Sabor a Málaga Visits Valencia,VÍVid Reports.

collage vivid marian y riki portadaMonday 16 February  the Diputación of Malága and Sol wines held a lunch for the press in Vincci Palace Hotel in Calle La Paz. The aim as always was to bring together wine and food writers and to promote the products of a small group of the 800 producers who make up Sabor a Málaga, a trade body dedicated to promoting Malagueña gastronomy in restaurants in the province, nationally and internationally. Coordinated by Pedro G. Mocholí some 20+ journalists  from the sector convened for an aperitif of a Puente Nuevo, 20180216_140135 (480x640) (300x400)an organic India Pale Ale  from Arriate, near Seville, and named after the famous  bridge at Ronda. Amber in colour the ale is just 3.8%ABV (the same strength as a session beer in the UK) and on the nose there are aromas of apple, honey with hops and a hint of patisserie. In the mouth it is immediately refreshing  with good bite, sensations of malt and a balanced bitterness, very easy to drink it was a good introduction to what was to prove  a very flavoursome meal.                                       Sergio Garrido was the chef charged with bringing together this

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Sergio Garrido & Pedro G. Mocholí

representative menu from the South with touches of Valencia and elsewhere in its make-up.His career trajectory starts with a family of chefs ( his grandmother cooked in `El Fuente de Marbella hotel) and includes spells in London and Jamaica before becoming Executive Chef for the Vincci chain of Hotels, most recently working from the Vincci Posada del Patio in Málaga. He is a member of the Eurotoque group of chefs.  The menu of five courses began with a Tartar de Salchichón Malagueño, sobre Migas de20180216_150852 (640x480) (400x300)

Sopa Perota, a dried sausage with a base of vegetable soup with day old bread. This was matched with Don Pepe, Pedro Ximenez , (Bodegas Cortijo La Fuente) from 40 year-old-vines. 20180216_145114 (480x640) (300x400)A solera style dry white wine with more than a touch of Rancío, smooth with hints of almonds, and olives it is meaty balanced and long.The second course was Pulpo Frito, Caviar de vino Málaga y Miel de Caña de Frigliano. the base of the dish was a sauce of sugar 20180216_152617 (640x480) (400x300)cane honey with yoghurt, creamy but a perfect foil for the octopus and needed a big wine. It had one, the stunning white from Lunares, a 2016 white from Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, 14%ABV. Golden in colour with 20180216_145645 (480x640) (300x400)a complex intense perfumed and fragrant nose, a mix of pineapple, mango, guava, passion fruit, all of it ripe and in the mouth a full-bodied wine, full of lively fruit but with a perfect acidity and well-integrated alcohol, dense and very round with a long ripe fruit finish. 20180216_154529 (640x480) (400x300)Next was  Arroz Señorito con Gambas de Málaga y Caldillo de Pintarroja. Of course the arroz is similar to that produced here in Valencia, a classic dish with peeled seafood, but the addition of the sauce, a reduction of a soup made in Malaga with a type of shark caught locally made it very rich. A young red matched well with this dish, Excelencia de Ronda, a Tempranillo 2015 with a four-month medium crianza is lush, fruity nose with hints of the malolactic fermentation on the nose and  distinct cherry tart, in the mouth it was all ripe fruit long but with a nicely balancing acidity which matched the rich seafood well.

 

The meat course was Ropa Vieja de Chivo Lechal Malagueño, 20180216_160932 (640x480) (400x300)a croqueta  served with a disc made with baby goat and was matched with Los Frontones   from Bodegas Excelencia 2010 a red with 12 months in oak with a very Bordeaux style, ripe red and black fruit, slightly vegetal and creamy in the mouth.

