Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Wine Reviews for Chozas Carrascal Winery

The Utiel-Requena region of Spain has been producing wine for over 2,700 years. It is here that the Chozas Carrascal Estate is located, in the Valencia region, in an area known for its very long, cold winters and short, dry summers; the perfect elements needed for growing Macabeo, Bobal and Tempranillo grapes.

Chozas Carrascal began when Julián López and his wife María José Peidro purchased land back in the 1990s with a vision of growing a vineyard and creating a winery. The vineyard was planted with 11 varieties of grapes; Bobal is the main grape but the Lopez’s also branched out into other varieties like Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc; grapes not usually grown here. Their vineyard was also one of the first in the area to cultivate grape vines on trellises.

The Lopez family then traveled around Spain and France learning everything they could about how to craft wine. In 2006, the couple, along with their son and daughter, began making wine with the goal of producing exceptional single-estate vinos blended in the “coupage” tradition. This Mediterranean tradition allows for the blending of the best of the different varieties in order to craft a wine with its own personality.

The family’s passion for technique, and their ability to craft these innovative blends, has produced some bold, complex and interesting wines that are eco-friendly.

Although fairly young, Chozas Carrascal received the prestigious “Vino de Pago” classification in 2012. It is only the second winery in the region to do so.

2011 Las 2 Ces d’Tinto Barrica
This wine is crafted and blended from organic grapes made up of Bobal, Tempranillo and Syrah. The native Bobal is the most planted grape in the Utiel-Requena region and makes up about 80% of the production. Tempranillo is the second most planted grape here.
Each wine is fermented separately in concrete tanks before being transferred to two or three-year-old French Oak barrels. It's then aged for another five months before bottling. The coupage, or blending, occurs just before bottling.

With the aromas of berry and cedar, the intense color of this young wine, along with its high tannins, lead to a complex vino with an earthy taste. This results in a smooth dinner wine that can be served with beef, pork and stronger flavored fish like tuna and salmon.  88 points –$12.00 U.S.

2012 Las 2 Ces d’Blanco
Crafted from Sauvignon Blanc and Macabeo, these grapes are harvested early in the morning when the temperatures are cool. The grapes then go through 24 hours of cold-skin maceration before being placed in a temperature-controlled fermentation.

The straw colored vino has bright, tropical fruity aromas followed by the fresh flavors of lemon and grapefruit with a hint of vanilla, and a nice long-lasting finish. This crisp, light wine goes with fish and seafood, pasta, and chicken.
88 points - $12 U.S.

2009 Las Ocho 8
A rare blended wine that is crafted from eight different grapes: Bobal, Tempranillo, Garnacha Tinta, Bobal Familiar, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.

This blend is considered rare because these grapes are not usually combined in this manner, but all are grown on the Chozas Carrascal Estate. Each grape is fermented separately in concrete tanks. Seventy-five percent of the wine is then aged in French Oak barrels for 14 months while the other 25% is left in the concrete tanks. Before bottling, the final coupage, or blending, is done and the wine ages another 12 months in the bottle.

The Las Ocho has an intense peppery yet berry nose. The wine is full bodied with herbaceous, earthy flavors. Mature tannins make a powerful presentation, which lends this wine to compliment an array of hearty dining options.   88 points - $20 U.S.

The winery offers wine tastings seven days a week. You can also take a tour of the vineyards, fermentation and barrel cellars before enjoying a tasting at the bar. Having experienced the wines, this is definitely one place I will visit next time I’m in Spain.
~ Joy

Chozas Carrascal
San Antonio Requena VALENCIA
T. 963 410 395
Web site:

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Painting with Wine (For Real)

Wine can be used for more than serving with dinner, or helping make a bad day fade away … There are several artists in the world who paint with wine.

Red wine makes a great watercolor paint, just as coffee and tea do, but reducing the wine before using keeps the colors darker. The best method is to pour half a bottle in a pan and heat on medium-low for 10-15 minutes. Do not reduce too much or it will burn. (Of course, that might be an interesting color …)

Painting with wine is basically the same as using real watercolor paints. Remember, the wine needs time to dry. If you get your hand into wet wine paint, you could make a mess of your canvas.

You can vary the depth of the colors by using the different colored red wines. For example, using a Cabernet, Merlot or Malbec will give a more deep purplish-red color. For a red-orange hue try Sangiovese or Tempranillo.

Painting by Nelva Richardson
There are several well-known artists who paint with wine. Nelva B. Richardson started as a medical illustrator but while vacationing in Italy, she created thank-you cards and painted them with wine. Today, Richardson does scenic wine paintings and wine portraits, listing the name of the wine and the vintage on each. For more, visit her site Painting With Wine.

The Dalai Lama by Philippe Dufrenoy
Another wine painting artist is Philippe Dufrenoy. He worked as an engineer for years but discovered a passion for painting.  It all began when he splashed some of his red wine across a paper tablecloth and liked the effect. Dufrenoy paints portraits with wine. He has said, ”Each bottle expresses the flavor of the land and the personality of the person who make it.” His site is Philippe Dufrenoy: The Man Who Paints with Wine.

Painting by Christina LoCascio
Christina LoCascio began working in the wine industry in 2002. Today, she uses wine as her palette for painting. LoCascio paints grapes, vineyards and wine bottles along with figuratives, landscapes and abstracts. Her sites is Wine Art.

So the next time you pour a glass of wine, think about how that vino would look on canvas – it could make for an interesting hobby, and a crafty use of wine.

~ Joy

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Celebrate Wine Tourism Day

Get ready – the third annual Wine Tourism Day will be held this Saturday, November 7, 2014 in North America!

Wine tourism is growing in this country as casual wine lovers and wine enthusiasts visit regional and state wineries and share their finds with friends on social media. There are hundreds of great wineries out there but most of us will never know about them because their wines will never reach distribution. This is one way to get the word out.

There are over 7,500 wineries in the U.S, Canada and Mexico with 205 appellations in the United States along with 40 in Mexico and 38 in Canada. Winery visiting opportunities are endless for the casual oenophile. And sharing that information on Facebook and Twitter will help make more people aware of these little known wine regions and what they offer.

Events are planned at wineries, restaurants, hotels and other wine businesses throughout North America. Many wineries and wine shops will hold special tastings to encourage customers to come out and celebrate. If you can't make it to a winery this weekend, plan a dinner later in the month and have everyone bring a favorite bottle of a regional wine they've purchased. Share stories of your visit, and enjoy!

Stay up-to-date on the latest about Wine Tourism Day with news from Twitter and

And this Saturday, pop the cork on a local wine to celebrate the day in the best possible way.

~ Joy