Bodega Mas de Rander Revisited – The Innovation Continues.


Mas de Rander

Mas de Rander

It is hard to believe that I have not been back to this eco-sustainable bodega since my initial visit in April 2012, just five months after the bodega opened. ( http://wp.me/p16pqB-p4 ).

Owner Juan Domingo Tárrega had kindly agreed to our request for a visit when we had met him in Peñiscola the week before.

The bodega´s project continues apace and little had changed visibly either inside or outside. Juando explained that the two main wines, `Syrah´ and `Temps´ were well established in the market, still very much the local restaurant trade.The bodega has been gaining recognition, not least winning a silver award for the Syrah in a prestigious International competition for the variety, just one of eight from Spain and in which France, Chile  and Australia had predominated.

Silver award for the Syrah.

Silver award for the Syrah.

Juando told us  about developments and plans for the future before going on a visit to the bodega below us. He explained that he had  plans  to possibly  introduce a new white wine.

White wine lable.

White wine lable.

The on-line shop offers a white from Macabeo, Viognier and Moscatel, three of the white varieties that they grow, but he is much more interested in a new variety, Picapulla. This is the same variety grown down the French Mediterranean coast and known as Picpoul de Pinet. There is good reason for him to consider this variety.

In the Vineyard.

In the Vineyard.

Firstly it is a variety, sold from Sete in the Llanguedoc  to the Spanish border, the vineyards close to the sea and which sells out annually,  bought by those in the know to accompany the local oysters and mussels etc grown in the lagoons such as Bouzigues. Mas de Rander may be physically on top of the mountain range which runs down the coast near Torreblanca but it is the closest bodega to the sea in Spain, its vineyards enjoying sea breezes which help keep the vines healthy and the grapes free from stress as temperature changes are less marked.

Further, some of the varieties planted most recently are now ready to produce wine.

mdr deposit

Two reds fall into this category, first is Garnacha Tintorera and Juando is interested in making a monovarietal from it which would be the first to be produced in the Valencian Community and sold with 12 months bottle ageing without having been in cask. Normally it would be blended with other varieties.

Second is Monastrell which should be ready to give its first wine in 2016. He is also interested in producing his own monovarietal,  from this autoctonal variety.

We set off on a tour before tasting from deposit, some of the varietals that Juando has ready for his future wines.

Juando selects from deposit.

Juando selects from deposit.

Some changes were noted and the bodega was awaiting a final clean before the harvest starts the next week.

In the deposit room, there were more of the stainless steel tanks he prefers. He explained he does not use the double skinned type. He prefers to use `plaques´ to control the temperature of the fermentation. This is confined to contact with the core of the wine to avoid heat loss through the walls and is better than cooling random parts of the tanks with the traditional `serpentines´. Moreover, temperature can be controlled more rapidly this way.

In the barrel park.

In the barrel park.

In the barrel room there were more barricas than on my last visit, French, American and Hungarian but his Russian barrels have now been firmly rejected.

Following a trip around the bottling line etc we returned to the deposit room and found some wine-glasses for the next stage of the visit.

The first wine we tried was the Merlot 2014. This is giving Juando a bit of a dilemma. Should he use it as normal in a blend with Cabernet Sauvignon ( Temps) for example or release it as a monovarietal?

mdr riki tasting 2

The wine is a vibrant plum red in colour, medium bodied, clean, with very long slow legs. ( This is a vineyard which cannot produce a red wine with less than 14% ABV and usually they are nearer to 15%!)

On the nose the plum and damson fruit are rich and ripe.

In the mouth the wine is immediately rich, ripe, meaty, full of flavours of red and black plums and it has a very long finish.

mdr vivid book

It is a little lighter in depth of colour than maybe I had expected but it has a very solid structure. One half of VÍ vid thought it might be best in a blend to which that structure would be added and that it might lose some of the  fruit which makes it so currently attractive in the bottling process and not last with time in bottle. On the other hand the other half felt it was worth trying as a monovarietal because the wine is so attractive now as it is. No wonder Juando has a dilemma!

The second wine was the Syrah 2014, destined to be the next vintage of the wine which is sold as a monovarietal. Annual production of this wine is about 20,000 and this will be bottled in October. A short period to handle bottle-sickness and it will be on the market in the new year.

Garnacha ( left ) and syrah.

Garnacha ( left ) and Syrah.

Medium bodied wine, a little deeper cherry in colour, again with long slow legs. On the nose this is what the Spanish call a `bomba de frutas!´ It is full of raspberry fruit. In the mouth it is fresh, fruity and a big mouthful. It is no wonder this is a popular wine.

Third wine was the new Garnacha Tintorera, 15% ABV, with 10 months in deposit. . Very deep black cherry in colour, dense, opaque. Youthful long legs, coloured the sides of the glass.

On the nose blackcurrant, Cassis, mature black fruits. In the mouth initially a little astringent it had a creamy side to it as well. Full bodied, meaty, fruity, with depth, this too could end up as a monovarietal, with around 1500 bottles only it will be a flagship wine.

mdrjuando

Finally with 10 months in oak, then 6 months further in deposit to stabilize the wine we tasted the base of the 2012 `Temps´.

A pure Cabernet Sauvignon this was garnet in colour with long legs.  Very reminiscent of the variety with lots of characteristic notes, slightly vegetal, fruity, with menthol and herbs in the background.

In the mouth, it is strong, very rich and round, full of mature fruit, long , full complex finish and a little salty. Elegant, but it faces blending later with Syrah and or Merlot.

VÍ vid in the barrel park.

VÍ vid in the barrel park.

Once again we had spent a very useful morning learning more about the wines from Castellon and the development of wines and their evolution. On reflection we both noted that wines from this bodega have much more notable fruit in their make-up than those from inland near Les Useres and Benlloch itself. We could not help wondering if this was at least in part due to the location of the vineyards closer to the sea. Certainly their counterparts from just 15-40km away have more `terroir´than Juandos wines.

The future wines from Mas de Rander certainly have potential!

 

Roll of Honour, the Syrah awards.

Roll of Honour, the Syrah awards.

 

 

 

 

 

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