20180216_163011 (640x480) (400x300)The dessert was Torrija al Vino and served with Dulce No 12 from Cortijo La Fuente. Amber in colour this Moscatel has big fat legs! 20180216_164159 (480x640) (300x400)An intense perfumed nose is full of floral notes, citrus, orange peel and herbs.In the mouth it is a big fresh, sweet and satisfying dessert wine with a powerful aftertaste.Accompanying the meal three olive oils were available as well. All three are meaty with distinct frutal notes and individual uses with salads etc . The Finca La Torre is ecologic from the Holiblanca variety and full of almond, apple and banana notes 20180216_144631 (640x480) (400x300)on the nose. La Laguna de Fuente de Piedra by contrast is from the Arbequina variety. It is milder and smoother  with fresh fruit notes of apple, herbs and flowers and is sweeter in the mouth. Smoothest of all was the Hojiblanca from Aceites Molisur, the reserva de Familia. This well organised and well structured lunch showed off the products of Malaga well and was a good opportunity to taste and match wines from the region with the gastronomy. Our thanks go to our hosts the Diputación of Málaga and the bodegas and olive oil producers together with Sol Wines for this excellent opportunity.

collage sabor a Malaga

 

 

 

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1º Concurso Nacional de Cassola de Sant Blai; VÍ Vid Reports from Torrent.

2018 got off to a cracking start on Monday 5 February  (gastronomicaly speaking) with the first Competition of the year, the National Competition for Cassola de Sant Blai in Torrent, a serious upgrade of what has to date been a local event.collage-2018-02-06

This competition was organised by the Gastronomic  Association for the Cassola de San Blai, a newly created Association formed by the Town Hall, local restaurants and the Valencian restaurant and gastronomy guide ‘Comer en Valencia’ run by Antonio Serrano.

This new association was created with a dual purpose, to consolidate this emblematic dish of the town and to make it available through professional training to all the restaurants in the area. Torrent is the capital town of the Horta West county although in reality it forms part of Valencia’s metropolitan area. Home to 80k residents it boasts a Moorish castle tower, now exhibition halls, which was  once a Templar property and variously also a prison!

The dish itself, according to our Gastronomic guide to the Valencian Community is a type of Arròs Rossejat, a rice dish cooked in the oven. Cooked in a terracotta dish here it is known as a Cassola and named for the patron saint.  Blai (Blas, Blaise, Blazey) was a first

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Cassola de Sant Blai

 century Armenian Bishop and physician martyred in 316AD by wool combs and beheading.  He is the patron saint of woolcombers, gardeners (a garden rake is one of his symbols) and miracles in healing throat ailments are amongst his attributes. He is patron saint of several Valencian towns where culinary traditions associated with him abound. Apart from the Cassola at this time of year you will find ‘panets’ ( little bread rolls) which are blessed in the church and handed out around to local people, ‘rollets’ (ring biscuits sometimes flavoured with anis) and ‘Cristinas’, (a sweet brioche) in areas where he is the patron.

The Cassola itself is  like an ‘arroz al horno’ but has several specific differences which mark it out.  The day before cooking the Cassola you have to make a ‘puchero’ on which we have reported before. The left over stock and  de-boned meats (lamb, beef, chicken, jamon bones) are saved as this will form the basis of the cassola.

The following day you make meatballs (pelotes) which are spiced with nutmeg, mixed spice and cinnamon , to individual taste. Tocino, pork rib, morcillas (black puddings) blanquet (white pudding) and chickpeas and rice are the other main ingredients to which are added the special ingredient,  a sweet pelota (marzipan) made with bread crumbs, almonds, lemon zest, cinnamon, eggs and sugar.

The meat scraps are fried with the ribs and the other ingredients and then the plate is assembled by adding the chickpeas and rice and arranging the sausages and savoury pelotas on top. The sweet pelota needs less time in the oven and is added halfway through the process. collage-2018-02-06 (2)

Held in the banqueting suite of salons El Pino on the edge of Torrent, it needed a large venue as this first edition attracted 28 professional chefs as follows:

