After ten days or so of holiday in Spain I was feeling in an adventurous mood and had stayed still for long enough. I needed a road trip and so set off to see something of the emerging wine region of Utiel-Requena.
This region is in Valencia, but don’t let that fool you, it is deep inland and is very different from the Costas. The wines from Valencia are suddenly for sale everywhere in the region, whereas in the past you really had to hunt them out. There are at least three reasons for this, that I can see:
Firstly there was an anti Catalan back-lash recently which resulted in a transfer of allegiance from the big Catalan Cava brands to local producers, which can be very good indeed.
Secondly there is a real resurgence in Valencian nationalism and reawakening of local culture.
Thirdly the wines of the region have become much better, at all levels and show signs of real ambition.
I wanted to visit one of the very best and most ambitious, an estate that has developed a huge following in Spain: Pago de Tharsys.
This lovely estate is within the Denomiacion de Origen of Utiel-Requena and is actually situated on the outskirts of the town of Requena itself – and what a town it is. It has everything you want from a Spanish town, ramblas, an old centre, an Alcazar or citadel and a castle as well as giving the impression that every building is a bar or restaurant. I loved the place, it is the real Spain and well worth a visit.