Bodegas El Rebollar, Ernesto Carcel…..Revisited.


Bodega El Rebollar, Ernesto Carcel.

Bodega El Rebollar, Ernesto Carcel.

 

I first visited the subterranean bodega of Ernesto Carcel in July of 2011. As he has very kindly agreed to sponsor a pair of tastings in May I took the opportunity of a free Saturday to visit him again, catch up with developments and find out a bit more about the wines from this hamlet about 12 km from the town of Requena.

At this time of year the vines are just beginning to show the first few leaves and buds. As a result the vines really are a silhouette against the red, sandy soil of the area. Yes there are touches of green, the first budding has taken place but the growth is short. As Ernesto remarked they desperately need rain. Lots of rain. The reality is that there has been none of any consequence since….well he could not remember when,  but consequentially the metre or so of top soil which normally retains moisture is as dry as a bone.

In the Vineyards.

In the Vineyards.

¨Abril, Aguas Mil¨ is the local saying ( amongst many others) It roughly translates as April showers! No rain within the next few days and the plants will not be able to sustain a harvest. Something in the order of 20 litres per square metre will do, gentle steady rain that will filter down, not thunderstorms nor hailstorms. Sadly these can be devastating destroying the putative buds and whilst normally it is still early enough for secondary budding to take place this also will not be possible without rainfall. The plants simply do not have sufficient moisture.

I suppose it could be worse. Parts of Utiel-Requena are suffering an attack from `escarabajos´ a beetle which burrows into the plant and eats the new growth. Fortunately for Ernesto they have not appeared around El Rebollar!

New Growth

New Growth

The bodega has not changed much, a lick of paint here or there maybe and Ernesto was planting bedding plants when we arrived. Ernesto has retired although he is still happily pottering around! Middle daughter Belen is completing her degree course this year in Enology at Valencia´s University Polytechnic and is already playing a greater part in the running of the family bodega.

She will join the company when her course is completed.

Daughters Cristina and Belen.

Daughters Cristina and Belen.

Ernesto has disposed of any distributor who may have been around three years ago and currently the wine is marketed directly from the bodega. It is available in restaurants in Valencia but the aim is to utilise new technology through the website more, in the future. The bodega does have a big order from Nigeria, which is causing extra labelling requirements and as a result only three of the six or seven different wines are available in any great amount. Although Ernesto has capacity and capability to make 100k litres of wine per year they are currently bottling somewhere around 14k only, with bag in box an option for the basic wine.

There are plans for the vineyards as well. Wife Pepa is a winemaker from La Manchuela. I remembered Ernesto had asked me about Bobal Blanco, a rarely seen wine from the local variety, but which is more common across the internal border. He hopes to plant this next year and then we will have to wait for the plants to mature! There are also plans to put in up to 30 new varieties to experiment with, both red and white. This will be Belens project.

Some of the 62 American Oak Barrels.

Some of the 62 American Oak Barrels.

The plans for the Ecological Agriculture certificates are also on the back burner. Whilst they have some value in sales in Northern Europe there are other parts of the world where it is a meaningless concept. It is also expensive and they could not use the lables until the 2011 vintages are released. As they are currently selling wines from 2000, 2005, and 2007 one understands the predicament.

As always these days we were  there to select wines for the tastings and a visit to this bodega usually provides a treat!

As the Macabeo 2007 Crianza was not available we started with a red. ( The white is fermented in American oak and then aged for a few months and provides a rounded wine  which is excellent with paella!)

The Carcel de Corpa 2007 is a Crianza made from 100% Tempranillo although in future years it will become a blend with Garnacha and Bobal. It is 13% ABV. This is a medium bodied wine , crimson to plum red with good legs. On the nose there is a brambly soft fruit, quite sweet but despite 12 months in American oak it is the varietal characteristics which shine through rather than oaky notes.

In the mouth the fruit again predominates , brambly fruits of the forest, nicely integrated alcohol, very light acidity and a wine which eventually shows the effects of oak in coffee-cream. It is creamy and unctuous, a very easy drinker but one well capable to standing up to dried sausages, cheese  and chorizo for example. A long fruity finish emphasises the depth of fruit .

The second wine was the real treat. Carcel de Corpa 2000 is a pure Bobal. It is a Gran Reserva with three years ageing in American oak , barrels which may have been  used for the third time.

Ernesto still prefers younger vines so this is from a vineyard which the vines  have no more than 45-50 years of age. For a reserva Bobal you might normally expect the vines to have twice that age!

Bobal Gran Reserva 2000.

Bobal Gran Reserva 2000.

This retains its deep black cherry colour, is full bodied and still has a hint of violet at the edge. The legs are very long, very slow to form and very glycerinous! This is also the second time in a month where this style of wine has surprised me with its vivacity. On the nose , which evolved slowly the fruit was predominantly cherry, but there was eucalyptus, liquorice, smoke and hints of oak.  In the mouth the wine is full-bodied, very well-balanced spicy ( clove) soft, deep, round and silky with a long soft ripe fruit finish.

Our third wine was the 9 de Octubre,an espumoso made in the Champagne style from 100% Macabeo.The style is to have a relatively fruity wine with good attack and the bubbles therefore give a big mousse on pouring. It is pale gold, clean ,bright and the wine has spent less than 12 months on the lees.

Nonetheless on the nose when you get past the white flowers and green apple it is aromatic with big hints of panaderia. There are also notes of herbs such as those you smell when walking through the forest after rain. Complex.

In the mouth the wine does indeed have good attack, fresh acidity, citrus notes and once again hints of patisserie.

Ernesto Carcel and the Bodegas Wines.

Ernesto Carcel and the Bodegas Wines.

Tasting over , wines selected, we left Ernesto to his planting. However we are looking forward to presenting these wines in Restaurante Abierto ( Caballeros 42) in Valencia on May 15th ( In English) and May 16th ( In Spanish). If you can and would like to attend and see for yourself the tastings cost 10€ and there is a meal available afterwards with a fixed price of 12.50€  ( starters, main course and dessert with wine and coffee inc) Booking for the former through bob@valencia-international. com and for the latter through riki.wigley@live.com

http://wp.me/p16pqB-gS ( July 2011 post).

http://www.carceldecorpa.es

 

 

 

 

 

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