Tag Archives: Felix Cuartero

Ferevin 2014….a Perfect Wine Fair!

Ferevin 2014


Today is the 23rd birthday of Ferevin, the Feria Requenense de Vinos which has been held in the town and showcases the wines of DO Utiel-Requena. The fair has undergone some changes over the years but always comes over the final weekend of August and is always the first date to be written the diary.

Perhaps the biggest change was the move, last year, from the Avenida Arabal, a tree-lined boulevard in the centre of town crowned by the Monument to the Vendimia. Here the fair flourished and the crowds mingled under the plane trees enjoying the wines on offer. serious wine buffs and the public rubbed shoulders together.

Recinto Ferial

Recinto Ferial

Now the fair is held in a modern atmosphereless airport style departures hall. It is supposed to ensure the crowds who attend are rather more of the former group and that they are contained  within the building and the streets are free for everybody else. The trouble is it has done nothing to improve the quality of experience for the wine buffs and there are now noticeably less bodegas attending than in the past. Some of this may be down to changing marketing strategies but I know there are bodega owners who simply do not like the change that has been made!

This year some 17 bodegas have been showing their wines and we have attended two of the seven sessions ( the fair is open between 11.00 and 14.00 and 19.00 to 22.00 each day Thursday , Friday and Saturday and the earlier session only today) to taste and discuss issues with the bodegas and developments in the area such as the state of the harvest, marketing plans etc. The fair has always been a good opportunity to catch up with the many friends from across Valencia who also attend and increasingly International visitors as the regions wines are becoming better known abroad.

VÍ vid with Felix Cuartero, President PROAVA and Treasurer Ferevin.

VÍ vid with Felix Cuartero, President PROAVA and Treasurer Ferevin.

Ricardo´s Blog has always used the fair as an opportunity to plan visits to the area as well and there was no change to that strategy this year! However,  increasingly this blog will also be reporting on the publicity work of VÍ vid, a new project being pursued by close friend Marian Daras and myself aimed at targeting specific promotion of Valencian wines and gastronomy, working directly with bodegas, the authorities and like-minded organisations to escalate the rate that knowledge becomes spread internationally. This is being done through tastings in English and Spanish as well as the organisation and planning of specific events as well as bodega visits.

To this end our visits have been less about our knowledge of the products this year and rather more about our knowledge of the background to the bodegas and their plans, problems etc. There was plenty of tasting to be done however and there are abbreviated notes for the regular readers who I know follow the blog for recommendations etc!!!!


Ernesto Carcel, President Ferevin.

Ernesto Carcel, President Ferevin.

President of the Fair this year is Ernesto Carcel, of Bodegas El Rebollar, Ernesto Carcel, whose bodega we visited earlier this year and who subsequently sponsored a tasting held in the Headquarters of PROAVA,  the Government agency promoting agriculture, gastronomy and wine.

His family bodega has, like many suffered from the drought this year but, although the harvest is reduced this year has still managed to commence the `vendimia´. He also told us that they had completed the sale of a significant amount of wine to Nigeria which was on the cards when we visited.

This had exhausted the stocks of their distinctive white wine, a pure Macabeo fermented and aged in American oak which has long been a favourite of mine. The 2005 was the first vintage I had tried but earlier this year they had moved on to the 2007 which I felt was a little lighter and fresher. However all of this was sold and at the fair they were showing the golden coloured 2012 vintage which for me is more reminiscent of the 2005. This is a big wine which needs food ( it would be perfect with Paella) and for those who know their Spanish wines is very like an aged Rioja such as those from Tondonia.

Carcel de Corpa, Oaked Macabeo.

Carcel de Corpa, Oaked Macabeo.

Amongst the International Visitors this year were Alizarin Wine, the independent South London wine store whose directors are Tim and Suzanne O´Donnell. They were here ahead of a holiday and came to visit the fair with a view to purchasing the next batch of wines. VÍ vid was pleased to be able to introduce them to a range of new wines and bodegas and will be accompanying Tim on his next visit to show him some of the bodegas and taste more extensively.

VÍ vid and Alizarin Wine.

VÍ vid and Alizarin Wine.

Vera de Estenas has achieved Pago status and this is now reflected in the new labels which were being shown for the first time at this fair. Felix Martinez the owner was tied up with the harvest which commenced three weeks earlier than normal due the weather this year. However we caught up with him briefly and enjoyed a glass of the Bodega´s Chardonnay which is also fermented in oak     ( French in this case ) and which undergoes a brief crianza in contact with the lees. This is a consistent wine and once again the new vintage, 2013, is full of banana and tropical fruit on the nose and is fresh in the mouth. Felix told us that the Pago  was holding a formal presentation of their wines to celebrate the new status on 11 September ( by Invitation) in the Westin Hotel, Valencia . We will be attending and will report further!

Pago Vera de Estenas

Pago Vera de Estenas

Vegalfaro was the last bodega we had visited and reported on just a couple of weeks ago. Owner Rodolfo Garcia was also overseeing the harvest of the white varieties and we did not get to talk further with him. However Miriam who works at the bodega was on hand to bring us up to date and show us a wine which Rodolfo has introduced to the range as a tribute to an Uncle who recently passed away. This is a young style wine, a blend of Bobal and Merlot which is fresh, fruity and full. We enjoyed a glass with Bollo, the local bread baked with sausages and bacon produced around Requena.

Almorzando! Vegalfaro´s Tio Emilio and Bollo.

Almorzando! Vegalfaro´s Tio Emilio and Bollo.

Bodegas Cueva with owner/winemaker Mariano Taberner were showing his range of new wines, sparkling low alcohol and alcohol free which he is happily marketing now. He also produces a couple of liquor style wines such as a ginger wine which has proved very popular. Fortunately Mariano had recently discovered a handful of cases of the bodegas original 2006 wine and had brought a few bottles for the press, professionals and friends. This had been produced as joven, or young style of wine. It was however a brilliant example of the wines the bodega originally were making a name from.

A rare bottle of Cuevas 2006!

A rare bottle of Cuevas 2006!

We spent some time with Ana Suria, one of the owners of  Bodega Pago de Tharsys. Over a glass of Unico 2008, the Bodegas sparkling wine ( effectively a cava ) which is a Blanc de Negre, a white made from the regions local variety Bobal, we chatted about a number of issues and were joined by Silvia Soria Cases,  formerly a Canal 9 journalist who now has her own regular slot on independent radio. `El Forcat de Silvia´ her regular programme is a by-word for promoting Valencian Gastronomy and her knowledge and experience of the regions food and wines is almost unsurpassed.

VÍ vid and Silvia Soria Cases.

VÍ vid and Silvia Soria Cases.

Ana´s husband and co-owner of Pago de Tharsys, Vicente Garcia  was due to receive a tribute that evening  for the 40 years of work in the world of wine. The award comes from the Organisers of the Fiesta of the Vendimia and reflects his whole career which includes teaching, studies in agriculture , a period learning about and making cava in Cataluña, his return to Requena to found Bodega Torre Oria and with his group of co-owners to fight for the town to have the right to make cava. Subsequently he has been Director of Covibex, Valencia´s experimental bodega in Chiva before starting up in Pago de Tharsys.VÍ vid will be helping with the harvest of the grapes for the 2014 Unico.

Pago de Tharsys 2008 Unico.

Pago de Tharsys 2008 Unico.

Carlos Carcel has his bodega also in El Rebollar where he produces excellent wines under the Valle de Tejo and other trademarks. He also has been President of Ferevin and is noted for being the first winemaker to introduce a Gran Reserva from Bobal , as well as the only producer of a Bobal Maceración Carbonica. After a glass of the ripe and full Macabeo white from 2013 as a palate cleanser we tried the young Bobal . It proved to have an explosion of raspberry and strawberry fruit on the nose and in the mouth was fresh, very full and showing well the liquorice and chocolate the variety is famed for. This is a very easy drinker. By contrast the Gran Reserva 2000, perhaps more Riojan in style was ( despite its still bright colour) showing its age.

Eduardo and Nohemi at Sebirán

Eduardo and Nohemi at Sebirán

Joint prize for presentation of stands ( if there were one ) would undoubtedly go to Pago de Tharsys and Sebirán,  the bodega run by Ken Wagener. The bodega is celebrating its centenary this year and under Ken has extended the range of wines in the `C´`J´and `Z´ranges. Accompanied by partner Nohemi and son Eduardo ( who secretly is really in charge) the stand received a consistent stream of tasters and significantly buying customers for their easy drinking wines. I fully admit to commencing the second morning session with a glass of the Brut Nature Cava and  thoroughly recommend it!

One Bodega not visited yet has been Sierra Norte based in Camporrobles. They produce a range of wines, regularly selected by the DO for events promoted by them. The Pasión de Bobal which has regularly been highly rated by Parker and which is available in London is a fresh easy drinking red with good varietal characteristics which also accompanies several styles of local dishes as we have experienced when lunching locally. Arrangements have now been made to visit and a full blog will be released in October.

Wines From Sierra Norte.

Wines From Sierra Norte.

Two of the larger Bodegas from the town Coviñas and Murviedro and the Cooperativa Utielana were also showing a wide range of wines , the Al Vent range from Coviñas proving very popular. UVÉ, Requena´s Cava producer also brought several of their wide range of wines. Their role is also to produce cava for bodegas which do not have the right to directly make their own.

Vereda Real , the Requena bodega where Pedro makes wine in conjunction with the University in Valencia in terracotta tinaja´s and a Square barrica where the oak can be changed and combined in different proportions. He  was in Alicante so we unable to ascertain whether there would be any Bobal Blanco in 2014.

Dominio de La Vega also make extremely good cava and the best way to finish off the fair was with a glass of the Pinot Noir, made by Dani Esposito, who likewise was unable to attend as the grapes for the cava were being harvested.

Dominio de la Vega, Cava Pinot Noir.

Dominio de la Vega, Cava Pinot Noir.

Following our visit twelve of us  repaired to the terrace at Los Cubillos, VÍ vid being joined by Alizarin Wine and members of the Pedralba Wine Club.

This restaurant nestled under the castle walls serves high quality regional dishes at very reasonable prices and as well as one of our favourites is regularly used by the wine-makers and bodega owners whose wines can be found amongst the comprehensive selection of references from Utiel-Requena and Valencia.

Carpaccio of octopus.

Carpaccio of octopus.

Between us we shared carpachio of octopus, ajo arriero, a duck salad, scrambled eggs with prawns and bacon, a range of  main courses including grilled and oven cooked bream, confit of duck, swordfish and secreto of pork, followed by homemade desserts and coffee with wine all included for 20€ a head.

The end of a perfect day during which we realised no-one had really noticed the building where the fair was being held! Maybe that ´s for the best!









Valencia Wine Competition 2014- Concurso Cata de PROAVA 2014.

Mostra 2014

Here we are at the end of March already! Around this time each year Valencia holds its Wine  and Gastronomic Products Fair, ( the XXVI Mostra de Vinos, Cavas y Licors and XXIV Mostra d´Aliments Tradicionals) held in the dry river bed, formerly the course of the River Turia.

There has always been a wine competion to choose the best wines from the Bodegas who are associates of PROAVA, the organisers of the Fair. This year was no different except in its organisation.

PROAVA is the organisation charged with promoting quality agricultural and food products from the Valencian Community. From its headquarters in Barrio Carmen, the historic centre of Valencia it has links with the wine DO´s ( Alicante, Utiel-Requena, Valencia, DO Cava and IGP Castellon) as well as the DO´s of other products covering DO Valencia Olive Oil, DO Arroz de Valencia etc, etc. This is the major fair organised by the agency each year but they also participate in smaller fairs within the community, promote the products at home and also hold a Xmas fair to promote the sweet wines and turrons for which Valencia is famous and a fair to promote the excellent cavas from Requena.

Felix Cuartero, President PROAVA

Felix Cuartero, President PROAVA

The headquarters is built above a medieval wine cellar and grain store which helpfully you can sit above and admire through the glass floor if you attend one of the regular free tastings held in the building. Until recently the organisation was presided over by Eduardo Maestres, but this year has seen the succession by Felix Cuartero, a calm, intelligent and deep thinking man with a passion for the quality of Valencias produce and who firmly believes a more professional approach is necessary to get the message out. This coming at a time when more and more tourists coming to Valencia do so specifically for the gastronomy….and we are not just talking authentic Valencian Paella here!

Felix was professor at the Requena Wine School which has turned out several top wine-makers in its history. He has therefore an analytical approach to tasting wine, although I have heard him say more than once that wine is to be enjoyed and not over critically assessed. Nonetheless he has initiated one major change this year to the organisation of the annual wine competition.

Formerly called the Els Bodeguers tasting, taking its name from the independent wine shops in the Valencia area, this year the tasting has been taken back `in-house´ by PROAVA. There had been some criticism recorded that the prizes were being handed out on a rota basis although I have no view on or evidence of this.

This year a tasting panel of professionals was assembled, a group of fifteen people from different walks in the wine world. It was to include representatives from Els Bodeguers, three of the DO´s, wine makers from the community, wine and food writers from the Valencian press and the National weekly wine press and a representative of the consumers with a special knowledge of wine from the community.

The tasting took part in two phases commencing on 14 March in the PROAVA HQ where some 140 wines submitted by the 40 bodegas affiliated to the body were to be tasted and the majority eliminated from the competition. The second part on 21 March was to select the best wines in each category which would lead to the award of medals. The results were announced yesterday, 27 March.

PROAVA,Tasting Panel and Staff.

PROAVA,Tasting Panel and Staff.

Each wine was tasted blind in both parts of the competition, the tasters recording a mark for each in 7 categories. Wines had to score 44 marks or less to proceed ( the best marks being the lowest scores) and the tasting was held in silence and in secret.

The marks were then entered into a spread sheet and analysed by PROAVA staff to identify firstly those proceeding and ultimately those being awarded the medals.


Ricardos Blog, PROAVA Tasting.

Ricardos Blog, PROAVA Tasting.


So competition over these are officially the best wines from Valencia as identified in the Concurso Cata de Vinos PROAVA 2014 and all of them can be tasted in the Fair which takes place between the 2nd and 6th of April. Don´t miss your opportunity, there are some very good wines to be tasted and bought!

Medal Winners, PROAVA Wine Competition 2014.

Young Whites,            Gold….Marina Alta, Bodegas BOCOPA, DO Alicante.

                                             Silver..A2, Bodegas Antonio Arraez, DO Valencia.

                                           Bronze..Vegamar Blanco, Bodegas Vegamar, DO Valencia.

                                           Special Mention..Marsilea Verdejo, Enologico Oleana, DO   Utiel Requena.

Whites with Barrel Ageing.

                                           Gold….Laudum Chardonnay, Bodegas BOCOPA, DO Alicante.


                                       Silver…Blanc D´Enguera, Bodega Enguera, DO Valencia.

                                           Bronze..Cullerot, Celler del Roure, DO Valencia

                                          Special Mention, ..PX , COOP Moixent, DO Valencia.

Rosados,                       Gold…….Vall de Xaló Bodegas Xaló, DO Alicante.

                                                    …….Al Vent , Bodegas Coviñas, DO Utiel-Requena

                                            Silver….Suenos del Mediteraneo, Bodegas Utielanas, DO Utiel-Requena.

                                           Bronze…Viña Enterizo, Bodegas Coviñas, DO Utiel-Requena

                                          Special Mention…Rosa Rosae, Casa de las Vides, DO Valencia.

Al Vent Rosado

Al Vent Rosado

Young Red                    Gold….ABC, Casa de las Vides, DO Valencia.

                                             Silver…Ontinium Tempranillo, DO Valencia.

                                           Bronze…Calabuig, Bodegas Arraez, DO Valencia.

                                             Special Mention..Parreño, Latorre Agrovinicola, DO Utiel-Requena

Barrel Aged Reds       Gold…..Icono Syrah, Bodegas La Viña, DO Valencia.

                                           Silver…Biologia, Los Frailes, DO Valencia

                                             Bronze…Casa L´Angel, Bodegas La Viña, DO Valencia.

                                             Special Mention…Soplo, Rafael Cambra, DO Valencia.

Crianzas                         Gold……no award

                                              Silver…Aurum de Zagramonte, Bodega Torrevellisca, DO Valencia.

                                              Bronze…Laudum Crianza, Bodegas BOCOPA, DO Alicante

                                              Special Mentions, Vegamar Crianza, Bodegas Vegamar, DO Valencia

                                                                                      Castell D´Aixa, Bodegas Xaló, DO Alicante

                                                                                       Tapias , Bodega El Villar, DO Valencia.

Reserve Reds                Gold….No award,

                                              Silver…Enterizo Reserva, Bodegas Coviñas, DO Utiel-Requena.

                                              Bronze…Laudum Reserva, Bodega BOCOPA, DO Alicante.

Naturally Sweet Wines  Gold…..Fondillon Alone, Bodegas BOCOPA, DO Alicante.

                                                    Silver…Verdil de Gel, Bodegas Enguera, DO Valencia

                                                    Bronze….El Novio Perfecto, Bodegas Valsangiacomo Cherubino, DO Valencia.

                                                    Special Mention….Punt Dolç, Heretats de Taverners, DO Valencia.

Licor Moscatel                   Gold….Riu Rau, Bodegas Xaló, DO Alicante.

                                                    Silver…..Marques de Caro, Bodegas Valsangiacomo Cherubino, DO Valencia.

                                                                 ……..Vittore, Bodegas Valsangiacomo Cherubino, DO Valencia.

                                                    Bronze….Sol de Reymos, Bodegas Reymos, DO Valencia.

                                                   Special Mention….Dona Dolça. Baronia de Turis, DO Valencia.

Licor Other Varieties     Gold….Vall de Xaló. Bodegas Xaló, DO Alicante.

Vermouth                             Gold…..Cuatro Xavos, Bodegas Alejandro Sanz,

                                                  Silver….Vall de Gorgos, Bodegas Xaló

                                                  Bronze…Daniel Belda Vermouth, Bodegas daniel Belda. 

                                                    Special Mention….Vittoré, Bodegas Valsangiacomo Cherubino.

Some 38 Bodegas are taking part in this years fair and the four DO´s will be represented, together with  thirty three other exhibitors covering cheeses, sausages and other meat products, real beers, chocolate, bread and patisserie and other specialists.

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