  • Chef Amadeo
  • Miguel and Juani
  • Gambrinus
  • Chaparral
  • Rossinyol
  • Avenida 2.0
  • Goya Gallery
  • El Raco
  • Nazaret
  • Picanterra
  • Palace Fesol
  • Asador Alfabega
  • Evenser Restauración Mas Camarera
  • Mar Salá
  • El Chato
  • El Manantial
  • La Visteta
  • Bon Aire
  • Llopis
  • Rincon del Faro
  • Casa Granero
  • La Garrofera
  • Restaurant Sprint
  • Restaurant La Plaça
  • Los Abetos
  • Pilar
  • Juan Veintitres
  • En-Boga Bar

Emili Piera, (eminent journalist with Levante) was one of a professional jury which included top chefs, other gastronomic journalists and the Housewives association. He disclosed to us that it had been an extremely difficult task  judging this competition, not just because of the number of contestants but because of the high quality of entries in this first edition.collage-2018-02-06 (1) The concurso was also sponsored by a number of companies:  Bocopa Bodegas who were represented by Eva Mittermuller provided the wine for the gala lunch; ‘Turia’, ‘Mascleta’ and ‘Valentium’ provided craft beers, ‘Carmeleta’ together with the Barmans association exhibited a range of aperitifs with their Vermuts, orange liqueur and some very good gin, ‘Tartana’ supplied the rice and a rice-based liqueur, ‘Extrem’ some excellent jamon and ‘ Les Perles’ the oysters from Valencia itself in the pre-gala reception amongst a range of other services.

The Government was represented by Pilar Moncho who is charged with supporting and developing tourism and who is an enthusiastic supporter of these events.

As with all of these events the gala lunch followed the concurso and the guests enjoyed entrants of Esgarraet, croquetas and a salad before the main course of Cassola de Sant Blai.20180205_153740_1517905081388_resized

The judging over, the results were announced and the five successful restaurants awarded certificates as follows;

  1. Chef Amadeo
  2. El Rincon del Faro
  3. La Visteta
  4. Avenida 2.0
  5. En-Boga Bar

 

 

The professionalism of the organisation of this competition and its success was exemplary, due in no small amount to the efforts and work of Antonio Serrano. To attract such a large group of chefs at such a high level with other chefs from the professional association in attendance supporting their colleagues (if not cooking) is testament to the desire to continually improve and promote the variety of Valencian gastronomy and in this the gastropress play a large part too…it is a pleasure for VÍvid to record the event for the English-speaking community and  as a reference for English speaking tourists to be aware of more of what is available to them.

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VIvid Team

 

Bodegas Pigar, a passionate winemaker; VÍ Vid reports.

VÍ Vid had met with Antonio Piqueras a couple of times in 2016 when we attended some training days or `Jornadas´ organised by DO Utiel-Requena. In conversation over lunch he had told us he was creating a new family bodega in the village of Campo Arcis. We were later introduced to his wife Amparo Garcia by Emilio Expósito, of  Dominio de la Vega and Vice-President of the Ruta del Vino. `You must visit them´ said Emilio, `they are a very important part of the heritage of the area´.

The family hold a number of parcels of vines, typical of  ‘cosecheros’ (growers who do not make their own wine) in the DO and were selling  their grapes to the local San Isidro Coop, part of Coviñas. But, they had identified three special parcels of vines and created a new bodega, making and selling artisan wines from three different varieties Bobal, Chardonnay and Syrah.

Their son Juan is a qualified wine-maker, trained in the local Requena wine school. He had spent 8 years as ‘ tecnico’ at the prestigious Manuel Manzaneque bodega before returning the family bodega.

On our first visit we set off straight away to visit the three vineyards, first the Chardonnay , then the Bobal and finally the Syrah.

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in La Seratilla

The Chardonnay vines are 9 years old and planted in trellis in single guyot pruning, ( that is one cordon and one spur) with occasional double guyot. The vines are not irrigated.  The family is awaiting formal permission to plant a new plot nearby with Macabeo, with one eye on Cava production, but with irrigation as this part of the DO is susceptible to drought. The soils were very arid and sandy .

Next we drove back towards the village and visited the Bobal parcel, ‘La Serratilla’, the most picturesque of the parcels. Here the vines are also without irrigation and were planted in 1979.  The vines are typically traditional in goblet planting. The soil is very stony with the limestone bedrock more evident.

