Remember when Mr & Mrs O (Ana & Simon) were here in March? Well Ana has just written this lovely blog post about our time together in Sevilla along with her other adventures in Jerez and Jabugo. Have a look…
The main reason for the latest Sanlúcar Getaway was to partake of a couple of the free bodega visits being offered during the Día de la Manzanilla celebrations. The first was the Visita Nocturna on Monday evening at Bodegas La Gitana, which turned out to be a bit of a disappointment as it wasn’t the actual Visita Nocturna (which includes tasting VOR and VORS wines). Instead it was just the regular morning tour but held in the evening. Oh well.
The second was a visit to Bodega Argüeso, which I had never been to before. Peter joined me in Sanlúcar the next morning and when we arrived at the bodega I was very pleasantly surprised to see Nuria (whom I’d first met at Delgado Zuleta a few years ago) was now working at Argüeso. The tour was fun and interesting and included stopping by the tonelería (cooperage) to see the skilled artisans constructing and repairing the sherry barrels.
You can see a complete list of all the sherry bodegas I have visited (20 so far) here…
So after the HUGE DISAPPOINTMENT of not getting my CT scan results yesterday (though I DID get to ride in a Jaguar XF!) I have decided – fuck it – I’m just going to go for it. I’ve been putting off making any summer travel plans. You know, JUST IN CASE. Because if I suddenly needed surgery or treatment, well, then I’d lose deposits and/or entire payments for hotels, flights, etc. Given that I’m not feeling too badly and that nobody seems to know what is going on… I have decided to book my summer holidays! Today.
First up… three days in Granada in mid-July. It’s been over three years since my last visit and I really want to catch up, and also hang out with Gayle @granadatapastour on her home turf. From there I will carry on to Málaga for a few more days. Not sure for how long yet, but that is flexible as I am staying at a friend’s place.
Then… a week in San Sebastián at the end of August! I have been planning to visit my friend Gabriella @tenedor (aka Shawn of The North 😉 ) for YEARS. And now it is finally going to happen. I will also spend a day or two in Bilbao, that bit is still up in the air. But I am going to book my flights and then the rest of it I can sort out later.
And so, excited and nervous. Apparently I have the next oncology appointment on July 5th, though I wasn’t given a time and was told I will have to sort that out myself. In the meantime, life goes on… I hope…
During Vinoble there were several tastings and cooking demos. The tastings were immediately sold out as soon as they became available online, which was frustrating because the site was down most of that morning. Tickets for the demos became available an hour before the presentation, which seemed more reasonable, though in the case of the jamón demo all the tickets were gone well before the appointed time.
Anyhow… we did manage to get into this “show cooking” by a restaurant in Cádiz called Código de Barra (which has been on my “to do” list for awhile now). Chef Leon Griffioen prepared some exceptional dishes which were paired with spectaclar wines from Bodegas Piñero, Urium and Las Botas. Next time I am in Cádiz this will be my first stop. Well, after Casa Manteca. This was the menu…
- “surprise” olives (won’t spoil the suprise)
- yoghurt with seaweed, black pepper, evoo
- watermelon tartare with pickled veg and manzanilla vinegar
- Manzanilla Pasada Maruja – Bodegas Piñero
- tortillita de camarone sticks with kimchee mayo
- Fino En Rama – Bodegas Urium
- langostinos al ajillo with Urium oloroso
- Amontillado Las Botas – Bodegas Las Botas
- tuna cheek with green beans
A bit of a déjà vu experience, as Peter and I were just in Cádiz a couple of weeks ago during Carnaval Chiquito, but other than a couple of the “must dos” we ended up having quite a different experience. Also it was the first visit for Jane and John, and we were happy to show them around. After a quick trip to the central market, this was the rest of our day…
cold beer o’clock at La Sorpresa
snacks and sherry at Casa Manteca
tapas at Antonio Del Palillo and El Faro followed by a walk to La Caleta Beach
picatostes at Café Royalty
I had been wanting to visit Bodegas Luís Pérez for a while, and finally got my chance on this trip to Jerez with friends Peter @SVQConcierge and John and Jane Bachner King. Although firmly inside the Marco de Jerez, it’s not, in fact, a sherry bodega, but rather produces red wines, once just as important as the white Palomino Fino sherry grape, but lost long ago for a variety of reasons, the coup de grace being delivered by the phylloxera virus that devastated European vines at the end of the 19th century.
