On 22 March 2018, a new wine club for expatriates in Valencia commenced with a tasting in ‘Macabeo Canovas’. VÍ Vid has been running wine tastings for some 8 years and this was a natural new step for us to take. Our sessions are semi-formal with a commented tasting (five wines) in which views on the wines are welcomed and participation encouraged from all the tasters!
For this tasting VÍ Vid sought collaboration from two bodegas, Coviñas and Cent Piques. This was to show wines widely available from either supermarkets or in Valencian bars and restaurants. They were of a distinctly higher quality…even if they were at the cheaper end of the market spectrum! Macabeo Canovas who hosted the event is a modern, bright restaurant and relatively new addition to this upmarket & cosmopolitan barrio. A very friendly environment, where quality food is offered and orders are made freshly. They offered a special menu after the tasting. They gave over more than half their space to our tasting, including their specialist breads, fillings and sandwiches made on the premises and completed to the diners’ request. You can read our review of Macabeo Canovas at https://wp.me/p7dfvi-1hy
Coviñas is the largest bodega in Utiel-Requena, the Denomination of Origin, 70kms to the west of the city. It is a second line bodega (actually 10 bodegas) which supply wines in bulk and in bottle for supermarkets, bars, restaurants and to specialist shops… as well as exporting huge amounts, under a number of different trademarks. Coviñas have been prominent in raising the visibility of wines from the region in the export market, particularly of the native variety Bobal working with the DO and Territorio de Bobal, which is pursuing World Heritage status with UNESCO for the 2700 year-old wine-making region…
By contrast, Cent Piques is an altogether different entity. A small operation which buys grapes and finished wines from other producers, using their spare capacity sometimes to produce wines which are nearly all ecological, mono-varietal and ‘Vino de Autor’ (wines which reflect the soul of the wine-maker). Their production is small, sometimes under 1000 bottles of a particular wine and are marketed directly to bars/restaurants and one or two specialist wine shops.
16 tasters gathered at the beginning of this new project and tasted the following wines; Bodegas Coviñas, Enterizo Macabeo Blanco, 2017, DO Utiel-Requena. This white is straw in colour and from the white variety most widely planted in the Valencian Community’s five DO’s. Clean and bright with gold flashes, it has a particularly expressive nose of ripe red apple, pear and melon with white flowers and a hint of fennel. In the mouth the wine has an easy pass with a big hit of fruit matched with a serious acidity, which balances perfectly and a long full finish with touch of minerality. The wine is widely available in supermarkets such as Consum, which had it on offer for 1.98€ but which has subsequently risen to a more normal 2.30€ a bottle.
Bodegas Coviñas, Enterizo Bobal Rosado, 2017 DO Utiel-Requena.
This is an absolute classic Valencian rosado from the Bobal variety, the region’s native grape. The bodega does not go in for fancy pale pink wine, which is becoming trendier here but produces a strawberry red wine, clean and bright with a violet edge. On the nose it has strawberry, raspberry and hints of bubble-gum and lollipop, flavours which are replicated in the mouth with a clean fresh acidity and a long full finish. The same price as the wine above, these wines go with just about any food and are invaluable in Summer when it is too hot to drink red wines. This wine has been awarded a gold medal in the Concurso de Vinos Valencianos organised by Proava.
Cent Piques, Bodegas Vinados, Trilogia 2017 Vino de Autor.
Produced from three varieties, Graciano, Tempranillo and Monastrell, with no oak ageing… this is a young wine with a lot of fruit. Graciano is unusual in Valencia, an Italian variety, which is grown more in the Rioja region. Tempranillo is the most widely planted red grape in Spain, a workhorse variety and Monastrell is the regional variety of Alicante. In this wine the red fruit predominates on the nose, raspberry, and in the mouth the other varieties balance out the wine giving a very pleasant, easy drinking red, round with a long finish. Available in several bars and restaurants, prices vary.
Cent Piques, Bodegas Vinados, Graciano 2017 Vino de Autor.
The single variety Graciano that was used in the above blend is a red, which shows the varietal characteristics well. The wine has simply been fermented in stainless steel before being stabilised and bottled. On the nose, it is brambly raspberry and blackberry and in the mouth a spiky fruit well-balanced with round tannins and easy to drink. Perfect on its own or with mild cheeses or jamón ibéricos etc. Available in bars/restaurants and prices vary accordingly.
Aula Merlot 2016, Bodegas Coviñas, Vino de Autor, DO Utiel-Requena.
From a range of monovarietal wines aimed at restaurants, which all show excellent varietal characteristics. This Merlot is plum red, bright in colour and on the nose has plum, damson and hints of ripe black fruits. A classic French variety now grown well all over the world, it is full in the mouth, ripe fruit, soft tannins and sufficient acidity to balance this wine perfectly. It is available through supermarkets as well and currently is in Carrefour for around 5.30€ a bottle. Prices will vary in restaurants.
This successful first tasting is hopefully the first of many such events and we hope the second tasting will take place in the same venue in the second half of April. VÍ Vid will be happy to create further new groups if asked and we are happy to conduct tastings for small groups in your house and other such events. Just e-mail us! firstname.lastname@example.org
This article was prepared by Riki Wigley and Marian Darás whose VÍ Vid project promotes Valencian wine and gastronomy. http://vvidblog.wordpress.com (VÍ Vid blog) reports regularly on bodega visits, launches of new wines and restaurant reviews. The last few weeks have seen articles on new tonics from Schweppes, The Concurso de Espardenya and Mostra de Vins I aliments. VÍ Vid are also in Facebook and Twitter @vividvinos…have a look at our activities there for more information on Valencian Wine and Food.