Finally we drove towards Los Duques and the nearby Las Pilillas archeological site, home to Spain’s 2700 year old `Iberic period´ bodega.

Here the Syrah grows on a generally sandy, well-drained soil, also without irrigation and the vines are 20 years old. Nearby we passed some of the oldest vineyards in the DO with Bobal planted well over 100 years ago. Roman remains are regularly found in this district, testament to the continuous use of the land as vineyards.

Back in the family home we were shown the garage which forms the bodega. Yes, it is a garage, Amparo´s fathers vintage cars were expelled and replaced with a reception table for the grapes, hopper, de-stalker, a home-made press and four stainless steel deposits, three of 1000 liters and one of just 300 liters.

Everything is done by hand,  bottling , corking and labeling included!

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Fast forward to Monday 4 December this year and we paid our second visit to meet with Juan Antonio and to taste the new wines.

It would be an understatement to say that Juan is ‘driven’, totally passionate about his wines and very keen to learn what each variety can do. The family have recuperated some further plots since we last visited and have found that there are other, lost varieties such as Rosetti, Royale and Moscatel planted amongst some of the older vines.

So Juan has set about experimenting with some of these grapes and making ‘Natural Wines’. This includes an ‘orange wine’ where white wine is made the same way as red wine, involving a second or malolacatic fermentation after much longer maceration periods to extract all the colour and flavour from the skins and the pips. He has been collaborating with Mariano Taberner of nearby Bodegas Cueva who is now concentrating on this style of wines.

Two other changes were immediately obvious in the bodega. The first was the appearance of four terracotta tinajas in which some of the wine was fermented.

A second  was the almost complete lack of chemicals in the process. Sulphur is usually added to the grapes on arrival and/ or before fermentation to keep the flavours fresh and avoid biological faults in the wine. However only an absolute minimum is necessary in natural wine because a lower pH and higher acidity (especially in Bobal) act as natural preservatives.collage-2017-12-04

We started with the Chardonnay still in contact with its lees following fermentation. Still cloudy therefore it is grassy and herby on the nose, with good volume in the mouth, citric (grapefruit) and with a lot of brioche. Made in a style much more aligned with the original Burgundy way of making wines from Chardonnay all of the oxidable parts of the process are completed during the fermentation and naturally filtered by gravity in the deposits. The wine produced in the tinaja is Tardana, the local white grape with about 8% of added Moscatel. Pale amber, this too was on its lees undergoing battonage still. It has a very expressive nose, is  very aromatic and hints of orange skins on the nose.

We moved on to the `Bobales perdidos´, from the old plots of  recuperated vineyards which had not produced much fruit this year but which would do so again in the future. These old vines produce small looser bunches with concentrated fruit. The wine is bright purple in colour with very expressive nose and in the mouth liquorice, mature red fruits and very typical of ‘alta expression’ wines from the variety.

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The bright pink wine in the bottles in the pictures is from the Royale variety which has nearly disappeared. Blended with a little Bobal to give it colour this is a traditional sparkling wine from the area with a single fermentation in bottle,

We descended into the old fermenting tanks (trullo) under the patio of the property which now holds barrels of  Garnacha, Syrah and Bobal and tasted from these barricas. These are wines which will go on the market once bottled.

Pigar is a fascinating new project, experimental but making wines of such quality that apart from a couple of outlets locally the wine is sold in top restaurants in Sweden, Australia and Belgium. In Juan, who is just 30 years old,  the bodega has one of the most promising young winemakers of his generation and one to watch just as the wines are not to be missed if you have the opportunity to taste them!

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Llutxent: 14th Competition for Arroces Caldosos, a VÍ Vid Report.

Llutxent Victor

The gastronomy competitions roll-on and Monday last (23rd October)  the competition was in Llutxent for Arròs Caldós with sixteen restaurants chasing the crown for this very traditional Valencian dish.

