Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Global warming, Peter Green and the 5 W's

2006/2007 - a warm, wet winter in Galicia

So, who on earth is Peter Green I hear you ask? Well, Peter Green was my old geography teacher back in the 70's (he was also my tennis coach in the good old days when school children were obliged to participate in real sport, rather than just Playstation virtual sport!) OK, so back to the point....

In our meteorology class one of the nmemonics that Mr Green taught us was the 5 W's - the warm, wet, westerly winds in winter. Obviously, for the UK at least, our winters were always moderated by these warm westerly winds (or the 'North Atlantic drift' as I think they are also known).

In a similar way the climate of Galicia is also influenced enormously by the Atlantic Ocean, and inevitably we share many of the very same weather systems that skim across the Bay of Biscay en route to the UK.

A Galician winter would normally generate at least some frost, albeit always at night and rarely surviving more than a couple of hours of winter sun. This year however, there has hardly been any frost at all, as night time temperatures have rarely dropped below 5 or 6°C (41°F). Days have also been mild, and mostly wet, with average temperatures of around 12-14°C (55°F). Of course we welcome the additional rain after two or three very dry winters, but a little frost is also very useful, helping to kill off some of the more unwelcome insects, and giving the vines a welcome rest bite during the winter months.....

So, is this just another sign of global warming, together with the excellent Balfour Brut (English "Champagne") that I tasted in London last week?

Saturday, January 27, 2007

A different way to chill out....

Ahhh....... that´s better!

This week we were in London, not hunting for last minute bargains in the January sales, but attending the annual tasting of one of our biggest importers.

Anyone who has ever attended this type of tasting (or indeed any exhibition that requires you to stand in one place for hours on end) will know exactly how tough this can be. Sore feet, stiff legs, aching back - you get the idea.... And, as the day drags on, different ideas for pain relief start to infiltrate your head - the dream of soaking in a hot bath, or perhaps a full body massage for example.

Well, for at least one of our colleagues at the tasting he simply couldn´t wait to fulfill his particular fantasy, and as soon as the last customer had left he whipped off his shoes and socks and simply waded into one of the ice buckets to soothe his aching feet. Perhaps just as well you can´t smell this blog!

Caught in the act - Angela sneaks a quick snack

Monday, January 22, 2007

2007 Reviews

So let's start with Peñin 2007 and his comment for our Castro Martin 2005 (this is lifted verbatim from the English version of the guide).

"Bright yellow with greenish streaks. Intense nose, green fruit, traces of citrus fruit flesh and fine herbs. Fresh palate, fruity, excellent structure, spicy background, good fruit/acidity balance."

Translating a taste into words must be one of the most difficult things ever, and everyone has (and should have) their own vocabulary for doing this - one man's cat's pee is possibly another man's freshly cut grass! The reason I say this is that I am always puzzled when an expression like fine herbs is used to describe our wine - personally this idea has never entered my head, which all goes to prove that all tasting is subjective and very personal.

As a former wine buyer Mr Peñin's words that please me the most are "excellent structure", as for me structure is probably the single most important factor in finding a good wine - having said that good fruit/acidity balance also helps!

Monday, January 08, 2007

The cupboard is bare....

The rush to bottle more wine!
We have to bottle more wine as a matter of urgency.......

After all this year's Christmas orders and gift packages left the wine cellar we were left with precisely two cases of wine to sell! This is not a joke, or even an exaggeration, it is the truth.

Of course this can be construed as either excellent planning or simply 'cutting it a bit too fine', depending on your point of view. Suffice to say that it is the first time that we have almost 'sold out' over the Christmas period, albeit that not a single order was refused.

January is usually a quiet month and gives us time to gather our thoughts and start our planning for 2007 - obviously the next week or so will be occupied by bottling a couple of tanks, and this will be followed by planning our travels for the coming year (this actually starts with our first London tasting at the end of the month).

Oh, and by the way - a very Happy New Year to you all.