Editor’s Note: This is the 2nd chapter we are publishing ofÂ Valencia Land of Wine (see chapter 1st, 2nd, 3rd). Articles are written by Joan C. Martin, and translated by John Maher. Each story is straight from the pages of El Pais’s Valencian edition that highlights an aspect of Valencian wine history through the story of one wine. If you are enjoying the stories, you might consider buying a copy with this link:Valencia Land of Wine.
Fusta Nova: Moscatel from the Forest
Bodega Vicente , Chiva (DO Valencia)
Fusta Nova is a sweet wine made with Moscatel of Alexandria by Bodegas Gandia. This company is one of the largest exporters of bottled Spanish wine. It was founded in 1885 by a Valencian, Vicente Gandia, and nowadays is an international company run by José María Gandia, the founder’s grandson. They have bodegas in Utiel-Requena (the Hoya de Cadenas property in Las Cuevas) and Valencia (Chiva). They produce, in addition to millions of bottles of branded wine, a range of quality wines (the reds Ceremonia and Generación 1 – see page 56) and, best of all, Fusta Nova, an excellent “vin doux naturelâ€.
Though there are divergent opinions as to the bodega’s overall style and its use of its position in the market, it is undeniable that this is one of the most professional winemaking outfits in Spain. To sell millions of bottles year after year in such difficult and demanding markets as the UK, the wines must be free of any weaknesses, and to achieve this you need to run a tight ship, which Bodegas Gandia does. It is true to say that for the consumer it can be confusing to navigate the different styles, a common characteristic of bodegas that are both high volume brand producers and have a range of quality wines. But the truth is that we have before us a great wine: Fusta Nova (“New Woodâ€ in Valencian). Everything about this wine suggests intelligence and good taste, from the initial concept to its development, not forgetting its Valencian name (a masterstroke that associates the product uniquely with its birthplace and makes it difficult for similar wines to challenge it).
Fusta Nova is made with grapes carefully selected from old vines. The “mosto florâ€ (free run juice flowing from grapes crushed by their own weight without any mechanical pressing) is cold fermented with the grape skins at 15–16ÂºC – this skin maceration is carried out to get the freshest and most intense fruit flavours (Moscatel, pear and quince). The Moscatel grape, as Gandia have shown, can then be enhanced further with time in barrels of new French Alliers oak, from where it gets that full, silky taste, with a hint of toasted wood and walnut. Alliers oak adds these subtleties to the Moscatel, typical of fine-grained oak from the forests of France‘s Massif Central, and the three months it spends in barrel are just right, since aromatic varieties like Moscatel are quick to oxidize, noticeable above all in the colour. Fusta Nova has a limpid brilliance, it needs to be drunk cool, and goes as well with foie gras at the start of a meal as it does with cheesecake at the end.
Label: Fusta Nova
Type: sweet wine
Grape: Moscatel de Alejandría
Approx. Price: €7–8 (50 cl)
Bodega: Vicente Gandia
Address: Ctra. Cheste-Godelleta, s/n, 46370 Chiva, Valencia