Llutxent is a small town in the beautiful Vall D´Albaida valley on the main road between Xativá in the interior  and Gandia on the coast. Small it may be but it has a long and interesting history and is worth visiting if you are in the area. From Roman beginnings the town has been erased, grown again and played its part in the various internal wars in Spain’s history. There are walking routes, a castle, a monastery, several ancient lime kilns and other sites of interest to keep the tourist busy.

The Corpus Christi Monastery, believed to be the site of one of the oldest Universities in Spain and dating to 1422, was the venue for the competition which is held in the impressive 18th century cloisters. 16 restaurants took part but success in one competition is no guarantee of a podium place  in the next one………neither La Visteta (winners in l´Alcudia) nor Casa Granero (winners in La Valldigna) were even placed in this one as we shall see later!

So, Arròs Caldós. What is that then? Essentially it is a stew, cooked with olive oil in a `honda,´ a casserole or a `perol´ (as used for Alli Pebre).

Llutxent prep
Preparation underway.

The traditional ingredients for this dish are pork rib, chicken and rabbit cooked with tomato, pimenton, garlic and vegetables. The stock is always home-made and confected with the ingredients but the rest is ‘freestyle’. In this competition the competitors used a selection of root vegetables ( turnip, parsnip, potato,) red pepper, green beans and Lima beans, mushrooms (trumpets of death and saffron caps) artichoke hearts and flavoured additionally with rosemary and or truffle shavings. Some added snails. The final ingredient is rice (traditionally the varieties of Albufera, Senia or Bomba are used) but more stock than would be used in a paella is necessary.

The day starts with an almuerzo shared between the press, officials and the competitors. Then cooking starts at 11.00am. The meats are fried off first, then the other ingredients added depending on their cooking time.

Llutxent finished
Some finished arroces.

VÍ Vid can attest to the fact that the jury had a hard choice as having followed the preparation, cooking and  presentation the dishes were returned from the judging areas to the cloisters where the gastropress and public enjoyed sampling them all!

It is said there are four key elements to the dish. The first as always is the quality of the ingredients, the second the sofrito which begins to build the flavours in the stock, the third is the technique and the fourth, as with all Valencian cookery the soul of the chef!

A key element of the technique is understanding  the ratio of stock to the rice. Paella rice varieties absorb the liquid and flavours of the stock and normally in a traditional  paella between two or three times the volume of water to rice would be used. In Arròs Caldós this is increased to up to four times so that the dish is presented in a stock. Too little water and the rice will be dry and too much and the stock will have insufficient flavour.

Llutxent lunch
At lunch in the cloisters.

Following the judging the Town Hall provide a lunch for the competitors, press and the judges and official guests. This consisted of a traditional Valencian Salad, an arroz, turron ice cream and wines by Bodegas Nodus ( Capellanes).

The competitors were:-

  • Amadeus, Gandia*
  • Picantera, Cullera*
  • Mar Sala, Cullera,*
  • Miguel y Juani, L ´Alcudia
  • La Granja, Sueca, *
  • Llopis, Sueca
  • Tabik, Llombai
  • Nazaret, Puçol*
  • Casa Granero, Serra
  • Chaparral, Serra
  • Avenida 2.0, Massamagrell
  • La Visteta, Barx*
  • Los Robles, Gandia
  • Los Abertos, Torrente
  • Juan XXIII, Benefiao
  • Bar els Jubilats, Llutxent

There is no parallel competition for desserts in this event so the winners of the XIV Concurso Arròs Caldós were:-

  1. Nazaret; Puçol
  2. Los Abetos, Torrente
  3. Los Robles, Gandia.
Winners
The Winners! Isabel and Paco from Nazaret, Puçol.

The restaurants marked with a (*) are participating in `Regreso a la Cuchara´, an initiative which sees 43 restaurants across Valencia offering a three course meal with 2 glasses of wine from Bodegas Sebiran from 20€, a great opportunity to taste traditional dishes such as Putxero, Arros al Horno, Arròs Caldós or other stews. Full details on Facebook, Comer en Valencia, Regreso a la Cuchara. The menus are available until 5 November.

