Monthly Archives: March 2016

Bobal Masterclass in Valencia.


DO Utiel-Requena continues with its wine educational programme, this time bringing their `Jornadas´ programme to Valencia City itself, with the attendance of VIvid.

Monday and Tuesday 7/8 March saw two very special events which were held in the Royal Academy of Valencian Culture.

In support of the Territorio Bobal initiative to have Utiel-Requena and its predominant grape variety granted UNESCO world heritage status the DO organized two separate events.

The first was a conference on the Bobal variety, its value in agricultural terms, its quality as a producer of wines, and how it has shaped the life of Utiel-Requena.

The second was a tasting of five wines from the variety, exemplary wines which demonstrated the quality, potential, ageing characteristics and versatility of the variety.

Neither the history nor the quality of the wines are any novelty to VIvid. We have followed closely the UNESCO campaign, attending regular presentations and reporting on them, tasting the wines and even presenting them in tutored tastings ourselves, most recently in a training course in the English language for the DO itself.

What made this pair of events different was that they were presented by Jose Vicente Guillem Ruiz ( Pepe) whose standing in the wine world in the Valencian Community is  unparalleled.

Born in 1945 and qualified as an `Agricultural Engineer´ he is a specialist in the industry, management of companies in the sector, has been Director of the Requena  Estación de Viticultura and Enologia and is an expert with links to both the Valencian Institute of Agricultural Quality and the Agriculture Ministry of the Valencian Government.

He is President of the Proava tasting panel for the Concurso de Vinos Valencia, the Provinces most important wine Competition on which VIvid are jurors.

We attended the specialist tasting precisely because we knew we would learn something more about the wines we regularly use! And so it proved to be.

20160308_193748First of the five wines was an Espumoso, Pago de Tharsys Unico 2008, a wine made by the Traditional Method but not allowed to be called a Cava because the Bobal variety is not permitted by the DO. The vines are well known to us, we helped harvest the 2014 vintage. With more than 20 years of age they are from an ecological vineyard. Gold in colour, brilliant with gold flashes, this wine has 20 months on the lees in bottle before disgorging. Fine persistent bubbles rising in spirals from multiple points in the glass, typical summer fruits of apricot, toasted almonds and white flowers on the nose and repetition in the mouth, this is a quality wine with a long, full finish. Elegant.

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The Parreño Rosado 2015 is a `classic´. Fresh rose in colour with the typical violet edge of the variety on the nose it is all bubble-gum strawberry and pear drop boiled sweets! Fresh, well balanced in the     mouth and with a wonderful acidity and volume, yet fresh and easy to drink. The best vintage we have ever tasted.


Al Vent Bobal 2014 is also a young wine from Coviñas. Black cherry in colour it shows slightly menthol notes, fresh cherry and blackcurrant fruit as well as the childrens sweets characteristic of the variety. With notes of a short period in barrel it is unctuous, balanced and seductive. A wine to share with friends.




Caprasia Bobal/Merlot 2014 from Vegalfaro is distinct for the varieties having been picked in mid September and the last week of October, vinified separately then blended after  just three months  in second use oak . Cherry red, with lots of red fruits on the nose the acidity of the Bobal is counterbalanced by the sweet plum fruit of the Merlot. Well balanced, fruity and a delight to drink!



Finally the Casa Don Angel  Bobal 2011 from Vera de Estenas with  18 months in French oak . Cherry in colour but with its characteristic purple edge, something which barely diminishes with age it had a distinctly oaky elegant nose, ripe plum, chocolate, liquorice and smoky notes . Powerful but still young on the nose. In the mouth intense with black fruit, cinnamon, vanilla, cedar wood, an elegant wine with a long finish and many years life ahead of it.

This was a masterclass in all senses of the word, a tasting not to be forgotten.

DO Rías Baixas and Albariño triumph in Valencia.


Last Monday, 8 March, DO Rías Baixas swept into Valencia with a selection of wines, mainly from the Albariño Variety. The white wines , often with three years ageing and various lengths of time in contact with their lees have a strong following in the Valencian Community.
The day gave an opportunity for the DO to publicise their products to the press, sumilleres , distributors and the restaurant trade. It started with a lunch for the specialist press, including VÍ vid, followed by a tutored tasting and an open  session in which 22 bodegas showed a range of 78 wines.
Lunch was held in `Apicius´, one of Valencia´s finest of fine dining experiences where chef Enrique Medina plies his trade with a mixture of fusion and classic combinations all of them with only the freshest, tastiest and seasonal ingredients ( in this case Maresme peas and truffle!)

Lunch was served with two Albariños. The first, Zarate 2015 sightly pale gold, fresh, clean, with citrus fruit on the nose and a clean fresh sparkle in the mouth.It had a well balanced acidity and long mineral finish. The second Fillabao 2014 had more time on the lees, a deeper golden colour, more developed, perfumed and elegant nose and rich elegant and round in the mouth.
Over lunch President of the DO Juan Gil de Araujo spoke of the possibility of growing sales in the Valencian Community, where the wines are already popular. Some 30% of sales are exported and 2015 saw production grow by 5% to 20.3 million litres.
The aperitivos were Kakao del Collaret, and Melón del Pil Pil and were followed by starters of  Croquetas caseras and bocadillo of truffle with jamon.
Ceviche Nikkei de Bonito del mediterraneo and then Tuétano trufado ( marrow bone) followed. The sugar snap peas made their first appearance in the next dish with a poached free range egg and truffle and then a spicy Hurte ( Sea Bream ) de Cullera with curry verde, a green Thai recipe.
A classic game dish of Pichón ( Pigeon) de Lombers con su ravoli y berenjena was the main meat dish. This was served rare, a breast and leg with the liver in a ravioli and smoky aubergine.

