Tag Archives: Aranleon.

A Visit to Bodegas Aranleón, Ancient and Modern in Los Marcos.


Inside the old bodega

Inside the old bodega

Whoever you believe, be it the town hall  or Wikipedia Los Marcos is a very small hamlet of Venta del Moro,  estimates of population vary between 57 and 87! What is not in doubt is that this is a very wine focused part of Utiel-Requena with no less than five bodegas! I dare say there are vine growers who do not have their own bodega but here you will find Entreviñas, part of Finca El Renegado ( Bodegas de Utiel), Dagon, purveyors of fantastic biodynamic late harvested and aged sweet Bobals, Proexa, which I visited some time ago ( http://wp.me/p16pqB-hA ), the village cooperative dedicated to  San Isidro  and Aranleón, subject of today´s post.

Taking the country road from nearby Caudete de las Fuentes you pass Entreviñas as the meandering camino follows the contours of the hills and the edge of the vineyards.

Antique Press

Antique Press

As you pass under the disused railway bridge and enter the hamlet you can see three of the bodegas immediately and as you get closer you pass the cooperative before the turning into Proexa and Aranleón. Blink and you will be out-of-town!

The two bodegas this side of the road used to be one and indeed were another of the bodegas originally owned by the Oria de Rueda family along with Maz de Bazan, Torre Oria and Sebiran but long ago sold on by these scions of Spanish noble families.

Top of the Deposits.

Top of the Deposits.

Three separate family units bought the property in 2000 and it was to be Maria Sancho, who I first met some time after 2003 when the first wine was made, who was to  guide us around the bodega today. She, an administrator and a bodega worker together with Eloy Haya who is technical director and wine-maker and one or two others form the small team who run this artisan bodega where everything is done by hand.

You enter the old  bodega, all white tiles, red floor and immaculately sparkling which houses the old concrete tanks now lined with epoxy resin and which are still used to macerate and ferment the wines. Here there is a feeling of tradition…the grapes, all from its 120 hectares of ecological certificated vineyards arrive,  having already undergone selection in the vineyard. Here they will  undergo another  selection process. Then they will undergo alcoholic fermentation before going to the new pneumatic press. From here and by gravity they pass down to the subterranean bodega ( in complete contrast this has modern shiny stainless steel deposits of just 4000 litres for malolactic fermentation and then to bottle or barrica) . This new bodega , equally clean and shiny was built in 2005 and houses the offices, bottling line, tasting suite and the barrel park as well as a central lightwell and patio.

Bles Crianza in Deposit.

Bles Crianza in Deposit.

The vineyards are in and around the hamlet, in nearby El Ponton and the bodegas member/owners have holdings in Fontanares allowing them to market wine as DO Valencia or DO Utiel-Requena depending on the origin of the grapes.

The grapes are harvested at night to reduce stress in the bunches but also because it is cooler generally.

Entry to the Underground Bodega.

Entry to the Underground Bodega.

The bodegas products which are sold under four different trademarks, Blés, Solo, Arbol and Hélix sell well in Canada ( especially the Blés crianza)  which are the product of several  varietals…Chardonnay, Macabeo, Verdejo and Sauvignon Blanc in white and Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Bobal, Cabernet Sauvignon, Monastrell and Merlot. There is also a new cava made for them nearby in Requena.

In the barrel park you will find French and Hungarian oak barrels of 225 litres and 400 litres, the Hungarian being preferred to the American for the subtlety of the flavours they impart. There are also a pair of historical barrels from the Los Marcos bodega dating to 1927.

1927 Los Marcos Barricas.

1927 Los Marcos Barricas.

In the tasting suite we were to sample a selective but comprehensive range of wines from the bodega.

We began with the Solo Blanco 2013, a blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Macabeo. 13.5% ABV, as Maria remarked the bodegas wines are quite high in alcohol! DO Valencia by denomination, the wine was pale gold, clear, bright and with gold flashes. On the nose there was undoubtedly chardonnay but the tropical fruit of the Sauvignon Blanc predominated with lush ripe melon from the Macabeo. In the mouth the wine is rich, ripe, very full, unctuous ( the influence of the Macabeo) and with a long slightly minerally finish. Well balanced! Surprisingly considering this has never been anywhere near a barrel it was honeyed.

