Bodegas Joan de la Casa


My recent discourse about the ‘Orange Wines’ of bodegas Joan de la Casa ( provoked a number of comments and questions from readers (you can always e-mail me with yours – In the article I also alluded to his red wines.

I’ve often said that wine is all the better for it also having a story attached – and so it is in this case. This morning I’ve been chatting with a vineyard worker in Jalón valley about the apparently on-going Garnacha/Giró confusion/debate (though, mostly concerning the vine that takes centre stage on my current, bite-sized Blog ‘A Season in the Life of a Vine’ seen here: [ click Blog) .

Let me explain: Giró is a black grape variety prevalent in the Jalón area, and in Alicante in general. However, there are those who say that it is just another name for Garnacha, the Spanish variety, called Grenache in France – a rose by any other name would smell as sweet! A trawl through Google, won’t particularly help here, and anyway, as a romantic by nature, I prefer the story that is attached to the Giró variety, which I believe, on balance, is in fact a wholly different grape.

I’m not sure when, but let’s say several hundred years ago, the King (I’m not sure which but . . . . ) whose domain included what we now know as Cataluña as well as Las Islas Baleares was concerned that the farms of the latter were not being properly attended because of a drop in the population. In order to address the situation, by way of inducement, he offered free land to people willing to move there and look after his estates as well as the new land that they would own. The incentive was taken up – with several taking vines with them.

Fast forward (I’m not sure how many years . . . ) and some of the ancestors of those who’d taken ‘the King’s shilling’ decided that they’d move back to mainland Spain, though further south, in order to requisition land that had belonged to the now banished Moors. Some arrived in the Jalón area, and, yes, they brought with them some vines to plant here!

Now, whether the Giró that they planted was a vine that was originally indigenous to the Balearic Islands, uprooted and brought to the mainland; or if it was a hybrid, perhaps developing naturally from Garnacha, or maybe with the help of human hands, I’m not sure (as you might guess from the above!) – but no matter, it’s a good story and certainly fits with the absolute conviction of Joan de la Casa, that Giró is not Garnacha!

In his atmospheric, rustic converted finca/bodega, just off the N332, going down the long hill from Benissa to Calpe, and home to antique wine making paraphernalia positioned alongside its more modern equivalent, we tasted his two red wines, after the aforementioned ‘Orange Wines’. Considering the nature of Orange/Amber wines, it wasn’t a huge contrast, as one could argue that Amber/Orange wines are whites that wannabe reds! (Why? Visit and click Articles)

Whilst Joan’s ‘Orange Wines’ are all made entirely with Moscatel, Giró figures highly in his reds, but not exclusively. Terra Fiter 2012 (the latter a Valenciano word for stones, therefore stone strewed soils) is made with 100% Giró, harvested from 60 – 80 yrs old vines. The juice macerates for 15 – 20 days and is then transferred to oxygen-free sealed deposits – few yeasts can survive without oxygen, the natural yeast found on Joan’s vines, can, so it’s a natural selection of yeast that turns the juice into wine!

This is a fruity wine, with fresh acidity, though five years old now, with balsamic notes and alluring blackberry fruit. Joan reckons it has three more good years, I’d say perhaps a year less – though certainly drinking well right now! 10€.

The 2008 Terra Fiter is a blend, Giró taking top spot with 60% of the mix, the rest being Tempranillo. This wine has had 18 months in oak, hence its ability to age. The wine has some blackberry notes again, aided and abetted by earthy undergrowth and ripe strawberry, with a little plum/damson. There is also an endearing touch of coconut coming from the oak. 12€

There are some places left for the wine pairing lunch at La Parrilla, Javea Old Town, Wednesday 16th May, starts 13:00 hrs – we are tasting quality: white, rosado and red wines, paired with different dishes, cooked, of course, by Pepe! If you can join us, please call me on 629 388 159 or e-mail

Second Wine Pairing Lunch at La Parrilla, Javea – Weds. 16th May!

Photos (to follow!) of the recent full house wine pairing lunch with Joseparrilla Belles Monferrer of La Parrilla del Celler, Javea Pueblo, earlier this week.

Photos here, soon!

Great fun, food and wine!

