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Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Spanish Wine at Lunchtime

Well, I have to confess that, even though I've known about this WBW70 thing for a few days now and was full of good intentions, I completely forgot to find, buy, drink and write about an interesting and unusual Spanish wine!

So what I've done instead is to write about the the wine I had at lunch today. Here it is:

Spanish Table Wine

Nice folkloric label, no? Don Quijote and Sancho Panza with windmill in the background!

As you can see (or can't see, rather!)  it doesn't come from any Spanish Denominación de Origen at all, let alone an interesting or unusual one. If fact, it's very difficult to tell where it comes from even in general because it doesn't actually say on the label. You can work it out though, if you know your Spanish post codes (ZIP codes).

Sorry, out of focus! I need to upgrade my mobile!

After taking out my magnifying glass (which all connaisseurs of Spanish table wine carry with them at all times) you can see that it actually comes from the province of Toledo (because of the post code "49586" on the far left). Another clue is the last two digits of the Registered Bottler Number ("-TO", on the far right).

Actually, this only tells you where the wine was bottled - the grapes could have come from anywhere in Spain.

What to say about its organoleptic qualities? Well, suffice it so say that:
1) it's usually served at a temperature well below the threshold of human taste and smell perception, and
2) it's usually served along with a bottle of 'Casera' (a sort of fizzy sweet 7-Up type liquid)

Table Wine and Bottle of 'Casera'

This is normal for any bog-standard Spanish restaurant that serves a 'Menú del Día' for about €9 to €12. The quality of the food, in contrast, ranges from good/acceptable to sometimes surprisingly good (though you can get a nasty surprise sometime if you're unlucky). This is something I've never been able to understand - probably because I'm a 'bloody foreigner' (though I've been living here for over 15 years!)! Why don't these restaurants serve up a drinkable wine with the 'menú del día' instead of the awful stuff that has to be mixed with 'Casera' and served at 0ºC? I know for a fact that a drinkable table wine can be bought for less than €1/bottle ex bodega and a Crianza for about €2/bottle. The cost of the awful wine is about €0,30/bottle and the 'Casera' must be about €1/bottle, so why do they do it? Think just of the space they could save in storing half the number of bottles! Maybe there's a secret conspiracy between these volume table wine producers and the 'Casera' producers? If anyone can shed some light on this question, I'll ... I'll ...I'll send them a case of Pinto and Casera :)

Apart from the wine, other essential ingredients for a genuine, complete Spanish "Menú del Día Experience" include: LOTS OF NOISE coming from a number non mutually exclusive sources such as one or more fruit machines, one or more televisions, coffee-grinder, coffee machine itself, barstaff, waiters and kitchen staff shouting to each other, customers at adjacent tables shouting at each other, and (optionally) a jack-hammer digging up the street just outside. Sadly, one ingredient which will never be seen again (thanks to globalization) is clouds of cigarette smoke from customers smoking between courses or lingering over coffee and a 'copa'. Such is life in Madrid!

3 comments:

  1. You can blame Ireland for the smoking ban - we started it ;)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Fabio I just loved this post on the quintessential Spanish lunch!! Am sure there is a conspiracy here... Maybe babies get injected w the Pinto and Casero dependency drug - hence a lifelong dependency at lunch time:-)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Paul, Caroline,
    Thanks for commenting! (I took my time getting back to you, but better late than never I suppose!)

    ReplyDelete

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