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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!

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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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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!!!!!

A Visit to Bodega Latorre Agrovinicola, Venta del Moro.


Tiled Artwork, Old Bodega.

Tiled Artwork, Old Bodega.

 

 

Latorre Agrovinicola, the large bodega on the edge of Venta del Moro, conceals its true size. Built on the triangular-shaped corner between two roads out of ( or into)  town it hides much of its complexity as well. It looks like a compact set of warehouses but these house a series of areas dedicated to different parts of the winemaking process.

We visited today to catch up with the current head of the fourth generation family bodega, Luis Miguel Latorré Ochando. His grandfather José Maria founded the bodega although it really took off when he incorporated his three sons, José Maria, Luis Miguel and Luis into the firm in 1968.

The original bodega had been enlarged in both 1942 and 1950 when Finca Garrido, a beautiful house outside the town was purchased together with its vineyards to add to the Finca El Parreño. A further enlargement took place in 1973 which allowed cold fermentation of the wines to commence. Several further changes have been made, each allowing modern scientific techniques to be applied but the bodega has retained much of its origins despite these changes.

Outside the Bodega

Outside the Bodega

We were shown around by wine-maker Luis Miguel (  great grandson  ) and joined by his father part way through the tour. This starts where the grapes arrive to be tested for sugar content and quality, the basis on which prices are set. Latorre is more than a family bodega because it buys in grapes from local growers who do not make their own wine. Tests are made from the beginning of August to determine quality and picking dates. Because the bodega makes either must or finished wine to sell on to prestigious clients in Spain, France, Switzerland and Russia quality is very important. Indeed 90% of the production is sold on in this way, just 10% of the very best wines being retained for bottling with one of the bodegas distinctive labels.

Once quality is determined the grapes go up the hill to be discharged into the hopper, de-stalked and pumped to one of the holding tanks where they macerate to extract colour and flavours, the number of hours and temperature depending on which product it is destined for. The trailers in which the grapes arrived are then scrupulously cleaned before they leave to collect another load.

Tanks in the Reception Area

Tanks in the Reception Area

The tour then moves on from the reception area to where the musts or wines are refined before they go down the slope to the holding tanks or deposits, via one of the two laboratories where tests are continuously made. In the upper lab there is an impressive map of the facility which puts its size into perspective!

Then it is on to the bottling plant, the barrel park and the bottle store where the crianzas and reserves lay ageing quietly.

Finally you make it to the tasting room which doubles up as the bodegas shop. But before we get onto the tasting, we were also there to select some wines for a promotional event in Valencia in April, some serious impressions had been made. Firstly for a family run bodega there is a lot going on here, with a philosophy of step by step modernisation as it happens. It is not just the way the bodega has grown over the last 100+ years, but the careful thought into the arrangements that has been part of it. Pumps are largely not necessary as gravity does the work. The old concrete or ceramic tanks hold enough to fill a tanker so that a finished wine can be sent on its way to its destination , the tank cleaned and the next batch moved into it.

Luis Miguel.Jr Explains the Bottling Line

Luis Miguel.Jr Explains the Bottling Line

But for all the old technology, modern filtration eg plays its part leaving perfectly clean musts or wines without odours to move to the next stage. Given the huge amounts of grapes which could potentially pass through the bodega each harvest time the geography also helps. With the same variety being grown at between 625 and 900 metres above sea level,( such is the geography of the local catchment area)  picking times can vary by as much as two to three weeks allowing each enough time to be vinified before moving on to a later ripening variety. Also because Venta del Moro is the most Southern part of the plateau harvest generally starts the earliest in the D.O. here. ( Cava excepted.)

And it is not just the winery which is modernising, the range and style of wines is also under scrutiny as is  their respective labelling.

The entry-level Parreño covering a white from Viura/Verdejo, a Bobal Rosado and a tinto from Tempranillo/ Cabernet Sauvignon all have sparkly new lables.

Bottles from the Tasting

Bottles from the Tasting

The Catamarán, an oak aged white has not been made for a couple of vintages but will be re-launched shortly. The red crianza already has a new lable and thought is being given to the older style reds, the reserva and Gran reserva. These long oaked wines are no longer fashionable, the modern market demanding concentrated, fruity wines which express the character of the grape variety. Sad because the 2001 Bobal Gran Duque is a fantastic wine but it cannot compete with old riojas even though the price is much more affordable.

Back to the tasting though. We worked our way through the young style wines first.

Parreño blanco 2013, at 11.5% ABV is a fresh, fruity white, pale gold in colour with white flowers on the nose, ripe melon and apple fruit from the Viura ( Macabeo) followed by  concentrated fennel. In the mouth it is full, well-balanced with nice fresh acidity and the alcohol is well-integrated.

The Parreño Rosado is a no holds barred, fresh young Bobal. It is strawberry in colour from 50-year-old vines. Not surprisingly it is full of pear drops on the nose and bubble gum and rhubarb and custard in the mouth. 13% ABV from the 2013 vintage and perfect for Summer drinking when reds are too heavy!

The Parreño Tinto 2013 is a blend of Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon. Bottled two months ago, it has lots of red and black fruit on the nose, characteristics of both varieties and in the mouth smooth, sweet tannins.

Parreño Range.

Parreño Range.

The Duque de Arcas Roble 2012 is a madurado en barrica wine…3 months in both French and American oak. At 13% ABV it too is a blend of Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon and was bottled 6 months ago. Immediately it is a better balanced wine, a nice cherry colour with sweet fresh red fruit on the nose. In the mouth it is round with good volume, a very easy drinker.

The Crianza from the same range is a step up again. This has Bobal in the mix with the Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon and you notice  the difference straight away. Bobal does not dominate the other varieties in a blend which is why so much of it is exported…as well as for its colour! It does add a discernible strawberry fruit into the mix. Quite complex on the nose if still a little closed, aromatic. In the mouth there is a sweetness, complexity, smooth tannins and a  nicely balanced wine which could be matched with a dessert. Impressive.

The next wine however could only be described as phenomenal! A cask sample which could only be a pure Bobal! This is a new wine, 14 months in Barrica and 14% ABV. In colour it is a deep black cherry colour with a violet edge and very long slow, glycerinous legs. On the nose, fresh and young, morello cherry with liquorice, chocolate and spice, clove.  In the mouth it was full, very smooth and lovely….just needing some time in bottle. Once ready, hopefully in the summer this will be sold as a new style wine, `Bobal Alta Expresión´.

Bobal 2001, Left, 2012, Right.

Bobal 2001, Left, 2012, Right.

Finally we tasted the classic Gran Duque, the Bobal Seleccion from 2001. Now with a terracotta edge it still has a violet colour, testament to Bobal´s ability to age without colour loss. It still has fresh red fruit jam on the nose and liquorice with hints of honey. In the mouth the sweet tannins balance with the long-lived raspberry fruit and has a long, full finish full of caramel and balsamic notes.

An impressive tasting of wines from this bodega.Four wines selected for the tasting we left for lunch….which may get its own write up another time!

 

My thanks go once again to Luis Miguel, father and son and to Marian Daras and my daughter Cj who between them took a super selection of photos to choose from!

http://www.latorreagrovinicola.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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