Tag Archives: El Mollet

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!


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!

Just Another Day in Paradise!..Visits to Vicente Flors and Juan Carlos Pavia Before Lunch in L´Escudella!

New Garnacha at Vicente Flors

New Garnacha at Vicente Flors

Leaving Valencia at 8.00 am in the morning and joining Friday´s  rush-hour traffic on the A7 Motorway towards Barcelona the day did not seem to be getting off to an auspicious start! I don´t do early morning nor heavy traffic normally!

But I will make exceptions to help friends and in any case a visit to the Bodega of Vicente Flors in Les Useres always throws something new and interesting up and today was to be no different. Vicente had been asked to host a visit from International Students undertaking a Master’s Degree in wine, agriculture and the marketing of wine. He did not know much about the background of the course and had asked me to help with translation into English. As I know his bodega and methods well I was more than happy to see what I could do. When they arrived, all 23 of them and the course manager a lot became clearer!

International Masters Students.

International Masters Students.

Yes there were Japanese, French, Argentinian, American and Russian students but interestingly a requirement of the course is to be fluent in a second language. The course is funded by UNESCO and partly administered by the EU. The students receive 45,000 euros to do the course and spend three months at a time in different countries and then do placements before qualifying.  Oh how I wish I was young again!

Before the coach arrived Vicente showed me the Garnacha Grano Menudo he has allocated for his new Natural Sweet wine, the grapes looking very healthy hanging in small bunches, small, concentrated , loose grapes with a healthy bloom. The intention is to pick them in about a month and press them slowly to extract all the colour and fruit and then ferment to about 14º alcohol leaving a enough natural sugars to give the wine its sweetness. The vines are just three years old and this will be their first vintage…..as long as the rain does not come and ruin everything!

Garnacha Grano Menudo.

Garnacha Grano Menudo.

The previous day Vicente had picked his Garnacha and Tempranillo for the new Rosado he is making and this was in a nearby bodega ( Vicente does not yet have permission from the Authorities to use his own premises) in deposit. This harvest had been undertaken dodging the frequent showers of Thursday afternoon.

The tour went well, the students asked lots of technical questions and between us we got it all explained, if slowly because of repetition in French, Spanish and English! The cata however was done in English, four very distinct wines, the maceración carbonica Flor de Tarongers 2011 Tempranillo, the Flor de Clotas with just five months in oak, also 2011 and Tempranillo ( fresh, fruity ) the Clotas Tempranillo with 14 months oak from 2010, Tempranillo, ( intense fruit, complex, spicy) and we finished with the Clotas Monastrell, also 14 months of crianza, ( Fruit, spice and hints of violets and figs).

Juan Carlos Pavia and Vicente Flors.

Juan Carlos Pavia and Vicente Flors.

The students left and moved on to nearby Clos d´escarragordes. We cleared up and went to see Juan Carlos Pavia in the next village,  La Barona. Vicente was keen to see how his rosado was coming along and Juan Carlos who was up to his ears in managing everything that was going on dropped everything to come and chat to us.

Juan Carlos eventually hopes to open his own bodega but , for the time being is very happy with the arrangement he and Pilar who owns Bodegas El Rosso ( former producers of L´Esperit)  have come to. He makes their bulk wines and uses the premises to make his own Roques Negres and this year has also been experimenting. A brief tour of the bodega was followed by a fascinating tasting…a continuing part of the learning process!

Selection of Wines Tasted!

Selection of Wines Tasted!

We started with a new white, a pure Macabeo, still fermenting in deposit. Cloudy but absolutely reeking of fresh apples, bananas and  boiled sweets this already has a fresh acidity. I was keen to monitor the progress of the Syrah, a new wine which I had tried from deposit in Les Useres earlier in the year. ( See archives June 2013). Thoughtfully Juan Carlos brought samples from the deposit and the barrica ( approximately half the wine has had a four-month crianza and is ready to go back to deposit to allow the other half to go into the  barrels). The wine in deposit has a spiky fresh black cherry fruit and the sample from the barrel has just rounded off nicely! The two sets of  wine will need to blended and bottled and allowed to stabilise but by around the end of Spring next year it should be ready for the market……cant wait!

Next we tried a Macabeo 2008 fermented in barrica which comes from the El Rosso stable. It was a modern attempt to produce a fuller wine in the style which was and still is traditionally made in the village. We were not all in agreement that it had worked. However the next two wines a traditional rancio aged in big oak barrels and a 16º + version which are sold in bidons were pleasant. Typical of the style of wines still produced in the Valentino of DO Valencia in villages such as Casinos and Vilar D´Arzobispo these have an interesting fruit base but are oxidised and on the way to being a sherry style wine….the second was very close.

After these we tried the Roques Negres red, a great way to finish a visit on a very busy day in the bodega and thanks to Juan Carlos for his time!

L´escudella Restaurant.

L´escudella Restaurant.

Visits to this area are never complete without lunch! It is not every day your host says `let’s go 60km and try a restaurant in Villafranca´….especially as the thunderstorms were gathering over the mountains we were about to cross! It did allow for some spectacular scenery as the plots  of vines, almonds and olives gave way to  proper fields with stone walls like you get in Yorkshire, cows, oak trees, hawthorn with bright plump red berry´s on, eagles flying over the windmills beyond the town of Ares del Maestrat ( itself an eagle’s nest perched on the Col de Ares) and later the truffle fields and hazelnut groves around the spa town of Benassal.

This is the country of El Cid and well worth a visit.

Salmon with Yoghurt.

Salmon with Yoghurt.

Villafranca del Cid has a small but spectacular restaurant, L´escudella run by Emilio Pons and Bruno Morrajo. It offers clever, traditional dishes using modern techniques such as low temperature cooking, fabulous presentation and with subtle touches such as salad dressings of concentrated grape juice, home-made jams and jellies and creams and yoghurts with hints of lemon to lift them and ice-cream with a dressing of lemon and basil to accompany a chocolate pudding to die for.

For starters we had rovellons and a potato dish marinated in vinegar with onion, salmon marinated with yoghurt and which was perfectly fresh,tasty and tender.

Baby Pigs Ears.

Baby Pigs Ears.

This was followed by a goats cheese salad and then baby pigs ears , crunchy and with a sesame seed crust served with cherry tomato garnish. This was followed by little croquettes ( or Napoleanas named after the tricorn hat) .

Main courses were baby lamb or baby piglet , slow cooked and absolutely tender, melt in the mouth meat served with a potato and maracuya garnish , (part of the passion fruit family). How well the Clotas Tempranillo went with them!

Pudding was the chocolate….too good to miss!!!!!

Baby Lamb. Melt in Mouth!

Baby Lamb. Melt in Mouth!

This was an excellent example of simple, top quality ingredients being cooked with care, love and a great deal of thought….cocina mimada  at its best! A very big thanks to Vicente Flors for a fabulous end to a truly great day!

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