It is hard to believe that Sierra Norte, the Utiel-Requena based bodega with interests throughout the Valencian Community and Jumilla, has just reached its 20th birthday! Nonetheless, this was celebrated with a tasting of the new wines and a buffet on Monday March 4th in the prestigious balcony VIP of Valencia’s Mestalla stadium.

Distributors, the wine press and other guests were invited to enjoy a convivial evening and learn of the bodega´s new major announcement.

In line with other bodegas from the area, it will soon be possible to visit the bodega famous for its ‘Pasión’ range of mono-varietals, amongst others.

Later in the Summer, Sierra Norte will open the Casa de Calderón, a new bodega on the site of a late Victorian predecessor with previous owners including the Mompo family (original Grao exporters) and home to the ‘Dominio de Arenal’, part of Vinival, who were still producing wines in the early years of this century.

The new bodega (8000sqm) will provide capacity for the bodegas production with exciting modern, efficient and sustainable architecture and a visitor centre whilst the old site will eventually be converted to accommodation to go with the wider wine -tourism package. This will include a barrel park, for ageing the wines, a chapel, a museum, landscaped terrace and garden.

Manuel Olmo (Winemaker and owner) gave a brief presentation in which he explained that the “first 20 years had been dedicated to the vineyards, production of the wines which have made their own reputation but we have yet to enter into the sector we consider relevant, which is wine tourism.”

The bodega is surrounded by 50 hectares of vines, which Sierra Norte are now cultivating and bringing round to their wine-making philosophy that is organic and sustainable.

The 2018 wines will also be the first to carry the organic wine certificates, which Sierra Norte have been working towards together with a certificate accrediting them as suitable for vegans. 2018 had not been the easiest year to produce wine, using careful selection of the grapes at various times and even irrigation, “a year of micro-surgery.” as Manuel described it!

We tasted the Mariluna Blanco, clean, fresh and aromatic, the Cerro Bercial Blanco fuller and excellent with the jamón and ibericos which were served during the buffet.

The Pasión de Moscatel and Bobal Rosado were also very fresh, clean and expressive.

New wines were also introduced from the bodega’s other sites, Oclaviano Verdejo from La Roda and Equilibrio, a range of wines from Jumilla which will include a new Sauvignon Blanco and differing reds from the Monastrell variety. These are the result of six years work according to Manuel, with a great concentration on the quality of grapes which their elaboration requires.

The Pasión de Bobal and Moscatel wines have been awarded Gold Medals in the Monovino competition.

The Equilibrio Sauvignon Blanc has just been released following the presentation. Pale yellow with green flashes, clean and bright. Very expressive nose, Elderflower, cat’s-pee, yeasts, white flowers, tropical notes such as pineapple and banana.

In the mouth dry, acidity kicks in later, finishes with hints of fennel.

Indeed, the Equilibrio 9, a wine from the Monastrell variety and from vines with over 40 years of age has just won a gold medal at Mundus Vini as well as a gold at the Asia Wine Trophy and most recently at the Monovino competition. The wine has had 9 months in French and American oak.

The Cerro Bercial Ladera Los Cantos, a red from Bobal with 60 years of age and Cabernet Sauvignon with 40 years has won a silver medal at the Spanish Winemakers Federation competition. This is a wine with the second (malolactic) fermentation in new French oak barrels and 18 months crianza.

This was a celebration worthy of the career path and development of this bodega. We look forward to reporting further on the opening of the Casa Calderón and new wines from Sierra Norte as they come on-stream.

The Valencian Wine and Food Fair opens its doors between 25-29 April between the Alameda Metro station and Flores bridges in the dry riverbed gardens of Valencia.  Readers can rest assured there will be some 40 wine producers and top artisan bakers, cheesemakers, butchers, and other gastronomic delights being exhibited at 31st Wine and Food Fair.

Details of the latest Wine and food fair are beginning to emerge. Improvements to the control of the fair are being introduced which will see entry for under 18’s only allowed if accompanied by a responsible adult. Entry for this age group will be free. The fair will encourage responsible consumption and it is hoped to attract more families to the event.

Entry will be by purchase of a ticket costing 5€ which includes 2 tasting tokens. A wristband will be available, which can be electronically programmed and will contain either 5 tokens (5€) or 10 tokens (10€) and which can be recharged. These will give continuous daily access and it will be possible to buy them on-line.

Gastronomy and food will get a bigger element of promotion this year with the introduction of Gastroespai, where visitors will be able to watch showcookings of traditional dishes. The wine-tunnel with around 100 different wines will also make a return in this fair. Details are emerging on Proava’s Facebook page ‘Mostra Proava’ https://www.facebook.com/mostravalencia/ and you should check in there for details of advance ticket sales and further new developments.

 

Riki Wigley & Marian Daras

 

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

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