Bon Aire of El Palmar on a roll! VÍ Vid reports from the Concurso de Arros de Fesols i Naps in Catadau.

Sunday 7 October saw the gastronomy competitions move on to Catadau, the theme now firmly planted in ‘platos de la cuchara’  as the season moves further into Autumn. The competitions for Paellas concluded with the Sueca International competition won by father and son team, Raul and Jordi Magraner (Bon Aire – El Palmar)  taking the prestigious prize, a result widely lauded as Raul was only a few short weeks ago seriously ill in hospital.

This weekend the theme was ‘arros de fesols i naps´, a traditional `olla´ or stew cooked in an onda over a wood fire popular in many towns throughout the Valencian Community the  recipe for which is different only for the  spices in the black puddings and the need for an even competition for the participants. This was the first time the competition has been held and 25 restaurants and a catering school were invited to participate in the Plaça Bosch Marin.

Catadau almuerzo

The day started with the traditional almuerzo of competitors and press and the draw for place and cooking order. The competitors were:-

Abundi de las Escaldes, Engordany de Andorra.

Casa Eladio de Llombai.

O´Donnell de Cabañal de Valencia.

Honoo de Valencia.

Gambrinus de Siete Aguas.

Tabick de Catadau.

L´Alfabega de Alginet.

Ros Estudio de Llombai.

Granja de Sueca.

Ca Agusti de Sueca.

Salones de Eventos Cancela de Sueca.

Picanterra de Cullera.

Oryza de Sueca.

Lluna de Alzira.

La mar Sala de Cullera.

Visteta de Barx.

Ca Tomas d ‘ Alzira.

Meson Tous de Tous.

El Lloc d’ Alzira.

IES Llopis Mari de Cullera.

Trencadish de Valencia.

Assoc Gastronomia Falla el Mercat d’ Alzira.

Once again the jury was led by Juan Carlos Galbis with Luis Ribera Director of Alcudia´s Fira Gastronomia and Concurso de Putxero., Julio Tormo TV Mediterraneo, Fernando Ferrero of La Succursal Mariano Clemente ( Cotonero eventos) Juanma Romero journalist with ES Radio.

The arros itself is a suitably rib-sticking stew of beans, turnip, cardoons, parsnip, pork (including trotters halved , shoulder cubed) spine, ears, black pudding,  white pudding, with olive oil, saffron and water which is cooked for three hours, starting with the meats, then the root vegetables, the green veg, the beans and finally the rice is added for the last 15-18 minutes. Interestingly as it is now a matter of debate how to best use saffron one or two contestants clearly added it in infusion rather than in stamens and the colour was markedly different.

Catadau preparation

The ingredients were all prepackaged for the contestants and the saffron was from Desbrin, a high quality product from Castilla La Mancha but which needs careful use as it is a powerful colourant and flavouring agent. As the photograph shows there was a wide-ranging variation in colour between the final arroces. The cardoons and the root vegetables are cleaned and the meat chopped before the cooking starts and the aim is to make a rich stock which thickens when the (bomba) rice is added. Tartana were again the supplier of the rice from the Albufera used in the dish.

And it is amazing how different these stocks can taste when the ingredients are the same. The better the depth and the salt point the more flavour the final  dish  will have (remember that Valencian rice absorbs all the  flavour) and the contestants are always willing to seek opinions or confirmation from the press!

Catadau Caldos

The judges marked this contest on the colour, how well the rice was cooked and the tenderness of the meat in the dish. Not surprisingly in this 1st edition there was a wide variation in colour and state of the rice.

The meat  is plated with the  vegetables and a separate bowl of rice in stock which should be sloppy  (meloso) but not swimming in it. These are then presented to the judges whilst the contestants wait for the result. This is one of the better competitions in that it is possible to try all the entrants. The press discussed the likely winners, Picantera, Gambrinus (for presentation and flavour) Oryza, Tahbick, La Granja  (for the flavour of the stock) amongst others were all considered possible winners.

Catadau plating up

When the result were announced they were:-

1st Bon Aire, El Palmar.

