Tasting notes, opinions, rants, interests and deep, meaningful thoughts of an independent wine merchant
Wednesday, 5 May 2010
A few days in Spain
We´re in Spain at the moment, spending a few days with my sister Liz and her husband John. They have a lovely house near Denia (roughly halfway between Alicante and Valencia) with impressive views of hills and mountains - and a glimpse of the see if you are tall enough. There´s a lovely pool, too - unfortunately, the weather isn´t hot enough to be bathing, and the pool temperature is down to 14C. That said, it is intermittently sunny and nice enough to be sitting outside.
TLD enjoying some sun by the pool
Following our early morning flight, we arrived in good time for lunch at a restaurant in the nearby village of Rafol d'Almunia. Service was efficient and friendly and the food was simple, tasty and plentiful. First came a selection of starters made from fish and potatoes, with salad, aoli and fresh bread. Mains included braised lamb shanks, several fish dishes, entrecote steak and paella. We all had profiteroles for dessert, followed by excellent coffee. The ladies and I shared bottles of red, white and rose wine, whilst John had a couple of beers. And the cost for that little lot? 38 Euros - not each, but in total! I was flabbergasted. I know Spain is cheaper than France and the UK, but to enjoy a 3-course meal, plus more wine than we could resonably drink over a lunchtime, plus coffee, all for less than 10 Euros each is just amazing. I can see why so many Brits come and live out here, if living is so much cheaper than in the UK.
This being a wine blog, I can´t write without commenting on the wines we had. The white was Vino de La Tierra de Castilla Viñapeña Airen. I know Airen has a bad reputation as the most widely-planted white variety in Spain (possibly the world), but it was actually OK - fruity, lemony, herbaceous and refreshing. In fact, quite Sauvignonesque. The red was Vino de La Tierra de Castilla Viñapeña Tempranillo, which was full of cherry and raspberry fruit, with nice acidity and soft tannins - simple, but very typical of the grape variety. The rose (sorry, but I can't work out how to do an acute accent on this European keyboard) was Bodegas Ayusc Rosado Abadia del Reble. Potent, very slightly oxidative, with aromas and flavours of baked redcurrants and apples. It was curiously enjoyable. In fact, I may never again blog on 3 more un-profound wines, but they hit the spot at this time, and in this place. Sometimes, simple is all you really need.
TLD, John and Liz
Today, we went for a couple of beers at a seaside cafe just up the coast from Denia, followed by a gentle stroll and a quick visit to the shops. I'm typing this inbetween goes at Scrabble, which is doing my concentration no good at all - and I hate losing!
The weather forecast says temperatures in the low-to-mid 20's tomorrow, so we may get to use the pool after all.
Having spent over 33 years as a civil servant (in legal terms, that's at least 2 life sentences!) I am now a full-time wine merchant. I have been happily married to the lovely Diane (known to my wine friends as 'TLD') since 1985, and we have been blessed with two sons - Alex (1990) and Daniel (1991). Here you can read my thoughts and opinions on many things wine-related (and occasionally other things, too). You can find out all about my wines and growers by visiting the Leon Stolarski Fine Wines website.