##The bodega opened its doors in 2002 always with the intention of producing ecologic or organic wines with full respect to the environment and their vineyards. No chemicals are used in the vineyards and only the minimum of natural products in the bodega itself.

The bodega introduced their first Ecological wine (with the certificate on the back label) with the 2013 vintage of the Vendimia Nocturna and followed it in 2015 with three cavas -Cava Carlota Suria Brut Naturé, Brut and the Millésime 2015. The Merlot Crianza 2014, was released in 2018 and named ‘Argila’. Now more wines sport the ‘ecologic’ or organic label. The Bodega’s strength lies in its cavas but it also produces a full range of still wines.

We rely on the wine fairs to keep abreast of new releases and at the beginning of February 2019 we were privileged to attend an exclusive and comprehensive tasting at the bodega, which has put much into perspective.

We began with the Carlota Suria Brut Naturé, ecologic, a 100% Macabeo with 15 months “en rima” (On the lees) and 12% ABV. This is pale yellow in colour, clean, bright with fine persistent bubbles and a good crown. Melon, green apple, citrus notes (grapefruit) and floral notes on the nose. In the mouth the cava is fresh and clean, between fruit and acidity there are notes of bread and this is a wine which will benefit from another year in bottle.

The Carlota Suria Brut organic is also Macabeo with 15 months en rima and 12% ABV. It has more colour than the Brut Naturé and is rounder, more floral and elegant on the nose. In the mouth it retains that roundness, is balanced and has a long elegant finish.

The Brut Garnacha Rosado, with its terracotta label, is from a family of wines which were quite ‘avant-garde’ when originally introduced. Garnacha is a naturally fruity and expressive variety and this is a ‘rebel’. With 18 months en rima and 11.5% ABV, it is a bright strawberry colour with long strings of fast rising fine bubbles, an expressive fruity nose with a mixture of cherry, sweets and other red fruit notes. In the mouth it has a lovely attack, excellent acidity balances the fruit and it has a long dry finish. We loved the slightly unruly character of this wine and have in mind a pairing with a good fidueá!

The Bodega has a strong reputation for the quality of its top cavas and we were not disappointed by the next four wines.

The Chardonnay Brut 2015 Millésime ecologic has 12% ABV and 24 months en rima. Fine, persistent bubbles rise through a pale gold, clean and bright liquid and on pouring produces a good mousse. Floral on the nose initially (jasmine) it has a wonderful fruit mix of white stone fruit such as peach and apricot and notes of patisserie and confectioner’s cream in the mouth. It is immediately elegant on entry, creamy with well-integrated bubbles and a good length. A cava with great finesse.

The Millésime 2015 Garnacha Rosé is 12% ABV but quite different to its younger brother we tasted earlier! By contrast this is a pale salmon colour, almost onion skin, clean, bright and with fine persistent bubbles rising to a rosary on the surface. With 24 months en rima it is very clean and fresh on the nose, there are ripe red fruit notes of berries such as red currant, raspberry and patisserie evident.

In the mouth the sensation is perfect, the fruit, alcohol, acidity and the bubbles are totally integrated, ending with a lovely slightly bitter note in a very long satisfying finish which fills the mouth. Extreme elegance.

We moved next to the Millésime 2016 biologic Chardonnay Brut Naturé which has two months in French oak before 16 months en rima. This was the first wine with a deep golden colour, it has fine persistent bubbles and patisserie and light oak notes on the nose together with white flowers on a complex mix of fruit such as peach and apricots and vanilla, cinnamon and hazelnuts. In the mouth it is voluptuous on entry, fresher than you might expect from the nose, but has a long full finish with notes of honey.

The last of the Cavas we tasted was the 2014 Reserva Ecologico Millésime Chardonnay 70% and Macabeo. This has 38 months en rima. Despite its greater age it is a pale-yellow colour, clean, bright with fine persistent bubbles. On the nose ripe fruit and a base of white flowers, pan de higo with almonds and patisserie. In the mouth this is beautifully fresh, has an attractive acidity, is very well-balanced and a long elegant finesse in the finish. To keep, this will develop its flavours in bottle.

The final sparkling wine was an espumoso, the Alegria which is a blend of Chardonnay with 14 months en rima and Bronx in the liquor d’ expedition. Pale yellow it has steadily rising fine bubbles and white flowers (jasmine) and ripe papaya on the nose. In the mouth you note the Bronx, an American variety which the bodega grows for their Dulce, the grapes dried in the sun before the wine is made. It has a sweetness, is grapey with tropical notes and is a fun, dessert wine which would suit all tastes.

Our relationship with the bodega began with our first visit and blog (https://wp.me/p16pqB-3M). In those days Pago de Tharsys was almost unique in Requena in having a bodega tour, never mind that it could also be in the English language!

The Bodega has always been at the forefront of developing enotourism as can be seen from a visit to their website.

VÍ Vid has followed these developments and you can read more about this in our reports on initiatives such as the introduction of the ‘Cocktail range’ (https://wp.me/p16pqB-xB) the ‘Night Harvest’ which wine-lovers could participate in (https://wp.me/p7dfvi-82), as well as new wine releases such as the Valencia City range.

RIKI WIGLEY & MARIAN DARÁS

VÍ Vid is a project supporting the development of wine knowledge and gastronomy in the Valencian Community. We run wine clubs, give tastings of Valencian wines in English and support wine-makers and bodegas directly. We can be found in Instagram (Vivid8402), and through our blog VÍ Vid at https://vvidblog.wordpress.com, in Facebook, (https://www.facebook.comVivideventos) and in Twitter @vividvinos. Our Valencia Wine Nights tastings in Valencia will start again soon.

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