Wednesday, May 23, 2007

It's all in the soil....

Just a few of the huge granite boulders

I recently wrote about "terroir", and that one of the factors influencing the Albariño of the Salnes Valley was the soil - giving our wine a distinct minerality and steely backbone.

Risking life and limb to illustrate the point I pulled on to the hard shoulder of the local Via Rapida (which is undergoing a major upgrade to give it full motorway status) and quickly snapped a few photos of the soil and rocks.

Above you can see some of the huge number of granite boulders that have been excavated, and which no doubt have slowed the digging work considerably. Below you have a clear cross section that illustrates not only the sand soils, but also the layers of rock below the surface. The Albariño vine clearly thrives on this, and as witnessed in many wine regions of the world, has to dig deep to find nutrients.

The sand and rock typical of the Salnes Valley

Monday, May 21, 2007

Irish tastings

Angela discovers Guinness in one of Dublin's oldest bars

You may have noticed a lack of posts recently, and this is simply because we have been living out of a suitcase in Ireland. Our importer recently held a series of tastings, both north and south of the border, in Belfast, Dublin and Cork - and it was a real voyage of discovery.

Not only was it an opportunity for the Irish people to learn about our Albariño, but as it turned out, it was also a chance for my wife to discover one of Ireland's national treasures..... Guinness! I have to say that I too enjoyed the odd pint, and I can truthfully say that it tastes much better drinking it in it's country of origin. Of course your memory of a wine (or stout) can easily be influenced, and it reminds me of the tourist who enjoys his first sip of Provence Rosé whilst sitting on a sun-soaked beach in St Tropez, eating his delicious Niçose salad. When he tastes the very same wine for a second time on a grey, wet day in Brighton it doesn't taste quite the same.

I was also tempted to introduce Angela to another Guinness based drink - Black Velvet (a very potent cocktail of Guinness and Champagne) but I will maybe I will leave that for another ocassion. Hmmm.... I wonder if Guinness and Albariño would work? Perhaps not!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Three Glorietas & One Hail Mary......

Seems like an orderly arrangement.... taken from the UK highway code

Firstly allow me to apologise for the title of this post, it is not intended to offend - it is simply that roundabouts are known as 'Glorietas' here in Spain, and it might be worth saying a quick prayer before trying to negociate one!

My post today clearly has nothing to do with wine, but is intended as more of a public service to those who might be planning a road trip to Spain (and not only those who wish to visit our Bodega).

The first thing you must know is that roundabouts are only a fairly recent addition to the Spanish road system, and appear to be springing up at nearly every junction where two roads meet. (I have to assume that the traffic ministers deem them to be safer than crossroads or traffic lights, but I regret to say, this is simply not the case!) The problem appears to be that the older generation of drivers were simply not educated as to how to deal with them, and the younger generation are being educated in what seems to be a fairly bizzare fashion. Take for example the illustrations below, taken from a brochure designed specifically to help negociate roundabouts.

What exactly does this mean - are you confused?

The next picture shows how to turn right when approaching from the wrong lane...... make a full circuit and only exit when you start to feel dizzy!

Not the simplest way to turn right!

OK, so what's the point of this message? Simply that you should forget what you have learned in your own country and approach roundabouts with extreme caution - do not expect other drivers to stop even when you think they should, and beware of drivers crossing in front of you from the wrong lane.

Do take care when driving in Spain, and remember my motto - Expect the unexpected.