2nd Oryza de Sueca.

3rd Meson Tous de Tous.

Catadau winners2

For Raul and Jordi Magraner of Bon Aire in El Palmar this was the second successive win in a gastronomy competition. Gastro tourists now have two prizewinning dishes to try at their restaurant assuming that you can book a table ( since the Sueca competition Bon Aire has been very busy).

This was another excellent first concurso for this dish which now firmly has its place in the canon of Valencian Gastronomy.

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Bobal: Where it all began and the London Tasting, VÍ Vid reports from London and Utiel-Requena!

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A week is no time in the life of a wine-growing area especially when its history can be traced back to 2700 years before Christ! But DO Utiel-Requena has just celebrated a momentous week in that story and VÍ Vid was pleased to be able to attend both events.

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The  week began in London on a fresh sunny Monday morning at 67 Pall Mall, home to the Wine Club with a very special tasting of Bobals organised by Sarah Jane Evans MW who had selected 52 wines from the DO which she considered to be a good representation of the different styles which can be produced from the variety. There were some other varietals as well including Pasiego´s astonishing botrytis Sauvignon Blanc but more of this later!

The DO´s council had also invited the press  for  a `day out´ in the Vineyards and a visit to the archeological attractions to reinforce this long history and set the background.

A dozen or so of us gathered in Valencia on a sunny but decidedly warmer morning for the bus  ride up to the plateau 70kms West of the City where the vineyards are to be found.

We started our visit with a nice stroll down an ancient trackway in the Hoces de Cabriel Natural park, the slabs of stone underfoot marked with ancient cart-wheel marks, to the site of the first commercial bodega on the Iberian peninsular at Las Pillilas. The site’s history is slowly unravelling as more of it has been exposed since our first visit some seven years ago. As a result the site is currently listed for election to World Heritage Status  of UNESCO. Here several amphorae have been discovered with markings identifying them from the different trading places around the Mediterranean giving strength to the evidence of the importance of this site to the Iberic people.

Pillilas sub

As is traditional we commenced with a typical almuerzo, `Bollo´de Requena, a coca, several of the wines which the DO have chosen to represent them at official events and then ‘dulces´- pastissets of sweet potato and  anis and butter rings.

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Almuerzo in the Hoces de Cabriel.

Carmina Carcel welcomed the group on behalf of the DO and we were given a fuller presentation on the developments in the archeological dig, interpretation and progress on the UNESCO before clambering up to the site to explore its magnificent `lagar´, or pressing area from which the juice ran through channels to the amphorae below to be turned into the contemporary (probably spiced) wine of the day.

Then we moved on to the second stage of the day, harvesting some ripe Bobal grapes in a plot belonging the Pardo family on the edge of Los Duques. Armed with secateurs, gloves and the DO´s new caps we filled a trailer full of the juicy big black bunches.

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Utiel picking
Picking near Los Duques.

From here we went on to El Carro restaurant on the edge of Utiel for a tasting of around thirty wines, (some of which had been present in London as well). Amongst these were several wines which were new to us ( or which we had encountered for the first time in London). The others were new vintages of favourite and representative wines from the DO´s producers.

Utiel Cata
The Utiel Tasting.

Lunch followed, El Carro having a reputation for its modern interpretations of classic traditional regional cookery, we were not disappointed by the selection of embutidos, ajo arriero, mortuerolo, gazpacho manchego and more dulces (Alaju and  garrapinas) accompanied by the wines we had tasted earlier.

Utiel lunch
Lunch at El Carro.

Finally we moved into the centre of Utiel.  Here the mayor took us on a tour of two underground bodegas (of some 400 believed to exist still) which have been restored as tourist and interpretation centres) with their ancient terracotta tinajas and the first known trullo (stone fermentation tank) . Here you could see intact and broken ‘staple repaired’ tinajas of different designs and sizes and ages, some inscribed with graffito of the date or makers.

Utiel sub coll

These caves are a must for visitors to Utiel and are relatively newly opened with a clear difference between them and those in Requena although for sure there will be some interconnected systems with defensive tunnels to be discovered yet.

