I was given this abanico when I was at Vinoble and now it’s one of my favourite things. A sherry fan for a sherry fan. 🙂
Pepe, Cinta & José María
Love when stuff like this happens. After a lovely “tapas research” lunch with my friend and We Love Tapas colleague Cinta @LaCocheraAbuelo (in this case the company was much better than the food) we stopped by Bodeguita Romero because I wanted to talk to Alejandro about a couple of special bookings coming up. And we walked straight into a group of guys from Montilla-Moriles (fortified wine region in Córdoba), as well as my pal Pepe, owner of La Fresquita.
I was introduced to José María from Bodegas Toro Albalá @toroalbala and told him that I was supposed to go to the big Montilla-Moriles tasting event in Córdoba last week, and meet up with my friends Erik & Laura @MMWinesUK but the only day I could go was the same day they were going to visit Toro Albalá! So in the end I didn’t go, and as soon as I mentioned knowing Erik & Laura he insisted that Cinta and I try their lovely Dos Claveles (Two Carnations).
Meanwhile, Pepe and I were “talking shop” a bit about food tour guides, and also about his brother Manolo who owns the most fabulous Taberna Manolo Cateca – a fact that Cinta hadn’t known before, although she knows both bars well.
So it was like a coming together of various parts of my life here, all in one chance encounter at one of my favourite bars (the Romeros are my family). And I ended up with an invitation to visit Bodegas Toro Albalá anytime. When I explained to José María that I don’t have a car so would have to go to Córdoba by train (the bodega is about 50 kms away, in Agullar de la Frontera) he said just let him know when and he’d come and pick me up. Bonus! 🙂
The other day someone got in touch with me by email. I didn’t know this person, but it turns out they come to Sevilla every spring and spend a month in Triana… and they often check my tapas bar info against their perceptions. Fair enough! This time they wanted to tell me about a new discovery of theirs, a new vermutería that just happens to be in my barrio. So of course I had to check it out.
It’s called Yo Soy Tu Padre (I Am Your Father) and the name stems from what Venezuela born owner Esteban’s grandfather always liked to say to his father, and also is in no small part a reflection of Esteban’s obsession with Star Wars. Below you can see a photo of Esteban’s grandfather, who also became the image for his logo. This is the third location and the newest. I am thrilled! Because not only does Esteban create all his vermouths from sherry wines, but they also do breakfast at this bar … with bagels! Did I mention it’s just down the street from my house? Will be breakfasting there soon, I think.
Meanwhile, how cool that someone I have never met went out of their way to put me in touch with this wonderful place. Thanks Sally!
As soon as I saw the line up for this sherry tasting I knew I’d have to attend. I was already familiar with Velo Flor by Bodegas Alonso, one of the most unique (and delicious) manzanillas I’ve ever tasted, but the Pedro’s Almacenista Selection range by Singular Wines were new to me.
The tasting was at BaQvs in the Hotel Casas de la Juderia, and was led by fellow sherry educator Luis Gutiérrez, who is also the owner of the restaurant. Along with the five fabulous wines – fino, manzanilla, amontillado, palo cortado, oloroso – we were given a history lesson on the origins of wine making in the Sherry Triangle region, and also taken through the sherry making process. It’s clear that Luis really knows his stuff, though I would have liked a bit more tasting note info and discussion on what actually makes these wines “singular”. But it was a pleasant evening, and thanks are due to BaQvs restaurant for the organising and hosting of the event.
Most of you know how much my life has been enriched by Twitter. It’s not only a helpful social media business tool, but – more importantly – it has connected me with some of the most special people in my life.
A few weeks ago my friend Thane @ThanePrince (yes, I also met her on Twitter) put me in touch with her friend Edward @TimeToCook, saying he was planning a visit to Andalucía and that we should meet. That day finally came this week and the plan was that we would meet up for a drink before they headed off to dinner at Tribeca. As you can see, I ended up being invited to dinner, and what a splendid meal it was. Wonderful food and wine, and even better company.
It was like an evening out with old friends and I was sorry to see it end. But of course Ed and I are now keeping in touch via Twitter and, who knows, I may end up visiting them all in New York some day. Or maybe we’ll meet up in London with Thane. You never know…
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 was the second Verema Wine Experience in Sevilla and, like last year’s, it was held in the splendid event rooms at the Alfonso XIII hotel. But unlike last year’s, out of the 40 or so Spanish bodegas present, there were none from the Marco de Jerez, which seemed a bit strange. Other than that, it was all very well-organised and we got to try several interesting wines before heading to the Cava Masterclass tasting. I think there will be more “cava education” in my future…
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!
I had been going back and forth about attending this wine event in El Puerto de Santa María and then yesterday morning decided to go for it. The wineries participating sound amazing and, you know, a trip to the coast before my oncology appointment on Monday suddenly seemed like a Very Good Idea. Instead of the original plan of a day trip, I also got a good deal on a place to stay overnight, so now it is officially a GETAWAY. Anyhow, will report on the event after I get back – meanwhile watch my Instagram. Hope you are all having a great weekend too. xx