The next concurso is in Bocairent in late November. VÍ Vid will report on this competition for dishes involving game and wild mushrooms (Carne de Caza y Boletus) and a salt cod, potato and spinach stew ( Borreta) typical of the Alcoyana area.

Vivid5

https://wp.me/p7dfvi-O6 for our report on a recent visit to Nazaret, Puçol and their wonderful arròs de chupachups!

Xth Concurso de Putxero and Postres de Kaki Persimmon, VÍ Vid reports from L´Alcudia.

20171016_110316Every country in the world has its traditional Winter recipes, often hearty stews of meats and vegetables cooked in a single pot. In France it is Pot au Feu, often made from different cuts of beef including shin and ribs, with carrots, cabbage, potatos, etc in a good red wine stock.  In Spain the dish is Olla Podrida, a mixture of beef, ham, bacon, chicken, sausages cooked with chickpeas, cabbage, celery, carrots, parsnip and turnip.  But olla podrida or `rotten stew´ is just one  name, it is  the generic for a number of regional dishes which differ in the odd ingredient here and there and which are also called Puchero o Cocido de Pueblo. There is also a school of thought that `podrida´ is itself a bastardisation of `poderida´which means succulent or powerful.

In Valenciá (language) and  the Valencian Community (region) it is Putxero20171016_113824 but not many people know that similar dishes are well-known throughout Europe, with regional differences, in Portugal, in France ( Gascony and Brittany) and in England  ( where it now has consolidated  into bacon boiled with cabbage) Scotland ( Cock a Leekie) and even in Austria.

You can go to the local butcher  and choose the ingredients individually or alternatively  go to one of the supermarkets where you can buy the vegetables pre-packed and even similar packs of the meat ingredients……collage-2017-10-18beef shin, ham bone, rear-quarters of chicken, spine, tocino or pancetta ( fatty bacon), morcilla ( local black sausages), blanquet ( local white sausage) and pilotes, a form of pork hamburger wrapped in caul-fat and cabbage20171016_121730 all of which will be slowly stewed with the vegetables  and chickpeas which have been soaked overnight. Come the first bank holiday of October, come the first Gastronomic fair of the month. L´Alcúdia, at the centre of the persimmon ( kaki ) growing area in the Ribera Baixa comarca of Valencia holds the first of two extremely good Gastronomic fairs ( the other being Utiel ). It is L’ Alcudia which has the honour of holding the annual competitions for both Putxero´s and Persimmons. It is now in its tenth year, the latest edition being held in Salon Siglo XXI on Monday last 16 October.

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The dish is served traditionally in two or three plates. Firstly after the cooking is complete rice is cooked in the remaining stock to create a first dish, rich in colour and with good flavour which the rice absorbs. Secondly the vegetables may be served on a plate separate from the meats or altogether on one platter. Sometimes the pilotes are served wrapped in cabbage separately.

This year some 18 restaurants had committed to participate in the competition but in the end 14 were able to attend. This is still an increase over previous events. The restaurants were;

  • Casa Granero, Serra
  • Chef Amadeo, Gandia
  • El Raco, Meliana
  • EMI , Orxeta
  • Gambrinus, Siete Aguas
  • Juan Ventitres, Benifaío
  • La Granja , Sueca
  • L´Albereda, Valencia
  • La Mar Sala, Cullera
  • La Visteta, Barx
  • Llopis, Sueca
  • Nazaret, Pujol
  • Picanterra, Cullera
  • Tabick, Llombai

VÍ Vid particularly values this competition for two reasons. Firstly the friendship between the participants is tangible with a shared breakfast before the competition commences, but secondly because the chefs are very happy to share culinary information, cooking tips and their own secrets, all of which helps us understand better the local gastronomy. We particularly enjoyed talking with Adolfo Cucarella about the properties of different rice varieties, Leo and Bea from La Visteta about the contents of the pelotas, Victor Granero, Isabel and Paco from Nazaret about the stock and as ever Teresa and Salva from Gambrinus over a range of issues.