So, with the history firmly in mind its time to go back to London to consider ‘The London Wine, Bobal and Beyond’ , the title by which the tasting went. Sarah Jane Evans is Decanter´s Spain expert with a wide expertise in Rioja in particular and a deepening love of the wines of Utiel-Requena. In converstaion with VÍ Vid she confirmed Bobal had been known to few experts in the UK and mainly as a secret supply of superb rosado wines which had a particularly good quality to price ratio. Introducing the event she said that the selection was the ‘first tasting of wines from the entire area of Utiel-Requena, and the most important new to those who attended amongst them wine-buyers, specialist shops, writers and journalists. They were surprised that Utiel-Requena had Bobal but also other varieties, white wines, sparkling wines and sweet wines’.

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The London Tasting at 67 Pall Mall

28 bodegas had provided a truly representative sample of young, crianza, reserva and alta expresión wines from Bobal. From talking to some of those present they were also surprised by the quality of the largely unknown variety, often without long ageing in oak which demonstrated the characteristics of the grape- wines which will suit the English taste and be popular especially in London.

One particular point of interest was to be able to taste wines which had some oak ageing against  wines ( Toro Loco Memoria-a collaboration involving Bodegas Toro Loco and Diego Morcillo of Coviñas) and Vera de Estenas Bobal and which have ageing in tinajas- something which is proving particularly fashionable in the UK because it allows the taster to appreciate the real flavours of the variety.

All in all the tasting was much appreciated and in our view a great success. The wines of Utiel-Requena and Bobal in particular have been exposed to a new market in which they should be particularly successful.

VÍ Vid was pleased to be there to see it get ‘off the ground’ .

 

 

 

 

 

2º Concurso Arros de la Valldigna, A truly International Event!

 

Monday 10 September saw the second edition of this competition and the start of the season for Paella ‘concursos’ here in Valencia. This weekend Sueca hosts the International competition for ‘Paella Valencia’, the true paella of the whole Valencian Community.

In the region that makes up La Valldigna there is a local variation. The base paella is the true Valencian paella but with three additions, red pepper, meatballs ( similar to La Ribera  which is further inland) and the specific addition of rabbit blood to those meatballs.

The competition is organised by Sergi Pellicer and Carmen Ferrando with Gastrovall, the Cultural Association for the gastronomy of La Valldigna and its rice dish. This year the decision was made to include three other elements of the regions gastronomy to give a more public face and to promote a wider package.

Each of the restaurants participating in the main concurso was invited to submit  a dessert based on Manadarins which are widely grown in the area. The three winning restaurants  were as follows:

Tinto, Melbourne Australia, First prize

                                                     La Pepa, Valencia, Second prize.

Chef Amadeo, Gandia, Third prize.

Postres de la Valldigna 2018

The winning desert was a confection of ‘una mousse de naranja con cava y gelificado de mandarina, con crujiente de cacahuete y bizcocho de calabaza sobre sablée de mantequilla con forma de mandarinas medio peladas’.

The second concurso was for figatells, a local delicacy of minced pork including liver and kidney, pine nuts and parsley , lightly spiced or with foie incorporated, (eg), wrapped in caul fat. These are widely believed locally to be the original hamburgers and similar examples can be found in the Mediterranean eg North Africa ( made with lamb) and Cyprus (sheftalia). They are generally cooked on the plancha.

This concurso was judged by the top butchers from the Valencian community and the winners were:

  • Catala of Aldaia, First prize
  • Arellano, Valencia, Second Prize
  •  Benifao de la Valldigna. Third prize.

Figatell 2018

The third concurso of the day was for Coques de Mestall and was judged by the association for Coques de Oliva whose competition we reported on earlier this year. The ‘coque’ is like a small pizza, a round base made with the local flour and much in the style of a foccacia. The top is dressed with a slice of pancetta, and/or a longaniza, chorizo or morcilla and are widely available throughout the Valencian Community.

