Thursday, October 29, 2009

Organic Wine from Las Bodegas Los Frailes

Las Bodegas Los Frailes, meaning winery of the Friar House, is a family run, organic vineyard covering three hundred and twenty acres in the Els Alforins valley two thousand feet above sea level in Fontaners dels Alforins in the Valencia region of Spain, almost fifty miles from the Mediterranean.

Hundreds of years ago the property belonged to Jesuit friars hence the name. In 1767 the Spanish monarchy in an effort to control the wealth and power of the Catholic Church evicted the Jesuits and confiscated property. This vineyard met with that fate and was auctioned off and purchased by the Velazquez family who have been making wine there ever since.

Considered a Pago (a winery that makes wine solely from its own vineyards surrounding the main house like a French ch√Ęteau), Bodegas Los Frailes controls the process from soil to grape to winery to bottle. While the property still has the original 18th century wine cellar, it also has a new state of the art cellar as well as a winery covering over 100,000 square feet.

Over half the vineyard is planted with Monastrell grapes and the remaining vines are Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Marselan, Shiraz and Garnacha. These grapes produce seven red wines (vino tinto in Spanish) for the Bodegas Los Frailes. The Monastrell variety is in every bottle of Los Frailes wines. The name of the variety derives from the Latin meaning Monastery People. It is conducive to dry climates and is traditional to the Els Alforins valley. The yeasts used in the wine-making are indigenous to the valley as well.

The vineyard has been organic since 1999. Delightful, energetic and passionate Miguel Velazquez is in the process of taking the vineyard to what he considers to be the next logical step -- managing the vineyard with biodynamic farming practices. Los Frailes has won numerous awards for its wines including from the prestigious Biofach and Millesime Bio organic trade fairs.

Los Frailes welcomes visitors so plan a trip to this fertile, organic valley for some delicious wines and beautiful scenery.

I have tasted two of the Los Frailes wines: Bilogia is a 50-50 blend of Monastrell and Tempranillo grapes, which to my unsophisticated taste buds has distinct currant tones and a delicious dry quality. Trilogia contains 70% Monastrell, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Tempranillo and while sharing qualities with Bilogia, Trilogia is what I would call a deeper wine.

Bodegas Los Frailes, Fontanars dels Alforins, 46635 (Valencia) Spain; Tel: 963 339 845; Email:; Web site:

1 comment:

  1. had a taste of bilogia today. Color is purplish definitely made from dark grapes. Aromatic on the nose. It's a joy to sniff this blend. It has a strong cherry, blackberry, and a tiny bit leather note, got some nice mineral taste, medium tannic and i would say it's a wine with a great round finish. A lingering herbal after taste. I was trying it as a conventional wine anyway. I like spanish's tempranillo. It's my first time actually trying their Monastrell.

    This wine's got its character. This 50/50 blend of Monastrell & Tempranillo is something quite unique.

    I had the tasting at weekend booth at the mall. I was thinking it can't be anything good. But then I checked out their prices. It's not the New World wines' prices, if you know what i mean. So I gave it a shot. As you mentioned, they have the Trilogia there as well. That dude there said his dad takes 2 cases to a party with 20 folks. All gone in 30 mins :O He also recommended me to go for the Trilogia blend one. I wouldn't mind to get a bottle if I could get a taste of it first.