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Like the sign says… vinos ricos aguí! And indeed there were. The third Cuatro Gatos Wine Fest took place last Saturday (February 24th) under the big top behind the Hotel Duques de Medinaceli in El Puerto de Santa María. Peter and I arrived by train around noon and made our way to the hotel-apt we had booked for the night.

The courtyard of the Palacio de Luja is much more impressive than the rather tired and slightly sad apartments they offer, so I’m not even going to show photos of the apartment. It was clean, though with an overpowering “air freshener” smell, but everything just looked old and unloved, if you know what I mean. Luckily we were out and about most of the time.

Somehow I didn’t take many photos at the wine tasting, probably because it’s not easy to hold the iphone one-handed. It was great running into Paula and Andrew – two of my favourite sherry gurus – and seeing lots of other people I know, both producers and fellow wine lovers. We mostly hung out around the sherries, and got to taste some pretty spectacular wines. It was also a learning experience for me, tasting the groundbreaking wines by Ramiro Ibáñez and Willy Pérez, and also a new release of three 2014 single pago manzanillas by Viñas Callejuela, clearly showing the importance of terroir. Looking forward to visiting the Pérez and Callejuela bodegas soon.

Around 3 o’clock we took a lunch break and headed over to one of my favourite spots in El Puerto – La Bodeguilla del Bar Jamón. They were offering a stand-up buffet at the event, but sitting down for awhile at this point was a very attractive idea. Paula joined us and, as you can see, we had a delicious time. After lunch Paula had to drive back home to Mijas, and we went back to try a few more wines before calling it a day.

After stopping by the hotel to change shoes we headed out again for a walk around town and ran into another person we know who has recently moved to Cádiz. Jane and her son were looking for somewhere for dinner and so later that evening we once again found ourselves at Bodeguilla, this time with them, for a tapas snack at the bar. Then it was back to the hotel to sleep.

Next morning over breakfast we were trying to work out what to do for the rest of the day (our train home was for 6pm) and we decided there probably wasn’t much doing in El Puerto on a Sunday. So after a quick look at the train schedule, and also a quick google for a place to leave the suitcase, we popped over to Cádiz, which turned out to be an excellent idea. More on that tomorrow!