Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Dinner with Spanish Winemaker Antonio Jose Bleda Jimenez, Bodegas Bleda, at Taberna del Alabardero in Washington DC, USA
Howard Friedman, Spanish wine aficionado, importer and wine tour guide, put on a great wine maker dinner featuring the wines of Bodegas Bleda, with owner Antonio Jose Bleda Jimenez, who was accompanied by his fiancée Helena Espinosa de Rueda, at Taberna del Alabardero in Washington DC.
Bodegas Bleda is a fourth-generation family winery that was founded in 1915 by Don Antonio Bleda in the small town of Jumilla, situated in Eastern Spain. The vineyard area totals 250 hectares. Bodeags Bleda exports most of its wines - only 5% is sold in Spain – to the EU (30%), the US (35%), Asia and Russia. Annual production is 60.000 cases.
Most of the vineyard is planted with Monastrell grapes. Antonio Jose Bleda Jimenez: “Monastrell is most suited for Jumilla’s environment. The grapes require a warm climate to ripen and mature and are able to withstand drought conditions. Its fruity concentration, sugars and high level of tannins give our wines an elegant and characteristic personality”.
Additional red grape varieties include Tempranillo and Syrah. A field of Cabernet Sauvignon was planted in March 2011. The white wine varieties are Sauvignon Blanc, Macabeo and Airen.
Airen has been grown in Spain since the time of the Moors and is the single most planted vine in the world. Its durability under extreme temperatures and dry climates as well as a high yield has made it a popular Spanish choice. It was traditionally used for brandy and heavy, oxidised wines, but modern technology now permits the production of crisp, slightly neutral dry wines marked for early consumption.
Macabeo is another native Spanish grape that is grown in Spain and southern France. It is traditionally used to make cava (sparkling wine).
Antonio Jose Bleda Jimenez: “Our current headquarters is located in the Valley of Omblancas at an altitude of 650 meters and is overlooked by the Castle of Jumilla.” In 2008, almost 100 after it was founded, the winery was moved to the Valley of Omblancas, where it is surrounded by vineyards at an altitude of 650 meters.
Antonio Jose Bleda Jimenez: “In our winery’s facilities all the tanks, which vary in size from 23,000 to 100,000 litres, are made of stainless steel with temperature control. Our vinification tanks allow us to control each step of the process so we are able to carry out a perfect production of wines.”
Bodegas Bleda ages some of the wines in French and American oak.
Antonio Jose Bleda Jimenez
Antonio Jose Bleda Jimenez is a lawyer by training. He joined his family’s winery in 2009 and is now the General Manager.
Howard Friedman is well known to the customers of the Washington DC wine retail store Calvert and Woodley, because he used to work there for many years. A few years ago, after retirement from the retail business, Howard he founded South River Imports and started to import Spanish wine. Also, once a year in September, he takes a group of not more than 20 people to Spain for a wineries tour. This year, his third tour is coming up. If you are interested check out the Calvert and Woodley page.
Taberna del Alabardero
The Taberna del Alabardero is a renowned Basque restaurant in Madrid owned by Luis Lesama - a Madrid classic. The Taberna Del Alabardero in Washington DC (opened in 1989) is his only venture abroad (after Luis Lesama closed Seattle); it is arguably the best Spanish restaurant on the East Coast of the US.
In addition to the superb menu and wine list, the decor is impressive and almost screams you will be treated like royalty. The dinner took place in one of the private rooms that feature dark walls, gold embellishments and a pretty chandelier.
The dinner was prepared by Chef Javier Romero, who came directly to Washington DC from Madrid about 2 years ago, and was ably orchestrated by Sommelier Gustavo Iniesta.
Gambas Gabardina – Tempura Shrimp
Chorizo Delicatessen – Spanish Sausage over Tomato and Bread Toast
Mejillones en su Vinagreta – Mussels in its own Vinegar Sauce
Castillo de Jumilla White 2011 D.O. Jumilla
Grape varieties: Sauvignon Blanc, Macabeo and Airen
Tasting notes: A pale yellow with intense hints of green color. It has a robust aroma which is elegant, open and diverse, with complexities reminiscent of green and meadows and young ripening fruit. It is well structured on the tasting, fresh and soft, tasty with fruity notes and good aftertaste.
Bisque de Cangrejos, Aire de Manchego y Crutones al Tomillo – Maryland Crab Bisque with Manchego Cheese Foam and Croutons
Castillo de Jumilla Rose 2011 D.O. Jumilla
Tasting notes: A hazy strawberry pink color. It has a clean and powerful bouquet with an intense aroma of fresh fruit: strawberry and raspberry; with a sophisticated, fruity character. On tasting it is lively, fresh, full of flavor and well balanced. It is well structured. It has a full, fresh aroma and pleasant, fruity after-taste.
Emperador con Guiso Marinero de Chipirones y Verduras Crujientes – Baked Swordfish in a Squid Stew with Crunchy Vegetables
Castillo de Jumilla Monastrell Tempranillo 2011 D.O. Jumilla
Grapes varieties: 50% Monastrell 50% Tempranillo
Tasting Notes: Deep cherry red, this wine has a bouquet of mature fruit, reminiscent of berries and liquorice. On tasting it is flavorsome and well-balanced, and its moderate acidity and lively tannins stand out in the first sip. It has an elegant final flavor with a lasting after-taste which invites a deep enjoyment of the tasting.
Sobre Carrillera de Ternera Estofada, Maiz Crujiente y Frijoles en Ensalada – Braised Veal Cheek topped with a Crisp Cracker. Black Beans Salad
Castillo de Jumilla Reserva 2005 Monastrell D.O. Jumilla
90% Monastrell 10 % Tempranillo
Crianza: Twenty four months in French and American oak barrels. It finished by fining its structure with the bottle remaining for eighteen months, before being released into the market.
Tasting Notes: Magnificent cherry red on a ruby background with dense legs. Complex bouquet with aromas of red berries, stewed fruit and toasty hints. Just the right amount of spicy woody notes. Excellent in the mouth with pleasant tannins and good acidity.
Lomo de Ciervo con Arroz Cremoso de Boletus e Higos en Salsa de Madeira – Grilled Venison Loin over a bed of Creamy Mushroom Rice topped with Fresh Figs and Madeira Port Sauce
Divus 2009 Monastrell D.O. Jumilla
100% Monastrell, barrel aged
The grapes come from old vineyards of Monastrell, harvested during the first week of October 2010. Long maceration of the skinnings of the grape for 21 days.
Crianza of the wine: in new French Allier oak barrels of medium toast during nine months.
Tasting notes: Very intense and deep cherry red color. Aromas of good intensity with blackberry and blackcurrant, and a pleasant background with new and spicy wood flavor. In the mouth is tasty, rich and with balsamic notes, very powerful with good acidity and noble with well-joined tannins. Ample and remarkable after-tasting with very bright nose aromas.
Sobre un nido de Algonon, Huevo de Chocolate Relleno de Frutos Rojos con Arandanos – Chocolate Egg with Red Fruits and Blueberries on Textures over Cotton Candy Nest
Amatus Dulce Monastrell and Syrah 2011 D.O. Jumilla
Red Sweet Wine
Grapes Varieties: 85% Monastrell 15% Syrah
How as the wine made sweet? Antonio Jose Bleda Jimenez: “We harvested late and stopped the fermentation at an early stage. Alcohol was then added. Basically, it was made the way Port is made.”
Tasting Notes: Dark red cherry colour with violet borders. Powerful aroma, red and ripe fruit. Tasty, creamy, sweet, ripe tannins, plenty of sweetness and intense fruit concentration.
schiller-wine: Related Posting
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