Most people that go to Spain for the first time want to try these popular Spanish dishes: Gazpacho, Crema Catalana, Queso Manchego, and Allioli. Let’s not forget, the ambassador of the Spanish tourist dishes, Paella. This is a regional dish originally from the coastal city of Valencia. It has evolved and become symbolic of Spanish cuisine around the world, though for Spaniards it represents something quite different. Paella and other Spanish rice dishes are also festival or picnic foods, usually cooked on enormous skillets over an open flame outside with friends and family in the countryside. In Spain there are three well-known types of paella: Paella Valenciana (white rice, vegetables, chicken, duck and rabbit meat, land snails, beans and spices), Seafood Paella (rice, seafood and seasoning) and Paella Mixta, which is actually a free-style mixture usually made of rice, chicken, seafood including clams, vegetables, olive oil, saffron, and other spices. Unless you are in Valencia or at a Valencian restaurant, don’t order the famous yellow paella valenciana. You may think you are getting a truly unique dining experience when in fact, nine times out of ten, it was probably frozen in a bag before it found itself on your plate.
I wish it would be the same to a certain extent for Valencian wines. The typical foreign tourist visiting Spain must probably have heard about Rioja or Ribera del Duero-important wine regions-but I doubt about Valencia. This wine corner of Spain offer some of the best values to be found in the country.
Since just a few years ago, this Valencia was a big player in the bulk market wine. However, things have been changing to make quality bottle wine. In 2010, the DOP produced around 45 millions bottles in which 30 million were destined for export markets.
Valencia counts with approximately with 13,000 hectares of vineyards which are scattered in different subzones of the province. Each part has its own climatic and soil characteristics.
The subzones of Valencia are:
Alto Turia. The area farthest to the north with a mountain terrain and enjoying a continental climate. In this part, vineyards are located between 800 and 1000 meters above sea level. White grape varieties are grown mostly and they include Macabeo and Merseguera.
Valentino. The biggest subzone with an east orientation. Here vineyards can be found in different altitude points between 250 and up to 800 meters. Also to note, its great diversity of soils.
Clariano. This area is located in the meridional part of the province. Its geography is very diverse alternating valleys and mountains and boasting an array of diverse soils. Like Valentino, vineyards are grown between 200 to 700 metres above sea level. Clariano receives the biggest rainfall share in Valencia and has important thermic variations between day and night. This contributes to its complexities of its wine.
Moscatel de Valencia. This area is on the central part of the province. It is the zone closest to the sea and we fine vineyards between between 100 and 250 above sea level. It is the area where sweet wines are elaborated.
In this area, the grape varieties cultivated are: merseguera, macabeo, chardonnay, Malvasía, Moscatel and Verdil, for the reds; Bobal, Monastrell, Garnacha tintorera, Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon,Merlot y Pinot noir. Also we can find both in white and red: Gewürtztraminer, Planta fina de pedralba, Planta nova,Pedro Ximénez, Riesling, Sauvignon blanc, Semillón blanc, Tortosí, Verdejo, Viognier, Bonicaire, Cabernet Franc, Forcallat tinta,Garnacha, Graciano, Malbec, Mandó, Marselan, Mencía, Mazuelo, Petite verdot and Syrah.
Nathalie Bonhomme wines.
One of the most important producers of the Valencia wine region is Nathalie Bonhomme. Nathalie which by the way, comes from the Montreal decided to make wine after spending many years in wine distribution. So in 2007, she went in joint venture\partnership with with Valencia’s Rafael Cambra to produce a Monastrell/Cabernet Sauvignon Bonhomme label wine that is widely distributed all over the world. Then in 2011 she collaborated with Jumilla’s Bodegas Juan Gil to produce El Petit Bonhomme, a fascinating Monastrell, Garnacha, and Syrah blend, a cheeky homage to the wines of the southern Rhône.
According to Nathalie, The Bonhomme was created as a new easy concept wine for a younger generation of wine drinkers to learn and discover the complex world of wine by messages that define our time and youth: They include travel (viaja), feel (siente) and imagine (imagina).
In their opinion, the new generation wine lover is all about links, communication and contacts. The red button is the link between the three feelings of the El Bonhomme and moreover projects the recycled “vintage” feeling of well being.
I recently had a chance to review the Bonhomme wines as a part this upcoming proyect on Spanish wines. Since this post is on Valencian wines, I will review the Bonhomme wine. The other wines that she produces will be covered in a later post when I talk about Jumilla. Until then, keep tuned.
El Bonhomme 2013. Price: $19.80. Code SAQ : 11157185
Medium to dark ruby colour with purple nuances. On the nose aromas that remind me of blueberry coulis with lots of violets nuances of cracked pepper, licorice and garrique. On the mouth, full body with a polished texture. The wine has a juicy acidity with lots of fleshy tannins and spices. Very savoury afteraste. Southern Rhone in character but with Spanish origins. 88\100
Food Match: Rice based dishes with poultry or beef