Wine Tasting at the Hill Top – March 2023

56 eager wine tasters were sat expectantly along with Fiona Macdonald, a virgin wine taster and not only new to our group but brand new to the area. It was good to see Barrie and Margaret Barnden after a three year hiatus.

Don Antonio Bleda founded this family winery in 1915 becoming pioneers in the ‘bottling wine’ industry, using in the main the Monastrell grape which is most suited to the warm and drought conditions along this beautiful Mediterranean coastline. The winery’s HQ are now in the Valle de Omblancas where it is surrounded by vineyards at an altitude of 650 meters.

Bodegas Bleda produce young wines and high quality vintage wines although I was surprised to know that wines produced only as far back as 2022 are classed as vintage! … Just a thought but do wines produced prior to 2020 become ancient? Many of the bodega’s wines are recognised in national and international competitions and are available in most of the world but I expect at far greater prices than are available tonight!  Pino Doncel Black, the final wine in the tasting was the cherry on the cake tonight. A beautiful soft red wine and Bodegas Bleda is the only vineyard who can produce this wine and use this name. Their wines are always a winner in our house, with the young white wine presented first in the wine tasting being one of our favourites. A handy Screwtop at the Hilltop! It was enjoyed along with the creamy cheeses, meats and bread with biscuits which complemented the wines perfectly, although I personally could have done with a bit more bread to soak up the excess of wine!

It was Marta’s first time in presenting the wines from this Bodega to a noisy U3A bunch but you would have never known. Marta expertly answered questions about the wines and Bodega facts and figures as she visited each table after each tasting. Marta isn’t part of the Bleda family but she said that her father is the Master winemaker and she has followed in his footsteps … treading the grapes so to speak.

I came away wine and cheese replete with the car stacked with wine to drink in the garden over a warm Spanish spring now approaching from the south and clutching a fine bottle of the tasty Rosado I won in the raffle … but only after I found my ticket lurking in the bottom of my bag! 

I look forward to the next wine tasting on the 19th April, again at the Hill Top, when Domingo and Franco from the Corcovo Bodega visit, another favourite of ours, which should just about coincide nicely with an empty cellar!

Thank you Pat and Brian for the impeccable organisation as usual.

Write-up by Fiona Sankey