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Utiel-Requena is a wine region within the Valencia province in Spain. Wines have been produced here continuously since the 7th century BC, starting with the Iberians, with continuing evolution through the Romans. Wine production managed to survive through two conditions which otherwise halted production in most of Europe: It was tolerated throughout the Moorish occupation, despite Muslim law forbidding alcohol consumption and production. And it survived Phylloxera in the late 1800s because most of the wines are produced from the Bobal grape, which is largely resistant to the pesky mites. This was a particular boom to the area during this crisis. Wines were exported through the port of Valencia to the rest of Europe, which was otherwise lacking in a source for local wine for many years until the American-hybrid grafting cure was discovered. A further boost came in the way of railroad construction connecting Utiel with the rest of Valencia.
The climate in Utiel-Requena is mostly continental, with warm and dry summers, and cold winters. Many of the vineyards are situated at moderately high elevations. The region is sometimes prone to early harvest frost, which cuts short ripening time (and necessitates an emphasis on rosato production to mask “green” favors). The local Bobal is the dominant grape, used for dry reds and rosato. Recently producers have seen the benefits of blending it with Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Garnacha, Merlot, and/or Syrah to give it more character and flavor balance. There is a small amount of white wine produced here from Macabeo, Tardana (Planta Nova), Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc. Wines are produced in dry red, white, and rosato styles as well as local Cava and sweet styles.
Wine quality has improved considerably in Utiel-Requena, mostly thanks to the Consejo Regulador (CRDO), a local council which sets restrictions on production standards and promotes the wines. Wines are given a quality assurance label if they pass muster with the CRDO tasting committee.– Description from Amanda Schuster
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