The winners in this category were:

  • Emilio Rico, Xativa, First prize.
  • El Vermut, Pobla de la Valbona, Second Prize.
  • Forn Sepell, Barx, Third Prize.

Coques de Mestall

Worth noting here is that it is the first concurso that Paco Santamaria Selva and his wife Isabel have entered since moving their restaurant El Vermut from near the University to La Pobla very recently.

The Concurso is supported by several company´s and of course the Valencian government. Both Francesc Colomer and Pilar Moncho demonstrated this by attending and spending time with the press and the competitors, as did the mayor of Tavernes Jordi Juan and the Regional president Vicent Ribera.

amongst the patron of the event were Tartana rice, a superb producer of DO Arroz Valencia from El Palmar, Azafran Desbrin whose product is considered amongst the best saffron produced and which VÍ Vid use when cooking paella etc. Vegamar provided the wines from their DO Valencia bodega in Calles, (Alto Turia) Amstel beer kept the whistle wet and artesan cheese from Granja Rinja and Quesos Carmen were also available.

Valldigna Patrons

Also attending were chefs Sebas Romero Pozo (La Sequieta, Alaquas) and Silvia Melendez Herrero (La Pitanza, Pedralba) who were promoting ‘Del Tros al Plat Comarques’, a Government sponsored programme of special meals in 30 restaurants over 10 days between 17 and 26 November. The restaurants are in Ontinyent, Lliria, Benissanó, Riba Roja, Sagunt, Cullera, Sueca, El Saler, Alaquas, Albal, Valencia Ciudad (10) Daimus, Tavernes de la Valldigna, Pedralba and  Alzira. Special menus costing   between 20-45€ depending on the restaurant and whether it is lunch or dinner will highlight local specialities. More info on http://www.valenciaturime.org

Well, now to the main event, the Arros de la Valldigna. Firstly we should say your intrepid reporters tasted every one produced on the day ( all 27!) and are now seriously dieting.

Secondly we would concur with the judges that the standard was higher than last year and that the international competitors ( France, China, Argentina, Holland and Australia) acquitted themselves with honour!

Paella International brigade
Competitors from France, Australia, Argentina, China and Holland.
Paella Prep 2018
Paella preparation.

Thirdly we were amused by the trend evident this year for the chefs to infuse their saffron for three hours at 65º. This technique has been  pioneered by VÍ Vid´s great friend, maestro Joan Carlos Galbis and is used by the London Paella School.

It is a technique which extracts every last bit of colour and flavour from the saffron stamens which emerge white from the process. VÍ Vid  has tried this technique but it has to be used carefully! The infusion is very strong and in a paella for 10 people 3 teaspoons of the infusion should be sufficient for both colour and flavour.

One criticism from the judges was that the overuse of this infusion adversely affected some of the final dishes.

Mind you, if that was the only criticism it wasn’t a bad day!

These are some of the final arroces!

Arroces de la Valldigna 218

 

The winners of this years competition were:-

  • Sorolla, Valencia, First Prize 2000€,
  • Casa Macario, Tavernes de la Valldigna, Second prize 1000€
  • Picantera , Cullera,Third prize  500€

Again, this was the first competition entered by this restaurant and we don’t think it will be the last for the egregious chef who triumphed on the day!

Prizewinners CValldigna.

This is just a small selection of photos of the prizewinners. VÍ Vid once again believe this is going to become a very important local competition showcasing the best gastronomy from the four towns of La Valldigna and that one or two other concursos need to step up to the same level.

The gastronomy of  ‘nuestra terreta’ is growing in importance. The comarcas ( counties) need to up their game this year and showcase more than just the principal dish as Tavernes de la Valldigna did this week, after all the whole point of these competitions is to promote all of the gastronomy as a tourist attraction. Believe us, there is a huge amount of local dishes yet to be promoted!

Finally we cannot fail to mention our friend Jose Zafra, a fellow competitor in the Dacsa League whose reputation as a paella chef has grown massively since his victory. Invited by the organisers he gave a ‘showcooking’ of the principal dish whilst the judges  considered the competitors efforts!

