Verdera Real – Tinto de Autor: This month the Bruja has been sampling new wines from the DO Utiel-Requena some 70 km west of Valencia.
The region has made a big effort to change its image from that of bulk, cheap and somewhat mediocre wines to one of quality. For the red wines, there has been a shift away from the reliance on the native Bobal grape, to more international varieties like Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon and others.
Most of the wine-growing area sits between the towns of Utiel and Requena, which between them give the DO its name. A flat plateau at 700m, with a climate between Mediterranean and Continental. Between the long, hot, dry summers and cold winters, with frost and hailstorms, this is one of the extreme regions of Spanish winemaking, though the relative proximity of the Mediterranean moderates the extremes to some extent.
Our wine comes from Bodegas Vereda Real, which while it remains committed to the native variety Bobal for their red wine, has produced this exceptional vino de autor. Vinos de autor, or ‘Signature wines’ are wines made by one or more oenologists where they attempt to innovate something different from the mainstream of the region, capturing an idea or a concept and giving it its own identity. Usually made in small quantities, vinos de autor do not take into account many of the usually strict regulations of the DO to which they belong, that’s why they are not usually labelled as DO, as the wines identify with the bodega or the winemakers.
In Verdera Real – Tinto de Autor, the innovation starts with bringing together Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon, the big beasts of Spanish and French winemaking, respectively. Both grapes produce medium to full-bodied wines, with bold, chunky tannins and affinity with oak. Here the Tempranillo contributes its characteristic aroma of red-fruit, while the Cabernet Sauvignon brings its signature aroma of black cherry, blackcurrant, and blackberry.
The wine is aged French-oak barrels for 11 months, then refined in micro-porous concrete tanks. It has an intense and clear garnet-red colour, with long ‘long legs’ or ‘tears’ reflecting the high alcohol content. On the nose, it is a basket of ripe fruit, together with the spicy and vanilla aromas of the French wood, with good breadth and persistence. In the mouth, it is velvety, with smooth balanced tannins, a touch sweet with medium acidity. The combination of fruit flavours with the notes from the wood make it a deliciously complex wine.
Serve at 16oC-18oC with Valencian style fried artichokes or fried gambas.
EUR 7.75 by mail order from Vinoteca Benito in Requena, https://www.vinotecabenito.com/
90-92 Bruja Points.
(Wine Feature: Verdera Real – Tinto de Autor)