The next such event, same venue – different menu and different wines is on Wednesday 16th May, starting at 1pm! The cost is just 30€, for five courses and five wines (generously poured!). Anybody like to join us? Please just message me, or call/whatsapp me on 629388159!

See you there?

Bodegas Hacienda Grimón and their Monovarietal Range


If you visit you’ll see just three lines about the history of Bodegas Hacienda Grimón – they prefer to let their wines do the talking! And why not, when they are so eloquent?


There’s an impressive portfolio of traditional red wines – Joven, Crianza and Reserva; there’s a trad white too, Viura with some oak ageing, as well as a new wave white with a contribution from the would-be usurper, Sauvignon Blanc. I enjoyed the precise wine making of the reds above which I believe to be exemplary of their styles, in the modern way, details and tasting notes to follow. (I haven’t yet had the opportunity to try the whites, nor the pretty rosado).


However, it’s their medal winning monovarietal range that really captures the imagination! Understandably, I believe, most people think first (and probably, only) of Tempranillo, when considering Rioja red wine. Far more often than not, this is correct – I don’t have the figures but I don’t think it too much of a risk to state that ‘most’ red Rioja has at least some Tempranillo in the blend (if indeed it is a blend). It’s what made Rioja famous!


So, there’d be something wrong if Hacienda Grimón didn’t include a Tempranillo in their monovarietal range. They do, of course, and when you taste it you’ll realise why it is that Tempranillo is now grown in many different countries, to the extent that there is actually an annual ‘Tempranillo’s of the World’ competiton. I’d suggest that they should enter next year’s competition!


However, red Rioja is not just about the early ripening Tempranillo. Graciano, is another of the favoured varieties of this famed region – and the truth is, we couldn’t decide which we liked most when we did a comparative tasting recently. Both are outstanding, and incidentally, very attractively packaged.


I wasn’t able to taste the other variety in this triumvirate – the 100% Garnacha, but I’m certainly hoping to in the future, if these two are anything to go by!


Desvelo Graciano is something of a chameleon, in that it seems to change in the glass, from one guise to another! When I first tasted the wine, it having breathed for sufficient time, there was a lightness about it on the palate – elegant and graceful. Ten minutes later, the elegance was still apparent, but is had seemed to have gained weight and presence. Similarly, on the finish, there is a lightness on the palate, with a pleasing rush of lasting fruit after swallowing!

Picota cherry in colour, there are delightful cherry and loganberry notes in the mouth with some liquorice and mountain herb in there too.


Finca La Oracion Tempranillo has also enjoyed its malolactic fermentation in new French and American oak, which gives both wines a little extra depth, flavour and aroma, though, nowhere near masking the varieties’ expression – which, after all, is the main objective in this portfolio.

Mature dark fruits on the nose and palate, which sit nicely with the lovely dark red as the wine settles in the glass. Some earthy, fallen leaves aromas add an extra dimension – the wine has presence, filling the mouth and warming the taster. A long finish and we reach again for the glass!


Hacienda Grimón’s Joven Rioja Red when poured initially had a fresh strawberry node to it. Quite lightweight on the palate, as the wine warmed it became fuller. I’d recommend decanting this wine an hour before tasting – it’s a lovely example of modern, fruit driven, uncomplicated young Rioja.

The Crianza is also 100% Tempranillo and has rested in oak, French and American, for a minimum of 12 months, with added time in bottle to finish the wine’s cellar development before release. I’d recommend this Crianza to anyone who wanted an intro in this Rioja style. Meat dishes and cheese – a lovely match!

My final wine (for now!) from this family owned bodega was the Reserva. Here the Tempranillo has the addition of 15% Graciano, and the difference is pleasantly noticeable. Full, but elegant, with dark cherry  notes as well as a little blackcurrant and leafy brambly fruit. A light touch of liquorice completes the picture and the finish is long, fruity and satisfying.

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Received with thanks after my visit to Bodegas Joan de la Casa!

Hola Colin,
Muchas gracias por todo, el interés en nuetros vinos, la visita a la
bodega y por supuesto por tu magnífico artículo.
Saludos cordiales y estamos en contacto.
Joan Pastor
Joan de la Casa. Viticulto