Vera de Estenas history
Many years later, sitting in front of the facade of his house, Francisco Martínez Bermell had been remembering that remote afternoon when his grandmother Filomena took him to know his family’s cellar. El Grao was then a small, industrial and sailor town where, years ago, his great grandfather, Don Pedro Pons, built his new winery on Calle de los Hierros, very close to the port. The boy was impressed by the deep deposits, the high spiral staircases, the countless cones and oak barrels. I was never going to forget the aroma of the air that was breathed there.
Twenty years later, while Europe was in the middle of the world war, my father settled in Utiel to run a winery, for Hijos de Pons Hermanos, his family business. Soon, in Requena, he met my mother and, soon after, he settled on his own. He became friends with Don Pascual Carrión, then director of the Requena Oenological Station, a true sage who showed him that in these lands the best grapes could be grown and with them he could make great wines. In the middle of the eighties, already installed in the Casa Don Ángel and helped by my older brothers, he brought our first bottled wines to market.
The sun was setting behind the vineyards and my father, who was about to turn ninety years old, was smiling remembering how his uncle Pedro explained to him, under my great grandmother’s watchful eye, that this was the aroma of a clean cellar, of healthy grapes, of fruits and minerals, sponge cake and wood.
Clean cellar, healthy grapes, wood…
More than one hundred and fifty years have passed since my great-grandfather settled in the Grao de Valencia, more than ten since that autumn afternoon in which my father remembered his childhood but, for my nephew Eduardo and for me, the way to understand viticulture and the oenology remains, in the main, the same: careful cultivation of the best castes, elaboration and artisan breeding in the cellar of the Casa don Ángel, in the center of the Vera de Estenas Pago.
My father said: there are no secrets, you have to love wine.
Félix Martínez Roda