This month we are very pleased to be able to report on a tasting we recently gave of the Institutional Wines from DO Utiel-Requena. Following vigorous selection by their expert panel in a blind tasting of all the wines submitted by bodegas within the DO, these are the 9 wines which will be used in their official events, internationally as well as nationally. These are effectively the best wines from Utiel-Requena in each class.

Two wines, one fresh without oak ageing and the other with a period in oak make up the white wines in the selection.

The first was Fuenteseca 2017 Macabeo/Sauvignon Organic Blanco: Bodegas Sierra Norte. From the Bodega based in Camporobles with extensive vineyards and several different ranges of wine, this is from their Organic wine range. This is a bright, straw-coloured wine, clean with green flashes. Intense fresh floral and fruit aromas on the nose, with tropical fruit such as apricot and herbs (fennel). On entry quite unctuous, full of flavor, well balanced with a fresh acidity, long finish with a fragrant, perfumed aftertaste.

By contrast the second was Caprasia 2016 Macabeo/Chardonnay, Ecologic Blanco, Bodegas Vegalfaro. 45% Macabeo and 55% Chardonnay, with cold pre-maceration and then fermentation of the free run juice, followed by a short period in French oak casks on the lees with batonage. The Bodega is on the old road from El Ponton to Utiel and can be visited by appointment. Bright straw yellow, clean and bright with a pronounced aromatic, intense nose with white flowers, tropical fruits and a smoky complexity. In the mouth well-integrated, smooth, silky, with a refreshing acidity, and good length.

Just one Rosado wine, from the Bobal variety was chosen and this year it is Bodegas Latorre who have the honour! The Parreño Bobal Rosado, 2017, had only recently been bottled. This vintage is a paler rose, strawberry colour, clean and bright than its predecessor. On the nose it develops slowly, red fruit, fresh and with just hints of bubble-gum. In the mouth this is also lighter than previous vintages, fresh, well balanced and has a long dry finish.

By contrast four wines from red varieties make it onto the list.

The Caprasia Bobal/Merlot 2016 Madurado en Barrica, 2016, Bodegas Vegalfaro, is the ‘young’style red. The second wine from the Vegalfaro bodega, which accounts for three of the wines in the tasting. A blend of the two varieties, vinified separately, then passed to second use French barrels for the malolactic fermentation and to allow for a touch of oak to affect the wine. Cherry in colour with a good intensity. On the nose red fruit, with a touch of oakiness. Fresh in the mouth, mature tannins a good acidity and a long satisfying finish.

The second red, Pasión de Bobal 2015 Crianza, is also from the Sierra Norte Bodega, from their Premium range. A multiple award winner, it is a year since our group last tasted the wines from the Pasión range. A wine with malolactic fermentation then crianza for six months in French oak is a black cherry colour with violet flashes. On the nose, cherry, raspberry and strawberry fruit, cassis, light toasty notes and liquorice. It has a fruity pass on entry, round tannins, good acidity, light oaky notes, with vanilla in the finish.

The third red, Caprasia Bobal Crianza Ánfora 2015, Bodegas Vegalfaro, is one of the new wines with ageing in terracotta. Last year our group had tasted a Bobal produced at the same bodega but with oak ageing. From 60-year old vines and with fermentation in Stainless steel, this wine is transferred to tinajas (amphorae) after fermentation in stainless steel. Bright violet colour, deep cherry red and full bodied. On the nose there are lots of red and black fruit notes, raspberry, cherry, blueberries and menthol notes. In the mouth there is initially a slightly robust and rustic touch which soon dissipates. The wine is well balanced with lots of fruit and a certain mineral touch. Long full finish but none of the hints and tones that oak brings. As close to a pure Bobal character as you can get.

Finca Casa Lo Alto 2012 Reserva, Bodegas Murviedro was the first of the reserva wines. Made by original owners Bodegas Haecky the bodega is now owned by Murviedro. Traditionally, the wines were all sold in Switzerland. The wine has had 12 months in French and American oak and is a blend of Garnacha, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. It has then spent three years in bottle. Very small production, just ½ Kg of grapes per vine. A deep cherry black colour with long legs. On the nose there is a controlled explosion of mature red and black fruits, jammy with sweet concentrated mature notes, white pepper spice over blackcurrant and hints of vanilla in the oak. In the mouth this is at the same time vegetal, sweet, fruity and with a well balancing acidity giving an incredible concentrated fruity wine with great depth and long finish.

The last red, was Alboenea Bobal Reserva 2012, Bodegas Jose V Pardo.From a bodega in Los Isidros new to our group, Jose Vicente Pardo who produces wines which are gaining in reputation. Cherry red of medium to full body, with violet notes at the edge. Clean on the nose, we find the tertiary notes first, toast, oak, vanilla coffee and chocolate but underneath this is deep well of mature, red and black fruit of incredible concentration. Plum, blackberry, blackcurrant. In the mouth full bodied, well-balanced, soft tannins, powerful, persistent long finish.

Finally we ended the tasting with a sparkling wine from a black grape Tharsys Unico Blanc de Negre,2014 Bobal Methode Tradiciónal, Bodegas Pago de Tharsys.It is from the year that we were invited to pick the grapes so we have a certain affinity for this wine. 28 months in Rima. Greenish yellow, pale and brilliant, persistent fine bubbles. It combines subtle aromas on the nose of toasted almond, white flowers and patisserie, aromatic fruit flavours such as medlar, apple, and pear. In the mouth, excellent attack but the bubbles are well integrated with the acidity and fruit giving it the perfect body, fresh, long and very tasty with a persistent aftertaste of exotic fruits and citrus. Probably the best sparkling wine we have ever tasted.

This article was prepared by Riki Wigley and Marian Darás whose VÍ Vid project promotes Valencian wine and Gastronomy. VÍVidBlog reports regularly on bodega visits, launches of new wines etc, and restaurant reviews.

VÍ Vid are currently planning a new tasting group for ex-patriots in the city of Valencia. We hope the first tasting will be in the next couple of weeks. If you would like to participate or attend a future tasting please contact us at

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