A Visit to Bodega Sebirán, the Campo Arcis Centenary Bodega Rises Again!!!!

White Tiled Walls.

White Tiled Walls.

In 1914 José Oria de Rueda built a new bodega in the hamlet of Campo Arcis, not far from Requena. He had extensive holdings in the area and the family name is still conserved by Bodega Torre Oria, although there has been no connection for some long time. Today all that remains of this bodega are the original `trullos´ or fermenting vats , now knocked through as at so many other bodegas, to provide storage for the  barrels containing the 2012 vintage in crianza. But, I am running ahead of myself!

Come 1950 and the bodega was sold and enlarged. This happened again in 1974, this time to a French Algerian who modernised the bodega and who persuaded the local cosecheros ( vine-growers who do not make their own wine) to plant Tempranillo in the area, up to then a bastion of Bobal! Five years later the first wines hit the market with the trademark lable `Coto d´Arcis.´ Sadly although the wines were destined for the French market the company promptly went bust and remained empty.

This is the building you see today with its white tiled walls inside.

1914 Deposits, Now the Cellars.

1914 Deposits, Now the Cellars.

The Ribes family acquired the bodega around the mid-1990´s and it remained in their hands, or those of their successors until last year.

During this latter period there was clearly a period of consolidation with the burgeoning use of the c´A name for Coto Arcis, its acceptance as a bodega licensed to make DO Cava with sales to the Supermarket chain Consum where I first encountered the red wines, especially a crianza Bobal from 2008. I first met the then `Commercial´in November 2009 at Valencia´s first Cava fair and was very impressed  by the three wines they were showing. The bodega seemed settled, the website was up and running and I thought several times about visiting and renewing my taste for the wines. Somehow it never quite happened, probably because I never saw the wines displayed again either at the Cava fair or any of the other wine fairs in the region. Occasionally a local wine shop had the odd bottle which I used for wine-tastings in one of my groups.

Cava Bottles-Old and New Lables.

Cava Bottles-Old and New Lables.

My interest was suddenly renewed when I went to a tasting in Requena of another bodega´s wines a couple of months ago and found some newly labelled bottles from the bodega on the shelf in the shop. I bought two to use at a tasting but to my horror discovered that far from running, the web-site was gone, a new one didn´t work and there was no information anywhere about the current position or wines.

Fortunately I encountered the new managers at the recent Fiesta of Bubbles, the annual presentation of awards  of the Federation of Sumillers from the Valencian Community, an excellent evening held on a night club terrace in Valencia´s Sailing port, where the ill-fated Americas Cup took place. They were there displaying their cavas in the august company of Champagne Producer Roederer, DO Cavas from San Sadurni, from Galicia and their peers from Requena as well as a Champagne method cider from Asturias.

I followed up this lucky encounter yesterday and finally succeeded in `visiting´ the bodega in the centre of the village. I say visited….the bodega no longer does visits, the staff having run foul of busloads turning up, consuming 200€ worth of wine, taking up two hours or more of working time and not buying anything at the end of it.

Notwithstanding my predecessors I could not have had a more genuine or friendly welcome to my briefing! Firstly Pedro who has worked there forever and I suspect does everything, took us on a tour of the facility, showing us the vast tanks capable of holding 1.5million hectolitres of wine and down two sides of a long corridor, one side for fermentation, the other for holding the finished wine. He showed us the huge press which deals with the grapes after alcoholic fermentation and then passes the wine to deposits for the malolactic fermentation.

Tasting Suite, Many Awards!

Tasting Suite, Many Awards!

He showed us the small bottling line and pointed out the space where occasionally a hired in bottling plant for Cava would sit.

It was at this point that one of those historical gems emerged. Pope John-Paul 2nd was apparently so enamoured with a mistela which was a sideline of the bodega that he instructed that it should be made and exported to the Philipines as wine for the mass. The bodega still holds the arch-bishops license necessary for this enterprise but is currently not making the wine!

So where does the new management come from? Well we were introduced to Ken Wagener who works for VOB&T International who explained the Swedish/German focus which is seeing some 95% of the wines exported into those markets today.

T, Terraneo, New Labels.

T, Terraneo, New Labels.

The bodega has indeed ditched the Coto Arcis lable in favour of single letters, T, J and Z which now adorn the bottles of the four reds still produced by them.

The c ´A lable, remodelled remains on the cavas. The bodega no longer has it´s own vineyards, although the previous owners sold much of their 2012 crop to the new owners. From now the bodega will buy in grapes. The intention is to continue to produce Cava, they are after all one of only ten allowed to do so in Requena.

And so we settled to taste, continuing our discussions as we did so.

The first wine was a T, a Tempranillo Joven with no oak from 2012 and  12%ABV. A good plum colour, with good long legs with jammy black fruits of the forest, with an easy pass across the palate, fruity and easy to drink. Its big brother ( T Barrica ´aalso 12%ABV) which has had three months in French oak, the barrels made at the Haro bodega in Rioja, is a similar colour,  with vanilla and cream on the nose, much rounder in the mouth, a note of oak but very smooth with a super long fruity finish. These also carry the old `terraneo´name on the lable.

The Z is a Tempranillo Bobal Crianza from 2008,  which we did not try,  the J is a pure Bobal crianza, also from 2008 which was originally marketed with the red c´A lable. I know from recent tasting that both are quality wines, the Bobal having aged really well and being full of liquorice and chocolate….definitely for food!

We also tasted the Brut Nature Cava, full of yeasty notes and with 24 months on the lees, a period which they intend to raise to 32 months to add a little more depth. This is full of ripe melon fruit, red apple and citrus notes with fine persistent bubbles. This is a serious wine, not for aperitifs,  toasting  the bride or drinking with desserts which frankly it will not match. It is for dishes such as paella!

But the undoubted surprise of the day  was a 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon Dulce from late harvest grapes, with 14 months in oak of second use. It has a wonderful deep black colour, with long, very slow, fat, glycerinous legs. On the nose the grape is Cabernet Sauvignon but I defy you not to think it was a `port´ with its chocolate, concentrated jam and ripe  fruit.

2003, Cab Sauvignon Dulce.

2003, Cab Sauvignon Dulce.

In the mouth this was rich, ripe, full, with a hint of bitterness but after swallowing suddenly the sweetness rises to give a truly amazing long fruity aftertaste. At 15.5%ABV this is a truly phenomenal wine to accompany fresh fruit, paté or foie…….I intend to try this with a fidueà of foie!

Unbelievably we had been there two and a half hours, yes, and did buy some wine but were so grateful for what had been such a friendly and fascinating insight into the new Management, the aims of the business and the quality products the bodega has. You cannot help but hope that the Bodega has revived and now has a period of stability, particularly as 2014 is the Centenary year!

Also it is pleasing to hear they will be showing some wines at the forthcoming Ferevin in August even if their main focus is on fairs such as Prowein!

Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

Biblioteca del Sumiller

Una página dedicada al mundo del vino, la sumilleria y la restauración para el aficionado y el profesional ávido de información y formación....


Valencian wine, food and gastronomy


British drinks & Otto the Dachshund


a brand wine marketing

Caroline Angus Baker

Kiwi author, historian and book reviewer. Spanish history, culture, civil war, bullfighting and historical memory writer. Creator of Tudor and Medici fiction


grapefriend. wine. fun.

tamaraessex's Blog

helping charities achieve their objectives

a lot of wind...

dispatches from the end of Europe


El vino como nunca antes lo habías conocido

%d bloggers like this: