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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!

Bodega Finca Collado; The New Wine Releases…a VÍ vid Tasting!!!!!


Since first encountering the wines of Bodega Finca Collado in 2009, one of the biggest highlights of each subsequent year has been the first tasting of their new wines !

Last Saturday night VÍ vid was delighted to accept an invitation to taste four new releases which will hit the market very shortly.

The Bodega has produced a consistent, and consistently good and popular, white wine since 2008. As the years have progressed the vines have matured and the wine with it! 2014 was a difficult year for the bodega with the long, hot, dry summer and the total lack of rain for the best part of twelve months. The harvest was well down on the normal level as a result but the grapes were healthy and the quality was exceptional.


The Finca Collado Blanco is a blend of Chardonnay and Moscatel, the former matured for about three months in oak and in contact with the lees whilst the moscatel is fermented in stainless steel. Normally the blend is around 50/50 but can vary depending on the natural acidity or residual sugars in each variety as well as the alcohol content ( which can vary by as much as a degree year on year between 12-13º) . It is a fresh wine whilst young, very versatile with food and has a good ageing potential.

The 2014 is being described as the best ever produced despite the difficulties mentioned above…a big claim given that the 2013 was exceptional! ( I say `was´ because this wine sells out long before Xmas each year!)

In September we had been invited to join the harvest ( and cook the traditional lunch!) so there was special resonance in going back to taste the finished wine!

New wines awaiting lables!

New wines awaiting lables!

In colour the tasting notes match those of every previous vintage I have tried. The wine is a pale golden colour with green and gold flashes which reflect the period the Chardonnay has spent in oak ( in fact the two months oak this year is the shortest period to date.) . It is very clean, bright and has long legs and  at 13%ABV it is at the higher end.

The nose is at first restrained, it has not long been bottled, but with oxygenation the first fruit emerges…banana. This is generally a good sign that  the acidity is correct. Then slowly the apricot, not quite as marked as in the past and then a little tropical fruit ( pineapple). Lychee is often also found on the nose of this wine but I think that comes with evolution in bottle so we will have to wait and see!

The white awaiting despatch!

The white awaiting despatch!

In the mouth the acidity is perfect and the wine passes easily, filling the mouth with fruit and a solid structure. It is a big , round mouthful which persists with a very well-balanced , long finish. There are hints of orange peel in the aftertaste and this is a wine which clearly has a good potential for ageing.

So much so in fact, that discussion turned to the possibility of repeating a vertical tasting of the whites from 2014 back to 2009 ( which may be feasible if one or two private cellars can be `robbed´ of their treasures!)

As we enjoyed a humus with fresh peppers, carrot and pita bread and melba toasts with piquillo peppers and bonito thoughts turned to the Rosado.

The Rosado has not been produced since the bodega opened, making its debut in 2011. It is traditionally made from the free run juice of the first selection of Merlot grapes. Over the intervening years the colour has been the source of some discussion and its depth simply reflects the difficulty in predicting how long to leave the juice in contact with the skins. This can vary also on the time it takes to harvest the grapes.

The Rosado, Vibrant!

The Rosado, Vibrant!

This year the colour is an enticing vibrant strawberry with a blue edge as the photograph shows. It also has long legs with 11.5% ABV.

On the nose ( and bear in mind the wine had been bottle just  2-3 days earlier) the nose was more pronounced than you might have expected…..lollipop, bubble gum and strawberry fruit!

In the mouth the wine shows all the aspects you would expect but is refined. The fruit is subtle and the acidity fresh leading to a long,  dry finish with minerality. This wine always reflects most of all the very special and varied soils in this valley above the old salt lagoon.


The Syrah.

The Syrah.

Totally new to the bodega is the Finca Collado Syrah 2014 Joven. This started as an exercise in making a wine for a private client who buys regularly from  the bodega and who wanted a wine with his personal lable. Suffice to say the experiment has been a huge success and a limited amount of over-production which the bodega has bottled with its own lables will disappear very quickly!!!!

Syrah is a wonderful grape, when produced properly it can produce wines when young which demonstrate very clearly the  characteristics of the variety and when aged ( 30-40 years are possible) can demonstrate a silky, velvety richness. For me some of the best young syrahs are those produced around  the Crozes Hermitage and the older wines from Cote Rotie and Hermitage in the Northern Rhone valley of France.

For me this young wine would stand very good comparison with the young wines from Crozes Hermitage. Deep black cherry with long legs reflecting the 15%ABV.

On the nose the wine is full of red and black cherry, guindas ( cherries preserved in alcohol) clove, chocolate, liquorice. When first opened it reeks of cherry and chocolate but with time in glass the wine evolves through spice until the liquorice dominates!

In the mouth it is young, fresh but very big, full of black fruit, very round and dangerously easy to drink!It is a wine to drink cool on a summer’s evening in company. Oh, and it matches perfectly with both jamon or white cheese  with truffle incorporated ( Pecorino from Italy) … the fruit, the acidity and the truffle being a marriage made in heaven!!!

he Bodega´s Presses.

he Bodega´s Presses.

The last wine in this tasting is the long-awaited Finca Collado Monastrell 2012. Alicante is famed for its Monastrell and makes a wide variety of wines, the most famous being the long aged `Fondillon´.

It is another variety which when it shows its true characteristics is a joy to drink. This wine has spent 12 months on the lees in 300 litre new oak barrels and is drawn from grapes from old vines, grown in the Vinalopo valley close to the salt lagoon in Salinas.

It is a complex wine, again very deep in colour . It too is around 14.5%ABV, reflected in the time  its slow developing glycerinous legs take to develop!

On the nose it too is complex, almost sweet to start with, but with a mixture of spices, balsamicos and finally hints of leaf-mould and truffle. In the mouth it is rich, ripe , full with ripe fruit and and an incredibly long full finish. It matched very well with an orange /blue cheese ….it was a Shropshire Blue from England!!!! It also went well with lamb meatballs though less so with tomato sauce but is excellent with dark chocolate.

Prices at the bodega for the white, rosado and syrah will be around 6€ a bottle. The Monastrell will be around 15€ a bottle….worth every last centimo!!! The jamon and cheeses and some excellent sweet piquillo peppers came from the Vinoteca Quiero y Productos Gourmets  in nearby Salinas, also a source of excellent ibericos and salazones!!

Cheese Selection.

Cheese Selection.

This flagship bodega continues to provide  consistent wines but winemaker Joan Guia Conca is now developing an experimental nature which is paying off with new wines which will rank amongst the best from DO Alicante and Valencia. VÍ vid cannot wait to show all four wines at forthcoming tastings!!!

VÍ vid and a very special selection of new wines!

VÍ vid and a very special selection of new wines!









Finca Collado. A Very Special Wine Tasting for the `Circulo de Vino de Pedralba´.

 Bodega Finca Collado.

Bodega Finca Collado.

Bodega Finca Collado has featured in my blogs since I first encountered their wines  in L´Alcudia at a gastronomy fair in October 2009. In those days the bodega was under new management and the white wine, from Chardonnay and Moscatel was absolutely stunning, something I shall never forget. That vintage was the 2008, sadly no longer available.

Sadly, because it would have complemented yesterdays tasting perfectly and completed it by allowing every vintage produced by current wine-maker Joan Guia Conca to have been compared.

`Hang on´, I hear you say! `White wine from Alicante does not last, drink the youngest available!´ Advice you would probably still receive if you read Hugh Johnson´s `Pocket Wine Guide´.

Well the advice may well not have changed in that popular tome but that is because the writers have never visited Valencia and have no idea of the quiet revolution taking place here.

`No, no, it is too warm for Chardonnay in the Southern Mediterranean. It produces insufficient acidity.´

O.k. I will concede that it is unlikely that Chardonnay from Alicante province will ever have the staying power of a great Meursault from Burgundy. I know there are wine-makers here who agree that there is insufficient acidity and blend the variety with others. But it can be no coincidence that the best wine-makers in Valencia using Chardonnay (and Sauvignon Blanc for that matter) produce wines to last. I refer to Pablo Ossorio at Hispano Suizas whose `Impromptu´ Sauvignon blanc improves with three to fours and more in bottle. I refer to Felix Martinez at Vera de Estenas whose Chardonnay ( Viña Lidon) is the best produced from this variety. I refer to Marta Hernandez whose Vinessens is moving into this class.

All these wine have something in common. The Chardonnay ( or Sauvignon Blanc) is fermented in oak and then undergoes a short crianza in contact with the lees. Not more than three to four months is enough to add some structure to the wine and avoid over-oaking.

Harvest at Finca Collado.

Harvest at Finca Collado.

This seems to be the key to making a wine which has staying power and I have been able to experience this here with the Impromptu and to some extent the Viña Lidon.

Yesterday we got to try it with the white from Finca Collado.

The Circulo de Vino de Pedralba is a group of friends, English, Argentinian, Spanish amongst others who meet monthly to try quality wines from the Valencian Community. Over the last four years they have tasted nearly three hundred wines ( plenty still more to go), visited bodegas, wine-fairs and generally enjoyed a social afternoon or evening at each of its meetings.

One of the first bodegas they visited was Finca Collado so this retrospective tasting had a certain edge to it. not least because some members have some older wines in their cellars!

