A night out in Vilafranca with nice wine and beer

This weekend Vilafranca comes alive with the Vijazz festival. It’s basically a street party combining jazz and wine. Over 30 Penedes wine producers are taking part, and there are two music stages, one in the main square and a slightly larger one in a more enclosed square in front of the large church.

Some good acts [...]

My first look at Priorat

Had my first visit to Priorat yesterday. Remarkable how similar the soils are to the Douro, with schist, which here they call licorella.

The similarity is also helped by the fact that there are some steep slopes, with terracing needed. I was visiting with Torres, so I saw their two sites: one, a large new-ish vineyard at [...]

Some nice food here in Catalunya

So, I have been eating quite well over the last couple of days.

Dinner on Tuesday evening was at Cal Ton in Vilafranca (www.restuarantcalton.com). Not flashy, but just very good. Started off with a really deliciously executed warm octopus salad, and then had salt cod done three ways.

A quick lunch yesterday at El Moli del Mallol in [...]

Some research work at Torres, Spain

With Marimar Torres

I’ve been visiting Torres today, one of Spain’s strongest wine brands, making not only very good commercial wines, but also some fairly serious high end wines, too.

I spent some time with the boss, Miguel Torres, and also with Marimar Torres who is based in the USA and runs Marimar Estate, in Sonoma, [...]

Old vine Garnacha from Domaines Lupier, Navarra

Two impressive, potentially ageworthy Garnacha (Grenache) wines from Navarra. They’re quite difficult to assess right now because they are just so tannic and primary, but I think they will be special with a decade in the cellar.

They’re from Domaines Lupier, which is the project of Enrique Basarte and Elisa Úcar whose mission has been to [...]

Another experience of Spanish greatness in the form of Equipo Navazos sherries

Jesus Barquin of Equipo Navazos

I am being spoiled by Spain at the moment. Hot on the heels of yesterdays fabulous Vega Sicilia tasting, today was a chance to try through a wide range of the fabulous Equipo Navazos sherries with Jesús Barquín, one of the original partners in the venture.

Equipo Navazos started out as a [...]

26 vintages of Vega Sicilia, one of Spain's greatest wines

Remarkable tasting, this morning, at The Square restaurant in London. 26 vintage of Vega Sicilia back to 1920.

There’s something special about Vega Sicilia. It is unique. It is long-lived. It is Spain’s undisputed star, and the wines are made today pretty much in the way they always have been (although for the last couple of [...]

Some brilliant Terras Gauda wines from Rías Baixas, Spain

Very enthusiastic about the white wines from Terras Gauda, a producer in Spain’s  Rías Baixas region, in the north west of the country, adjoining Portugal’s Minho. They’re so nicely judged. Unfortunately the reds from this producer, under the brand name Pitaccum, suffer the Spanish disease of an elevage that involves too much oak, for too long.

Terras [...]

A brilliant fino sherry from El Maestro Sierra

I’m a big sherry fan, as I think most of my wine nut friends are. Great sherry is one of the most affordable of all fine wines, which is a good thing. This little gem is from El Maestro Sierra, a small sherry house owned by the nonagenarian Pilar Pla Pechovierto, and is very traditional. [...]

Serious Spanish Garnacha from Artadi

Impressed by this. It’s made by high-end Rioja producer Artadi’s Artazu estate in Navarra. It’s expensive, yes, but not when compared with its qualitative peer group.

Artadi Santa Cruz de Artazu Garnacha 2007 Navarra, Spain
A single-vineyard wine made from 80 year old vines at an elevation of 750 metres. Bright red/purple colour. Lovely pure, sweet nose [...]