 

 

Most fascinating was the argument about whether more saffron or pimenton should be used as the effect on flavour is very marked.

 

 

Persimmon is a fruit grown widely in the area and has its own denomination of origin. The desserts produced for the competition were equally as varied! Ice cream, yoghurts, mousses, with or without chocolate and some in tart form……..all of them with much imagination and immaculately presented!

 

 

Following the judging, which lasted nearly 4 hours, there was the traditional lunch which this year did not include a putxero! 20171016_103516We enjoyed a plate of eggs cooked at a low temperature with foie and truffle in a cream sauce, Figatells of sepia with a dressing of peanut oil and Cochinita Pibil 20171016_143455Iberica with Pa Vidre as starters. This was followed by an arros melós de gamba and a dessert of Persimmon. The event was sponsored by bodegas Murviedro with their spectacular reserva Bobal 2013 Limited Edition and DNA Alma Mística white and San Miguel amongst others.

The awards went to:

–  Postre de Persimmom

  • 1st, El Raco, Meliana,
  • 2nd, L ´Albereda, Valencia and
  • 3rd, Llopis, Sueca

Putxero Valenciá

  • 1st, La Visteta, Barx
  • 2nd , Chef Amadeo, Gandia
  • 3rd, Gambrinus, Siete Aguas

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This was another day where Valencian Gastronomy was the protagonist, a successful and well organised event which ranks amongst VÍ Vids favourites. Once again our thanks go to Lluis Ribera and Pino Diaz for the invitations and the continued friendship.

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Murviedro, 90 Years Young and still on the Move, VÍ Vid Reports.

Although Murviedro are celebrating their 90th birthday their roots are a little older. In fact their celebrations relate to the period in Spain dating from 1927…20171003_212619but more of that later. The first steps were taken by Charles Schenk a Swiss cooper from Geneva who built the legendary 25k litre cask which is still in good condition today. His son Arnold was a wine merchant and it was he who led  Schenk, expanding quickly and acquiring wine estates throughout Europe.

At the end of the first world war the first of the subsidiary Schenk companies was created in the Languedoc of Southern France, based in Sète,  followed quickly in 1919 by vineyards in Switzerland (which remain in the group today) and later in 1927 in moving into Spain.  Schenk set up in the Grao in Valencia, an expanding port area with several wine collecting companies, exporting to Northern Europe and other specialist markets. This was the time of bulk wine sales only, no bottling of wine started in Valencias’ wine areas until around 40 years ago. Wine was shipped to the port by the expanding rail network and to Europe by ship. This changed rapidly after Spain joined the European Union in the 80’s and the price to quality ratio of Spanish wine made it attractive and economic to bottle and export wines in the new format.20171003_212713

In 1997 Schenk set up a brand new bodega in Requena to produce a new range of quality wines in one of the then most innovative bodegas in Europe. The philosophy has been to produce wines which demand quality criteria but retain their character. Advanced winemaking techniques combined with traditional vineyards and respect for the vine and the environment are the key. Schenk became Murviedro and the next phase began. But for all of this Murviedro (to which the Bodega was renamed in 2002) has never had a public visitor centre with visits restricted strictly to wine professionals.

All of this changed on Tuesday 3 October with the opening of the new Cueva Museo in the old centre of Requena, the Plaza Albornoz in La Villa. Here in a cellar from a building dating to 1752 visitors can see the history of winemaking in the region. Pretty well all the buildings in the district of La Villa have ancient caves underneath, used for defence, storing grain and olive oil and producing wine with terracotta jars.  Murviedro, in a project lasting two years have restored and modernised this building to present a bright, attractive winetourism centre where the visitor can see the modern-day techniques of micro vinification with egg-shaped fermenting vessels and oak casks together with more elderly  glass demijohns, ceramic deposits and terracotta.collage-2017-10-03

Murviedro produce wines from the four Valencian DO’s ( Utiel-Requena, Valencia, Alicante, DO Cava and also from the Rias Baixas, Rioja, Rueda and Vinos de la Tierra de Castilla.

