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BVC – Passionate French emissaries of Utiel-Requena

In partnership with D.O. Utiel-Requena

Exploring flagship producers from D.O. Utiel-Requena, one of Spain's most dynamic wine regions

Valérie Bataille and Benoit Calvet fell in love with Utiel-Requena and, in 2014, created a sibling company, BVC Bodegas, for their longstanding Bordeaux-based project. The couple was looking for unspoiled landscapes and winemaking traditions, and that’s exactly what they found in Utiel-Requena. They work closely with Grupo Coviñas and their growers to produce some of the most successful wines bearing the DO Utiel-Requena stamp.

Experience and passion

It all started in 1982, when Valérie Bataille and Benoit Calvet met and forged what would become a life-changing relationship: as a family and as professional partners. After a stint in Dubai, they returned to Bordeaux to create their negociant business, building upon the experience of Benoit’s father, Patrice Calvet, himself an independent wine trader since 1975. Maison BVC (Benoit and Valérie Calvet) was thus born in 1985, and has since been sourcing characterful, terroir-led wines in France, Spain and Italy.

Over the years, they managed to develop a tight network of like-minded partners that allowed them to follow each wine from grape to bottle. Their restlessness, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit led them to the creation of their first own-brand Bordeaux wine, Le Voyageur, in 1988.

Valérie and Benoit’s Spanish projects gained significant momentum in the following two decades, eventually leading to the creation of a sister company, BVC Bodegas, headquartered in Requena, allowing them to bottle and supervise the origin and quality of their Spanish portfolio. While BVC Bodegas produces wines in multiple Spanish regions – Utiel-Requena, La Mancha, Rioja, Rueda and Catalunya – it is DO Utiel-Requena that takes pride of place, not just as the company’s home but also of BVC Bodegas’ most iconic wines and brands. Not least Toro Loco, seen in shelves and recognised by consumers the world over.

From Requena to the world

The first wines under the Toro Loco label were released in 2009, consolidating a close partnership with the 3000 growers and technical team of Grupo Coviñas. Having since invested in their own vineyards and winery in Requena, Valérie and Benoit wanted to be an active part of the local community, respecting the knowledge accumulated by generations of passionate people, dedicated to the local terroir. For it was this terroir that the couple recognised as the invaluable source of a viticultural and oenological heritage that is expressed in each bottle of Toro Loco wine.

Located at 600 to 900 meters above sea level, Utiel-Requena offers an ideal ripening environment, thanks to the Mediterranean breezes, the altitude and the wide diurnal temperature range, with  warms days and cool nights. These favourable, balanced conditions have catalysed a strong ecological shift in the D.O., with 30% of Utiel-Requena’s vineyard area already certified organic. As an active member of this transformation, BVC Bodegas released its first organic references in 2014.

Benoit refers to the authenticity and simplicity he found in Utiel-Requena and the many friendships he forged as a source of endless inspiration and joy. Here, he found a proximity to the land – and the people that care for it – that has long been lost in other wine regions; a sense of trust, value and cooperation that in turn expresses itself in wines that are expressive and complex while also being approachable.

BVC Bodegas’ winery in Requena has also become a laboratory for Benoit, allowing him to experiment, nurture ideas and test possibilities. Five years ago he introduced  the use of tinajas, which now occupy a privileged corner in the winery. It is in these historical vessels that Benoit has been producing a wine aged under a continuous vibration of 432 Hz (see tasting note below). According to music theory, 432 Hz is mathematically harmonious with the universe – it is known as Verdi’s ‘A’, named after Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi. Music tuned to 432 Hz is softer and brighter, and is said to provide greater clarity and have a calming effect by reducing heart rate and blood pressure.

What does it bring to the wine? That is for tasters to discover – but certainly the same sense of peace and harmony that Valérie Bataille and Benoit Calvet found in Utiel-Requena.

Three BVC wines to know:

Tasted and reviewed by the Decanter team

Toro Loco Rosado, 2019
Alc 13%; 100% Bobal
Very appealing, dry rosé with lifted aromatics and seductive texture. Refreshing acidity brings brightness to the rose petals, wild strawberry and raspberry notes. Clear and precise with juicy fruitiness but also a zesty kick.

Toro Loco Reserva, 2017
Alc 14%; 60% Bobal, 25% Tempranillo, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Syrah
Aged for 12 months in American oak, this wine displays prominent but well-worked wood. Charred cedar, dark chocolate and tobacco leaf rest over a bed of deep black fruit to shape a wine of classical intensity. The tannins are affirmative and slightly drying but very elegant and superbly integrated.

La Finca, 2019
Alc 14%; 100% Bobal
Idiosyncratic expression of Bobal, fermented and aged in tinajas to a constant vibration of 432 Hz. Intense liquorice character, marked pepperiness, and deep flavours of wild blackberry, dried oregano and black olive tapenade. Smooth tannins provide velvety width to the mid palate. Lingering salty liquorice.

Discover more about BVC and Toro Loco

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