Tag Archives: Baron D´Alba

Bodegas Baron D´Alba – In search of the Perfect Soils.


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Back in December 2013 we visited the Les Useres ( Castellon) bodega owned by Sergio Garrido as part of an educational trip looking at new wines and  wines developing  in deposit and cask. This is an important part of our work in giving wine tastings because we are often asked technical questions about wine-making methods in the Valencian Community. The reality is there are many twists in wine making where enologists have their own personal ideas and practices to obtain the best results from the material the vine-grower provides them at harvest time.

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Of course any wine-maker will have commenced his work long before the harvest, ensuring the vines are not being stressed by asking them to produce too much. Pruning at the post flowering stage and removal of unwanted shoots ( poda en verde) is one of the first issues to be dealt with at the end of Spring. At Clos  D´esgarracordes the soils have always been important. Wine maker Mario Malafosse who has been there for four years working with Sergio Garrido, makes the soils his number one priority. On VÍ vid´s follow-up visit yesterday ( at which we were once again to taste the new and developing wines)  we started with a walk into the vineyards to look at the flowering taking place in the Cabernet Sauvignon variety.

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Cabernet Sauvignon, flowering.

From here we went on to look at the Merlot where `poda en verde´ was taking place, the two arms of the vines were being stripped of the excessive growth as were shoots coming from the base of the vines. This involves removing some of the putative bunches so that the vines do not produce more than around 1.5-2kg each of grapes.

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Buds on the Merlot.

Here, Mario has been experimenting with green manure to feed the roots of the vines and improve the soil. Soil  is a priority for both Sergio and Mario. The former has always wanted his wines to express the land      ( or  terroir) from which they come ( a mixture of sand and stone.) For Mario it has been his major study as an enologist.

Experimental area with wood chippings.

Experimental area with wood chippings.

Currently they are experimenting with different ground cover such as growing broad beans down the middle of the rows of vines. These fix a lot of nutrient into the soils, enriching them and subsequently benefiting the vines. They also protect the soils from the direct sunlight. But they have also experimented with sawdust and wood chippings packed around the base of the vines to act as a mulch and keep moisture in. Certainly the vines receiving this treatment had a much more humid soil.

Sergio Garrido demonstarting Pode en Verde.

Sergio Garrido demonstrating Poda en Verde.

Nor could you help but notice that the soil had a lot of spores growing in it, a sure sign that it was alive with nutrients. Not that any wood will do of course, pine for example does not work because of the resins it holds! We returned to the bodega and commenced our tastings from the deposits and barrels. Starting with the 2014 Rosado, still to be filtered but ready for bottling this is a blend of Monastrell, Garnacha and Syrah. Sergio and Mario are  trying to produce a rosado which gives a nod to the fashion for paler wines without losing the essence of Valencian Rosados. Although a paler salmon than in the past it  retains a brilliance in the glass. Moreover this is not a wine from free run juice , the press is used after a two-hour maceration to ensure that the characteristics of the soils come through from the skins. This will be a fresh , raspberry fruit wine with a natural sweetness balanced with a good acidity and a long dry mineral, even salty, finish. The best rosado we have tried from this bodega!

2014 Gewurztraminer.

2014 Gewurztraminer.

Second was  the 2014 Macabeo/Viognier blend which will make the new `Clos´wine. Both varieties have a short crianza in oak to enrich the wines, with battonage once a week.Second usage oak tends to impart less oak flavours into the wine , rather giving them a fuller body. This wine has it with lovely depth of fruit and balancing acidity. A wine to watch out for on release! The bodega´s Gewürztraminer has been much-lauded since its release last year and is a best seller at winefairs. This 2014 is the most expressive so far although sadly there will only be about 400 bottles because of last years drought. The 2014 is the most expressive yet, the fruitiest , richest and most spicy with a finish that never stops developing!

Sergio Garrido with VÍ vid.

Sergio Garrido with VÍ vid.

Moving to the reds, `Pelegri ´ is the bodega´s top wine in the `Collection´ series.In 2011 the wine was a French style Cabernet Sauvignon, full of green and black pepper and an excellent wine. But, Pelegri will be made from the variety which performs the best each year and in 2012 that was the Syrah. In 2013 it will be the Merlot.

Pelegri 2012, Syrah

Pelegri 2012, Syrah

We tasted both, the Syrah from deposit where, having been stabilised  it awaits bottling and the Merlot from barrel where it has spent its first year in wood. The Syrah is a bright chery colour, the wine painting the glass. On the nose it is very expressive with tobacco, chocolate, pepper, plum and fruits of the forest. In the mouth the tannins are smooth and the the wine powerful This will be a worthy successor to the Cabernet! The 2013 Merlot is a plum colour, youthful and still has more time in barrel to come. There is a lot of jammy fruit, black pepper, but at the moment it is quite tannic. Huge potential this wine. We look forward to tasting from barrel or  from deposit next year before bottling!