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VÍ Vid, the London Paella School and a Masterclass in Seafood Paella Cookery.

VÍ Vid and the chef proprietors of the London Paella School Xavi Moreño and Javi Rejas have been friends since we initially met when they were contestants in the 54th International Paella Competition in Sueca back in 2014. We have watched with interest as they have developed the school teaching residents of London and visitors to the capital how to cook the authentic Valencian paellas as well as organising  corporate events with team building and cooking paellas in Battersea Park and the London Festival .

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VÍ Vid with xavi Meroño and javi Rejas in Sueca, 2014

This year Xavi presented more than 1500 portions over the London Festival weekend with a 100m queue at all times, content to wait up to an hour  for an authentic chorizo free paella, testament to the fact that the real item is very popular in the Uk and not diminished by the ‘variations’ of certain celebrity British chefs.

Whilst Javi is developing the brand currently in Singapore, Xavi has been active in taking the project a step further by inviting guests to participate in 4 or 6 day cooking holiday´s in Valencia where they can enjoy not just masterclasses in cooking authentic paellas and other dishes but also culinary tours.

This weekend the first course started and Xavi has escorted his guests to Algiros to see a local paella competition ( of the sort we have reported on many times before) to eat in some of Valencia´s best restaurants such as Succursal, visit the rice fields of the Albufera (and enjoy planting the new rice at Tartana) to visit the Central market and buy authentic ingredients such as saffron, paella rice and the seafood for the masterclass in Seafood paella.

This was the point at which VÍ Vid joined in.

paella wines
Opening the first bottle.

Xavi had invited us to attend this masterclass, held in the excellent facilities of Food and Fun in Calle Linterna with its individual cooking stations provided by Flames VLC who also equipped the London facility.

The brief was to provide some wines (Valencian wines of course!) to accompany the aperitifs ( Jamon Iberico, cheeses from Los Pedrones, tortilla, clams and tellinas and, of course the Seafood paella.)

So on Sunday 10 June we presented our selection of wines from across the Valencian Community whilst Xavi showed us how to prepare a fumet of fresh seafood, the seafood for the paella itself and then cook the paella.

cheese and wines
Cheese from Los Pedrones, Wines from Valencia.

We started with two whites, Herencia HoyaMarina´s ‘La Pulga de Morella’ ( DO Valencia  – a blend of  Sauvignon Blanc and Macabeo and Finca Collado´s Blanco, DO Alicante and a blend of Chardonnay and Moscatel). These contrasting whites provided a perfect match with the salty jamon and the mild sheep’s cheese but, for comparison we also tasted the Finca Collado Syrah/Monastrell blend, a fruity red for drinking young which also matched well.

Whilst  Xavi then demonstrated how to cook the fumet with onion, leek, carrot, olive oil, pimentón, bay leaf, small fish including scorpion fish for its red colour and flavour and of course, ‘galeras’ and shore crabs.

ingredients
Clockwise vegetables, clams,mussles,fresh fish and cuttlefish for stock, crab, galeras and ñoras

Whilst this cooked down  and then enjoyed a gentle simmer for 20 minutes Xavi prepared the prawns, including a special technique to remove the intestine without butterflying them, and the mussels, clams and cuttlefish.

The paella commences by frying the prawns in the hot oil to extract flavour and then reserving them. The cuttlefish goes next and then when this is softened the sofrito commences with the addition of grated skinned tomato, then ñora ( a dried red pepper of the variety used for pimentón which has been soaked in water for about 4 hours) chopped with garlic. When this is cooked down the fumet is added, about three times the volume of rice to be added later. The stock is checked for salt then when this is simmering the rice goes into the pan which is shaken to even it out and a fierce boil commences for 8 minutes.

paellas
commencing with the prawns, cuttlefish and advancing!

The prawns, clams and mussels are added to the dish decoratively. After this the heat is reduced until the rice has absorbed all the stock. If socarrat is required it is cooked gently a little longer to allow the oil to cook out and create the golden base.

paella mussels

The paella rests then for 5 minutes or so.

