Everything you need to know about Utiel-Requena wine.
Utiel-Requena is a Spanish wine region located near the Mediterranean coast, just west of the Valencia, south of the famous Barcelona city.
It is a Denominación de Origen or D.O. (meaning Appellation of Origin) which means that to be granted the Utiel-Requena appellation, not only grapes must be sourced from the designated area, but the wines also have to meet certain standards.
From its dry climate and a grape variety nearly exclusive to the area: the Bobal, this lesser-known Spanish wine region produces darkly-colored red wines, rosé, but also some interesting white wines.
Explore the beauty of a Spanish wine country side few actually know much about:
The early Iberians were already cultivating grapes in Utiel-Requena 700 years before Christ.
In the 19th century the amount of vineyards in the area increased considerably. Transport was improved and trade flourished as the vineyards of neighboring competitor France were damaged by odium and phylloxera.
As a contrast, the vineyards in Utiel-Requena were not affected by phylloxera because the Bobal grape proved to be resistant to the pest insect. For this reason, locals pride themselves with Utiel-Requena being one of the only wine regions to know a continuous wine production for over 2,500 years!
In 1971, the Vicente Gandia cooperative winery was the first to bottle and age wines locally. After that many others followed.
Utiel-Requena is located in the North-West of the Valencian ‘community’ of Spain, about 70 kilometers from the sea and close to the border with the Castilla-La Mancha region.
Utiel-Requena’s average height is at 692m above sea level. Altitude decreases as you go in the direction of the sea.
Vineyards here are in between two rivers: the Cabriel and the Turia.
The region itself took its name the two most important towns of the area: Utiel and Requena. However, the area counts with seven more communities.
The weather in Utiel-Requena is extreme.
In summer, temperatures reach up to 40°C. In winter, temperatures can get as low as -10°C. Throughout the year, vines receive around 2,800 hours of sunlight, for only 450 mm of rain.
The soils in Utiel-Requena are very dark and contain a considerable amount of lime.
They are draining and poor, with low organic matter levels.
The planting density for the D.O. is regulated between a minimum of 1,600 vines per hectare and a maximum of 4,000.
Vineyards and grape varieties
As mentioned before, Utiel-Requena is the only region growing the Bobal grape variety as a dominant grape. It can only be found in small quantities in other regions of Spain such as Castile La Mancha, Manchuela, Calatayud, Murcia or Alicante.
Bobal has big, winding leaves and medium-sized compact grapes of a very deep hue.
75% of the vineyards are planted with Bobal, representing about 80% of the production of the D.O.
The white varieties represent 5.73% of the vineyards in Utiel-Requena.
Tardana is a variety native to Utiel-Requena. It is also locally known as Planta Nova or Coma. Tardana is a late-ripening variety allowing to preserve acidity despite the local hot climate and it has a tough skin. It produces wines with fruity aromas of pineapple and/or apple, and so on.
Macabeo, known as Viura in other parts of Spain like Rioja is also grown here. Merseguera variety is also planted preferably in the highest-altitude parts of the region.
Other white varieties gorwn in Utiel-Requena include: Merseguera, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Parellada, Verdejo and Moscatel de grano menudo.
Red Bobal wines have rich and fruity flavors with relatively high acidity.
Owing to the great quantity of anthocyanins in its skin, the wines made from Bobal have an intense colour and character, and a high level of tannins.
Bobal is also a good varietal for making red wines using carbonic maceration (like in ethe famous Beaujolais Nouveau wine) to produce approachable fruity reds. Bobal is also used to make easy-drinking fruity rosé wine.
There are about 12 wineries in Utiel-Requena listed below. Learn more about them following the provided links:
- Vicente Gandía Plà S.A. / Hoya de Cadenas
- Bodega Aranleón
- Bodega Agro de Bazán
- Bodega Noble
- Bodegas Fuso
- Bodegas Hispano Suizas S.L.
- Bodegas Iranzo
- Bodegas y viñedos de Utiel S.L.
- Casa del Pinar
- Chozas Carrascal
- Coviñas Coop. V.
- Dominio de la Vega
- Finca San Blas
- Torre Oria
- Pago de Tharsys
Utiel-Requena offers different wine routes like the ‘Ruta Del Vino’ that tours through 17 different wineries in the area with a wine bus.
There are also traditional wine events such as the Grape Harvest Festival that is held in late August and early September. The Requena Wine Fair (FEREVIN) is a part of the festival, where one can taste wine and cava from several local wineries. In addition, several wineries can be visited individually as they organise tours and tastings.
Moreover, there are many local attractions that are not related to wine around Utiel-Requena. Such like visiting underground tunnels, admiring the ancient architecture, or exploring the Natural Parks of Chera or Cabriel Sickles.
Find more turism info through:
- The Ruta Del Vino
- the Requena Grape Harvest Festival
- the natural parks
- the biggest winery to visit in the region: Hoya de Cadenas
This guest post was written by the Bodega Vicente Gandia with linguistic support from Social Vignerons.
All images are the exclusive copyright of Bodega Vicente Gandia.