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Sunday, 31 May 2015

Running Around, 9th May 2015

Running Around, 9th May 2015

This is the second of three related posts that I’m uploading. The first went up yesterday and the third will be up tomorrow.

So, on the Saturday 9th May, I had another early start.

I picked up Carlos Scholderle (#winelover ambassador to Spain) at 9:00 in Madrid and we headed straight for El Escorial, to Restaurante Montia. I met Carlos back in March in Zaragoza, when I was at a Slow Food event, pouring my Slow Wines.

The reason for going to Montía was

a) to drop off some Garnacha, Sauvignon Blanc and Malvar, and

b) to taste all my other wines with chef Dani with a view to future orders.

This was very happily convenient, as I just took along all the opened bottled that I had tasted the night before in the bodega with Ariana Rolich (see this post). Here’s the line-up:

Some of my white wines
This restaurant is one of the few places in Spain where I distribute my wines, along with Enoteca Barolo, and Le Petit Bistrot (now called Solodeuva) in Madrid, and Monvinic in Barcelona. I would really like to expand to more places, but again, I have so little time available for the sales and distribution task! It’s a full-time job really, so what can I do?

By happy chance we bumped into producer Charlotte Allan (Bodega Almaroja), from Arribes de Duero, who was also doing a tasting at Montia. She makes a really nice white wine called Pirita which I like a lot, from a field blend of lots of strange local varieties that I can’t remember the names of right now. After the tasting we went to a bar next door for some beers – to recalibrate our palates after all that wine! :)

Next stop - my bodega in El Tiemblo, but as we were running late and it was way past lunchtime, we went for lunch! After lunch we went straight to the vineyards, as that was the reason Carlos had come, ie to take photos and ask me questions for a publication he's working on.

The high altitude Garnacha vineyard in El Tiemblo:

Lying on my back looking downhill
Standing up looking downhill
The low altitude Garnacha vineyard in El Tiemblo:

Carlos taking photos
Does the neighbour use herbicide in his vineyard?

Close-up of herbicide use and non-herbicide use
Nice olive tree in the vineyard
Then, back to Madrid for an early night. Because the next day would be tough – see next post tomorrow (the third of three).

So ended another interesting and productive day. If only they were all like that :)

Pottering Around, 8th May 2015

This is the first of three related posts that I’m going to upload today, tomorrow and the next day.

I know it’s a bit late to be publishing posts that refer to events so long ago in the distant past (3 weeks ago! Gasp! Horror!), but unfortunately I’ve been really busy lately. Or fortunately! Depending on which way you look at it!

I think I may start to do some quick-n-dirty posts from now on, with nice photos, and some longer more thought-out posts interspersed every now and then. Otherwise it just takes me too long.

Pottering Around, 8th May 2015

Anyway. On this day, I was up bright and early and I went straight to the bodega; in the morning I sort of pottered around doing bits and pieces and tying up loose ends, as it were (bottling up samples, preparing some small orders for in Madrid, and tidying up a bit outside in the patio.

The patio is still looking like a mess! I’ve been trying to find the time to beautify it, but alas... progress is grindingly slow.

Here’s a few pics of the future arbour pergola chill-out area:

And here’s a few pics of the vegetable garden that I’m sharing with Daniel Ramos in the patio of our winery. Tomatoes, onions, peppers, courgettes, aubergines, lettuce, mostly.

And best of all, some proper wide-leaf Italian-style basil! With which to make jars of pesto sauce for the coming winter :)

Basil on the left, tatties on the right
The bodega itself is a bit of a mess too, and one of my main goals for this summer is clean everything thoroughly, including floors and walls, all tanks, vats, containers (steel, wood, clay, plastic), equipment (presses, crushers) and all other bits and pieces of stuff that I use.

After lunch, and very conveniently (for I had arranged it to be so!), I took delivery of an old barrica (600 litres, not the usual 225 litres) which I managed to find second hand and quite cheap too. It's been used for three wines so it shouldn't give too much oakiness to the wine any more. And being 600 litres, the ratios of volume to surface area are different from usual, which results in even less oakiness being transmitted. I'll probably use it for a Garnacha from El Tiemblo this year.

Here it is:

600 liter barrel, 2nd hand, from a winery in La Rioja
Then in the evening I met with Ariana Rolich, the store manager of CSW, who had come to see my vineyards and to taste my wines. So we did! After visiting a few of my vineyards near El Tiemblo, we tasted everything I had! Everything was showing well that evening/night. It must have been fruit day, with the moon and planets all lined up favourably! Even that horrible disgusting Chelva Early 2013 which I hate, was tasting not so bad to me. This is a wine that I was about to throw out because I thought that there was something wrong with it, but many people have assured me that it's perfectly fine! It's just that it has some aroma/taste that I don't personally like! As they say, there's no accounting for taste!

