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. 🙂
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…
I first met Laura @laurawburgess and Erik @thewhiskykiwi at Bodegas Urium in Jerez in September 2016, and would have met them a few months earlier in Sevilla, but I was hit with a random 24-hour bug and ended up giving them a “remote” tapas tour from bed via my iPhone.
Happily they were in town again yesterday and we were able to meet up for a fabulous lunch at Bodeguita Romero. They also joined me on last night’s Sevilla Tapas Tour with two other couples, and well, the chemistry couldn’t have been better. Right from the start everyone started talking and joking with each other. It was a great evening.
I will be seeing more of Laura & Eric at Vinoble, which starts tomorrow and is actually the reason they are here now. Can’t wait!
The April Feria in Sevilla is not my favourite thing – in fact it’s not even my favourite feria – but I do like stopping by for at least one afternoon to see the splendid horses and the lovely flamenco dresses. By chance this year it has also coincided with the azahar, which is still (just barely) on the trees. It also suddenly became summer yesterday, with beautiful blue skies and temps of around 32º or more.
So here are a few pics from yesterday, with possibly some “feria by night” ones to come. It’s been years since I’ve been to Feria in the evening, but I have an invitation to go tomorrow, so we shall see.
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.
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.
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!