VÍ Vid is very happy to say that tastings have resumed and there are almost too many to go, as both distributors and DO (Denominación de Origen) organisations are keen to start showing their wines… after nearly three years in some cases!
We have two sets of wines we can report on, following a visit to Chozas Carrascal in DO Utiel-Requena, including their new reserve Cava and a white wine from their French vineyards in Saint Jean de Minervois. Also, there are some wines from our most recent tasting for the Pedralba wine club.
We start at Chozas Carrascal, the ‘Pago’ (the highest status a bodega can reach, which is more or less equivalent to ‘Chateau’ status in France).
We began with a real treat, once again being honoured to be amongst the first to taste the bodega’s new Cava, a pure Chardonnay reserve with more than 60 months ‘en rima’ and 12.5% ABV! From the 2016 vintage, it is presented in a mallet-shaped bottle with a gold label and is called ‘Eterno’.
A good golden colour, clean, very bright, with a good mousse and very fine, persistent bubbles it has dense long legs. On the nose despite its time in bottle it is fresh and clean, initially subtle, then floral, (light honeysuckle notes and orange flower,) apple, honey, concentrated then brioche and butter notes, evidence of some work with the lees. In the mouth it has a wonderful entry, a light prickle from the well-integrated bubbles, deep fruity notes, with a lovely slightly bitter note in a long and concentrated finish. This is one of best Cavas we have ever tasted and we suspect its ‘everlasting’ name will be short-lived as it will surely sell out on release to public sale! Well worth buying and keeping some though, the structure clearly points to continued improvement and ageing in the bottle if you can resist opening it!
The second wine was not from Chozas at all! It was their ‘Prelude,’ a Muscat Blanc à Petit Grains from the families other vineyards in Saint -Jean-de-Minervois in France. 13.5% ABV and from the 2021 vintage it is one of three wines from the ‘Poudou and Chozas’ collaboration. (Domaine de Montahuc, an AC Saint Jean de Minervois has been sold by the bodega for some years). Now, the bodega also has these new vineyards producing ‘Prelude’ and a red Garnacha (Grenache) ‘Canyon de l’Eglise’.
You can read more about the bodega here on our blog https://wp.me/p7dfvi-1ZU
Next, we tasted a good selection with our Pedralba group on Saturday last, 11 June.
We started with the Vall de Gorgos Vermut Special Selection. Bodegas Xaló is situated in the Vall de Gorgos in the Marina Alta district of DO Alicante. The base of this wine is pure Moscatel de Alejandria. We have recommended some of their wines before, including the vermuts which regularly win prizes in the Proava run ‘Concurso de Vinos Valencianos’.
This is a vermut made with Moscatel, steeped with herbs, roots, barks, spices and flowers (botanicals) which add flavours and balsamic notes to the resulting wine. Amber in colour, clean and bright. On the nose a wide range of bitter notes, gentian, wormwood, floral notes such as Melissa and chamomile with ‘Xmas’ spices.
In the mouth there is a light sweetness, from the Moscatel, on entry, the rest is well-balanced by the botanicals leaving a spicy mouthful (Cinnamon and nutmeg) and then a bitter, long aftertaste which makes for a very satisfying aperitif.
The Culvert 2021 white was next from Celler del Roure between Moixent and Alforins.
From one of the most ‘traditional’ but experimental vineyards in Valencia. The wine is aged in terracotta tinajas (6 months) in the old underground bodega but the winemaker (Pablo Calatayud) is always looking to improve, including using traditional local grape varieties to express the ‘tierra de Moixent and Alforins’. 30% Pedro Ximénez, 30% Macabeo, 10% Verdil, 10% Merseguera, 10% Malvasía, 10% Chardonnay.
Lemon yellow in colour, clean and bright. The nose is expressive with lots of balsamic notes.
In the mouth the wine is elegant, fresh, has good volume with the same balsamic notes and hints of iron and earthy notes from the crianza. Minerality in the long finish. The group felt this was a blend which really worked well.
Next, from 60 year-old-vines on terraces in the mountains above Chelva in the artistic hamlet of Las Ahillas comes this old vine Merseguera (Bodegas Terra D’Art)
From recuperated vineyards. This wine is pale straw yellow, clean and bright with glycerinous long fat legs. An aromatic nose, quite powerful which would not initially lead you to think this is Merseguera. Tropical notes, white stone fruit and floral notes (orange blossom).
This is unctuous on entry, with an acidity which invites you back for a further sip! Long finish with plenty of minerality, reflecting the stony soils of this mountainous zone.
Roques Negres Macabeo 2021 was the following wine, from Les Useres in Castellón.
This white is a pure Macabeo, a variety which seems at its best in the vineyards of Les Useres. Pale yellow, clean and brilliant, green flashes.
On the nose expressive. White flowers, fresh white stone fruits, (Apricot and Peach) and ripe apple.
One of those Macabeo’s which speaks for itself in the mouth. Fresh on entry, well-balanced fruit and acidity, good length. Unctuous, a gastronomic wine which should last well.
The next two wines are new from Roques Negres, but are made in very small quantities and are made from the same grapes. The free run juice from the tank is used to make the white and the remainder of the must from the skins etc is pressed for the rosado. This first is a white wine made from red grapes (Garnacha Tinta) with minimum contact with the skins.
Pale lemon yellow, clean and brilliant. Nose quite closed (the wine had only just been bottled and needed time when tasted in the Benlloch on Palm Sunday). However, even then in the mouth it was expressive, notable, with lots of fruit and a long finish. Tasted again in the dry riverbed fair when it was beginning to develop a little at the end of April. It has now opened out, it is quite luscious, good fruit and a mineral undertone. This is a wine for gastronomy and will improve for some time.
The rosado was also first tasted in Benlloch but not since. Pale rose in colour, clean and bright. Closed on the nose (not surprising since this is a red variety which generally take longer to come round after bottling.)
In the mouth it was mineral, refreshing, with lots of ripe red fruit, and a good acidity in a long finish. This wine is for seafood generally and will improve with longer bottle age.
Next month, we will be judging in the ‘Monovarietal’ wine competition and should have a report on the rosados from Utiel-Requena for Summer drinking.
By Riki Wigley & Marian Darás
Article copyright ’24/7 Valencia’
Notes for Editors.
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.com/Vivideventos and in Twitter @vividvinos.