Tag Archives: Al Vent

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.

20160308_195553 - copia

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.

Coviñas Launches New Bobal Tinto in the `Al Vent´ Range.

Publicity Banner for the New Wine


`Al Vent´is the new range from Coviñas the flagship co-operative based in Requena.

Some two years ago this progressive organisations new product committee were looking for something to fill the emerging market for wines aimed at the younger wine-drinker, something with style and a new look in packaging terms as well as a quality product.

The first wine was the 2010 Bobal Rosado, a wine which hit the market with its stylish new bottle and fancy case design but most importantly was a fresh fruity rosado with bags of strawberry, cream and bubble-gum flavours balanced with a fresh acidity making it an easy drinker, something to enjoy with friends on its own, with a good seafood and rice dish but which did not hit you hard in the pocket. I remember drinking this on several occasions and showing it at wine tastings……so the products committee seem to have fulfilled their brief! ( Especially as the wine was selected as best Rosado in the region.)


The Al Vent Range.

With the name and the packaging protected, the search for a white to join the range began . Sauvignon Blanc is not widely grown in Utiel-Requena although Hispano Suizas have a `tour de force´ with theirs. It is a variety which ripens quickly and needs to be picked at its optimum ( a critically short  period)  as Felix Garcia was explaining to me last night. If not the acidity is lost and you might as well throw the grapes away.

However, this was the variety chosen and I first tasted the wine at the Requena sausage fair earlier this year, product of the 2011 vintage. I was amazed at the northern French style nose , all cats pee, elderflower and  gooseberry with a little less of the tropical fruit which sunnier climates can produce. In the mouth it too had a well-balanced acidity making it an easy drinker and a worth addition to the range.

Last night saw the launch of the red wine to complete the range, a Tinto, 100% Bobal in the joven style. Being a co-operative they have access to plots of vines right across the Utiel-Requena plateau with vines as low as 400m above sea level right up to 900m. Diego Morcillo the winemaker at Coviñas explained that the concept for this wine was to make a coupage with some wines from the higher levels, grown in the traditional style and others from lower levels, grown specifically for the fruit flavours and destined for cold fermentation and six months in French and American oak. This means that the elegance and structure which bobal can produce is balanced with maximum extraction of aromatics and fruit flavours in a blend which is lightly filtered before bottling and which will throw a small amount of sediment.


Felix Garcia Approves the New Wine!

The wine was shown chilled as last night temperatures were still around 30 degrees and was bottled just three weeks ago.

It is typically deep, dark, cherry in colour with the bright violet-blue edge which is characteristic of the wine, with good legs. The nose was initially a little muted for me, probably because it needs a little longer in bottle to settle down and a direct result of chilling. However as it warmed up there was a distinct waft of fruit and in the mouth there is plenty of cherry, soft tannins, and with a good long finish with lots of chocolate and coffee cream.

Felix, Miguel Angel Martin of `enocata.com´and I quickly formed an impromptu tasting committee! Our view was unanimously that this is an easy drinking, well made wine, with sufficient fruit and elegance. Overall it is fun wine, one in which  you don´t have to go looking for scents and flavours  as Felix put it!

It is, on the basis of last nights launch a worthy addition to complete this range.

The wine is also aimed at the restaurant trade although it may well be that Coviñas will seek importers for the range ( all three of which sell for about 3.50€ a bottle ) from the UK especially. This time it will be in the specialist market as there is insufficient production to satisfy supermarket chains.

The UK, Germany, Italy and China are seen as destinations for their wines following initial success in these markets. Good news for Aldi´s UK customers looking for more of the `Toro Loco´ Tempranillo  is that there is more on the way! The bodega sold 7 million bottles last year, around 20% more than the year before and exported lots more in bulk.

The launch was held in the 14th Century Palacio del Mercader, a gothic style building in the centre of Valencia which was restored in 1998 before becoming the HQ of the federations of Valencia´s Cooperative movements. The launch was followed by a tasting of the `Al Vent ´range and an impressive finger buffet!

This is an impressive range of easy drinking wines with a very good quality to price ratio and I look forward to finding a local distributor so that I can enjoy more of them over the rest of the year!



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