Whilst all this happened we moved on to Marina Alta, a dry Moscatel from Bocopa in DO Alicante, pungent, fresh and aromatic with an apricot nose as a further aperitif and the paella demonstration continued.

Of course, as it was a masterclass the participants including Canadian Patricia Allard (pictured) then had to match Xavi´s paella by preparing a fumet and paella of their own.

paellas2
clockwise cooking off the cuttlefish, boiling the rice, and stock preparation.

Once we had all done that, with Xavi´s enthusiastic encouragement and guidance we sat down to share our attempts and enjoy them!

With this we drank Bobal Rosado from Coviñas, with the depth of a red, but the fresh light weight and acidity of a white wine its fruit was the again the perfect match for the paella as were the whites from Finca Collado and Hoyamarina.

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Xavi Meroño

As an experiment in collaboration we were very pleased to have been invited to participate and complement the gastronomy with some of Valencias best wines and thank the bodegas once again for the trust they show in us. We believe this is a fantastic initiative and look forward to more schools visiting Valencia.

London Paella school evening
Proof of the pudding…..

We hope this is the beginning of a lasting collaboration with Xavi and the London Paella School  with its #paellacookingholidays courses in Valencia in the future.

One thing is for sure the participants thoroughly enjoyed themselves and learned a huge amount at the hands of this genial ‘cocinero’ and superb teacher!

london FOTO PERFIL VIVID

 

A Day ‘En familia’ with Latorre; VÍ Vid reports from Finca Garrido.

There are days when our work with bodegas really feels very special and one such was Saturday 9 June when VÍ Vid was invited to celebrate with the Latorré family both the 50th anniversary of the Bodega in its current life and the co-incidental relaunch of their wines with a series of new labels.20180609_115608

Our personal relationship goes back to before VÍ Vids  first visit to the bodega in 2014. Going right back in time to early editions of Ferevin, Bloggers conferences with DO Utiel-Requena in 2010 and 2011 Luis Miguel Latorre has been a constant friend,

 

source of information, educator and much more, many times inviting us to the bodega to try something new , allowing us to taste from deposit and barrica and to  sample some of the bodegas oldest wines. He has never flinched when asked to be  a source of wines for many, many tastings over the years and we are grateful for the trust and confidence he has placed in us to present the bodegas wines in a variety of different events including a 20180609_122553memorable English language tasting for Proava covered by the local TV company.

Many times we have enjoyed his company together with that of  his wife Silvia and Saturday was no exception. The event in the bodegas Señorial house, the Finca Garrido, set amongst the bodegas vineyards in nearby  Los Marcos, was a family affair first and foremost with all the generations present.

The event opened with a welcome drink on the terrace and catering provided by El Yantar, Venta del Moro´s premier restaurant ( currently 20180609_133224undergoing refurbishment but re-opening in early August) . Chef Carlos, who together with his mother runs this family business spent some time telling us of his other activities keeping him and his fusion style of cooking extremely busy and  we have promised to visit at the earliest opportunity after it re-opens.

As we mingled  with family members, the President and Secretary of the DO, Luis Miguel and Carmina, the Mayor Luis Francisco and three other members of the press corps,  it was clear in what high regard the bodega and Luis Miguel and winemaker son (also Luis Miguel) are held by the community.20180609_115620

A brief presentation took place explaining the history of the bodega (access this from https://wp.me/p16pqB-Cc – a report of VÍ Vid´s  first visit) the families role over the last 50 years and this was followed by  Luis Miguel explaining  the radical re-design of the bodegas lables for the Parreño and Duque de Arcas ranges and re-launch before the family individually welcomed everyone to the lunch which followed, accompanied of course by the bodegas wines.20180609_125137

Suffice to say that the bodega has been a beacon of improvement in winemaking and has introduced the most modern techniques whilst retaining the essentially traditional style and artesan wines they make, including the updated Catamaran ( formerly heavily oaked but now fresh and very drinkable) and  the Alta Expresión Bobal which has been a highlight of the DO’s push to promote Bobal, the variety , and the territory on the International stage.20180609_115629

We could not have been received more generously had we actually been family and thoroughly enjoyed our day with Luis Miguel, Silvia and the extended Latorré family! Thank you and we look forward to seeing you inthe ‘Certamen’  in  Venta del Moro in early August.

