THE RICH WINES OF BODEGAS CARREÑO
I’m approaching the end of my discourse on the wines of DO Bullas. It’s been both tasty and interesting and I hope I’ve done a little to publicise this small area of production which is often overshadowed by other DOs in the South East of Spain, but which is deserving of attention too.
Bodegas Carreño was founded in 1930 by the Carreño family and is located in the same, though somewhat modernised, wine cellars that were once home to the local wine of the Kingdom of Murcia in the 18th Century.
Traditional methods, allied to modern thinking and some investment in stainless steel have upped the ante regarding quality. Wines are made with Monastrell – a variety sometimes overlooked on the international scene, but for me, a grape which should be considered one of the noble varieties of Spain.
There are several ranges of wine produced by this family run bodega which owns its own vineyards but also buys grapes from a number of local growers with whom a mutually respectful relationship has developed over decades of co-operative working. Carreño wines make boxed wine, wine in large 5 litre plastic bottles, in traditional garrafas, screwtops and a bottled young entry level wine, Puntarrón.
For their flagship wines Bodegas Carreño use both American and French oak barrels to add some flavour to the finished product but also depth and complexity. There’s a limited production and a relatively small range of quality wines produced, but the byword here his richness! When a Bodegas Carreño wine hits the mouth it fills it!
Viña Azeniche Roble has a supporting cast of Petit Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah as back-up to the Monastrell (50%) which figures in all their red wines. It depends on the year as to how much time this wine spends in French and American oak, and then in bottle, before it is released on the market. This is encouraging as each harvest presents different levels of ripeness, sugar content, colour, tannin etc, so wine-makers need to adapt their blends and methods of production according the grapes picked [by hand for their top wines] each year.
In the glass the wine is clean and brilliant, suggesting pleasures to come. And this is not false promise. There’s a meatiness to the wine integrated within the intense fruit delivery. Look for mature and rich red fruits, mostly dark hedgerow but with some red currant too. A slight earthy minerality finishes the mouthful and it has s good length too, with the fruit staying with you for quite a while.
Viña Azeniche is the second wine in this range – it’s a younger wine and is made with Monastrell only. Again it’s very fruit driven and fills the mouth with its richness. With a finish a little shorter than the Roble it’s a wine to enjoy with food, sure, but also just to drink with friends and savour the intense Monastrell pulum/damson and dark cherry fruit.
It’s probably Marmallejo Crianza that holds the flag for this bodega which is developing an international market as well as buoyant sales in Spain. It’s made with 60% Monastrell and 40% Petit Verdot. Very dark colours with some earthy mineral notes emanating amidst the damson fruit.
I tasted the 2010 Marmallejo which I really enjoyed. Its 12 months in French and American oak have added depth and complexity as well as some attractive smoky aromas and vanilla toffee flavours. A wine for rich meaty dishes and we thought it excellent with some Manchego Curado as well!