Chozas Carrascal is a family project, now in the hands of second generation Mariá José and Julián. Having inherited the estate founded by their parents, the siblings have led its expansion from 26 to 100 hectares (80 of which planted to vines), all farmed organically. Chozas Carrascal owns impressive historical viticultural assets, including centennial Bobal plants, that provide the raw material for expressive wines in which acidity, freshness and texture play the central roles. Modern classics in the making.
Family, commitment and tradition
In 1990 María José Peidro and Julián López fell in love with a high altitude site in Utiel-Requena, which intimated its potential to produce world class wines. In it stood a beautiful farmhouse, built in 1870, and under it an incredible historical cellar. The husband-and-wife team bought the land and delved deep into its history and viticultural traditions, to fully understand the intricacies of the local terroirs and the ancestral knowledge of the local growers. The future of Chozas Carrascal started being forged with a close connection to the past, reflected in the estate’s name itself: Chozas was the nickname the grandfather of Julián López was tenderly known by and the project pays tribute both to his connection to his vines and to the strong bond with his grandson; Carrascal refers to the native holm oaks that grow across the estate and make its landscape so distinct.
After 10 years of studious mapping of the estate’s soils and replanting of the vines tailored to each of them, a winery was built in time for the 2003 inaugural vintage. The building was designed with an eye on efficiency and to allow the vinification of each parcel separately. The winery’s state-of-the-art facilities included the pioneering reintroduction of concrete fermentation vats, of different sizes and shapes.
The family values that informed the beginning of Chozas Carrascal remain as the guiding principles of all the work done at the estate today, both in the vineyard and cellar: efficiency, attention to detail, collaboration, determination.
Mediterranean altitude wines
These same values come through in the wines of Chozas Carrascal, with a strong Mediterranean character defined by a distinct savoury appeal and textural complexity. Elevation, on the other hand, lends them a distinct drive and mineral backbone, highlighting the incredible potential and character of the 750 to 840-metres altitude plateau on which the Chozas estate sits.
There’s a sense of experimentation rooted in tradition, creating wines that are at once innovative and classical. The fundamental axis that structures the range is the unique landscape of their corner of the DO Utiel-Requena, which the López-Peidro are determined to preserve for future generations. Hence the commitment to organic farming and to the promotion of the intrinsic biodiversity of their land.
Standing alongside textbook examples of Bobal and Macabeo are truly idiosyncratic takes on the varieties grown at the estate, exploring different styles and the limits of varietal expression. Leading this spirit of innovation anchored in tradition, Mariá José and Julián have confidently led Chozas Carrascal into its fourth decade of existence, after 20 successful productive vintages. Julián is the head winemaker, having consolidated the commitment to sustainability and the will to experiment. Mariá José, on the other hand, is the dynamic force behind the commercial, marketing and hospitality sides of the business. The two siblings epitomise the very essence of Chozas Carrascal: a focused attention to the land and vines; a creative force that has opened new perspectives for the future of Chozas and of DO Utiel-Requena.
Three Chozas Carrascal wines to know:
Tasted and reviewed by the Decanter team
Mudare – Parcela El Aljibe, 2019
Alc 12%; 100% Macabeo
With its beautiful amber hue, this is an elegant orange wine, well crafted and full of character. Balanced and complex, it combines rich aromas of red apple, almonds, quince and fresh walnuts. Pleasantly rich on the mid palate, with firm textural grip. Long finish with savoury appeal, a subtle tannic pull, and lingering peach, herbal and balsamic nuances.
Las Dosces Tinto, 2020
Alc 13.5%; 100% Bobal
This might be the producer’s entry level red but there’s nothing entry level about it. There is, rather, a lovely freshness and purity of fruit. Cherry, plum and cranberry flavours are supported by refreshing, well honed tannins. A delicious peppery edge adds savoury intrigue. An ideal everyday drinker.
Anma Tinto, 2019
Alc 13.5%; Syrah, Garnacha
Refined nose, with deep black and red fruit lined by herbal touches. Fresh and energetic on the palate, with lively flavours of sour cherry, plum and pink grapefruit. Still a baby – great ageing potential still. The assertive tannins give a powerful presence on the mid-palate and allow the fruit and spice to linger. Earthy undertones of forest floor and tobacco box add intrigue. A wine still in its infancy with great potential to age.