XXVth Valencian Wine and Food Fair…The Rise of the Artisan Valencian Micro-Brewery!

Fair Poster.

Fair Poster.


The Valencian Wine and Food fair is in full swing, five days into the six it runs and after three days of visiting some changes are very apparent!

The number of bodegas has undoubtedly continued to diminish  from its heyday of two to three years ago. Initially this may have been due to the crisis and bodegas re-allocating their marketing budgets. Now however there is clearly a more positive move away to concentrating on the International wine fairs such as the recent Prowien in Dusseldorf, the London Wine Fair where the export markets have more potential. One small bodega has told me they have orders for palettes of each of their wines following their first foray into the German market.

Cervesa Montmira...One of the new stands.

Cervesa Montmira…One of the new stands.

Don´t get me wrong, there is still a strong attendance by bodegas but only two have come from Castellon this year, Divins and Vinya Natur. This may also reflect their own wine fair at the beginning of March was followed up by a stronger showing in the fiesta week of the Magdalena.

DO Valencia is strongly represented by bodegas from the new Terres de Alforins wine route centred on Fontanars and Moixent who also have their own fair in just two weeks time. There is also a strong showing from the bodegas of the Valentino and  particularly those from Alto Turia.

Without Finca Collado DO Alicante would be reduced to representation by its DO only and Utiel-Requena has only its DO  Vera de Estenas, Cuevas and Marsilea , Vegalfaro, Finca el Renegado and one or two others compared with past years……no Pago de Tharsys, Chozas Carrascal, Ladron de Lunas  or Dominio de la Vega to name but a few.

Wines from Alonso Sanz.

Wines from Alonso Sanz.

One new bodega is debuting this week, Alonso Sanz from Aeilo, near to Ontinyent.

All the wines are currently Vino de Autor, the Bodega not yet having joined  DO Valencia ( Clariano).

We tasted four wines from the bodega starting with the Macabeo. (There is also a Sauvignon Blanc). This was a nice golden colour with long legs. On the nose the wine was full of ripe apple and in the mouth the fruit was rich and well-balanced with acidity having a long full finish. The wine is not long bottled and needs time to settle down but clearly had great potential.

The joven style Syrah 2012 is a really good rich, deep cherry with strong legs. On the nose cherry fruit, with a little liquorice although this also is freshly bottled. In the mouth the fruit is quite spiky, whilst the wine passes easily across the palate, it too needs a little more time to settle down.

The Gran Selección 2012 Roble was fermented in barrel and aged  therein as well. Again a deep dark cherry colour, with a purple edge and long legs. On the nose there is a little green pepper, some soft fruit and a hint of oak. In the mouth this Tempranillo Syrah blend is very smooth, green pepper and  vanilla are apparent in a wine where the fruit, tannin and alcohol are in perfect harmony. A very nice wine!

Finally we tried a 2012 Roble with Monastrell which has been in Spanish oak. A little less colour but still has good legs. On the nose it is very closed and despite soft  fruit, it is clearly needing some time to develop. I hope to visit in May or June to explore about this promising bodega.

Finca Collado Blanco 2012.

Finca Collado Blanco 2012.

One bodega which needs no introduction is Finca Collado. The 2010 white won silver at this fair two years ago and then a Bronze Bacchus award. The 2011 is about to be named as one of the seven best wines from the Valencian Community. The new 2012 to me is even better and they are very excited about it at the bodega. The white is always consistent when first released having a good balance of tropical fruits and acidity. This year is no exception, the apricot perfume on the nose with pineapple, a little banana and a touch of citrus….lemon sherbert. In the mouth and despite only a couple of weeks in bottle, this is rich, ripe, full but beautifully balanced, the acidity giving a long full finish with a hint of minerals.

I cannot believe this will not win prizes nor will it be available for long….get your orders in now! It will be interesting to see if it develops with the orange marmalade and honey finish of the ´10 or the grapefruit finish of the ´11.

Paella with Duck etc.

Paella with Duck etc.

Nor to be fair is the mostra short of quality food. The usual traditional sausage makers and cheese makers were joined by the olive oil and honey producers and artisan bread makers and traditional cooked mussels.

Traditional Valencian Paella is available along with arroces such as arroz abanda, a rice dish with spinach and frogs legs and a paella from La Ribera with duck, artichokes, wild mushrooms and `pelotas´ the local small meatballs added in the region. This was my favourite!

But what about the rise of the micro-brewery? Well this year the micro-brewery has proliferated. So far I have found eight represented at the fair and there are many more not present. The phenomenon is a peculiarly Valencian affair and the beers are finding niche markets in bars , wine.bars and specialist shops….often alongside the better wines from the community.

Cerveza Genesis.

Cerveza Genesis.

It is two years since I visited and reported on Cerveza Tyris, the Riba-Roja real ale brewery ( Archives April 2011) at the beginning of the process.

My research at this years fair is investigating the growth and availability of these wonderful beers  will form my next post.

If you have time get down to the fair which finishes tomorrow, Monday evening and sample some of the quality wine and foods available in Valencia!

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