The bodega was founded in 2002 by Luis Pérez, former enologist at Domecq and professor of chemistry at Cádiz university, when he bought the Hacienda Vista Hermosa, a farmhouse on the hill at the top of the Pago de Corchuela outside of Jerez, and began the work of planting the new vineyards with red grapes. These days the bodega is mostly run by the Pérez children, Willy and Fátima. Willy’s new project is producing vintage unfortified sherries, as they used to be made before the trade and shipping demands of the last few centuries that led to the development of the present day solera and criadera ageing system. I tasted some of these sherries at the Cuatro Gatos Wine Fest a couple of weeks ago and they are very special indeed.
This week I was supposed to be out on an Andalucía Adventure travelling around the white villages with Peter and our friends from Austin Texas Jane & John, but the rainy weather put the kibosh on that plan. Instead we opted for a return to sherry country with a side trip to Cádiz.
After arriving in Jerez and checking into our hotel we made our way to the central market for a quick breakfast of churros, followed by a market visit and a quick sherry at El Pasaje. Then it was time to visit Bodegas Tradición.
As most of you already know, Bodegas Tradición is a unique bodega experience. Not only do they only make VOR and VORS sherries (aside from one fino) but their private art gallery is a joy to behold. Sabrina put out some lovely snacks for us and we sat around chatting and sipping our very special wines. It was actually Tradición’s palo cortado that changed my life all those years ago at a bar in Sevilla, turning me into the
sherry-obsessed person sherry professional I am today.
After leaving Tradición we made our way back to the city centre for a penúltima, in order to relax and figure out where to have dinner that evening. That’s when I heard from Rocío from Bodegas Urium and we ended up having an impromptu bodega visit there with the family: father and bodega founder Alonso, and Rocío’s husband Mario. This small family-run biz doesn’t offer public tours, but on occasion they very generously open up their doors to friends, and friends of friends. As always, Alonso was in fine fettle, regaling us with stories while pouring wines from the barrel. I think Jane & John came away from this visit a bit awe-struck, and to be honest, I always do too.
Dinner that night was at one of my favourite places in Jerez, the super traditional Tabanco Las Bandarillas. It’s all home-style cooking there, nothing fancy, but always fabulous. And with super friendly service. Then it was time for bed as we had another special bodega experience planned for the next morning.
To be honest, you couldn’t pay me to go to Cádiz during Carnaval, so when Peter and I made a last minute decision to ditch El Puerto for a Sunday afternoon in Cádiz I was relieved that the celebrations had finished the previous weekend. Or so I thought! When we got to Hostel Casa Caracol to drop off the suitcase (a great service, and just a short walk from the train station) the guy at reception informed us that we had arrived just in time for Carnaval Chiquito, a kind of “last hurrah” until next year. Oh boy…
Our plan had been to do a three-stop tapeo at some of our favourite bars, as well as take a walk along the beach, and then stop in at the splendid Cafe Royalty before catching the train home. And well, we did manage all that, but both the streets and the bars were absolutely heaving (though to be honest, the bars are probably that busy on a Sunday anyhow). We totally lucked out with the weather, with the predicted rain holding off until after we got home, and warm enough to walk around in shirtsleeves. So it turned out to be a great afternoon and made me realize that I really have to visit Cádiz more often.
one perfect lacy tortillita de camarones at El Faro
fabulous picatostes at Café Royalty
La Caleta beach and the Cádiz Balneario