Solo 2013 Rosado

Solo 2013 Rosado

Next up was the Solo Rosado 2013, not Bobal but Tempranillo, 13.5%ABV and also DO Valencia. This is the first year the wine was made. This is a quite deep cherry colour, Maria believes it is like a Pinot Noir, with good long legs, quite glycerinous. On the nose it is fruity, intense, boiled sweets but lacteos as well, strawberry ice-cream or yoghurt. In the mouth the contrast was marked, the sweetness of the nose matched by good acidity, a very easy pass across the palate, but a full wine , round and with a long finish. Here is a wine which could stand up to a rich lobster paella or a salad with a strong vinegar dressing.

We moved on and tried for contrast the 2011 and 2012 Blés Roble, both with three months oak, the former having hints of dried grapes on the nose and plenty of mature fruit in the mouth whilst the later vintage was a little lighter on the nose but with lively fruit in the mouth, rich, ripe and balanced. This is a blend of Bobal and Tempranillo  and very easy to drink.

The Blés `Family´.

The Blés `Family´.

The Blés Crianza 2010, Monastrell, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, has six months in oak. It has a bright cherry colour, is medium bodied and  has long glycerinous slow legs. On the nose the fruit is mature but in the mouth the wine has depth, lacteos, and the acidity is higher. It is perhaps most representative of the bodegas style and is a wine to accompany food.

By contrast the Solo Tinto  2010, 80% Bobal, 10% each of Syrah and Tempranillo has had a full twelve months in oak and six months in bottle. This is a deeper black cherry with long legs, forceful, and in the mouth the fruit is smooth, sweet,  mature, complex and elegant. Very full and very rich…this is a star!

The Arbol 2010, the first wine which Eloy Haya is fully responsible for is named for the mediterranean pine tree. It is 14% ABV and a blend of Cabernet Franc, Monastrell, Syrah and Tempranillo , with 13 months in French oak. It is black cherry in colour, deep, although the legs are not particularly long. On the nose there is a quite subtle mature fruit.

In the mouth it is subtle, complex, good fruit, well-balanced, a persistent finish with lots of red and black fruit. This is a powerful wine for winter dishes!

Two of the Solo Range.

Two of the Solo Range.

Finally, there is always a treat. Eloy showed us a cask sample of a pure Tempranillo 2013 from Fontanares, again a deep black cherry with a violet flash, the wood was barely evident but the fruit was unmistakably a compote of blackcurrant, sweet and cloying! This is destined for the Hélix…which needless to say I shall now have to look forward to trying!

The wait will be worth it! And it wont be as long now before I open the lone bottle of Solo 2003, the first wine produced by this artisan bodega which I found lurking in the bottom of my cellar! Roll on the next working lunch!

Aftermath of the Tasting!

Aftermath of the Tasting!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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News from the IX Noche del Vino de la DOP Valencia.


 

 

Opening the White at Aranleon.

Opening the White at Aranleon.

Once again the organisers of the Noche del Vino had chosen a warm evening in June for this annual look at developments in the DO, in its Bodegas and to try new wines as well. It is also a night to catch up with the many friends and acquaintances made over the last few years! This is the night that professionals from the press, hotel and restaurant trades mingle with the bodega owners and distributors of their wines. interestingly this year it clashed with the equivalent fair in DO Alicante and a serious tasting offered by the distributors in Castellon although you would not have noticed any shortage in the number of people attending this event!

I started with Aranleon, one of several bodegas whose vineyards are in Utiel-Requena but choose the Valencia DO to market their wines. The bodega has been very lucky to avoid this years devastating hailstorms which have done considerable damage in the area.The new white Blanco Solo 2012 is a blend of Chardonnay, Macabeo and Sauvignon Blanc at 13%ABV. It is clean and fresh with glycerinous legs and a well-balanced fruit which is quite rich with a big clean acidity. A big wine.

 

Bisila Range.

Bisila Range.

The Verdil from Daniel Belda is also fresh but lighter in style and it seems amazing that in just four months the wine, which is always the first wine in the Northern Hemisphere to be marketed each year, will be available in the 2013 vintage! Belda has not been quite so lucky this year with a large area of the Chardonnay crop  in their Fontanars vineyards destroyed by hail.

Also from Fontanars I tried the 2012 vintage of the Brote white from Dominio de los Pinos. This is a barrel fermented blend of Viognier and Verdil and is a whopping 14.5%ABV. Old gold, clean and bright, with very long slow, fat glycerinous legs. The wine is unctuous too. On the nose white flowers, acacia and tropical fruits. In the mouth very full, peach, clean acidity and a very big silky mouthful of wine.

