Wine, Wine and more Wine

Even if you have only  visited Spain once or twice on holidays you could not have helped noticing that wine is central to Spanish culture and gastronomy.

Every region of  Spain cultivates,produces and consumes wine.You cant say that it literally runs in the Spanish blood but almost.For thousands of years Spain has been a prolific producer and consumer of this fermented grape juice.From the tetrabrik to the finely designed glass bottle and from the “chato” small glass of wine to the goatskin wine,from “Vino de mesa”(table wine) to “Reserva”(vintage wine aged for five years) comes in all types of qualities and containers.It is drunk in bars,in restaurants,at home,in fiestas,at weddings, and in the countryside.It is virtually impossible to eat in Spain in any circumstances and not have wine present. 
Three thousand odd years of winemaking means that the custom of drinking and exporting wine is well ingrained in the culture of Spain.The Phoenicians then the Romans traded and produced Spanish wine.Evidence of its presence in the Roman empire is well documented.In France,Italy and as far away as Hadrian’s Wall remnants have been found.
The cave/cellar at El Celler del Roure
Naturally,wine is also the drink that has been and is the basis for many fiestas and holidays. In some towns the wine flows from the fountain and is liberally drunk reflecting the end of the harvest.In others it is fuel for energy and fun and then in some it is for spraying on your neighbour and participants of the fiesta.
Fiestas is one thing but in certain regions of Spain it is a daily drink. You can see it is consumed in bars and restaurants as something typical of the area. In the north of Spain this is particularly noticeable in the winegrowing areas of La Rioja,Navarra,Ribera del Duero,Toro,Bierzo and many more,where it is more common to drink wine than beer or other drinks.
In the region of Valencia we are blessed with two major areas of production,Utiel-Requena and Fontanars del Alforins and in the last ten years, the production of quality wines in  these areas has been something of a revolution. To give you two examples from the Fontanars del Alforin/Mogente area:
Heretat’s white wine..excellent
Heretat de Taverners is a small family owned business which has a Bodega(winery) not far from the town of Fontanars.It sits in a little valley surrounded by vineyards and rolling pine forested hills. It is a small operation (70,000 bottles) but is producing some excellent and interesting wines.Its Ben Viu is a succulent red with a lovely deep dark colour and depth of taste,whilst its Reixiu is a white to remember.It has a freshness and feel in the mouth which is totally refreshing and natural.
Heretat de Taverners
Just over the hill just a couple of hours walk away is another local gem,El Celler del Roure, also a family run business headed up by Pablo Calatayud.Although near Mogente it falls into the same area “Terre de Alforins”.Besides having a very interesting  500 year old cave/cellar with huge one thousand litre amphoras embedded in the floor of the cave, they actually produce a new white wine Cullerot which is unique in that it is made in these ancient amphoras. Fresh,crisp and tangy it is a very drinkable white wine.But for me their most outstanding wine is Maduresa which besides being a red wine of character and  quality has a unique and clever label.The wine itself is deep cherry red in colour and smooth to the palate.Excellent.El Celler del Roure has alot of history and is next to the remains of the Ibero town “Les Alcussses” from where they get the name of another of their wines.
Original label design of Maduresa
El Celler del Roure
Coming down to Heretat de Taverners
Both these wineries are totally unique.They both produce  quality wines of character and are well worth a visit.We include visits to them on our holidays in Valencia:  The Iberos Tour and The Borgias Tour. On The Ibero Tour the visits are included in a beautiful walk between the wineries to take in the magnificent

6 thoughts on “Wine, Wine and more Wine

  1. We are not wine drinkers – in fact, we have been on a wine tasting river cruise and were probably the only ones enjoying the cruise and not the wine!! But we are very interested in getting to Spain, so I enjoyed reading about your adventures.

  2. We’ve just got back from a week’s walking/cultural holiday with The Spanish Thyme Traveller. We visited the aforementioned bodegas, hmmmmmmmmmm, hic! After a beautiful walk through vineyards and wild flower meadows we sat down in a restaurant nestling in the hills to gazpachos manchegos, hmmmmmmmm, and more wine, hic! And to round off the day we scooted up the hill to view an ancient Iberico settlement. Just one very memorable day in an amazingly lovely week.

  3. Great title and lots of very helpful information. I must try that lovely white and indeed spend less time drinking wine and more learning about it. Was a bit shocked by the “just a couple of hours walk” comment, however! Didn´t think wine and walking went too well together!

  4. Mo,Glad you liked the title! Walking and wine are brilliant together as long as there is not too much of either. It’s a fine balance!!