New Releases from Vera de Estenas. Casa Don Angel Bobal 2011.

Casa Don Angel, Vera de Estenas.

Casa Don Angel, Vera de Estenas.

The artisan, boutique winery which is Vera de Estenas has  been a favourite bodega of mine since I arrived here and first tasted their wines!

I have had the pleasure of visiting the bodega on a number of occasions most notably my first visit in September 2010, (  A Visit to Vera de Estenas). There was also a seminar on quality corks run by Adolfo Miravet from the Sierra de Espedan who still harvests ecological quality cork which are used by the best bodegas in Valencia. There have been one-off visits and informal lunches, visits around Wine Tourism day and generally when wines from the new vintages are released.

Felix Martinez, the owner and wine-maker is now a firm friend and we have enjoyed lunches together and with his family on many occasions.

In the vineyard with Felix Martinez.

In the vineyard with Felix Martinez.

The bodegas wines are consistently good, the Macabeo  and the Rosado from Bobal always fresh, fruity and ideal summer drinkers.

The bodega has a range of wines in differing styles but is undoubtedly best known for the Casa Don Angel, the pure Bobal which is only made from old vines and then only in vintages which merit production.

When the bodega was set up by Felix´s grandfather the aim was to create wines like those from Rioja but the fashion has changed and today the winery produces wine which express much more of the grapes own characteristics, fruit and which have their own personality.

White, Rosado and the Chardonnay, Viña Lidon.

White, Rosado and the Chardonnay, Viña Lidon.

In the last twelve months the Bodega has also completed its passage from a winery in DO Utiel-Requena to the highest status a bodega can achieve in Spain , a Pago. Essentially this is much the same as Chateau status in Bordeaux and requires that the wine is made wholly within the  bodega from grapes grown in the properties own vineyards surrounding the winery, the bottling and all other parts of the process being carried out there. Within Utiel-Requena there are just four properties which have achieved this status for some or all of their wines.

The bodega has been one of the pioneers in researching, developing and marketing the Bobal variety. Felix will tell you happily that even at the turn of the millenium the wine text books dismissed the variety as good for rosado or blending with other varieties but that it had no personality of its own, nor was it worthy of special treatment or ageing!

Vera de Estenas is one of the seven bodegas making up the Associación Primum Bobal, whose youthful bobal was launched two years ago to critical acclaim and the third vintage of which is due to be released soon. This wine is the visible face of a major exploration into the types  ( or clones ) of Bobal, not much of which is documented.

Primum Bobal.

Primum Bobal.

Considering that the variety accounts for 70% of vineyard production in Utiel-Requena this came as a bit of a surprise. But then again the whole variety is an enigma, making as it does, a white version ( very rare) a white cava style wine, rosados, young reds, crianzas and reservas all with quite distinct personalities and of course, it also makes a sweet red when left to mature.

I was one of a small number of bloggers and wine-writers to be present at a very special vertical tasting of ten vintages of the Casa Don Angel Bobal from this bodega ( ) .

So when an opportunity to taste the new vintage as it is released one does not miss it!

Saturday last Felix presented three of his wines in the HQ of Ferevin, the body which runs the annual wine fair in Requena.

First of these was the Merlot, Fermentado en Barrica, Martinez Bermell from the 2012 Vintage which is 14%ABV. The wine is fermented and spends not more than two months in oak. It is a medium bodied plum red wine with a violet edge and long slow legs. On the nose floral notes and grape are followed by a youthful freshness but with a mature cherry fruit and a hint of oak. In the mouth, cherry fruit, easy pass across the palate and good volume with a long red fruit finish make for a very nice wine.

The second wine was the bodegas under-rated Madurado en Barrica also from the 2012 vintage. This is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Tempranillo and Bobal. ( 13.5% ABV). This was a deeper black cherry colour also with a violet edge and long legs. On the nose it is more complex, fruity and quite open, oak, mature fruit, jam. In the mouth it is full, round, has smooth tannins, good volume and a long full finish.

Casa Don Angel 2011.

Casa Don Angel 2011.

But the wine we had all come for was the Casa Don Angel 2011 Bobal with eighteen months in French oak. 14.5% ABV. In colour it is deeper still than the previous wine, black cherry with a blue, violet edge, and long slow glycerinous legs. The nose was less open than the last vintage to be released at the same point in its evolution ( the 2009…now sold out!) No wine was made in 2010 because wet weather made the variety too difficult to handle. Nonetheless there was a blackcurrant fruit in the background. In the mouth the entry is marked by sweet tannins, muted fruit and but very full, powerful, meaty…..a wine with a long finish and a long future ahead of it which could possibly have done with an hour in decanter before tasting.

The wine receives its formal presentation  in Valencia City tonight and those attending are in for a treat!



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