Tag Archives: Ernesto Carcel

Requena Sausage Fair 2015…More for the Visitor to See and Eat!!!!


Sausage Fair 2015Valencia´s gastronomy year traditionally commences in February with the Requena Sausage Fair….Muestra de Embutido Artesano y de Calidad de Requena. This year was the 22nd edition of the fair which is now firmly at home, indoors, in the towns Feria Recintal. On a cold mid-winter weekend with snow on the ground outside this was maybe welcome and certainly the fairs organisers have the layout sorted out so that at peak times there is sufficient room to move around. The organisers have also stepped up to the plate ( no pun intended) in reviewing activities and options for the visitor to this celebration of the products from the pig!

Some of the 25,000 visitors!

Some of the 25,000 visitors!

This year the committee behind the fair had thought very carefully about how to offer more, and it paid off, with 25,000 visitors over the three days and 12,500 kilos of sausages alone being eaten. It used to be the case when the fair was held in the streets that there was a hog-roast and the sausages were cooked over huge barbecues. That went a couple of years before the fair moved indoors but this year in exchange for one of the tickets purchased on entry you could once again enjoy chorizos, longanizas and morcillas cooked in the open air over the brassa.

Sausages on the Brassa!

Sausages on the Brassa!

Of course, the fair showcases more than these three sausages. In fact the CRIGP, (the governing body which controls, regulates  and promotes the protected sausages from Requena,) has seven products. The remaining four are güeñas ( a spicy longaniza) perro, ( a botifarra served cold) salcichon and sobrasada. At the launch of the fair the town´s mayor and the tourism minister ( respectively Xavier Berasaluce and Sebastien Fernandez) re-iterated that Requena has its own distinct gastronomy and that gastronomy as a whole is a key element in promoting the Valencian region as a whole. The traditional dishes from the interior of Valencia are every bit as important in attracting tourists as the seafood dishes of the coast and paella.

Sobrasada.

Sobrasada.

To spice up the visitor experience therefore the fair introduced some new elements. Local restaurants and bars have been involved for a couple of years in providing sample dishes at a parallel fair called Tasta la Dipu. The local cookery colleges have also been involved in cooking some of the plates with an emphasis on some of the traditional rice dishes such as `arroz de la matanza´. Similarly the towns housewive´s associations have provided some local tapas such as mortuerelo and ajo arriero. This year therefore the aim was not just to provide these dishes for the visitor to sample. Through the medium of `showcooking´ ( cookery demonstrations) filmed by the local TV crew and projected  live onto a huge screen the visitor was able to watch the preparation and creation of these famous plates.

Ajoarriero and Mortuerelo.

Ajoarriero and Mortuerelo.

Cristian Cubas, head chef at the town´s `Los Cubillos´ restaurant (itself a source of excellent traditional local dishes) gave a demonstration of how to prepare some of Requena´s local rice dishes using sausages as their main ingredient. Los Cubillos Requena also has good local producers of other healthy produce! This year for the first time, Spain´s only remaining ostrich farm, which is in the nearby hills, was selling burgers and steaks. The excellent local artisanal cheeses from Quesos Hoya de la Iglesia in nearby Campo Arcis were selling their products and the towns coffee producers and distributors Reke were providing an alternative to drink! As another alternative and a way of showing gastronomy from a different part of the community this year saw an innovative invitation to the Clochina del Mediterraneo. Clochinas are the very special mussels from the port of Valencia, grown on floating pontoons. The visitor was able to try steaming bowls of this tasty mollusc, or the famous red prawns from Denia ( if you have never tried these it is worth a pilgrimage just to savour the incredible depth of flavour from what are considered the best `gambas´ in Spain) or a rice dish with seafood and boletus all served by Chema Ferrer. Chema is another of Valencia´s genial newshounds who has a gastronomy bent, writing for Las Provincias ( Valencia´s major newspaper), running the weekly radio programme `Comer and Beber´  and producing video shorts for a new App ( Wines and Spirits TV ) amongst other projects. 2015-02-08 13.40.56 Now, of course Requena is home to another famous product, the wine region of Utiel-Requena! Seven bodegas had been invited to participate in the fair providing an opportunity to combine eating and drinking the regions products together! We took the opportunity to talk with Luis Miguel Latorre of Latorré Agrovinicola whose wines VÍ vid had shown earlier in the week at an English Language Tasting. Also exhibiting wines were Carlos Carcel who makes the only Bobal wine by the Maceration Carbonic method. We also enjoyed wines from the Coviñas Cooperative whose wines are widely available in the UK through Aldi and those of Ernesto Carcel ( El Rebollar) whose oak aged Macabeo is a perfect accompaniment to paellas.

