Sunday, May 30, 2010

PostHeaderIcon Covilor, the cooperative of grape Bobal

Following my tour of the Utiel-Requena region this time played visiting a cooperative, in this case we move to the village of Las Cuevas, about 7 km. Utiel, where we hoped Beatriz Requena, our host, who accompanied us and showed how to live the wine in this area. 

La Cooperativa Virgen de Loreto, Covilor, dates from 1955 and has about 500 members, the cooperative was a pioneer in the area include stainless steel tanks and modern winemaking equipment, as we know it today, during the 60s. The building is of face brick and amenities include concrete tanks and still retain and use the 'trulli' or underground reservoirs to produce wine. 

Adjacent to the winery and in a wide area, are the farms and plots, the different partners that belong to the cooperative, cultivated grape varieties that give the wine, dominate over the range 70% Bobal, queen and mistress of these parts, and which provides the highest level of splendor once the harvest begins in late August and September. 

The area where fields are located chalky-clay land and are situated in a vast plain within the Utiel flat, bordering Camporrobles, Sinarcas and Utiel, and tucked into the northeast by the Sierra del Negrete and southwest on Bicuerca saw. The land lies inside a large bag of groundwater, which has been used to dig wells and take water for use in the vineyard in the hot summers of the site. 

We were visiting a vineyard foot plots near the cellar with Cabernet Sauvignon, Macabeo, Tempranillo and Bobal lot. These varieties are planted in glass, the oldest that some are over 60 years and the most modern trellis in time, the grape harvest is done by hand or machine depending on the parcel and if the owner has it or not. 

In the field engineers work and advise the owners to prepare the stocks and the health status of the grape harvest and distribution of it is controlled. Each collection is sent to the Cooperative, the hub of the area, which is downloaded classified for fermentation in the vats and 'trulli'. 

In Covilor produce about 3 million liters of wine, all are intended mostly in bulk so that the amount of bottled or 'bag in box' that the winery produces is for members and for sale in the area. We had the opportunity to taste two wines (although we have some more to enjoy at home and with friends), a 100% Macabeo white and a 'blend' of Bobal, Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon with 12 months in the barrel. 

The Alto Cuevas 2009 blanco, made with a 100% Macabeo is a greenish-yellow wine, bright, fresh and fruity, with a touch of natural carbonic fermentation itself, very easy to drink and appropriate for this summer we entered. The red, Alto Cuevas Crianza 2007, is a cherry red wine, well structured, with aromas of vanilla and ripe black fruit, sweet tannin, very pleasant to the palate, aged in French oak and American freshmen, and an extraordinary value for money. 

The rest of the range wines Alto Cuevas also accompany all tastes, so we have a rosé Bobal is spectacular, very fruity and reminiscent of ripe strawberries all with a touch of acidity balanced and highly recommended to accompany rice and pasta . The young red Tempranillo is light enough, yet tannic, a daily wine aromas remind us of wild fruit. 

At high expression wines I recommend 100% Bobal Sucession range, marketing the hold a reserve aged for two years in French oak barrels, a powerful wine of broad tannins, great structure and color, especially red to accompany stews prepared meals A treat for the taste of the variety Bobal has evolved dramatically in the development of this cooperative and enjoy the occasion as noteworthy. 

The visit ended with lunch in the restaurant Genaro, in the town of Fuenterrobles near Las Cuevas de Utiel with a special gourmet menu, well presented and delicious, highly recommended if you go to visit the wineries of the region of Utiel- Requena.

Monday, May 17, 2010

PostHeaderIcon Vegalfaro Winery, wine strain

The visit last Saturday, which I mentioned in the previous post was in Requena, had a second winery to go, just opposite the location of the former, and in the village of El Derramador, it is Vegalfaro Winery, a winery more modern, established in early 1980 and coming from a family that devoted their efforts to the farming world.

This family decided to convert their crops and winemakers from the crowd of studying the 'terroir' and seeking ways of producing high quality wines. This will seek the best parcels of their property and planted the best species, looking for the 'clonning' which best suit the environment and conditions of each of their lands. The concept of 'Vino de Pago' and 'Vino de Finca' was coined in the development of these by their owners.

Vegalfaro aims to develop the wine directly in the field, studying, controlling and improving all aspects of the physiology of the plant, so that gives the best grapes on the vine sensory capacity, it helps the process is solely to produce what the earth provides and prevents subsequent corrections fermented mash.

On our visit we attended Andrés Valiente, owner of the winery said we want quality wines and knowledge position at the top by merit. From the care of the plant to its harvest, the process is thorough, so that in passing into the hopper, we can say that wine is almost made. The cellar is well adapted to this philosophy, to reap the grain at its optimal time and produce a wine with controlled maceration and fermentation, to go to the cellar stored before bottling or for young wines and cava.

All in a perfect state of cleanliness and well-differentiated each process and place of the winery to produce wines and cava that today are achieving higher scores quota competitions and tastings where they occur.

The wines we could not taste in the warehouse, but kindly gave us a couple of bottles, Vegalfaro Crianza 2006 (Tempranillo, Merlot and Syrah) and Pasamonte Blanco 2008 (Chardonnay and 15% white Grenache), the latter belonging to the DO Valencia by the location of the property. Other wines as Pago de los Balagueses Merlot and Vegalfaro Cosecha 2009 had already tried it at home accompanied by friends and we were excellent, with a personality that reminded us of wines of high expression of northwest Spain.