 

Prime time is given to the local varietals, Bobal,  Monastrell, Merseguera, Moscatel and Garnacha but also offer wines made with or containing Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Petit Verdot  amongst others.     They sell around 10% in the National market and the remaining 90% is sold in the International market….the UK, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, Scandinavia and Japan.

Future projects are in hand, Murviedro have acquired Casa Lo Alto and wines which have been produced here have all been sold abroad with just a tiny amount going to a handful of local restaurants. 20171003_125927The vineyards here contain a parcel of old Bobal with more than 70 years of age and a small but high quality production. New wines will surely emerge from here in the course of time.

In fact to celebrate the anniversary a new Bobal ‘1927’ has been released, from the Finca Ardal parcel. Picked in October 2016, with 14.5% ABV  and six months in 5000 liter oak foudres we will review this wine later this year.

All good anniversaries come with a presentation.

Following the ceremonial cutting of the tape by the Mayor of Requena Mario Sanchez Gonzalez to open the Cueva Museo,  Murviedro used the old Church of Saint Nicholas, a baroque temple which just four years ago was almost derelict, supported only by stainless steel girders. Today it is a well lit and airy exhibition centre and museum. 20171003_125816.jpgExcitingly it has not been restored but cleverly  deconstruction has been used to show its architecture and construction with a glass roof covering exposed stone arches, partially plastered walls and frescos as if they were being painted afresh.  Marc Grin the Technical Director introduced the presentation referring to a history inextricably linked to the family nature of the business and to ongoing developments.

A buffet lunch followed with a range of Murviedros’ excellent wines and cavas.

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VÍ Vid is very pleased to welcome this new centre to the world of winetourism in Utiel- Requena. It will provide a valuable addition to the facilities and installations to help visitors appreciate and learn about the regions 2500 year old wine history. Congratulations Murviedro!

VIVID PROFILE MURVIEDRO portada

 

 

 

Valencia Centre Bars, VÍ Vid Recommends Macabeo, Canovas.

Valencia is a vibrant city and one of the pleasures for visitors is browsing its bars and restaurants. Cánovas is one of the most popular districts for tourists, being central, close to the main shopping area of Colon and enjoys a large number of eateries offering a wide range of food  styles and cuisine.collage macabeo OK

VÍ Vid were invited to Macabeo snack&wine on Tuesday 19th of September for the launch of their new menu aimed at passers-by, tourists and locals alike. Alejandro Rodriguez opens at 08,00 am for desayuno, (breakfast) which will set you back under 3€ for coffee and a croissant for example. Almuerzo which consists of a bocadillo, drink and a coffee comes in at just under 5€.   The difference here though is that the food is all made there and then at the point of order and not pre-prepared.  They bake their own bread each day, an important ingredient of their concept20170919_214741 and menu as the idea is that the customer can build their own sandwiches using the different flavoured breads. Currently they are baking breads using onion, pumpkin seeds, blueberries and black olives and herbs.

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They have a range of options for filling sandwiches including a very tender carrillera (beef cheek) or you could opt for a version of the classic club sandwich with chicken and bacon or black olive bread with brie, jamon and tomato.20170919_204733

Talking of jamon Macabeo has selected a pure bellota,the Iberian pigs fed on acorns  and

their ibericos (sliced air-dried sausages and pork loin) comes from the same source.

Whether you go for breakfast or tapas there is a wide selection of tostas,  crunchy tostas or pizzas to choose from and we can recommend these. We also enjoyed a fresh salad from their range, and the octopus.

Chef Jorge Sanz20170919_224110 believes in the quality of their product and this is why when you order your sandwich you may have to wait a little longer for your choice as it will be freshly cooked and prepared.

Macabeo also has a wine list including some Valencian wines to accompany your choice!

However  food of this quality is always worth waiting for and will enhance the experience of shopping or tourism in the area.

Macabeo Cánovas is at Grabador Esteve 33,  http://www.macabeocanovas.com , 963364093 and in Facebook.

foto perfil vivid macabeo