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Dublin, Ireland
Hi, I'm Dermot Nolan, and I became a Master of Wine (MW) in 1997, and resigned from the Institute of Masters of Wine in 2023 after being an MW for exactly 26 years. I opened a wine shop in Dún Laoghaire, Ireland, called The Wine Library, which closed in 2018, and this is my personal wine blog. I will do my utmost to be fair and responsible in my posts – please read my Who Pays article in re the ethics of wine trips and writing. I have worked in wine education, retail, and consultancy since 1990. I was a Director of the Institute of Masters of Wine (IMW) from 2008 to 2014 and was also a member of the Events Committee, founder of the Trips Committee, and member of the Governance Committee. Having had problems with potentially libellous comments from unidentifiable posters, I now require that if you post a comment, you must identify yourself properly or it won't be published. Please note that I do not review products or services on request so kindly don't ask. I value my independence and I believe my readers (few that they may be) do so also.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The wines of Valencia

Recently there was a tasting of the wines of Valencia in Dublin. It turned out to be a really good tasting with some very tasty wines to try, from good Cavas, to fresh whites, some interesting reds and a few nice sweeties, including, paradoxicaly, a French Vin Doux Naturel (VDN)! Indeed, the range of varieties for tasting vould easily make you think you were in France - cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot, petit verdot, pinot noir, chardonnay and syrah.

Bodegas Les Useres had a nice white, L'Alcalaten Macabeo Chardonnay, and the really nice L'Alcalaten Macabeo, which had a better overall structure, the L'Alcalaten Rose from monastell and bonicaire, the lovely easy-drinking L'Alcalaten Tempranillo and a good L'Alcalaten Tempranillo Cabernet Sauvignon blend.
Bodegas Bocopa had a very lemony sparkling wine, Marina Espumante, made using the Charmat process, from 100% muscat of alexandria! Also, a straight white from the same variety, Gran Seleccion Marina Alta, a very good cabernet sauvignon called Laudum Nature, organic, and the youthful Laudum Reserva from monastrell, cabernet sauvignon & merlot. The Laudum Crianza, same varieties, was a nice, easy-drinking red and the Terreta Rose, 100% monastrell, had lovely berry fruits.
Bodegas Francisco Gomez had a nicely green (but not too much) sauvignon blanc wine, Fruto Noble, as well as the interesting and very good Fruto Noble Crianza with 40% cabernet franc! The Moratillas Crianza, monastrell, merlot & syrah, was nice, the Serrata Crianza, merlot, petit verdot, cabernet sauvignon & monastrell was good but the Boca Negra Crianza was very good - 100% Monastrell.
Bodegas Vicente Gandia had a nice white, El Miracle from chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and muscat, the good Hoya de Cadenas Reserva, 100% tempranillo, the very good El Miracle Planet, 100% monastrell, and then three single varietals, all Hoya de Cadenas - a good merlot, a lovely cabernet sauvignon and a good syrah.
Bodegas de Utiel had a big range listed but only a few to taste. The Nodus Chardonnay was nice, the Nodus Tinto Autor, merlot, cabernet sauvignon, syrah & bobal, was good - dark firm fruits but quite supple, and the Nodus Delirium, merlot & bobal, was good to very good, very round but still quite big in style.
I have to apologise to Castell dels Sorells, who had a range of Cavas to try but I missed their stand altogether! I gather they are well worth trying.
Bodegas Covinas had a good Cava, from the standard macabeo, xarel.lo and parellada, was floral on the nose but quite tasty on the palate, the Macabeo was nioce - just bottled in September it still had strong ferment character, the Aulah Syrah Crianza was very good, being almost Cornas-like in its earthy, chocolate fruit style, the Enterizo Rosado, 100% bobal, was nice, as were the Enterizo Tempranillo and the Enterizo Crianza.
Dominia de la Vega also had a big range, of which I tried only a few. Their Cava Arte Mayor, macabeo & chardonnay was very good, plenty of lees character, the Cava Dominio de la Vega Pinot Noir had lovely berry fruits on the nose, very juicy on the palate, some richness from 20 months on lees and, overall, was good. Their Crianza, bobal, cabernet sauvignon & syrah was really good, firm but rich and a very good wine.
Chozas Carrascal had a "numerically" named range. The Las Quatro Rosado was a bit odd for me - aged in oak it had a flavour that I felt was very like TCA but wasn't; the Las DosCes, tempranillo & syrah, was good, supple and smooth, the Las Ocho, bobal, monastrell, granacha, tempranillo, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, syrah & merlot (8 - which tells you how the wines are named!) was really good, but the best was the Muscat from Domaine Perna Batut in St-Jean Minervois! it was an absolute stunner - intense, rich, beautifully balanced Vin Doux Naturel - I loved it!
La Casa de las Vides had the lovely Rosa Rosae Rosado, garnacha & cabernet sauvignon, the very good Aculius, tempranillo, syrah & merlot, and the also very good CUP, tempranillo, syrah & monastrell, really yummy.
La Baronia de Turis had a good range but at this stage I was running out of time so I only tasted the nice Luna de Mar, tempranillo, merlot, syrah & cabernet sauvignon, and a very tasty mistela which was a nice way to finish.
Overall, I was impressed. A very interesting range of grapes had been used to make a very wide range of wines. Altitude is used to get fresh, fruity whites with fresh acidity, also allowing Cavas to be made in the same region as 14% abv syrahs! The quality was pretty good throughout and the wines were well packaged. I didn't get prices so I don't know whether the wines are good value for money but, on the basis of the quality tasted, they ought to be.

1 comment:

jmaher said...

Glad that the wines from the Valencia region impressed you. It's worth pointing out that these come from three (well, four including Cava) distinct Denominaciones de Origen - like appelation d'origine controlée. DO Alicante (eg Bocopa), famous for Moscatel & Monastrell (Mourvedre) but experimenting with everything; DO Valencia (eg Baronía de Turis), best known for its sweet moscatels but making the full range of wines, DO Utiel-Requena (e.g. Chozas Carrascal) about 600 metres above seal level some 40km west of the city of Valencia heading towards Castile, and Cava is restricted to the area of Requena only (apart from Castell dels Sorells for historical reasons). Alicante also makes a wonderful, ancient maderized wine, Fondillón, rather like Port or Madeira but unfortified. More at www.winesofvalemcia.com. Saludos, John Maher