We were joined by Mari Carmen from the bodega who is responsible for sales and who is well-known to the group.

Pedralba Wine Club.

Pedralba Wine Club.

To the white wines from 2009 to 2012 which we were to taste she was able to add the 2013, a coupage from barrel and deposit along the lines of that in the current wine. We also had a 2004 pure Chardonnay made by the previous management.

The aim was not just to see and in my case prove, that the wine has staying power. It was an invaluable educational opportunity to look  at the evolution of a wine.

The Chardonnay  from Finca Collado is made as described above, half in French, the other half in American oak. It is then blended and further blended with a dry moscatel made in stainless steel tanks. The 2009 and 2012 are 13% ABV and the 2010 and 2011 are 12% ABV. After stabilisation in stainless steel the wine is bottled and released around the April of the following year. The 2010 won second prize in the Els Bodeguers tasting and a Baco Bronze and the 2011 was recently named in the Valencian Communities´top ten wines.

We started with the 2011 as we had tasted the 2012 only recently. It is still clear bright, a pale lemon in colour with good legs. On the nose the very fresh boiled sweets and bananas have gone but the wine strongly retains the fruit ( pineapple, apricot, ) and in the mouth is well-balanced the fruit a little more rounded, the acidity still fresh and pleasant. It is a big mouthful and just a little smoother and rounder than the current vintage with a grapefruit finish.

The 2010 has evolved only a little more being slightly more straw in colour, still clean , bright, and with good long legs. On the nose the fruit is evolving and the citrus notes of grapefruit were more marked, as indeed they were in the mouth where the wine remains balanced, dry , full and very drinkable with a long full finish.

Finca Collado. Blanco.

Finca Collado. Blanco.

To the eye the 2009 had changed the most. In colour it was more straw coloured, clean, bright and with longer, slower legs. On the nose the fruit has become distinctly citric, orange peel and orange marmalade predominate. In the mouth the wine retains its acidity and you note the degree more of alcohol. The fruit has become honeyed but it is not sweet….the wine is finely balanced, well alive and would be very, very good with paté or foie.

At this point our Spanish friends were amazed, none had tried older white from Valencia and calls of `impresionante!´were to be heard!

Purely for educative purposes we opened a bottle of the 2004 Chardonnay. This was very golden in colour with green hues. From memory it had some oak ageing and it was still clean. On the nose the fruit was more apple and honey but in the mouth the wine was showing age and was past its best, on the way downhill, short on the palate without fruit or much acidity.

On balance whilst I will not go so far as to claim that the white from Finca Collado has longer ageing potential but it worth noting that the 2004 was not made in the same way as the 2009 onwards. Generally the feeling was that the 2009 onwards would be better at 9 years of age than the 2004 had been.

With the starters ( a meal is the norm at meetings) we opened the 2012 and the 2013 cask sample. The former showed the freshness which marks out the style of wine and makes it so good to drink in its first year. The 2013  which some of us helped to pick is full of boiled sweets, bananas and fresh acidity….surely a good sign that the vintage will be star.

Bottles from the Tasting.

Bottles from the Tasting.

For the record, with the kidneys in sherry and the chorizos in red wine the 2013 Rosado made with 100% Merlot is full of raspberry fruit. Straight from the deposit this is nearly ready for bottling and release around December….one to watch out for!

The tasting continued with the bodegas Tinto, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot with 14 months crianza in French oak. The 2007 and 2008 were the first produced at the bodega. Both are full of fruit, well-balanced and easy to drink with blackcurrant, blackberry in a long full finish. Both are full of life and have the  potential for at least another 5-10 years ageing.

The bodegas top reds are however the Merlot 2009 and 2010. This monovarietal is also aged in oak, this time a 3,500 litre cone and the wood is less marked on the nose than in the tinto. Indeed it is pure jam, damson, plums and blackcurrant, a rich, deep, full, complex mouthful in both cases and with very long ageing potential. The 2010 has just won a bronze medal at the San Francisco International Wine Fair.

Merlot 2010 with Bronze Medal.

Merlot 2010 with Bronze Medal.

Sadly there are no bottles left at the bodega of the whites other than the 2012 now. Because production is limited particularly in the case of the Merlot the possibility of repeating this tasting is negligible and if you want to try older whites from the bodega you will just have to buy current and new vintages and save a few for yourself for future drinking. On the evidence of this tasting you will not be disappointed!

Major thanks go to the Bodega and particularly Mari Carmen for making this tasting possible! The bodega is in Salinas and is open for visits most days and visitors are assured of a warm welcome and an enjoyable time.

For me the bodega is undoubtedly one of the top three in Alicante province making wines of outsatnding quality and potential and it will remain a top favourite of the Pedralba Wine Club!






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