And here's the whites that we tasted through:

So ended an interesting and productive day. If only they were all like that J

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Natural Wine fair in Madrid (and other ramblings)

Yes, incredible but true!  There's going to be a mini-natural wine fair held in Madrid this coming Sunday 10th May 2015. I say 'incredible' because it's been many years, if not decades, that natural wines have been produced, sold and drunk around the world, but the phenomenon seems to have passed Spain by. But mustn't complain! It's going to be a great event, and great fun shall be had by all :)

Save the date and the place, which is very conveniently very central and right next to Atocha train station:

Here's the list of the producers:
– Alexandre Coulange – Domaine Thuronis – Languedoc
– Jacques Broustet – Chateau Lamery – Burdeos
– Nacho González – La Perdida – Valdeorras
– Bárbara Magugliani y Joan Carles Torres – Can Torres – Ampurdán
– Manel Rodríguez – Wiss – Montsant
– Marcel Carrera y Ramón Viña – Vinya Ferrer – Terra Alta
– Miguel J. Márquez – Dagón – Valencia
– Rafa López – Sexto Elemento – Valencia
– Fabio Bartolomei – Ambiz – Madrid
– Julián Ruiz – Esencia Rural – Toledo
– Samuel Cano – Patio – Cuenca
– Juan Pascual López – Viña Enebro – Murcia
– Jose Miguel Márquez – Marenas – Montilla
– Ramón Saavedra – Cauzón – Granada
– Torcuato Huertas – Purulio – Granada
– Manuel y Lorenzo Valenzuela – Barranco Oscuro – Granada
And you'll be able to taste the wines of:
– Domaine Meyer – Alsacia
– Patrick Bouju – Auvernia
– Costadilá – Veneto
– Frank Cornelissen – Sicilia
Only €5 to get in, and you get to keep the glass! A bargain at twice the price :)

Other Ramblings

Well, I've been incredibly busy lately and amongst other things I managed to plant about 200 new Tempranillo vines in the Carabaña vineyard in the empty spaces where the vines were missing for some reason or other.

Here's a panoramic view of the vineyard from a few days ago. Note the grass just starting to grow, and the tubes protecting the newly planted vines:
Panoramic view of Carabaña vineyard
 And here's a view from the top! See the cane for the young vine to grasp onto, and you can just see the tiny vine at the bottom:
Bird's eye view!
I also managed to hoe up around about 30 vines or so, before my back said 'enough'!

Hi hoe, hi hoe, it's off to work I go!
Meanwhile, back at the bodega, I finally got round to bringing a barrica of Tempranillo 2010 from the previous bodega I was working out of, in Morata de Tajuña, two years ago(!) to my current bodega in El Tiemblo.

Due to the fact that a full barrica weighs about 275 kg, and in a not very accessible position, what I had to do was: pump the wine out of the barrica into a steel tank in the back of a van, load the empty barrica, drive to El Tiemblo, and then pump the wine back into the unloaded and palletized barrica:

Pumping Tempranillo back into its barrica

I also finally got round to tidying up the patio of the bodega a little bit. Here you can see the space next to the wall that used to be covered with brambles, which I had left alone on purpose last year, in the hope of harvesting some brambles! But there were hardly any to be had, so I uprooted the lot. Pending for May is the planting of some roses or other climbing plants that will help prettify that enormous blank wall!

Here below you can just make out the tiny plants of lettuce, tomato, onions, etc:

 And the latest addition to the garden is some basil. The large-leaved Italian variety. I actually have lots more plants to plant, in fact I intend to cover that whole row, in order to make jars and jars of pesto :)

The main thing that I managed to do though was to bottle up all my 2014 vintage wines (Airén, Doré, Albillo, Sauvignon Blanc, Garnacha, Tempranillo), and free up all my fermentation vessels, and so I can relax over the summer knowing that all I need to do is wash them before use!

Here's where I store all my wines these days - in niches under the concrete fermentation tanks:

The Albillo niche
And lastly, yet another pending item on my "to do" list - this is the future lovely pergola, that will be covered in vines and hanging fruit, providing a shady decadent luxurious space for slothing around in easy-chairs and/or hammocks while sipping wine and nibbling on aperitivos! Alas, it won't be ready for at least another year:

The future decadent wine-tasting area
And really lastly, I was in a place in Madrid the other day where they had an interesting selection of extraterrestrial wines:

"Importados de otros mundos" = "Imported from other worlds"

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