It’s taken three months to get here (don’t ask) but I have finally received my copy of The Wines of Northern Spain written by my friend Sarah Jane Evans MW. I ordered it back in April when the publisher had a special offer going and I had this rather naïve notion that I would be spending LOCKDOWN doing a lot of reading. Ha.
Have just had a quick look through and, man, this would have been so useful before I went up to Galicia last summer to do research for that Decanter article (in fact, it was Sarah Jane who first recommended me to Decanter, bless her!) but I had very short notice for that trip so there wasn’t time to order it then. Especially with a more than three month delivery time.
Actually, that was a mix up with my address. Three times. When I got in touch with the publisher after a month he wrote back saying the delivery company had come to my place twice and left notices for me to pick up the book at their drop off point. Well duh. Not likely since I was home all of May and June. Anyhow I got in touch again and they offered to give me a refund, but I was really keen on having this book, so they sent it a third time. This time they also took my phone number (don’t know why they didn’t do it in the first place) and last week I got a call from a guy who lives down the street saying his cleaning lady had taken in a package addressed to me. At his address. Duh. Anyhow, I finally got round to picking it up today because the guy said they were only at home in the evenings, and I don’t go out in the evenings, so we worked out a plan whereby he’d leave it at the shop across the street from me. But then it turned out they were leaving on holiday today and would be at home at midday… and so I finally have my book. Now I just have to get my brain out of lockdown mode…
I had planned to wait a whole week before venturing out again, but I really did need to get rid of the organic rubbish (all that cooking!). First I thought I’d just toss the rubbish, including cat sand and recycling, and just place an online order for STUFF. The little fruit & veg shop on the corner is, so far, still open for fresh stuff. But as you can see… no delivery times open for a whole week and probably longer (the page just shows one week). So I did some shopping too as I was almost outta wine 😉
After the charming village setting of Dimobe and Viñedos Verticales, and the sweeping views stretching out below the elegant slate structure that houses Betomiz, I didn’t know what to expect next when Susana, owner of Bodega Capuchinas Viejas met me near Málaga to take me out to their cortijo near Antequera. Unlike the other two places I’d visited high up in the Axarquía, Capuchinas Viejas is located on a sprawling 20 hectare estate, where they grow both olives and grapes, for their own use as well as to sell.
The García Segura family has owned the estate since the beginning of the 80s, when Susana’s father purchased an abandoned monastery, and it remains very much a family-run venture, with respect for both the land and local traditions.
I was quite awestruck as Susana let me inside through the front gate (the place is surrounded by giant Mastiff guard dogs) and then continued to open massive door after door that opened onto magical courtyards and gardens, a bird coop that houses peacocks, gorgeous event rooms, the bodega itself, and family apartments. This is clearly a labour of love.
Nothing quite prepares you for your first look at the modern and minimalist slate structure that is Bodegas Bentomiz. It looks like it has risen up from the very ground surrounding it and inside it is both functional and attractive, with massive windows everywhere letting in lots of natural light. Spectacular views of the mountains and the sparkling Mediterranean are everywhere you look.
After the wonderful day spent out in the vineyards and at the bodega at Dimobe in Moclinejo Victor brought me back to Málaga where I had arranged to meet up with winemaker Clara, co-owner of Bodegas Bentomiz, which she runs with her husband André, who is not only the resident chef, but also the architect who designed the building (and several others nearby). Clara had been in Madrid and was arriving in Málaga by train in the evening, and had very generously offered to take me out to their installation just outside Sayalonga, as well as inviting me to stay the night.