On 7 February the Winebus of the Wine Route Utiel Requena took us to the Wine Museum in the town of Utiel, just 82 km from Valencia. A “must visit” that helps the visitor to understand the wine and the economy engine that it has been for this area. This viticulture region took advantage of the grape, and developed a famous distillery industry at the beginning of the twentieth century. Unfortunately this activity disappeared in the 1980´s, and what remained was just the production of bulk wine. This bulk wine later converted into quality wines that we have the chance to taste today.
The second stop of the Winebus was the Village Venta del Moro, located in an impressive Natural Park, the Hoces del Cabriel, relevant as a green zone for the autochthonous species of trees , and known for its popular leisure activities such as rafting, trekking, climbing, etc. Venta de Moro is 98 km away from Valencia, and here we find a winery called Aranleon, built in 1927, and formerly known as San Marcos Winery. It is a familiar winery that makes quality wines. As a curiosity the winery has internal rails that used to connect the winery with the railway station, which allowed the winemakers to transport their products easily direct to Valencia.
Nowadays Aranleon has several lines of organic wines, well known and established in the Canadian and United States’ markets, and of course in Spain. There is one wine that stands out: El Arbol (the tree) 2011, which shows the symbol of the winery, a pine tree, and has a blend of Tempranillo, Cabernet Franc and Monastrell grapes with 13 months ageing in French oak barrels. It is a wine with prevailing freshness of the fruit and where the wood is elegant, all in all creating a silky feeling on the palate.
After this tour at 0º Centigrade, we recovered with a great lunch of traditional dishes, combining game, potatoes, sausages and local rice recipies all paired with a good wine!