Marian, Juanjo and wine-maker Mario in the bodega.

Marian, Juanjo and wine-maker Mario in the bodega.

Finally we tried the  Monastrell 2013 which is fresh, fruity and aromatic with big hints of violet in a floral nose. Over lunch, which consisted of a local paella with rib of pork, rabbit and chicken with vegetables we continued our talks and discussed a range of issues.

We were given one final surprise! Sergio and Mario have been experimenting with a sparkling wine to add to the range. Castellon is outside DO Cava so although it will be made by the traditional method it will be an `espumoso´. We tried a bottle to finish off the meal and it showed great promise with a year,  so far, in bottle on the lees.

We are very pleased to have this bodega as an associate and to be able to promote their wines in future tastings. we look forward to a long continuing relationship with them, a bodega whose owner and winemaker have a clear idea of their style and want to ensure the future improvement of the vineyards and with it the wines!

Paella for Lunch!

Paella for Lunch!

Pedralba Wine Club Reaches its 50th Tasting!!!


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The Pedralba Wine Club was born on 9 June 2010. Following an invitation to give a talk to the Annual  General Meeting of the Pedralba International Society ( SAIP) the previous month. SAIP had been set up by a group of residents of Pedralba in order to aid integration and adjustment to a new life for many newcomers from different parts of Europe.

Following the meeting a number of members asked whether a tasting could be organised to illustrate the talk they had just heard and this was  held in the towns Casa Cultural.

The meeting began with an introduction to tasting techniques but with the comment also that tasting wine is ultimately an enjoyable experience! The tasting that followed was of the following eight wines:-

Torre Oria Blanco 2009 Macabeo, DOUtiel-Requena.

Daniel Belda Blanco Tendencia 2009, Verdil/Moscatel DO Valencia.

Coviñas Enterizo Rosado 2009, Bobal, DO Utiel-Requena.

Daniel Belda Rosat, Merlot 2009 , DO Valencia.

Bodegas Vegamar, Viña America, 2006 Crianza Tempranillo/Syrah DO Valencia.

Dominio de la Vega Bobal Madurado en Barrica 2009 DO Utiel-Requena

La Cartuja Viacoeli Moscatel Mistela, Coop Cheste, DO Valencia

Vi Dolç, Santa Barbara Coop, Casinos DO Valencia.

Three wines stood out at the tasting and members have continued drinking them ever since!

Firstly the Macabeo from Torre Oria which, in 2009 , was a particularly good example of the wine produced from this variety which was full of ripe melon and green apple on the nose and round and full with good acidity in the mouth.

Secondly, the Bobal Madurado en Barrica from Dominio de la Vega, from the 2009 vintage and the only year that it was kept in oak for 6 months. It produced a wine of incredible concentration full of chocolate, smoke, cafe creme, clove, liquorice.

Thirdly the Vi Dolç from the coop at Casinos was a traditional wine aged for a very long period in large oak foudres. The result is a wine that is full of figs, nuts, dried fruits etc that it was described on the day as `liquid xmas cake!´ It is still available today!

Following this tasting a group of friends decided to carry on tasting on a monthly basis if possible.

Members at an earlier Tasting

Members at an earlier Tasting

The second meeting was held in July 2010 on the garden terrace of the President of the Association´s house and as well as a tasting of eight more wines it was followed by a meal, a format for tastings which has carried on until today!

It was also at this meeting that the first wine from DO Alicante was introduced ( Finca Collado Blanco 2009 ) of which more later.

Wines from DO Cava ( Requena) were introduced at the fourth meeting in September 2010 and the first wines from the emerging IGP Castellon were  presented at the seventh meeting in January 2011.

Following this the group has evolved, some of the original members have moved on, or back to the UK, but the group has continued to meet regularly in members houses, enjoying eight wines and a meal and have tasted over 400 wines, all from the Valencian Community, with a mix from the five `Denominacións De Orige´.

They have also visited the major wine fairs held in Requena ( FEREVIN) and in Valencia ( Mostra de Vins) and been on visits to Finca Collado, Chozas Carrascal, Dominio de la Vega and Sebiran, La Viña and Daniel Belda.

Amongst other highlights for the group was a very special tasting held on 13 October 2013 where we were the first group ever to undertake a vertical tasting of the wines from Bodega Finca Collado.

