Finca Collado. A Very Special Wine Tasting for the `Circulo de Vino de Pedralba´.


 Bodega Finca Collado.

Bodega Finca Collado.

Bodega Finca Collado has featured in my blogs since I first encountered their wines  in L´Alcudia at a gastronomy fair in October 2009. In those days the bodega was under new management and the white wine, from Chardonnay and Moscatel was absolutely stunning, something I shall never forget. That vintage was the 2008, sadly no longer available.

Sadly, because it would have complemented yesterdays tasting perfectly and completed it by allowing every vintage produced by current wine-maker Joan Guia Conca to have been compared.

`Hang on´, I hear you say! `White wine from Alicante does not last, drink the youngest available!´ Advice you would probably still receive if you read Hugh Johnson´s `Pocket Wine Guide´.

Well the advice may well not have changed in that popular tome but that is because the writers have never visited Valencia and have no idea of the quiet revolution taking place here.

`No, no, it is too warm for Chardonnay in the Southern Mediterranean. It produces insufficient acidity.´

O.k. I will concede that it is unlikely that Chardonnay from Alicante province will ever have the staying power of a great Meursault from Burgundy. I know there are wine-makers here who agree that there is insufficient acidity and blend the variety with others. But it can be no coincidence that the best wine-makers in Valencia using Chardonnay (and Sauvignon Blanc for that matter) produce wines to last. I refer to Pablo Ossorio at Hispano Suizas whose `Impromptu´ Sauvignon blanc improves with three to fours and more in bottle. I refer to Felix Martinez at Vera de Estenas whose Chardonnay ( Viña Lidon) is the best produced from this variety. I refer to Marta Hernandez whose Vinessens is moving into this class.

All these wine have something in common. The Chardonnay ( or Sauvignon Blanc) is fermented in oak and then undergoes a short crianza in contact with the lees. Not more than three to four months is enough to add some structure to the wine and avoid over-oaking.

Harvest at Finca Collado.

Harvest at Finca Collado.

This seems to be the key to making a wine which has staying power and I have been able to experience this here with the Impromptu and to some extent the Viña Lidon.

Yesterday we got to try it with the white from Finca Collado.

The Circulo de Vino de Pedralba is a group of friends, English, Argentinian, Spanish amongst others who meet monthly to try quality wines from the Valencian Community. Over the last four years they have tasted nearly three hundred wines ( plenty still more to go), visited bodegas, wine-fairs and generally enjoyed a social afternoon or evening at each of its meetings.

One of the first bodegas they visited was Finca Collado so this retrospective tasting had a certain edge to it. not least because some members have some older wines in their cellars!

We were joined by Mari Carmen from the bodega who is responsible for sales and who is well-known to the group.

Pedralba Wine Club.

Pedralba Wine Club.

To the white wines from 2009 to 2012 which we were to taste she was able to add the 2013, a coupage from barrel and deposit along the lines of that in the current wine. We also had a 2004 pure Chardonnay made by the previous management.

The aim was not just to see and in my case prove, that the wine has staying power. It was an invaluable educational opportunity to look  at the evolution of a wine.

The Chardonnay  from Finca Collado is made as described above, half in French, the other half in American oak. It is then blended and further blended with a dry moscatel made in stainless steel tanks. The 2009 and 2012 are 13% ABV and the 2010 and 2011 are 12% ABV. After stabilisation in stainless steel the wine is bottled and released around the April of the following year. The 2010 won second prize in the Els Bodeguers tasting and a Baco Bronze and the 2011 was recently named in the Valencian Communities´top ten wines.

We started with the 2011 as we had tasted the 2012 only recently. It is still clear bright, a pale lemon in colour with good legs. On the nose the very fresh boiled sweets and bananas have gone but the wine strongly retains the fruit ( pineapple, apricot, ) and in the mouth is well-balanced the fruit a little more rounded, the acidity still fresh and pleasant. It is a big mouthful and just a little smoother and rounder than the current vintage with a grapefruit finish.

The 2010 has evolved only a little more being slightly more straw in colour, still clean , bright, and with good long legs. On the nose the fruit is evolving and the citrus notes of grapefruit were more marked, as indeed they were in the mouth where the wine remains balanced, dry , full and very drinkable with a long full finish.

Finca Collado. Blanco.

Finca Collado. Blanco.

To the eye the 2009 had changed the most. In colour it was more straw coloured, clean, bright and with longer, slower legs. On the nose the fruit has become distinctly citric, orange peel and orange marmalade predominate. In the mouth the wine retains its acidity and you note the degree more of alcohol. The fruit has become honeyed but it is not sweet….the wine is finely balanced, well alive and would be very, very good with paté or foie.

At this point our Spanish friends were amazed, none had tried older white from Valencia and calls of `impresionante!´were to be heard!

Purely for educative purposes we opened a bottle of the 2004 Chardonnay. This was very golden in colour with green hues. From memory it had some oak ageing and it was still clean. On the nose the fruit was more apple and honey but in the mouth the wine was showing age and was past its best, on the way downhill, short on the palate without fruit or much acidity.

On balance whilst I will not go so far as to claim that the white from Finca Collado has longer ageing potential but it worth noting that the 2004 was not made in the same way as the 2009 onwards. Generally the feeling was that the 2009 onwards would be better at 9 years of age than the 2004 had been.

With the starters ( a meal is the norm at meetings) we opened the 2012 and the 2013 cask sample. The former showed the freshness which marks out the style of wine and makes it so good to drink in its first year. The 2013  which some of us helped to pick is full of boiled sweets, bananas and fresh acidity….surely a good sign that the vintage will be star.

Bottles from the Tasting.

Bottles from the Tasting.

For the record, with the kidneys in sherry and the chorizos in red wine the 2013 Rosado made with 100% Merlot is full of raspberry fruit. Straight from the deposit this is nearly ready for bottling and release around December….one to watch out for!

The tasting continued with the bodegas Tinto, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot with 14 months crianza in French oak. The 2007 and 2008 were the first produced at the bodega. Both are full of fruit, well-balanced and easy to drink with blackcurrant, blackberry in a long full finish. Both are full of life and have the  potential for at least another 5-10 years ageing.

The bodegas top reds are however the Merlot 2009 and 2010. This monovarietal is also aged in oak, this time a 3,500 litre cone and the wood is less marked on the nose than in the tinto. Indeed it is pure jam, damson, plums and blackcurrant, a rich, deep, full, complex mouthful in both cases and with very long ageing potential. The 2010 has just won a bronze medal at the San Francisco International Wine Fair.

Merlot 2010 with Bronze Medal.

Merlot 2010 with Bronze Medal.

Sadly there are no bottles left at the bodega of the whites other than the 2012 now. Because production is limited particularly in the case of the Merlot the possibility of repeating this tasting is negligible and if you want to try older whites from the bodega you will just have to buy current and new vintages and save a few for yourself for future drinking. On the evidence of this tasting you will not be disappointed!

Major thanks go to the Bodega and particularly Mari Carmen for making this tasting possible! The bodega is in Salinas and is open for visits most days and visitors are assured of a warm welcome and an enjoyable time.

For me the bodega is undoubtedly one of the top three in Alicante province making wines of outsatnding quality and potential and it will remain a top favourite of the Pedralba Wine Club!

 

 

 

 

 

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