Bodegas Chozas Carrascal
Chozas Carrascal is one of 17 wineries with Spain’s highest classification, Vino de Pago. Vino de Pago is granted to wineries that have incredibly unique attributes for the area, in addition to premium quality. Located in Utiel Requena within Valencia, at 2000 ft altitude, the winery grows cool-climate wines in an otherwise warm region. As an example, they often harvest at least 2 weeks later than their neighbors. With a limestone layer in addition to clay, the winery's 30 hectares boasts of vines that were planted nearly 100 years ago. The property where the winery and vineyards are located is so special that the Spanish government classified it as a national nature preserve. Helmed by María José the daughter of founder María José López-Peidro, this Valencian bodega utilizes modern techniques, many invented by the matriarch herself, to create wines with a singular sense of Mediterranean purity. The wines are certified organic, and pest control is obtained by planting indigenous flowers, trees and herbs throughout the vineyards, which naturally repel insects, enrich the nutrients in the soil and contribute to the aromatic terroir of the wines. In the winery, this respect for the ‘cultivo ancestral’ is maintained through the strict use of native yeasts. All of the red wines are spontaneously fermented and the Bodega has worked with a local university to create a “yeast bank” from strains obtained in its own vineyards. The wines are never clarified and only in some instances filtered through an organic membrane maintaining purity. Chozas incorporates the least amount of sulfur possible to maintain freshness using one-third the amount allowable by the VdP.