DO Alicante shows its new wines in Dénia

Each year the ‘Denominaciones de Origen’, (DO’s) show their wines during the Summer and June is the chosen month. Alicante have their ‘Winecanting’ Festival on 5 June (public admitted) to be held in MARQ; DO Valencia hold theirs under the Opera House on 12 June (entry by invitation) and DO Utiel-Requena take over Las Arenas Hotel on 19 June for ‘Placer Bobal’(also by invitation only).

DO Alicante introduced its ‘Salon Profesiónal’ last year and invited restaurants, sumilleres and the press to a private invitation before the main event. This year they repeated it but, recognizing the importance of the holiday resorts up the coast, held a second event in Dénia on 29 May.

VÍ Vid were very pleased to be able to attend and taste the new crop of wines from this DO. Eighteen Bodegas showed their wines and this is a selection which impressed us.

David Carbonell has been making wines from viognier (and other varieties) at Vins del Comtat for as long as we have known the bodega and was a pioneer of producing the variety in the region. Like us, he believes it has adapted very well to its new home. He produces two versions, a 12% ABV young 2016 white which is full of peach and spice on the nose and in the mouth has a spicy long dry finish. His alternative is fermented in barrel with a further two months crianza in oak. If the first is gutsy, this is elegant and refined, it has all the fruit but also a vanilla and cream touch in the mouth. (2016, (12.5% ABV).

His young red, a 14.5%ABV Monastrell is vermillion in colour, from 2015 with three months in oak and is full of red and black fruit, very easy to drink with a nice touch of oak in the finish. The MO is cabernet sauvignon with a little monastrell, a deep cherry colour with oak, vanilla and toast on the nose. In the mouth, deep, very smooth with a touch of tobacco in the finish.

Bocopa have just released the second edition of their flagship ‘Fuego Lento’, from monastrell, syrah and Alicante bouchet. Deep garnet colour, lovely sweet fruit, like jam, sharp red and black fruit in the mouth, smooth tannins and soft oak. Limited edition.

The cooperative at Mañan produces a very good selection of wines but the new rosado from syrah excels, a strawberry pink, clean, fresh wine, with redcurrant fruit and a clean, long dry finish. A favourite.

Finca Collado, the ‘bodega de referencia’ in Salinas showed all their new wines, including the legendary white from Moscatel and Chardonnay with 12.5%ABV. Very clean and fresh on the nose with apricot fruit and hints of pineapple in the mouth, the chardonnay gives good acidity and structure. A full bodied white with hints of citrus acidity. For us, the 2016 is the best vintage produced to date. The Rosado from Merlot with a bit of monastrell is also pale strawberry in colour, very fresh on the nose, light red fruits but in the mouth it has depth, good acidity and a long dry finish with minerality.

Their 2016 syrah is creamy, fresh and full, but an easy to drink young wine with potential to keep for 2-3 years.

Carabibas produce blockbuster red wines also in Salinas. El Carpintero 2014 is Monastrell and Merlot. Black cherry with long legs ( 14.5%ABV) Mature black and red fruits on the nose, rich in the mouth with nicely balanced fruit and oak.

The ‘VS 2014’ has nine months in oak and is a deep black cherry with the legs colouring the glass. On the nose it is soft fruit but, in the mouth, this 2014 from Cabernet Sauvignon, Monastrell and Merlot is big and chewy! They also make a reserve version with 21 months in oak from the same wine as the VS. This is not so youthful in the glass, is fruitier on the nose but you also note the effect of oak, and is smoother and rounder in the mouth. For serious meat dishes!

The bodega of Joan de la Casa in Benissa has been described as a ‘friki’ but chatting to him I found his different approach to making wines quite sensible and worth his efforts! He makes his whites from moscatel by picking the grapes later, when the sugar content and concentration is higher. The grapes are macerated on their skins, left in contact with their lees and, in the case of ‘Nimi Tossal’, enjoys oaking as well.

Nimi 2013 is 13.5% ABV, gold in colour, from 45-year-old vines grown on white chalky soils. The nose is very complex, anise, orange flower, orange peel, and this is repeated in the mouth which is complex, concentrated and has a very long dry finish. The 2012 vintage of this wine has more structure, is deeper gold in colour, in fact every facet is deeper or more concentrated than the younger wine. Part of this will be evolution, the rest the difference in vintage but these are dry moscatels worthy of searching for (you can ring the bodega!)

The Tossal 2012 is fermented in barrel and then spends a further 12 months in the bottle before release. Even deeper gold in colour, it has honey, notes of oak and spice. In the mouth vanilla and fruit, orange peel, very different!

There are two reds from giró, a local variety with vines between 40-80 years of age. The 2012 has 12 months in American oak, is cherry red, with black fruit, and is medium-bodied. Nice fruity finish. The other version has 18 months oak and is blended with tempranillo. Blackberry fruit and a creamy complex flavour, round. Very nice.

Finally, we tried ‘Essens Chardonnay’ from Vinessens in Villena, a bodega we found six years or so ago and which exports to the UK. This fresh Mediterranean Chardonnay is fermented in oak barrels, has nice tropical notes and a light long dry finish.

The wines are generally available from the bodegas directly.

This article was prepared by Marian Dáras and Riki Wigley of VÍ Vid .

Further information from them is available at vividvinos@hotmail.com and you can follow their blog, http://vvidblog.wordpress.com or on Facebook (VÍ Vid) , Twitter ( @Vividvinos ) and Instagram (Vivid8702). Current articles are on Paella de Cullera and a restaurant review in Puçol.

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