Bodegas Vegalfaro is a winery in the heart of D.O. Utiel Requena. This up and coming wine region has over 2,700 years of continuous winemaking tradition and is home to the bobal grape. The bobal, known for its intense color and flavor, and increasingly for its health benefits, has been sold as bulk wine to other Spanish wine regions and France for years. Recently, local winemakers have reclaimed this native grape for their own by taming it´s big flavors and tannins into fruity, full bodied, complex red and rose wines.
Bodegas Vegalfaro has been on the forefront of this winemaking revolution, with their commitment to organic farming they meld tradition with innovation. I was super excited to add them to the itinerary of my very first Nicole Angela wine weekend. I booked the visit online only to receive a call asking if we could come on Saturday instead of Sunday, as there wasn’t anyone available. Unable to change plans, I said no and crossed my fingers. Luckily, they were able to find someone.
Imagine my surprise when we arrived on Sunday and our tour guide turned out to be none other than the bodega´s founder Andres Valiente. We could not have had a more delightful and charming host. Andres talked in great detail about the winemaking process walking us through grape harvesting and pressing to the wine´s elaboration in barrels and in some cases amphorae. That´s right amphorae, those ancient terracotta wine vases you see in archeology museums! Andre´s son, Rodolfo Valiente, manager and enologist, has been ageing his bobal in a combination of oak barrel and amphora. The result Caprasia Bobal is stunning. Caprasia is a full bodied wine that has late summer blackberry and warmed licorice flavors with a hint of dark chocolate. Very well balanced and dangerously good. Beware! It is 15% alcohol, which is a lot. Not that you´ll notice until its too late! This is a special red, meaning not your bust out every day jam, but I could see myself drinking glass after glass after glass just to catch those flinty chocolatey berry flavors over and over again. So. Damn. Good.
After the visit we were able to enjoy their wonderful wines in a beautiful, light filled tasting room with lovely views of the vineyard and area. The bodega, a former farm, is a modest 60 hectacres (86 acres) of Chardonnay, Sauvignon-Blanc, Garnacha blanca, Syrah, Bobal, Merlot, Tempranillo, Garnacha grapes surrounded by almond trees and olive groves. Andres, an incredible storyteller, regaled us with tales of his life as a renowned leather tanner and how he made the switch from tanning to wine. “Wine is life”, he said. He went on to talk about his grandfather Leonardo and how he instilled in young Andres a love of wine and a reverence for the land. “In my grandfather’s village, water had to be brought in by hand, from far away. My grandfather didn’t grow up drinking water, he drank wine and lived well into his 90s. Back then the alcohol level wasn’t as high as it is now, say around 10%. The other 90% water. All of these properties and flavors are gifts of the land. The land preserves our health, and in turn we preserve it´s health. Our winemaking is to honor the land and that traditional way of life.”
If you get a chance do visit this wonderful winery, or better yet, let me help you plan your visit to this amazing wine region.
Wanna know what we drank? Go here.