Vera de Estenas – Daring to afirm the potential for quality

Félix Martínez Roda at Vera de Estenas’ cellar

In June 2023, Félix Martínez Roda invited journalists, experts and friends for a very special tasting at Vera de Estenas: a vertical of Casa Don Ángel, going back to 2018, the very first vintage of the winery’s flagship DO Utiel-Requena wine. It was a celebration not only of the wine’s character, longevity and identity but also of an ongoing commitment to the appellation and to Bobal.

Proof of concept

When it was first released, Casa Don Ángel marked an inflection point in the history of Vera de Estenas, the project founded by Felix’s father in the 1980s. It materialised the family’s pioneering belief in the potential of Bobal – Utiel-Requena’s flagship and often underestimated grape variety – to produce wines of great finesse and staying power, while also confirming the unique character of the terroir of Vera de Estenas. The latter would be further corroborated by the attainment, in 2013, of Pago status, becoming one of only 24 estates in Spain to hold its own designation of origin.

In tandem, these achievements paved the way for other producers in Utiel-Requena to believe in the future of the appellation and its indigenous varieties as sources of balanced, characterful and age-worthy wines. If, today, the ‘Bobal de Alta Expresión’ stamps exists to highlight the best wines produced, across Utiel-Requena, from the local star variety, this would not have been possible without the effort and belief of Félix Martínez Roda and his father, Francisco Martínez Bermell, before him.

The vertical tasting of Casa Don Ángel, held at Vera de Estenas in June 2023

Casa Don Ángel, hailing from some of Vera de Estenas’ prized plots of old vines, was the first Bobal to be aged in barriques and envisioned as a ‘vino de guarda’ (a wine with significant cellaring potential). The vertical tasting, a quarter of a century on, confirmed the success of the experiment, revealing wines that remain fresh, poised and layered after years in bottle. This validates the efforts of all growers preserving Utiel-Requena’s incredible stock of old vines, as well as the singularity of the appellation’s viticultural landscape. This catalysed a reevaluation of renewed appreciation for the region’s terroirs and grape varieties, among which Bobal stands out. Others, such as Tardana – also championed by the Vera de Estenas’ team – will no doubt follow.

Art, wine and community

Vera de Estenas has also been active in promoting the cultural and social cohesion of Utiel-Requena, underscoring the role that wine has in local economy and identity. In 2022, the winery opened the doors of its beautiful late-modernist building to inaugurate a permanent exhibition of magnum bottles featuring the work of artists from multiple disciplines. The ArteMagnum project was first presented at Valencia’s iconic Mercado de Colón in 2007, raising important awareness to Utiel-Requena, its producers and the many connections between wine, culture and history. This message is now forever reiterated at Vera de Estenas, at an exhibition that forms part of a wider display of historical artefacts and documents at the winery.

May this continue to inspire the people of Utiel-Requena, reaffirming that unlocking the region’s future requires the preservation of its outstanding past.

The ArteMagnum project presented against the backdrop of Casa Don Ángel

Two wines that capture the sustainability approach of Vera de Estenas

El Rosado de Estenas
100% Bobal
In perfect counterpoint to Casa Don Ángel, El Rosado de Estenas shows Bobal’s youthful freshness and drinkability. Fermented in concrete and aged in clay amphorae, its crunchy red fruit is underpinned by lively acidity and soft minerality. Top floral notes add elegance and nuance. Altogether enjoyable but with enough structure to accompany food.

Casa Don Ángel
100% Bobal
An icon in its own right: the first Bobal aged in wood and produced with…

Source : https://www.decanter.com/sponsored/vera-de-estenas-daring-to-afirm-the-potential-for-quality-530798/