First Published Costa News Group, June 2012



Last week I believe I introduced many of you to Bodegas Piquera, and indeed to the Denominación de Origen Almansa under whose auspices they make their economically priced, flavour-filled wines. DO Almansa is not a Spanish area of wine production that immediately comes to mind and yet, if you know what to buy you can find some exceptional value for money.

Although Bodegas Piqueras’ White, Castillo de Almansa Colección 2011, made with Verdejo and Sauvignon Blanc is a fresh, light and clean wine which displays varietal characterisitics; and their refreshing Rosado, Castillo de Almansa, has some rosehip aromas with a touch of Syrah spice on the palate, for me their real strength is in their red wines.

I tasted two lines – the Valcanto portfolio, attractively bottled and labelled, which concentrates on mono-varietal wines and which I guess is selling like hot cakes in emerging Asian markets; and the Castillo de Almansa which often blends different indigenous varieties with adaptable ‘foreigners’. For me both ranges are successful, the more so when you learn the extremely approachable prices!

Valcanto Syrah 2010 has a touch of integrated oak. It’s juicy and rounded with sweet tannins and no trace of harshness. It’s fruit driven with a touch of spice and black olive and I thought it a good pairing for the BBQ Beef recipe on Bay Radio’s monthly wine/food pairing show. ( Listen Live Sunday Brunch Programme).

Valcanto Monastrell 2010 was also fruit orientated, but perhaps a touch more serious! A deeply coloured grown-up wine with a sturdy backbone of tannin and acidity which is in balance with some damson and fig notes and slightly more noticeable oak. A wine for the dining table.

Castillo de Almansa Colección 2011 is in fact a single-varietal showcasing the enigmatic Garnacha Tintorera, the variety with the almost unique pink coloured flesh, which makes rich and deeply coloured wines. This is a young wine whose super purple colour attracts the eye. There are wild berry flavours, sweet tannin and a faint minerality. It’s big on fruit but with balancing acidity which, linked also with its 14% alcohol will help it age for a few years too. A pleasing light bitterness on the finish makes it a good food wine too.

The Crianza 2009 (Monastrell, Garnacha Tintorera and Cabernet) from the same range delighted my tasting partner particularly with its good fruit presence and extra oak-inspired depth. For me Crfianza wines these days are only built to last for about five years, this one may exceed that by a year and will I think be drinking at its best in twelve months time.

The Reserva 2008 (Tempranillo, Monastrell and Garnacha Tintorera) is drinking perfectly right now. I’m sure that the grapes harvested for this wine were at their ripest when it made it from the furnace-like heat of the vineyard into the cool sanctuary of the bodega. There’s a touch of burnt wood on the nose and palate which integrates well with the forward fruit. It’s rounded with some pleasing mid-palate depth and a fruit laden, very slight bitter chocolate finish.

The final wine I tasted was the oldest, the Colección 2007, whose initial up front fruit fades a little after the first mouth hit, only to return on the finish with tannin and acidity and a slight oak effect. Another food wine that will not disappoint.

There are two further lines that I hope to be able to try in the future as I have enjoyed these wines which exemplify modern Almansa. Bodegas Piqueras will no doubt continue to fly the flag for the DO and indeed for Spanish wines in general, representing as they do, very good value for money in these dark financial times!

If you cannot find these wines, which is likely as the vast majority are sold abroad, you can order from the winery – go to and check out prices and delivery terms.

Contact Colin: and through his unique wine services website:

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