Nearby were the wines from Ladron de Lunas, another Requena based bodega  and marketing well with sales abroad. They now also make the wines for the African Literacy project, Bisila wines which I wrote about in February 2012 when the wines were made by Torre Oria. I tried the  Sauvignon Blanc 2012, 12.5%ABV, a fresh white with a big gooseberry nose and clean fresh acidity and ripe fruit in the mouth. To me this seemed to be French in style , very aromatic and pleasant. The Chardonnay also has a hint of the Macon style about it. 12.5%ABV and with a month in barrel, it is straw yellow, quite restrained on the nose but in the mouth well-balanced, dry and a long finish.

Arquis supporting Muscular Dystrophy.

Arquis supporting Muscular Dystrophy.

 

And on the subject of Bodegas helping charities Torrevellisca from Fontanars were showing their new wines from the Arquis range which support a muscular dystrophy charity. The Primum Selección 2010 is 25% Merlot, 25% Tempranillo and 50% Cabernet Sauvignon and is bright red, intense with ruby flashes and good legs. On the nose oaky and in the mouth smooth, easy drinking, with good mature red fruits.

Back to the whites and a very good one at that from Casa de las Vides, the Agullent bodega which I visited last year, ( Archives 2 June 2012) This is a blend of Macabeo, Verdil, Gewürztraminer and Sauvignon Blanc and 13% ABV. Very clean and bright, fresh from its blue German style bottle, the nose is complex and full of white flowers, ripe fruit, pear, melon, peach and is quite spicy. In the mouth this complexity is less apparent, a nice fresh clean wine good acidity but well-balanced with lots of fruit flavours.

The Rosae ( rosado) is frankly one of the best I have ever tasted. From Garnacha and Cabernet Sauvignon it is rose in colour, smells of fresh red fruit with floral notes ( rose) and in the mouth is fresh, dry , fruity and very satisfying. This is the wine I heard the most compliments about on the night.

There are of course wines from other parts of the DO and from higher vineyards. From Siete Aguas the wines from Sanchez Zahonera are at about 900m above sea-level. This young bodega won a gold in Brussels for  the first vintage they made! Now producing four wines and the white  Bressols from Merseguera is an excellent example of what can be produced at these levels from a dry white grape. Alfonso Sanchéz the winemaker has produced a white which is fresh, clean and bright and with a floral nose. In the mouth this searingly dry variety is easy to drink with an aromatic intensity and is  fresh and fruity. Long dry finish.

Wines from Polo Monleon

Wines from Polo Monleon

Not far from here are the vineyards and the Bodega of the Polo Monleon family in Titaguas, one of the underated bodegas of the Alto Turia. Under the Hoya de Castillo label Manuel, the current winemaker is producing a range of four excellent but sadly little known wines. The white which is a blend of Merseguera and Macabeo ( 20%) is a very good wine. Pale lemon in colour I was surprised at the depth and richness of the fruit on the nose, white fruits such as melon and apple. In the mouth an initial sparkle the wine is full, well-balanced and with well balanced acidity. This bodega should be the subject of next weeks post.

Also high up above Valencia in the village of Alcublas (Valentino) the coop is producing two very good wines this year. The white is a pure Merseguera called Balcon de Valencia and it too is a fresh, easy drinking dry white with fresh fruit on the nose and in the mouth. But it is the red Tempranillo Palacia which has surprised me this year. Normally not a wine I would buy in the past,  the 2012 joven is full of fruit and a real easy drinker! The bodega sells both wines for just 2.15€ a bottle and produces a traditional Moscatel Mistela and a range of excellent award-winning olive oils. An easy drive from Valencia it is worth a visit for the views as well!

Reymos 1918

Reymos 1918

From the Moscatel growing area around Cheste, Chiva and Turis, the bodega in Cheste has increased its range of sparklers from the variety, in this case a `cava´ style called Reymos 1918. The bodega is of course part of the giant Anecoop brand and the bottle has a label designed by Montesinos. A brut nature the wine is winning prizes already. Clean fresh with hints of peach and orange skin on the nose it is fresh in the mouth with a creamy long full finish. A serious wine if a little overpriced for me.

The four sub-zones of the DO ( Alto Turia, Valentino, Clariano ( which includes the Terres dels Alforins) Moscatel and of course bolstered by the wines of Utiel-Requena using the Valencia DO have a wide diversity and produce wines for all tastes. Sadly there was no time to try all 200 wines on show given the crush and the social nature of the event. At least next year i can concentrate on some of the bodegas I missed this year!

Finally it is of course the event which acts as prize-giving for the DO. Chief amongst the worthy winners was Pablo Ossorio, technical director at Murviedro and one of the owners of Hispano-Suizas who was recognised with the DO´s Order of Merit.

 

 

 

Pablo Ossorio, Order of Merit.

Pablo Ossorio, Order of Merit.

 

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