LATORRE FEATURED PIC OK

Murviedro Debut their New Range of Wines! A VI Vid report.

Last Wednesday  June 6th , 29542965_1841364709266841_1666560146596830551_nMurviedro  introduced their new range in an amazing and cozy event surrounded by friends , colleagues and press , and also  premiered their  new ranges ‘La Casa de la Seda’, ‘Pugnus’, ‘Galeam’ and ‘Audentia’, each of them with their own essence, personality and identity. The wines are strongly differentiated by the three  Denominations of Origin,  “Valencia”, “Utiel-Requena” and “Alicante” and  their new flagship  identity, ‘La Casa de la Seda’ that was launched at the beginning of  2018, coinciding with the   Bodegas 90th Anniversary.

The new brand “Muri Veteres” goes back to its history, to its roots,  in a clear allusion to the old walls that surrounded the old ‘Villa’ of Requena, which were key testimony in the numerous fights during the Reconquest period .                                                                “Pugnus” is the name chosen by the winery to represent the DOP Utiel-Requena range, which means “Fight/Struggle” in Latin. A clear tribute to the growers that struggled very hard to keep their lands and vineyards to make great wines. The range is composed  of a red reserve, a red and a young rosado  under the  DOP Utiel Requena,  from a selection  of  the iconic Bobal variety.

 

“Audentia” , or Courage in Latin is the name for the DOP Valencia range, and it was another  feature that characterized the inhabitants of Valencia20180606_195841_1528488179225_resized (2) during the Reconquest period and   which includes a white Sauvignon Blanc/Muscat, a rosado Cabernet  Sauvignon, a Petit  Verdot and a red reserve which  is a blend  of  Tempranillo, Monastrell and Cabernet  Sauvignon.  All of them convey  the soul of the authentic Valencian wine personality, 20180606_195858_1528488174955_resizedvery expressive on the nose, good pass on the palate  and a long  pleasant after-taste. DO VALENCIA

We tried them paired with a great selection of “tapas” made by Grupo Rex for this special release, at the Alqueria de Campanar venue.

catering

 Finally to complete the presentation a third range called”Galeam”,  in Latin “Helmet,” which symbolizes the protection of  people facing  adversity, taking care of  its vineyards  and traditions to pass them on future generations.

 

This range is made up of a red crianza made from a selection of Monastrell grapes, an organic white Dry Muscat and a 100% red Monastrell also organic, all made under  DOP Alicante . collage murviedro1As all of you know Monastrell and Muscat are the most widely  varieties grown in the Alicante area and this range shows all the Monastrell  richness, very expressive on the nose, cherry deep colour, complex, elegant and velvety in the mouth.  The presentation was conducted by Marc Grinn, Managing Director of Murviedro and Xavier Solano, Commercial Director in a relaxing and friendly environment.

A special mention 20180606_200820_1528488164165_resizedfor  their flagship top wine “La Casa de la Seda” , from selected Bobal vines of over 100 years of age from Finca Ardal and  named after the new visitor centre in Requena´s old town. Intense red colour, purple flashes, it has long legs, a fruity point on the nose and in the mouth blackcurrant, aromatic herbs, violets and spices such as saffron.                                                                                                    An unforgettable evening with the Murviedro family and their new wines and  labels  inspired by the beauty of the drawings of ancient silk fabrics that were traded during the era of the Silk Road which Valencia was an important part of.

FOTO PERFIL VIVID murviedro

La Torre extra virgin olive oil “The Liquid Gold” a VIvid report

Finca la Torre is located just 15 minutes away from the lively centre of Antequera and is completely surrounded by 380ha of olive groves, fields, pine forest and flanked by two hill ranges. This exceptional location offers extensive views that sweep from south to west.

