First Published August 2010 Costa News


La Vinoteca owner Cecilia appreciates Herman's presentation of Bodega Vicente Gandía Plá wines.

It’s always a pleasure to attend the regular wine tastings at Calpe’s leading wine shop, La Vinoteca, aside the dry river a hundred meters or so from the Mediterranean. The all-embracing charming smile on owner Cecilia’s face is a wholly genuine, warm welcome liberally and naturally used as if you are a treasured member of the family. And of course, to complete this family affair, Cecilia’s Mum is always on hand producing with a flourish a tray of her wonderful, secret recipe, Argentinean empanadillas at the optimum moment when the wines are making you peckish!

 If you haven’t yet been (and they are usually worth even travelling from all points served by the Costa News Group’s four titles) – then you really should!

 However there was a double pleasure in store for me when I attended the first of two tastings recently. The wines were from Bodegas Vicente Gandía Plá whose empire (and I use the word deliberately as it is one of the largest business enterprises in the whole of Spain!) makes wines from easily accessible entry level up to top award winning fine wines. So that was a good start, but I was also delighted to find that the presentation was to be given by my young friend Herman Potgeiter, South Afrikan, multi-lingual commercial winemaker.

 The first wine was in fact Hoya De Cadenas Brut Nature Cava – a wine that needs no introduction for me as it is the aperitif that we use exclusively at all of our wine tastings with dinner and classical music. The cava has a fine mousse resulting in the continual, pleasing sound of light bubble bursting (cava is the only wine which requires the use of the sense of hearing for its assessment!). It has a good mouth-feel, some body and a bready/brioche nose, typical in fact of Champagne.

 The next wine is one that I’ve mentioned before in this column – and is one of the original Chardonnay/Sauvignon Blanc blends in Spain, a wine style that seems to be gaining in popularity. It’s not surprising as this blend is all fruit – perfect for consumers with a fruit-lust regarding their wine preferences.

 Actually though, compared with previous apricot and peach laden aromas and flavours, this 2009 vintage has a more subtle citrus fruit presence coupled with a faint aniseed nose, with a greater freshness and increased acidity, making it a super aperitif wine and one to drink pleasurably with salads. Visually, Herman’s comment that whilst many white wines’ brilliance in the glass is akin to a 40 or 50 watt bulb, this is in the 100 watt category is true when you hold the glass against a white background!

 The next wine was Miracle Art – a red wine in a distinctive bottle with some

Art and Fine Wine

 quite amazing labels! I remember being invited to an art exhibition that featured wine barrels that had been painted by some of Valencia’s acclaimed artists in various different styles – it really was quite a show. And it is these barrels that feature on the labels of this wine.

 Made from Monastrell, Pinot Noir, Shiraz, Tempranillo and Merlot this 2007 vintage wine has had ten months in oak and whilst drinking well now can do some with more time in bottle to evolve further.

 Hoya De Cadenas Reserva Privada is a wine I first tasted in the subterranean cellars of the bodega in the glorious eponymous valley where their ultra-modern winery is set. Made from grapes grown at a higher altitude in a vineyard that consistently produces fruit of top quality this wine is a cuvee of Tempranillos with 15% cabernet Sauvignon for greater depth and darker colour as well as blackcurrant flavour tones.

 The 2005 has enjoyed 14 months in American oak and plenty of extra time in bottle where it has become rounded and softer making it a super wine for enjoying with dinner, but then for continuing with during post-prandial conversation.

 However you need to somehow make space for Bodegas Vicente Gandía Plá’s lovely dessert wine. For a start it looks so charming on the table – the instantly recognizable label was the winner of a Valencia Art Student Award competition and when condensation drips down the bottle following its extraction from the chiller it really makes you want have a taste. Once tasted, this delightful, medal winning, orange-blossom scented Moscatel, which has also benefited from three months in new French oak finishing school, has the perfect equilibrium between sweetness and acidity.

 P.S. Information about these and other wine tastings can be found at: click Events; and by joining my e-mail list – please e-mail me at: .