Food
VALENCIA WINES, CAVAS AND MORE… APRIL 2020

Sadly, tastings have come to a total halt for the time being but we have some wines from the last events before lockdown to share with you this month. Wine can still be delivered from specialists by courier.

The first four wines are from outside the Valencian Community.

We start this months’ column with a look at two wines which we believe are worth looking out and tasting from the Familia Fernandez Rivera owners of Condado de Hazo, Dehesa la Granja and El Vinculo.

Alejairén, is an oak aged white wine from Airen (Spain’s most widely planted variety,) El Vinculo, (DO La Mancha) a 2017 with 18 months in American oak. Clean and bright, yellow straw and very fresh on the nose, with lots of coco and pineapple. In the mouth fresh with good acidity, pineapple and a good length, a white with personality and elegance to accompany food. It is particularly good with aged sheep’s cheese.

Condado de Haza 20 Aldeas (IGP Castilla y Leon) is a red wine which comes from the vineyards of Roa and La Horra at 800m above sea-level of 164 hectares and with an average 30-years of age. From sandy soils, the wine is from the 2018 vintage. This is characterised by good early growth and soil humidity, the berries grew quickly and larger than normal although maturity was delayed.

A very large harvest at the end of October, coupled with dry weather, guaranteed a healthy crop. The wine spends time in a mixture of 225, 400 and 500 litre barrels. Black cherry colour, violet edge, long slow glycerinous legs and full bodied. On the nose black mature fruit, blackberry with creamy notes, liquorice, cherry with sweet spices, vanilla, and oaky notes predominate.  In the mouth it is powerful with a meaty entry, it is full in the mouth, with round tannins, immensely fruity with coffee sweets, toffee and more liquorice and smoky notes.  A very long finish is deep and, coupled with the wines solid structure, is very satisfying.

Monastrell is a favourite grape variety grown a lot in Alicante and beyond in Murcia. From DO Jumilla comes EVOL, 2018 a pure Monastrell from ‘pie franco’- that is to say its own natural rootstock. (After the phylloxera plague, replanting was achieved with American rootstocks which are resistant to the bugs.) This is a wine that is very easy to drink now but which has at least another 5 years ahead of it. The malolactic (second) fermentation takes place in oak barrels and the wine then has a short ageing period in barrel for around three months.

Red cherry colour with a darker edge and medium bodied. With a base of black fruit, the nose is complex with hints of minerals, quite intense with balsamic notes and boiled sweets. On entry it is fresh with intense fruit flavours, (cherry, raspberry, plum,) round, polished tannins even and a long finish with coffee cream notes.

Another wine from DO Jumilla is Bodega Alceño’s 50 Barricas Premiun Syrah 2018.

Medium to full bodied, black cherry, multiple long slow legs. With a base of black cherry, sweet and smoky with toffee and a little floral on the nose.

In the mouth good jammy fruit, fresh acidity, good depth, very nicely balanced with a long fine finish.

The following four wines are from the Valencian community, from the small hamlet of Los Cojos near Requena in DO Utiel-Requena. The bodega might better be described as a garage, such is its size and small production but there is nothing ‘small’ about the quality of wines produced by Eloy Haya Rebolledo and his sister Maria José from the family plots at Bodega’s Haya.

We fortunately had the opportunity to visit Eloy a couple of days before lockdown and taste the complete range of wines which are currently in the market, although some are perilously close to being sold out. The bodega uses the trademark ‘Adriano’ for the four wines (named after Hadrian who spent some time as a Governor based around Ontinium in his career.)

Adriano Blanco 2018 is a blend of Macabeo and Chardonnay from light soils with more gravel than clay. Straw yellow in colour, clean and bright. On the nose you note tropical fruit (melon) and citrus notes.

In the mouth this is big on entry, fruity with a big acidity, rich, fat and round with a long satisfying finish inviting you back for another sip. An excellent aperitif wine but good with seafood as well and big enough for paella and fideuá.

Not that you need to use it as an aperitif as Adriano Vermouth (2019) will fulfil this purpose perfectly! The first vermut that this bodega produced was a veritable range of Xmas spices (Cinnamon, Nutmeg, All-spice) but this current vermut is much more traditional with wormwood predominating. Harmonious and well balanced, the vermut made from Macabeo as the base wine still has sweet spices and candied fruits and in the mouth it is very smooth, with a full range of Mediterranean herbs. Long, creamy and very satisfying.

For many, Cava is seen as a good aperitif but those from DO Cava (Requena) are designed to accompany food and particularly Valencian dishes. Adriano Cava Brut from the 2016 vintage is a blend of Macabeo and Chardonnay. Pale yellow in colour with persistent small bubbles, clean and bright. On the nose there is lots of ripe red apple from the Macabeo and tropical fruits from the Chardonnay together with brioche, a product of the ageing in bottle. It is this crianza ‘en-rima’ which produces this sweet bready/yeasty note as the dead yeasts break down under autolysis.

The sensation in the mouth is enhanced with even more fruit notes, green apple, pear, quince and green citrus flavours. It has a long satisfying finish after a full, round experience of a perfectly balanced cava with well-integrated alcohol and  bubbles.

The bodega’s red is Adriano Tinto, 2018 a blend of Bobal with Merlot, a traditional practice in Utiel-Requena. It has Bobal’s classic purple colour with a plum edge. On the nose ripe red fruit flavours contribute to an intense bouquet, integrated with oaky and spicy notes. Expressive, fresh and fruity in the mouth, elegant, with a lingering finish and plenty of depth.

 

BY 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 are also contributors to Verema’s ADN Wine Guide. 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

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