Maceración Carbonica, Bobal, Carlos Carcel.

Maceración Carbonica, Bobal, Carlos Carcel.

For the first time the Cava producers Association were showing their products separately and we enjoyed a glass whist we ate some `Bollo´, the bread covered with the local sausages and bacon produced locally by the Associación de Panaderos Artesanos. Five of the towns sausage producers were on hand serving very generous tasting samples. In the press conference launching the fair the President of the IGP ( Mari Luz Pedrón ) had said that  visitors would receive a welcome with open arms! This edition of the fair certainly achieved that!

Cava.

Cava.

For those interested in attending next years fair, no doubt with more innovation, transport is easy from Valencia ( by car up the A3 ) or by train.  Those coming to the fair from Madrid or Valencia could use the fast train service ( AVE ) and enjoy a massive 60% discount on the fare price with free buses laid on to transport visitors to the fair or back to the station! Well worth a visit!!!! Although entry is free, to try all the samples you will need a ticket with 10 sub-tickets which you exchange for wine, sausages, bollo, etc.

Something to Look Forward to!!!!!

Something to Look Forward to!!!!!

Bodegas El Rebollar, Ernesto Carcel…..Revisited.


Bodega El Rebollar, Ernesto Carcel.

Bodega El Rebollar, Ernesto Carcel.

 

I first visited the subterranean bodega of Ernesto Carcel in July of 2011. As he has very kindly agreed to sponsor a pair of tastings in May I took the opportunity of a free Saturday to visit him again, catch up with developments and find out a bit more about the wines from this hamlet about 12 km from the town of Requena.

At this time of year the vines are just beginning to show the first few leaves and buds. As a result the vines really are a silhouette against the red, sandy soil of the area. Yes there are touches of green, the first budding has taken place but the growth is short. As Ernesto remarked they desperately need rain. Lots of rain. The reality is that there has been none of any consequence since….well he could not remember when,  but consequentially the metre or so of top soil which normally retains moisture is as dry as a bone.

In the Vineyards.

In the Vineyards.

¨Abril, Aguas Mil¨ is the local saying ( amongst many others) It roughly translates as April showers! No rain within the next few days and the plants will not be able to sustain a harvest. Something in the order of 20 litres per square metre will do, gentle steady rain that will filter down, not thunderstorms nor hailstorms. Sadly these can be devastating destroying the putative buds and whilst normally it is still early enough for secondary budding to take place this also will not be possible without rainfall. The plants simply do not have sufficient moisture.

I suppose it could be worse. Parts of Utiel-Requena are suffering an attack from `escarabajos´ a beetle which burrows into the plant and eats the new growth. Fortunately for Ernesto they have not appeared around El Rebollar!

New Growth

New Growth

The bodega has not changed much, a lick of paint here or there maybe and Ernesto was planting bedding plants when we arrived. Ernesto has retired although he is still happily pottering around! Middle daughter Belen is completing her degree course this year in Enology at Valencia´s University Polytechnic and is already playing a greater part in the running of the family bodega.

She will join the company when her course is completed.

Daughters Cristina and Belen.

Daughters Cristina and Belen.

Ernesto has disposed of any distributor who may have been around three years ago and currently the wine is marketed directly from the bodega. It is available in restaurants in Valencia but the aim is to utilise new technology through the website more, in the future. The bodega does have a big order from Nigeria, which is causing extra labelling requirements and as a result only three of the six or seven different wines are available in any great amount. Although Ernesto has capacity and capability to make 100k litres of wine per year they are currently bottling somewhere around 14k only, with bag in box an option for the basic wine.

