The summer holidays seem but a distant memory and VÍ vid have started October at a fast pace. September had finished with our course reported in our last blog.
Valencia is currently halfway through the 3rd Jornadas Gastronómicas de Arroces Marineros, a now well established fortnight where restaurants from the Association of Restaurants by the Las Arenas beach show their best traditional and modern seafood rice dishes, accompanied by wines from the Valencian Region and using DO Valencia rice varieties. 18 Restaurants are offering four course meals between 18-41€ per head
Bodega´s Nodus are amongst the sponsors of the Jornadas which ends on 16 October.
On the 26th we were back in the CdT in Valencia this time as part of the judging panel for the `Lupulo De Oro´, Valencia´s competition for Craft Ales organised by Chema Ferrer who writes the `Comer y Beber´ coloumn in Las Provincias newspaper. Nearly 100 ales had been submitted and were broken down into four categories, `Blonde or White ´beers, `Toasted ales´, `Black Ales´ and `Fruit´ beers.
On the 29th ( following the Night Harvest at Pago de Tharsys – see our separate blog) we were invited by Bodegas Cherubino Valsangiacomo to the launch of their new Reserve Vermut in Casa Montaña, the Cabañal district ´s historic restaurant and bar.
The family Bodega ( founded 1831) have been making Vermut since 1904. It´s Vittore range is very popular and there has been a big revival in the style of drink which uses a base white wine in which are steeped a large number of botanicals ( herbs and spices) which add a hugely complex range of flavours to the finished product.
Five years ago they decided to make a vermut, aged in American oak barrels , using 24 different botanicals from Alpine and Mediterannean sources steeped in a base wine from Macabeo.
The result is an exquisitely complex but subtle vermut, combining floral, spicy, fruity and balsamic notes, a very smooth drink either as a traditional aperitif or as a post meal digestif.
Following the presentation there was a buffet which combined some of Casa Montaña´s traditional tapas paired with a range of cocktails using the Vittore vermuts made by Ivan Talens of Mes Que Barmans and President of the Valencian Barmans Association.
VÍ vid are now making plans to visit some of the Bodega´s installations to review some of their other products.
On the 1st we were at the Umbracle, one of Valencia´s iconic modernist Calatrava buildings normally a night club, on this occasion for Proava´s night of Wine and Music, celebrating Valencian wine with music. Nine bodegas participated, 40ºNorte, Bocopa, Heretat de Taverners, Ontinium, Los Frailes, Baronia de Turis, Alturia, UVÉ, Antonio Arrez and music was provided by DJ Compakt and live band No Comment. Food was available from traditional producers such as Carniceria Isidora and Horno Hermanos Yust, Some three thousand glasses of wine were enjoyed over the evening.
3 October started with the `Vendimia El Renegado´. This is the second year Bodegas Nodus have invited Restaurant owners and clients ( and the press) to come and see (and participate in) part of the bodega´s harvest. This initiative is very much part of their activity in the field of enotourism. The day starts with an almuerzo under the emblematic pin oak which stands in front of the bodega and which appears on the labels of their Finca El Renegado range of wines.
Following this the guests took part, cutting the bunches of grapes before a tour of the newly built barrel room which also contains some very shiny, modern cone shaped fermentation and storage tanks whilst Adolfo de Las Heras (owner) and Paula Valiente Viana (winemaker) gave us a presentation over a glass of the Nodus Cava.
Lunch followed in the bodegas´ Casa Rural with food typical of the area once again provided by El Yantar restaurant from nearby Venta del Moro.
On the evening of the Monday 3 October we attended the Lupulo de Oro prizewinners ceremony held in the Restaurant of El Corte Ingles on Avenida Francia.
The awards were as follows:-
- White Beers, Er Boquerón from La Socarrada and Alegría de Vivir from Alegría Cervezas.
- Tostadas, Abadía Siete Maltas from Abadía Española and Galana 7 from Galana.
- Black Ales, Valentium Porter from Valentium and Smoky Porter from Tyris.
- Fruit Ales, Galana 10 from Galana and Galita Brava from Trakatra.
Several other ales received special mention and the Craft Ales sector is clearly in good shape!
On Wednesday 5th we attended a masterclass by wine writer and author of Supervinos , a guide to Supermarket wines, by Joan C Martin. This was also held in El Corte Ingles. VÍ vid had been part of the Valencian jury which selected the best wine ( Mo, a Monastrell from Sierra de Salinas bodegas.)
The tasting consisted of four wines as follows:
- 2015 Pazo las Bruxas Albariño, DO Rias Baixas, part of the Torres range of wines.
- Moraig 2015 Moscatel Seco from Benitatchell in the Marina Alta of DO Alicante.
- Dominio de la Vega Authentique,2013 Brut Nature Resrva DO Cava, Requena.
- Mo, 90% Monastrell with 10% Tintorera, Sierra de Salinas . DO Alicante (Vinapolo)
The guide is published and available now and the overall winner of the best Supermaket wine will be announced in Madrid on the 14th of October.
Sunday 9th, Valencia´s `National´day, saw VÍ vid on the road, this time to attend the first of two important Gastronomic Fairs where artesan producers showcase their products. The fair is now in its 22nd year and incorporates the annual Concurso de Putxeros, which 18 restaurants participated in.
Three hours is not long enough to do this fair justice and visit all the stands, particularly when you are engaged by the stallholders who are keen to impress on you how good their products are. Cheese makers, bakers, cake makers, bodegas, butchers and fruit growers and many others vie for the opportunity to sell. All offer a ticketed tasting but many will let you try small samples to impress just how good the food and wines are!
We spent some time with Marcos Villaplano of Che que Foie, artesan producer of duck liver foie, chef and distributor of many high quality products. Many of his products are entirely natural and available in the fair, including some artesan salts including one flavoured with Riesling and an outstanding cheese flavoured with truffle.
Bodegas Daniel Belda are everpresent at the feria and use the opportunity to launch their floral and very expressive Verdil Joven Blanco 2016, the first wine to be produced in the Northern Hemisphere annually.
We also tasted the Shiraz 2015, bright cherry in colour with an expressive cherry and raspberry nose. The 2015 Pinot Noir, was a lighter cherry red colour with ripe fruit, almost jam, on the nose. In the mouth nice, round and fruity.
Our final wine was the 85 Anys, a robust Garnacha Tintorera. The wine is a more garnet red colour, medium bodied with softer fruit, red and blackcurrants, which is ripe in the mouth with a long dry finish. This is a wine to keep.
We will be showing the Pinot Noir and Verdil at our next tasting.
Other notable producers were the traditional Valencian cheeses from Granya Rinya and Cati as well as guest cheeses and sobrasadas from Minorca. The Ontinyent Association of Meat Producers have an outstanding range of air dried sausages and those for cooking, especially the essential ingredients for Arroz al Horno. They were selling very well!
Finally for this report we attended yesterday the press launch of the second Gastronomy fair, to be held in October, in Utiel between the 21-23rd of October which will showcase the gastronomy of the Interior of the Province. We will report on this later in the month. 30 producers will attend and it is worth going just to try the traditional dishes such as ajo arriero and mortuerelo from the Housewives Association (Amas de Casa Tyrius.) This fair benefits from a train service from Valencia which allows attendees to avoid having to drive after a glass or two of DO Utiel-Requena´s excellent wines.