Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Another year, another Top 10 for Avian Albariño

It seems like only a year ago that I was writing about our Albariño being, not only one of Spain's best white wines, but also one of the best value ...... just a minute, it was only a year ago!
So here are the Guia Gourmets results for the last 5 years:

2004 Guide - Score 8/10 - Rated 3rd in Spain
2005 Guide - Score 7.5/10 - Rated 16th in Spain
2006 Guide - Score 8/10 - Rated 7th in Spain
2007 Guide - Score 8.25/10 - Rated 4th in Spain
2008 Guide - Score 8/10 - Rated 3rd in Spain

I have to say that there seems to be a pattern emerging here, not only with the Guia Gourmets, but also in many other press cuttings this year. The key phrase appears to be 'best value', which must be music to the ears of our customers.

Albariño Avian 2006
Lemony yellow. Intense and aromatic nose; reminiscent of tropical fruit (pineapple), salt-lick, aniseed, white flowers, fresh herbs, cream and hints of citrus. Lively, fresh, balanced, unctuous and full, touches of mango, green apple, passion fruit, spring water(?!), fresh herbs, yoghurt and a long finish with hints of exotic fruit and citrus.

Perhaps it is wrong of me to comment, but I must say that this extensive tasting note seems to have covered every eventuality - I can't think of many adjectives that have been left out!
As always though, the most significant accolade is quite simply, value for money.....

Friday, March 21, 2008

Galician gastronomy

A lot is written in tourist guides about Galician gastronomy, more especially about the wonderful fish and seafood that can be found. Well, of course this is all true - to visit a local fish market is a real joy - to see the bright-eyed fish still flapping on the counter, whilst the crabs and prawns plot to make their escape! It goes without saying that such fresh produce does not require much culinary intervention, and is probably best enjoyed in its most natural state, grilled, pan-fried or 'a la Gallega'. This is perhaps the best known and most widely available type of cuisine in our area, but there is now however, an alternative......

Over recent years, Spain has quite rightly enjoyed a growing reputation for imaginative cooking, spurred on by a generation a young, up-and-coming chefs, and inspired perhaps by the most famous of them all, Ferran Adrià (El Bulli)

Galicia is no exception, and the food revolution is lead by a group of highly talented young men and women who call themselves the Grupo NOVE. Exploiting our wonderful local produce they create memorable dishes with great flair and imagination, sometimes by simply taking traditional Galician dishes and giving them a more modern twist.

My local favourite out of this group (of about 20 restaurants) is Pepe Vieira, now situated in the hills above the road between Pontevedra and Sanxenxo. Not exactly a location that you would stumble upon by accident, but in my opinion, certainly worth a detour. Excellent food, efficient and unobtrusive service, an extensive wine list that includes quite a few non-Spanish wines, and not to mention, some spectacular views of the Ria of Pontevedra!

I should close by saying that my comments are purely objective, borne out of my passion for great food and wine. As yet we do not supply our Albariño to these restaurants, but I am however convinced that with our growing International reputation, that it is simply a matter of time....

Monday, March 17, 2008

Easter traffic update

The Ribadumia/Cambados interchange

It is almost exactly a year ago since I mentioned on our blog that the local 'Via Rapida' is being upgraded to full motorway status. In keeping with long standing Spanish tradition the work remains ongoing - making slow but steady progress. How is it the saying goes?.... They might not be efficient, but at least they're slow! (With apologies to my Spanish readers)

For those of you who have seen the direction map on our main website you will know that it is a little simplistic to say the least, and it has therefore been my intention for some time now, to update it and make it a bit more sophisticated. In current circumstances I have, however, resisted the urge, as the shape of the road and it's junctions changes on almost a daily basis.

For the time being at least, the current map still works, and so if you are planning a trip to sunny Barrantes this year my only advice would be - try not to destroy too many bollards, and take care not to miss the temporary signs as you admire the Galician countryside.

If, however, your in-car SatNav blows a fuse, or you find yourself at the bottom of a big hole, then please do give us a call, and we will be happy to guide you in.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Who is Atov?

I like keep our blog topical if nothing else, so in deference to this Sunday's election in Spain, I thought I should share with you a moment of my own stupidity relating to said subject.
On driving out of our village I saw this banner stretched over the road, and (for a brief second) I thought to myself - who on earth is this ATOV bloke, apparently running for office, complete with his own cyrillic logo? Doesn't sound very Spanish to me, more like a Russian!

Then, of course, I passed under the sign and read the other side..... VOTA PP.

I will say no more.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

90 Points! - Time to eat humble pie....

Robert Parker Jr - the Wine Avocado

Over the last year or two I have sometimes been quite outspoken regarding certain types of tasting, questionable competitions and even the odd wine critic. Well, now is the time to retract everything...... We have just been awarded 90 points by possibly the most famous of them all!!!

Jay Miller, the Spanish wine reviewer for the Wine Advocate, has kindly made the following comment about our Albariño:

90 Points - 2006 Albarino Rias Baixas, Galicia
This Albarino is produced by Bodegas Castro Martin. Approximately 20% of the wine went through malolactic fermentation. Medium straw-colored with a green tint, the nose offers up notes of minerality, peach, jasmine, citrus, and a hint of tropical fruits in the background. Crisp, lingering, and refreshing on the palate, this lively effort would pair well with flaky fish courses.

So, 2008 has been quite a year for reviews so far - Best value producer in Spain from Tom Stevenson, 'Star Buy' in The Times from Jane MacQuitty, and now 90 points in the Wine Advocate. We must be doing something right!

Saturday, March 01, 2008

The Times - Star Buy

The Times newspaper boasts some of the best food & wine critics around - Gordon Ramsay, Heston Blumental, the wonderful restaurant critic A.A.Gill, and one of my personal favourites, Jeremy Clarkson (albeit that he writes about cars!).
In their wine section they have the highly regarded Jane MacQuitty, who is a very serious journalist to say the least. So, at a recent London tasting I jumped out from behind our table and thrust a glass of our Albariño in her direction (such is my confidence in our wine). Thankfully she agreed with my opinion, and we are now thrilled to appear in this weekends paper as one of her 'Star Buys'.

2005 Albariño - Rias Baixas, Bodega Castro Martin.
"Albariño is an unusual Iberian white grape you have to fork out for, but in this Spanish edition, the lively, floral, lime zest and lemon blossom-charged palate is easily worth the price asked".

There are two things that are significant to me about her comments. Firstly, she comments about our wine's good value for money (in keeping with Tom Stevenson's rating in his recent book). And secondly, in January 2008, she is writing about our 2005 wine - further proof, if it were needed, of my own opinion about the ageing potential of our Albariños.