Finally a very informative visit, though with little time, but more quietly and hope to repeat that this time with us Rodolfo, winemaker and son of the owner to go deeper into this philosophy of doing things and starting looking for Callide field .  
Sunday, May 16, 2010

PostHeaderIcon Visiting Torre Oria cellar

In the town of Requena, right in the village of El Derramador find a beautiful building and is noted for its domed tower and a surrounding balcony and minaret for the control of the surroundings. 

The building dates from the late XIX century and was commissioned by a family from northern Spain, which did business in the booming silk industry in Requena in previous centuries and until the end of XIX century. The winery-palace of the Oria family was sold in the 50s of the twentieth century to five families  from Requena who founded a cooperative that ultimately Torre Oria named in honor of their fold propietary. Today belongs to the group Natra, related group the cocoa industry. 

In today's visit we entered the house that is kept in the same state as it was when they bought these families, we visited the rooms and then we come to watch the old winery, which today are the old desks for the cava and the trulli or wineries where the wine was fermented and stored. 

The walk through the subways, which are the same but reported trulli, are used to relax the cellars, which Requena at the end of the 80 officially began to develop within the CR Cava, although in previous years were already being successfully . The most emblematic cellars winery rest for 4 years and are prepared manually desks, cava Centenario (100) Torre Oria is prepared in this way. 

The rest of cava production relies on the modern ship port that communicates with the old, and where we have seen up to 3.5 million bottles of cava in its different varieties, as well as machines that mechanically replace the old desks and turning the bottles ranging in metal cages with many bottles at once. 

As for the wines, produce enough quantity and trademarks and aging room containing some 3500 Bordeaux barrels of 225 liters, which can produce more than 1 million bottles of red aged wine, in addition to the young, rosé and white are produced more wine than cava.
The rest of the store communicates with the houses used by the employees at the time that today are used to tasting room and shop. Today we tasted the cava Centenario, a Brut Nature Cava, with 44 months in bottle, golden yellow, dry and with fine bubbles, very fruity and soft on the palate. 

We tested also the young white
Macabeo and rosé  Bobal, the first with aromas of banana and pineapple, yellow color and very fresh and fruity. The rosé bobal was delicious, pink and violet aromas with strawberries and raspberries, it is very aromatic and fresh. These wines are marketed under the brand Marqués de Requena.  

The red Nu, part of the DO Valencia and is a varietal Syrah, very meaty, dark and roasted aromas of old leather, with a raising of nine months. The winery produces for more Utiel-Requena wines Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva with brands Marques de Requena and Torre Oria, we could not prove for lack of time, but we really liked the attention of Irene and their explanations , which have helped us know this winery as emblematic of the area.
Monday, May 3, 2010

PostHeaderIcon Clos Dominic and the heart of Priorat

This weekend has been special for us, we have come to the province of  Tarragona (Catalonia) , in particular the town of Porrera , in the heart of Priorat . There we enjoyed the nature and unique landscape, able to concentrate on the fabulous wines we have tasted and a hallmark of the people who inhabit it.

Our first visit, after occupying precious room in the hotel 'Els Pampols' in Porrera (which I highly recommend), was a visit to Clos Dominic , and there was Dominic and Paco, we went to visit his state , very close to Porrera way to spot the Garranxa and bordering on the river we arrived at the farm, looking for sunshine, combines the new vines on a trellis in the lower area, with old vines in 'els costers' (at the foot of the mountain) primarily carignan .
The hardness of the ground makes the productions are infrequent but extreme quality, because as we saw after tasting the wines they make, the differences between the areas do change completely every one of them.

 After visiting the farm and back to Porrera, we saw the old house Pairal (catalonian expression, home of the parents or ancestors) funding to her store, a house beside the river in which to enter the room wine, and in its basement, with typical arches holding of the house, is the barrel room, where lie the wines that are vinified using yeast own without using any chemical, Vinyes Baixes wines, Vinyes  Altes and Clos Petó.

The first wine we tasted was Vinyes Baixes 2006, came mostly from Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon , the vinyard that are on flat ground and 10 to 11 years old. We observed a dark cherry color edge nose granate with complex and persistent aromas of red fruit and toasted wood, balsamic aromas and a touch mineral end.  In the mouth, powerful, but with a well balanced palate with good structure, is a fleshy wine with soft tannins and good acidity.

Clos Petó 2007, made with Cabernet Sauvignon (over 50%), Grenache and Carignan, was the second wine we tasted, say it is the smallest in the range, but I was astonished, of fairly intense cherry red color, striking purple rim tear, the nose is dominated by overripe red fruit with a fine aroma of wood, we can see a slight floral notes and mineral memory.  In palate soft and elegant, correct and well balanced acidity, silky tannins integrated its end pleasing and long with good persistence.

Vinyes Altes  2007, was the wine that filled the evening, a wine made from Carignan and Grenache from old vines on the hillside, with a yield of less than 1 kg. production, per vine, a wine of profound expression, brightly, powerful aromas of ripe red and black fruits, very powerful on the palate with a pleasant touch of acidity, very complex palate with mineral notes, roasted, spicy and very soothing, ideal for special occasions and to be great with your guests. A wine made to please everyone, even those who do not know how to appreciate technical differences verify that is a great wine.

Of course, all this magic would not be possible without the 'terroir' that survive on these plants, work in the field, where plants are pampered almost one by one, the climate, the absolutely handicraft production, breeding and unhurried, the art of Dominic and Paco  transmits in the wine its character and love of making things well, live and wine they produce and with the hope that increasingly exceed these fabulous wines. Thank you for your hospitality.

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