There are plans for the vineyards as well. Wife Pepa is a winemaker from La Manchuela. I remembered Ernesto had asked me about Bobal Blanco, a rarely seen wine from the local variety, but which is more common across the internal border. He hopes to plant this next year and then we will have to wait for the plants to mature! There are also plans to put in up to 30 new varieties to experiment with, both red and white. This will be Belens project.

Some of the 62 American Oak Barrels.

Some of the 62 American Oak Barrels.

The plans for the Ecological Agriculture certificates are also on the back burner. Whilst they have some value in sales in Northern Europe there are other parts of the world where it is a meaningless concept. It is also expensive and they could not use the lables until the 2011 vintages are released. As they are currently selling wines from 2000, 2005, and 2007 one understands the predicament.

As always these days we were  there to select wines for the tastings and a visit to this bodega usually provides a treat!

As the Macabeo 2007 Crianza was not available we started with a red. ( The white is fermented in American oak and then aged for a few months and provides a rounded wine  which is excellent with paella!)

The Carcel de Corpa 2007 is a Crianza made from 100% Tempranillo although in future years it will become a blend with Garnacha and Bobal. It is 13% ABV. This is a medium bodied wine , crimson to plum red with good legs. On the nose there is a brambly soft fruit, quite sweet but despite 12 months in American oak it is the varietal characteristics which shine through rather than oaky notes.

In the mouth the fruit again predominates , brambly fruits of the forest, nicely integrated alcohol, very light acidity and a wine which eventually shows the effects of oak in coffee-cream. It is creamy and unctuous, a very easy drinker but one well capable to standing up to dried sausages, cheese  and chorizo for example. A long fruity finish emphasises the depth of fruit .

The second wine was the real treat. Carcel de Corpa 2000 is a pure Bobal. It is a Gran Reserva with three years ageing in American oak , barrels which may have been  used for the third time.

Ernesto still prefers younger vines so this is from a vineyard which the vines  have no more than 45-50 years of age. For a reserva Bobal you might normally expect the vines to have twice that age!

Bobal Gran Reserva 2000.

Bobal Gran Reserva 2000.

This retains its deep black cherry colour, is full bodied and still has a hint of violet at the edge. The legs are very long, very slow to form and very glycerinous! This is also the second time in a month where this style of wine has surprised me with its vivacity. On the nose , which evolved slowly the fruit was predominantly cherry, but there was eucalyptus, liquorice, smoke and hints of oak.  In the mouth the wine is full-bodied, very well-balanced spicy ( clove) soft, deep, round and silky with a long soft ripe fruit finish.

Our third wine was the 9 de Octubre,an espumoso made in the Champagne style from 100% Macabeo.The style is to have a relatively fruity wine with good attack and the bubbles therefore give a big mousse on pouring. It is pale gold, clean ,bright and the wine has spent less than 12 months on the lees.

Nonetheless on the nose when you get past the white flowers and green apple it is aromatic with big hints of panaderia. There are also notes of herbs such as those you smell when walking through the forest after rain. Complex.

In the mouth the wine does indeed have good attack, fresh acidity, citrus notes and once again hints of patisserie.

Ernesto Carcel and the Bodegas Wines.

Ernesto Carcel and the Bodegas Wines.

Tasting over , wines selected, we left Ernesto to his planting. However we are looking forward to presenting these wines in Restaurante Abierto ( Caballeros 42) in Valencia on May 15th ( In English) and May 16th ( In Spanish). If you can and would like to attend and see for yourself the tastings cost 10€ and there is a meal available afterwards with a fixed price of 12.50€  ( starters, main course and dessert with wine and coffee inc) Booking for the former through bob@valencia-international. com and for the latter through riki.wigley@live.com

http://wp.me/p16pqB-gS ( July 2011 post).

http://www.carceldecorpa.es

 

 

 

 

 

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