the mouth, fruit, some depth, complex with ripe fruit and toast from the barrel. Well balanced , with the honey edge that comes from age. Wonderful!

Three quite different tastings but with one common point. All the cavas were superb examples of the wonderful wines being produced in Requena, wines whose reputations are rising rapidly along with sales.

I am looking forward to recommencing these tastings in mid-January. In the meantime wines from Chozas Carrascal and Vera de Estenas  are available from Alizarin Wines in South London and some of the cavas from Dominio de la Vega can be bought from Laytons, also in London. The good news is spreading!

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