members and guests enjoying pre tasting drinks
In the absence of the President, Vice President Tim Fawle welcomed 39 members and their guests to Ca La iaia for a tasting of wines from Bodega Los Frailes in the DO of Valencia, In the absence of any representatives from the Bodega, due to other commitments, the wines were presented by Tim Fawle and Keith Pacey.
Keith Pacey introduced us to the bodega of Los Frailes. It is a family owned estate of 162 hectares with vineyards, Mediterranean forest, almond and olive trees with a unique terroir. It sits at an altitude of 650-700 meters above sea level, the soil is extremely calcareous, it has a Mediterranean climate influenced by continental climate, and has vines of 40-years-old average of the native grape: Monastrell. Casa Los Frailes was certified organic in 2000, being one of the very first ones in Spain. 19 years later, they are convinced that they do not only need to respect and sustain the land, but also transform it and make it a livelihood. As a result, they embrace biodynamic agriculture as an inspiration pattern and model. The cost of each wine and where it can be purchased and average score given by members is shown in the list of wines tasted in 2019, which can be found by clicking on “Wines tasted in 2019”.
The first wine, Los Frailes Rosado 2017 was presented by Tim Fawle. It is a blend of different vineyards from the estate and is a Mediterranean Rose with the elegance and finesse provided by the Monastrell. This Spanish grape was imported by the French (called Mouvedre by them) to the Provence region to make one of the most well-known Rose wines in the world. It is a fresh wine, spicey with a round finish and to be enjoyed any time. The harvest is manual as the Monastrell is planted in bush vines. It is elaborated by direct press with pneumatic press . The maceration process is over the lees with soft battonages. Malolactic fermentation as well as the ageing is done in ancient concrete vats used by the Friars centuries ago. These concrete vats are ideal due to the porosity of the walls, allowing microxigenation for a reductive grape such as Monastrell. The wine has an Alcohol by Volume (ABV) of 14.5%
Keith Pacey presented the second wine, Los Frailes vine de Finca 2017 a 100% Monastrell elaborated as the friars did centuries ago, in concrete vats underground where it spends 6 months. It is an estate wine coming from a blend of different vineyards from Casa Los Frailes, with an average age of 25 years old in dry agriculture. It is a complete “vin de Plaisir”,cherry red in colour, very light and fruity, fresh, fluid, juicy with the straight character of Monastrell, Served at a temperature of 14-15º C, it is an excellent thirst-quenching and outdoor wine. It has an ABV of 14%
The third wine was Bilogia 2016 introduced by Tim Fawle. The label is a picture taken in 1907 of Velázquez family at Casa Los Frailes estate. This was the 11th generation; currently it is the 13th Generation working at the winery. Bilogía is the freshness expression of the two grapes, Monastrell 50% and Syrah 50%. The harvest was manual. Each variety was vinified separately. After a cold maceration pre-fermentation at 2ºC for 3 days to extract more
of the aromas, the must was fermenting in stainless steel deposits at controlled temperature. Post fermentative maceration took 18 days for Syrah and 22 days for Monastrell. Monastrell was aged in concrete vats during 5 months and after went into oak barrels of 500L and Syrah was aged in oak barrels of 225L for 12 months. The wine has an ABV of 14.5%.
The fourth wine Trilogia 2015 was presented by Keith Pacey and was the first wine of 13th family generation currently running Casa Los Frailes estate. The first vintage was 2004 and it was a hit due to its freshness, structure and finesse for a Mediterranean wine from South East of Spain. This is a blend of 3 grapes with very different personalities: the straight personality of the Monastrell (40%), the structure and freshness of the Cabernet Sauvignon (40%) and the roundness of the Tempranillo (20%). The harvest was manual and each variety was vinified separately and selected and it is aged seperately in new French oak and 1st and 2nd year oak barrels of 225L for 12 months. It is cherry red in colour, full of fresh black fruits with a long after taste. The wine has an ABV of 14.5%
The vote of thanks to Keith and Tim was given by Gaby Ferenczy.
Enjoying the tasting
Text by Gaby Ferenczy, photos by Gaby Ferenczy and Barbara Priest April 2019