Nov 012010
 
Too warm for wine in Spain?

Too warm for wine Believe what you will about the causes and likely effects of global warming, but all around us there is irrefutable evidence that it is happening. From crops maturing earlier to animals changing their habits, it seems likely that our grandchildren are going to have to dramatically adapt to a different way of living, like it or not. Where it affects staple foodstuffs it is understandable that the world’s government agencies step […]

Nov 012010
 
Oak or Croak?

Oak or croak! When did you start drinking wine from the Rioja? Did you become a fan (assuming you are one) before you came to Spain, or was it more a question of needs must, and the lack of other products gave you little choice? If you were in Britain or most other European countries during the 70s, it would be surprising if Rioja had not featured on your drinking agenda. Apart from claret, red […]

Nov 012010
 
Corks away?

Corks away? There are three words guaranteed to get wine buffs going, usually after they have consumed a few glasses of the stuff: Chardonnay; Decanting; Parker. Some drinkers think Chardonnays should be strangled at birth because it is not a ‘serious’ wine, but you have to admit it has done more to introduce New World wines to the masses than any other single grape variety. As to decanting, this is fine if done by an […]

Nov 012010
 
Investing in Spanish wine

Investing in wine As the saying goes, only two things in life are certain, death and taxes. Actually the second-mentioned may be merely an unhappy memory for many people – but there is certainly an additional dictum: Wine prices will always increase. Serious wine investment usually requires the intervention of a third party specialist, and their advertisements can be found in many publications aimed at expatriates. However, not all has been smooth sailing. London-based firm […]

Nov 012010
 
The fall and rise of Banda Azul

The Fall and Rise of Banda Azul The bodega Federica Paternina is one of the oldest in Rioja, although this does not explain why it has had more owners than probably any other in Spain. Situated in Haro, wine-making started in 1896 and, with a production of fifty million litres annually, it is one of the ‘grandes’ of the region. When I was importing wine into Britain during the late-60s/early-70s, there were really very few […]

Nov 012010
 
An overview of Spanish wine

An overview of Spanish wine and the future Spain is the third largest wine producer in the world, but out of a total of 53 regions which have a Denominación de Origen classification (DO/AC), only a very few are everyday currency amongst wine drinkers. Those of us who are fortunate enough to be living in – or perhaps visiting – Spain, have easy access to a vast array of superb wines which, in many cases, […]

Nov 012010
 
The etiquette of the chupito

The Etiquette of the Chupito Most articles about wine tell you how to find value for money, or educate you a little about wines you may never have come across. In this way discerning readers should be able to reduce the amount of money they spend on wine, while at the same time upping the quality of their regular tipples. However there are no guarantees. I remember some years ago receiving a phone call  asking […]

Nov 012010
 
If it's feria time in Spain it must be Manzanilla time!

If it’s Feria time then it must be…Manzanilla time! When the feria season in Spain is in full swing  and local ferias are keeping you awake until the small hours, it is probably not a bad time to dwell awhile on that king of beverages: sherry. No-one has, to the best of my knowledge, explained exactly why sherry is inextricably linked to Spanish ferias, but it unquestionably is. Literally hundreds of thousands of bottles get drunk in […]

Nov 012010
 
What is a Rueda?

What is a rueda? It will not have escaped the notice of wine aficionados that the emphasis on quality Spanish white wines has shifted over the last few years. Anyone over fifty years old will remember that when we asked for anything but the local white wine in a restaurant, the very limited variety at our disposal was invariably from Rioja. These Spanish wines tended to be anything up to 10 years old, heavy, woody-tasting, […]

Nov 012010
 
Dry corks and breathing time, a Spanish lesson

DRY CORKS AND BREATHING TIME Dry corks and breathing time What happens when you order a bottle of white wine in a restaurant? All too frequently, particularly in second-rate eateries in the UK, a room-temperature bottle is brought to the table and an ice bucket is produced for the cooling process, with the obvious disadvantages which accompanies this procedure. In better restaurants, and certainly throughout Spain – however humble the establishment – there seems to […]

Nov 012010
 
Kosher wine

Kosher Wine  When I said to Nick that I was planning to review a kosher wine, the reaction was predictable. “Not that sweet, syrupy stuff!” he said. This is a typical view of kosher wine, and although it was once justified, modern kosher wines are as good as any other. The oldest kosher winery in America, Schapiro’s, had the motto ‘Wine so thick, you can cut it with a knife’. Hardly a selling line – […]

Nov 012010
 
The Grandees of spanish wine

The Grandees of Spain While it is true that Spanish wine was almost universally thought of as plonk until the 1970s, Spain has actually been producing great wines for more than a century. Some time ago, the products of eleven bodegas were offered for sale at a Christie’s auction of old Riojas. The vintages ranged from 1871 to 1998. The oldest, and the first on the block, was a Marqués de Riscal 1871. It fetched […]