Wines from the Finca Collado Tasting

Wines from the Finca Collado Tasting

Tasted that day were the Blanco from 2012, 2011, 2010 and 2009, a blend of Chardonnay and Moscatel and the 2004 Chardonnay which gave the group an opportunity to taste a wine and evaluate its evolution in bottle. That day the group learnt that white wine in Valencia is capable of ageing, the 2009 being fresh with good acidity even if the fruit had changed from banana and apricot to  orange peel and honey.

We also tasted a sample from deposit from the new 2013 vintage as well as the new Rosado from Merlot. In reds we compared  the 2008 and 2007 from Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot and the pure Merlot, the bodegas flagship wine,  from 2010 and 2009.

The single vineyard theme was repeated in May 2014 with a tasting of nine wines from Bodegas Sebirán, a bodega in DO Utiel-Requena which was celebrating its centenary. The group had tasted a Bobal from this bodega at its second meeting but subsequently it had undergone a period of closure until Ken Wagener revived and introduced a range of easy drinking wines with good price to quality ratio. On that evening ( which coincided with the birthday´s of both Ken and hostess, Marian Daras, ) we tasted the two cavas c´A Brut and Brut Nature and compared the latter with a short period since disgorging and a two-year longer period which once again smashed a myth that cava should be drunk within a year of release. It has certainly been the case that Cavas from Requena with long bottle ageing on the lees can produce wines with a three or four-year period of life.

Wines from Sebirán

Wines from Sebirán

We also tasted the basic `T´ range with a white from Macabeo, a rosado from Bobal, the new `J ´ crianza, before tasting some of the wines produced for export. We finished with the older `J´ Crianza ( Bobal) and a port style red, late harvest 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon.

For the 50th meeting a Tasting and Celebratory lunch has been arranged for the 29th March in Chaparral Restaurant in Serra. Here on the top of the Serranos we will taste eight wines and one cava from Bodegas who have agreed to sponsor the event. Each wine will be accompanied by a `gastrotapa´ created by Kike Escribano and Lorena Cases the young owners of the restaurant who are emerging as a tour de force on Valencia´s gastronomy scene. It will also be the groups first tasting with food specially prepared to match the wines.

The tasting will be followed by a meal including a paella cooked traditionally over wood accompanied by wines from the sponsoring bodegas!

50th Tasting!

50th Tasting!

The wines and the Bodegas are:-

Bodega Finca Collado, Blanco 2014 DO Alicante.

Magnanimvs Blanco 2014, Bodegas Mayo Garcia Vino de Autor, Vilafames, Castellon.

Magnanimvs Semi-Dulce 2014, Bodegas Mayo Garcia, Vino de Autor, Vilafames, Castellon.

Bobal Rosado 2014, Latorré Agrovinicola DO Utiel-Requena.

Syrah 2012, El Mollet Vino y Cultura ( Roques Negres) La Baronia, Castellon.

Pelegri, Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 Baron D´Alba, Clos D´esgarracordes, IGP Castellon.

Las Ocho 2011  Vino de Pago, Bodegas Chozas Carrascal DO Utiel Requena.

Daniel Belda Chardonnay Dolç, Terres dels Alforins, DO Valencia.

Tantum Ergo Brut Nature Rose´, Hispano+Suizas DO Cava ( Requena)

The Finca Collado Blanco is possibly the best vintage yet of this wine!

The Magnanimvs Blanco is a firm favourite ! Magnanimvs Semi-Dulce is newly released and this will be the first time it has been evaluated by a wine-group! The same blend as the dry white ( Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Moscatel) it has 30gms residual sugar.

The Parreño Rosado from Latorré is full of everything you expect from a young Bobal Rosado…amazing on the nose!

The Syrah from Roques Negres is just so fresh, fruity and full of varietal characteristics!

The Pelegri from Baron D´Alba is a pure Cabernet Sauvignon very much in  the French style with lots of black pepper, typical of the variety.

The Las Ocho combines eight separate varieties in one blend and has been a consistently big and fruity wine! Pago status is very difficult to acheive!

The  Belda Chardonnay Dolç naturally fermented sweet wine is a tour de force. So sweet, honeyed and a perfect accompaniment to fresh fruit!

The Hispano+Suizas Tantum Ergo Cava is of course consistently the highest rated cava, rated not just by Parker and Penin, but by Sevi-net and The Association of Spanish wine-writers!

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The event has been organised by VÍ vid and promises to be another memorable day and tasting in the groups history and evolution….here´s to the next fifty tastings!

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