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.
San Antonio Requena VALENCIA
T. 963 410 395
T. 963 410 395
Web site: www.ChozasCarrascal.es