This week I visited three bodegas in the province of Cádiz, as part of the research I am doing for my next Decanter travel article. And well, they were all great, and couldn’t have been more different from each other, but I gotta admit that – this trip at least – my heart belongs to Bodega de Forlong.
Run by a young couple, Alejandro Narváez & Rocío Aspera, their small bodega and house just outside El Puerto de Santa María is dedicated to all things terroir. Which in this case means the chalky albariza soil of the area that is essential for growing the palomino fino grapes for sherry wines. But it turns out that not all albariza is created equal and the results can vary from different albariza plots, even those that are basically next door to each other. And I got to taste these differences as Forlong makes a delightful range of organic unfortified wines from these same “sherry grapes” on “sherry soil”.
Things immediately felt different from the other winery visits when Alex offered to pick us up from the train station in El Puerto. I was so grateful for that, since I don’t have a car and wasn’t sure how I was going to manage getting there. From the station it was a ten minute drive to the bodega, where we were greeted by Rocío and the various dogs and cats who also reside there. Alex showed us the nearest vineyard, then it was on to the winery and cellar, where we started off tasting the three wines offered on their usual bodega visit.
[photo courtesy of Bodega de Forlong]
Well, what can I say? One thing led to another and Alex started opening another bottle and then another… in the end we tried nine of their eleven amazing wines. And of course each wine had a story, with each one not only telling the story of the land but also of the passion these two have for bringing out the best expression of fruit and terroir that they can imagine. And I have to say that they have damn fine imaginations.
Finally we had to say goodbye because we had to catch the train to Cádiz and, as we hadn’t planned on staying at the bodega so long, it ended up being a bit of a race against time (we made it!). All very spontaneous, all so much fun, it was a very informative (I learned so much!) and truly delicious experience. Thank you so much Alex & Rocío!