First Published Costa News Oct. 2012



Some of the wines from Bodegas Torrevellisca

It can’t have escaped your attention that there are increasing numbers of Russians moving to the sunshine of Spain, and in particular to the various Costas. However, like many British ex-pats, there are also those who eschew the clamour of the coast, preferring instead more tranquil areas inland where they find that the real Spain hasn’t yet disappeared under the weight of foreign cultures.

It would be difficult to find an area more tranquil than Fontanars dels Alforíns. An extensive plain of flat arable land inland from Gandia home to the sleepy agricultural villages of Moixent and Fontanars where in many respects time has stood still. Such an area though has for centuries been producing wine and, since the latter half of the last century the quality of said wine has been gradually increasing, to the point where wines from here are often voted the best in the DO Valencia!

I can only see the wines from this area going from strength to strength, the more so now that a new group (spotlighted in Cork Talk over a number of months now), Terres dels Alforíns, has been established. This group is dedicated to making top quality wines whilst simultaneously keeping an eye on the environment and the soils, sustainability is the key.

Fontanares’ Bodegas Torrevellisca, now enjoying Russian investment, is one of the member bodegas and I’ve been tasting several of their offerings over the last few weeks. My advice is to look out for them – but take your magnifying glass with you!

There are two wines that are clearly targeting the younger generation. For a number of years now there’s been a sustained attempt to enfranchise, in wine consumer terms, the jovenes of Spain. Youngsters have disposable income (albeit it earned sometimes by their parents!) and wine producers, understandably would like to convince them to dispose if it by buying wine, rather than beers, cocktails and spirits.

The wine marketing people don’t pretend to any altruism here, though it is probably true that, taken in moderation, wine will be better for young drinkers than the rest. They are simply trying to increase their sales. And it’s marketing techniques that are being used, of course, one of which is label design.

Now I’m all in favour of making labels interesting and accessible and I think the labels on the Embrujo Range have their attractions – where the two ends of the label should join to fully encircle the bottle, it doesn’t quite make it. But it does make a rather clever silhouette of a wine glass. Nifty. The problem is though that the minuscule writing on the label (even to the youngsters who were with me when I tried the wine – I’m not just talking about my bespectacled eyes!) is so small it’s illegible!

A shame. as the wine in the bottle is actually rather good. Their white is made with Malvasia, following a nocturnal harvesting – meaning that the grapes were picked after dark to avoid uncontrolled fermentation. It’s a dessert style wine which will please those who have a penchant for sweeter wines, perhaps as an aperitif or to accompany desserts. It’s fragrant too.

Their red wine has a similar label, though purple/pink in colour (an attempt to include young ladies in red wine drinking circles?). It’s made with Monastrell, the darling grape of the area, and a favourite of mine, along with Syrah – which as I’ve said before can be so good here in Spain where it can fully ripen.

Blackberry and Victoria Plum aromas arise from the deeply purple coloured wine along with the merest hint of oak after a very short one month only in French wood. It’s a wine that is meant to be drink in its youth. It has not airs and graces, no great complexity, but it’s not any lesser for it. Vibrant fruit driven wine is what they want (the producer and the young consumer) and that’s exactly what they get!

Torrevellisca’s Zagromonte Range has a different approach, in terms of labelling and wine style. These wines are meant to grace a dinner table – and that they did, with a certain aplomb.

Argentum 2009 Crianza won a Silver Medal at the Bacchus 2012 Wine Competition – and I’m not surprised. Made with Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon this darkly coloured wine has a good depth of flavour following its fifteen months in French and American oak. Blackcurrant on the nose and palate but some soft light red fruits in there too. It lasts quite a while after swallowing too.

At 86 Peñin Points Aurum de Zagromonte Crianza 2009 made with a Bordeaux style blend of Merlot and Cabernet has perhaps a little more to it than the above (it has two more Peñin points for a start!). It has mellowed nicely with time in bottle and the 12 months in French and American Oak have given the tannic grip of youth a soothing hand, whilst retaining its power. A very good dinner wine, this.

The slightly higher Peñin scoring Brundisium 2008 Crianza has had a whopping 20 months in French and American Oak, but not to the wine’s detriment at all. The fruit is still to the fore with a depth and enviable complexity to boot. A triumvirate of varieties: Tempranillo, and the two Cabernets – Sauvignon and Franc, make this a many layered wine which changes over dinner giving a slight surprise each time you take another sip!

So Bodegas Torrevellisca – wines from Valencia with a Russian influence! and

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