This mill, only 50km inland from the provincial capital, has won more than 30 awards in the last five years, including six Gold and two Best in Class Awards at the prestigious New York International Olive Oil Competition.

For more than 2,200 years, Finca la Torre has occupied a special place in the fascinating world of olive oil production and trade.  Olive growing and the purely mechanical production of olive oil are simply ideal for cultivation in accordance with organic guidelines. With the optimum cultivation of soil and trees, the trees produce large quantities of aromatic oleiferous fruits.    22552826_1866206470361061_5018399537211715465_n

Consequently, the biological olive grove is not simply an ideology for them but a logical basis for the production of high-quality olive oil. They use all aspects of their extensive expertise, ranging from optimal pruning, fertilisation with  their own compost (obtained from the rearing of sheep and horses) and targeted irrigation to skiful pest control (using specific insect traps and benefical organisms).

Under the supervision of Víctor Pérez Serrano, the agricultural engineer at the head of the Project since 2011, Finca La Torre has become leading olive oil producer thanks to a centenary olive grove that provides an exceptional  raw material , 28377883_1932575877057453_8589588101128356632_nwith a self-sufficient production philosophy, eco-sustainable and biodynamic that respects the environment, and allows the fruit to extract its full potential through the latest technology. The product range includes four monovarietal oils (Hojiblanca, Arbequina, Picudo and Cornicabra), and  each one holds the essential features of the olive it comes from. The extra virgin olive oil “Selección Hojiblanca” is the variety that has achieved the “Food Award of Spain: Best Extra Virgin Olive Oil 2017-2018” in the modality “Green bitter”, and this is the fifth  year that it has achieved this prestigious award!

FINCALATORRE-10From olive trees with more than 100 years old, “Selección Hojiblanca” is the La Torre flagship: An organic  olive oil that holds a great complexity and harmony, both on the nose and on the palate. This organic and biodynamic Extra Virgin Olive Oil gives memories of freshly cut grass on the nose, and in the mouth delicate fruit, fresh, bitter and spicy with hints of green almond, apple and banana. Complex, persistent and balanced. On the market you can find it just for 15€  500ml  and 9€ for 250ml, both sold in an elegant rectangular glass bottle.premio_aove_16_fincalatorre-680x477

The “Selección Arbequina”  is picked and delivered in 400 kg boxes to the mill, then  immediate  milled. Cold extraction and  storage in stainless steel tanks gives its taste  a delicate fruit, fresh with notes of banana and apples.

At the beginning of this year Finca La Torre  has released a special “One Twins Pack” featuring two, single-variety extra virgin olive oils: Hojiblanca and Arbequina, each made from the very best olives that were gathered by hand on the first day of the 2017 harvest. Apart from the unbeatable quality of the product, these limited-edition (only 1,000 units produced) olive oils come in specially designed, 200-milliliter bottles with wood stoppers, which evoke the elegance of a luxury perfume.  FINCALATORRE-TWIN (2)

In addition to being organic, eco-sustainable and biodynamic, FINCALATORRE-TWINthe “One Organic Arbequina” and “One Organic Hojiblanca” olive oils are also wonderfully fruity, with notes of freshly cut grass, apple and banana, imbued with the freshness that only early-harvest, green olives can provide. The “Twins Pack” price is just 35€.

We have had the privilege of tasting both at Apicius Restaurant last Monday, in their presentation to the culinary press, matching in a perfect harmony with the menu made by the chef Enrique Medina for this special lunch.

Menu La Torre

Chef’s appetizers

Sweet onion from Fuentes with red tuna Balfegó and ponzu

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Foie-gras ganache with fresh Green peas of Maresme  and pipes

Skewered hake from the Cantabrico with mayonnaise and La Torre Olive oil

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Pistachio biscuit with White chocolate topping by La Torre Olive Oil

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Petit Fours and coffee

Wines: Blanc de Enguera DO Valencia and Lopez de Haro crianza D.O.C. Rioja

Congratulations to La Torre for such a superb extra virgin olive oil and to Apicius for the amazing menu!!

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