Tasting New Wines from Castellon…a Triple Bodega Visit.


Gallus Tinto at Ildum Vinarius

Gallus Tinto at Ildum Vinarius

Saturday last saw my last but one bodega visit for the year, a trip that was to take in three bodegas, all visited before  but specifically this time to taste the new wines.

Back in the middle of August I had been invited to the opening of Ildum Vinarius ( See Archives 18 August 2013- IldumVinarius…A Visit to Castellon´s Newest Bodega. ) Now the bodega has bottled its first wines and opened a shop on the premises.

Four wines are currently produced. A white and a red with the `Optimus´ lable and a tinto `Gallus´ as well as an espumoso, made in the traditional method ( like Cava ) but from the Bonicaire variety. We started with Optimus Blanc, 80% Macabeo, and 10% each of Moscatel and Chardonnay. 700 bottles of this 11.5% ABV wine were made. Pale yellow with golden flashes , clean and bright it shows medium legs. On the nose it is quite floral, with a little tropical fruit, peach and apricot but also a little wet wool which I suspect is the Chardonnay.

Optimus Blanc

Optimus Blanc

In the mouth the wine has good volume, is fresh, well-balanced with a long dry but fruity finish. A real surprise and 5€ at the bodega.

Second wine was the Gallus Tinto , 2012, with 10 months crianza in French oak. It is a blend of Tempranillo, 50%, with 40% Syrah and the balance being Cabernet Sauvignon. A rich plum colour with a violet edge and long slow legs it is 13% ABV. On the nose you immediately note the influence of the Syrah, nice spiky cherry fruit, and in the mouth it is fruity and  full, with a long satisfying finish. An easy drinker and at 4€ a very good value wine!

The third wine was the Optimus Tinto. Around 1000 bottles of this wine have been produced and like the Gallus is fined with eggs. At 13.5%ABV, it sells for 6.50€. To the eye it is a youthful purple colour, the glass coloured by the long slow legs. On the nose it is also youthful, fruity and fresh. In the mouth it needed a little time more to develop but the wine is full of lively fruit, cherry, and nice smooth tannins.

Espumoso from Bonicaire.

Espumoso from Bonicaire.

As well as selling bag in box wines, the bodega has its own sparkling wine, designed for fiestas!!! It is a rosado from the local Bonicaire variety. From 30-year-old vines it has 12% ABV. It is a very bright strawberry colour with good fine bubbles. We tasted both a bottle which was disgorged as we waited and another which had been pre-prepared and had licor d`expedición added. There was little difference, the latter being a bit more marked all round. The wine has a persistent mousse and on the nose you immediately note the fresh red fruit flavours. In the mouth the wine is creamy, has a lot of fruit and has a very easy pass across the palate and immediately wants you to taste it again! This would be good with food but it is a fun wine and at 5€ a bottle good value.

As owner Victor Belmunt was a way in the Czech republic, I am very grateful to his wife Estivel and his partner who made the tasting for us.

We moved on swiftly to El Mollet, in La Barona , which I last visited in October ( see Archives October 5 2013-  Just Another Day in Paradise….). Here Juan Carlos Pavia has now expanded his Roques Negres range, introducing both a white and a rosado.

Roques Negres

Roques Negres

The white is a pure Macabeo which we had tasted from deposit. Now, bottled just three weeks ago, the wine is on the market at around 6€ a bottle, and is 11%ABV. Pale lemon, clean and bright with golden and green flashes, the wine has a lot of green apple on the nose, fresh but has lost the banana scent. In truth it may well recover it when it has been in bottle a little longer but in the mouth the fruit is ripe, melon, with a lovely clean acidity which is evidence of the gravelly soils on which it is grown.

The rosado is to die for….and you may well be killed in the rush for the three hundred or so bottles which are left! 100% Garnacha and nearly 14% ABV we had also tasted this from deposit in October and now it is bottled it is a pale salmon pink, clean and quite brilliant in the glass with long legs. Garnacha can be difficult, in years when the alcohol is high there is no colour and vice-versa. Having given up trying to make a red Juan Carlos has tried his hand successfully at a rosado. On the nose it is floral and reeks of ripe  red currant fruit. In the mouth full, with excellent balance a fresh acidity, a long finish with hints of violets. Lovely!!!

Juan Carlos Pavia in the Vineyard.

Juan Carlos Pavia in the Vineyard.

On the way from La Barona to Les Useres and our next stop, we called in to see Juan Carlos´s  vineyards where pre-pruning had been taking place. The rich red stony soil which is at least free draining was very marked.

Our third stop was to a bodega I had not visited since 2011. ( See Archives, 14 February 2011  A Visit to Baron D´Alba, Clos d´esgarracordes) . I had met owner Sergio Garrido a week or so ago at the Nariz Oro tasting in Valencia where his Crianza was showing and has subsequently been picked as one of the wines for the final of the competition. He had told me that some of the vineyards newer varieties were now making wine and invited me to come and  taste them.

Following a quick tasting of the wines the bodega currently sells, we moved to a private terrace behind the bodega and old house to taste the samples.

Baron D´Alba.

Baron D´Alba.

First up was a Merlot with incredible colour from a 1000  litre oak deposit. The glass was brightly coloured by this purple bombshell, and the wine has long legs. On the nose it positively reeks of ripe fruit, plums and damsons, which are also very evident in the mouth. It is a very harmonious young wine.

Second, we tasted a young syrah, much deeper black in colour, also long-legged and colouring the glass.

On the nose there was really spiky black cherry  which in the mouth was full of jammy fruit. This is a wine, yet to go into wood which is full of potential.

Residue of the Merlot!

Residue of the Merlot!

The rosado which we tried next was cloudy, a blend of Garnacha, Monastrell and Cabernet Sauvignon sitting with the lees from a white wine to round it out. It is a pale salmon pink, with good legs but needs more time for the fruit to emerge. It has however a good acidity.

The Viognier 2013 from 5-year-old vines was also slightly hazy but is more evolved and almost clear. Pale lemon in colour and very cold as it is stabilizing under temperature control to clear the tartaric acid crystals. On the nose it was understandably closed, with only hints of the peachy and apricot fruit you might expect from the variety. In the mouth it was a little citric, one to watch I think.

The Gewürztraminer was very different! As far as I am aware this will be only the second bodega to produce a pure Gewürztraminer, this one is 12.2%ABV. Again there was some residual cloudiness but on the nose the wine was much more open, very spicy, floral and with nice ripe fruit. In the mouth it is very expressive  with good varietal characteristics and should be released in May 2014.

Late Harvest Macabeo.

Late Harvest Macabeo.

Finally we tried the bodegas white dulce, a late harvest golden Macabeo with 7 months in barrica and very glycerinous legs!  On the nose there is a hint of the oak but the predominant fruit is red apple and galia melon! In the mouth it is full-bodied, rich, ripe fruit, natural sweetness, and a wine which will be marketed for special occasions in 1/2 litre bottles. It will be available in time for the next edition of the  Best Wines from Castellon Show at the end of January 2014.

My thanks to Sergio for another opportunity to taste some new wines at an early stage of their development, an invaluable tasting! Secondly thanks to Marian Darás who took some of the pictures used in this post.

S.ergio Garrido

S.ergio Garrido

 

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