Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Chozas Carrascal Organic Pago in Requena Spain

The Chozas Carrascal winery is in the tradition of a Pago (the Spanish version of a French Chateau) with an old traditional house built in 1880, and a newly built winery, cave and tasting room adjacent, surrounded by almost one hundred acres of organic vineyards in the Utiel-Requena D.O.

The vines at Chozas Carrascal are big bush vines that are also trellised (usually vineyards use either bush vines or trellised vines). They were the first to bring this practice to the area in 1992 - it allows the plant density to be increased two-fold, ideal for a vineyard focusing on low yield but high quality.

The vineyard combines a variety of grapes, both native and foreign. The grape varieties grown are eight red and three white: Bobal, Monastrell, Tempranillo, Garnacha (Spanish for Grenache), Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Macabeo.

Delightful and informative Xesco, the master winemaker at Chozas uses innovative winemaking techniques to produce the nine signature wines of Chozas Carrascal including their own delicious Cava, produced the same way as Champagne with a second fermentation in the bottle, but due to the politics of the wine market, only Champagne from Champagne can be called such – it is often thought as a generic term for sparkling wine, but in fact it is closer to a brand name and can only be afforded to sparking wines from the Champagne region of France. Chozas Cava is delicious and a bargain at 11 euros a bottle.

Most of the Chozas wines are blends of the grape varieties with the exception of El Dulce made with only Garnacha and the Cabernet Franc made solely from Cabernet Franc. Seasoned wine drinkers will know that Cabernet Sauvignon, a very popular red wine and grape was developed by crossbreeding the white Sauvignon Blanc with the “black” Cabernet Franc. The less trendy pure Cabernet Franc makes for a delicious, dry, deep wine.

All the wines are fermented in traditional vats – the reds in concrete and the whites in stainless steel- and then aged in French oak barrels. Produced ecologically from the start, Chozas wines will all be fully certified organic as of 2010.

Chozas Carrascal makes for a wonderful visit. They have a magnificent tasting room, and the vineyards are impressive – and all part of the tour.

Chozas Carrascal, San Antonio, Requena, (Valencia); Tel: 963 410 395; Email:; Web:


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