A clever palate cleanser of the peas, sweetcorn, and parsley in an ice-cream came before the dessert, Chocolate en texturas.
The food was noted for the  combination of flavours working together, the freshness of each component and the intense depth of flavours that Enrique had married together. Not just `pretty´food but seriously flavourful food too!

The wines perfectly complemented the food and following this working lunch some 50 sumilleres were treated to a tutored tasting in the Las Arenas Hotel. This was followed by an open fair where we tasted wines from several bodegas including Palacio de Fefiñanes ( the President´s bodega, ) Martin Codax, Viña Cartin, Bodegas La Val, Mar de Frades, and Viñas y Adegas Galegas, good representatives of DO Rías Baixas.


VÍ vid

An intense and educative day for VÍ vid assessing wines with short and long crianzas and time on the lees , and a valuable one.



Craft Ales from Brooklyn (NY) hit Valencia!


Craft Ales (US), Real Ales(UK) or Cervezas Artesenales ( Spain), call them what you like, are now very much the fashion wherever you are. Here in Valencia we even have our own annual competition for breweries within the Valencian Community called the `Lupulo d´Oro, ´organised by Chema Ferrer a journalist at `Las Provincias´ newspaper.

VÍ vid are currently jury members for this competition and from time to time we put the wine glasses down and go to visit a brewery and enjoy a `real ale´ tasting. Why `real ale´? Because the beer undergoes a fermentation in the bottle or deposit and remains in contact with its yeasts which add body and flavour to the finished product.
Last Thursday evening `Tyris on Tap´, the central Valencia outlet for the Riba Roja based brewery `Tyris´gave its space over to the Brooklyn (NY) brewery´s beers. Rob Capitelli, described as a craft ale pioneer and the brewer at this historical brewery, was over from the States with his beers at the Barcelona Beer Festival. He had been invited to Valencia to enjoy some of our Spring culture ( Fallas) and thoughtfully persuaded owner Gonzalo Abia Diaz to let him bring some beers as well!
Good move. We tasted four guest `ales´ during the evening.
The first was a lager, but much darker in colour being a pale amber. Fermented at low temperature for about three weeks with toasted malts it is `dry hopped´after the process allowing the flavours to steep into the ale. With a lot of brioche on the nose it was fresh, full bodied but very pleasant with its bitter hop finish.
Second ale was Brown Ale. A darker amber colour with a good consistent and persistent creamy crown, it had a hoppy floral nose with citrus notes and a well balanced body and bitter finish.
Fruity would be the best way to describe the third ale, `Pumpkin´ which also had a good crown. Its nose was fruity, and it had a long full fruity complex refreshing finish.
All these ales were around 5%ABV
The last, a Porter style was a dark black ale. ` Black Chocolate Porter´was a healthy 10% ABV with a good crown, smoky nose redolent of a light `marmite´. This took me back to the good old days, drinking barley wines such as Hardy´s Ale from the now defunct Eldridge Pope brewery in Dorset ( 11.7%ABV and with a life expectancy of 30 years).
This was deep, creamy with a very full body and lots of flavours. Our favourite ale on the night!
Tyris´s initiative in setting up a central Valencia bar has led to other brewers taking up the theme. Now `guest´craft ales are coming as well, albeit for a short period.

Tourists in the know now flock to the `Tap, ´ many on guided tours to taste the excellent range of beers from Valencia´s pioneering brewery.  Good luck exporting  your beers to the UK!


The `Tyris´ Range.


`Sabor a Málaga´ visits Valencia!

Last Thursday, 18 February Sabor a málaga visited Valencia and presented four wines from the DO to a selected press audience, including VÍ vid  over lunch at Macel.lum restaurant.


This initiative took place the day before `Verema Experience´ one of the best annual wine events held in Valencia and at which the Diputación de Málaga were supporting the presentation of the DO´s wines.

Málaga is known for its sweet rich wines from the Pedro Ximenez and Moscatel varieties but in recent times new sub-zones of the DO have been created. One of these is around the district of Ronda and we were to try two wines from this region as well as two of the more traditional styles.

Macel-lum is also a well known restaurant in Valencia, not least for its chef, Alejandro Platero, recently a contestant in Spains `Top Chef´television contest, streets ahead of the `Masterchef´ equivalent. Carlos Caballero Sanguino and he had created an eclectic menu which were about to enjoy.20160218_161922

The first wine Dulce Delicià Numero 12 was a golden almost amber, pure Moscatel with an orange marmalade nose, which did not disappoint in the mouth. This complemented a ceviche de concha fina de la caleta de Vélez.

The second was a white from the Serrania de Ronda district. Lunares, 2014 Sauvignon Blanc/Chardonnay was a pale yellow wine. The nose took me back to my childhood with its hints of rose hip syrup on a complex nose. But in the mouth came the real surprise. With five months in contact with its lees this is a creamy, smooth wine with depth , complexity and a very long fruity finish. A wonderful wine.

This accompanied a carpaccio of gamba màlagueña and subsequently a gazpachuelo màlagueño con rape curado. Both dishes worked well with the wine.


The red  was a pure syrah Perezoso, with 14 months in oak. It had bright violet tones raspberry and other red fruit notes and in the mouth rounded tannins, big red fruit berry flavours and a long satisfying finish.

This matched beautifully with the Chivo màlagueño a rich meaty dish which was very tender.20160218_154240

Finally the Malaga Dulce Añejo was a pure deep brown Pedro Ximenez with eight years crianza. Full of dried grapes on the nose it is a typical deep, rich sweet wine and a very good reperesentative of the regions wines. This was superb with a confection of mango, white chocolate and almond.

This was a timely reminder that Màlaga still produces wine worthy of matching with  fine dining  and the new wines from Ronda show real potential for future consideration.




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