OF TERRES DELS ALFORÍNS
Last week’s article told of a new association that has been formed within DO Valencia – Terres dels Alforíns. (The article can still be read at www.costa-news.com click Cork Talk). One of the member wineries is Bodegas Enguera, two of whose wines I was given to taste following our visit to meet several of the association’s founder members in July. The wines, a white and a red, are outstanding and already medal winners!
Bodegas Enguera is a relative new kid on the block having been inaugurated as recently as 1999. However the Perez-Pardo family has a long history of wine-making and now owns 160 hectares of vineyards, in two different locations which add variety to the small portfolio of wines that they craft. Their holdings afford them total control over the whole wine-making process from the vineyard to the bottle.
When at their optimum ripeness the grapes for their stunning white wine, Blanc D’Enguera, are harvested by hand with instructions to the pickers to use only those bunches which are in perfect condition. Picking takes place in the cool of the night and the grapes are quickly and carefully transported to the bodega where they undergo a cooling process which encourages greater aromas in the finished wines.
Fermentation is kept at a relatively cool 20ºC which ensures a beneficially lengthy process whereby the sugars are turned into alcohol by the action of the yeast. Following clarification and gentle filtration the wine undergoes a short ageing in lightly toasted French barricas which results in integrated oak with a lovely fragrance.
Also on the nose there are hints of grapefruit and Seville orange peel, with further citrus notes and a fleeting memory of apricot too! There is a long and elegant finish leaving an admirable flavour in the mouth, long after the wine has been swallowed. This wine proves once again that it is possible to make fresh white wine with an acid lick, bags of flavour and wonderful aromas in the furnace-like heat of the Valencia region.
The local Verdil variety (70%) is joined by Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier and Chardonnay a certain percentage of which has been fermented in oak. We enjoyed the wine with a smoked salmon tarte flambée and I’m sure it would be the perfect match for fish dishes and seafood! Excellent wine!
Megala 2009 is Bodegas Enguera’s top red wine, scoring an impressive 92 points in the 2012 Peñin Guide. Made with Monastrell and Syrah, 50/50, the wine has been aged in new French oak for 14 months. The wood makes its presence known subtly, which is typical of French oak, and the ripeness of the harvested grapes ensures that it is the fruit that is to the fore, with the oak adding layers of complexity and depth along with some spicy notes.
In the glass it’s the colour of black picota cherries and this fruit’s taste and fragrance is contained in the wine as the first sip hits the palate. At first there is a vibrant acidity moderated by soft and sweet tannin and then after time in the glass the acidity mellows into a super richness as it warms the palate before swallowing.
There is the faintest hint of black pepper on the lasting finish, making this wine even more of a food wine, ready to grace the finest dining tables of Valencia and beyond.
A bodega to watch out for. I’ve only tasted the two wines mentioned here but that’s certainly enough for me to have complete confidence in the wine making team behind them, and therefore in their full range of wines.
If you are looking for a private bodega visit/wine appreciation course/wine tasting/wine and food pairing evenings etc please contact Colin. Also those in the restaurant business would do well to ask Colin to review wine lists/train staff/advise on serving, rotating and keeping wine/food and wine pairing etc.