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 perform, and people participate by buying a ticket that gets them a nice wine glass and three pours of wine for 9 Euros. Further pours are available at extra cost, but it’s not expensive. Thursday night was a warm up, with a free performance in the main square.
After a bit of music we made our way to a restaurant, where we ate and drank well. One beer and three wines.
The beer was Voll Damm Doble Malta, a pale brown local ale with lovely texture and some nice spicy freshness offsetting the rich, slightly malty flavours. I was impressed.
On the wine front we kicked off with Txomin Etxaniz 2011 Txakoli, a beautifully precise, fresh, pure white wine from Basque country in the northwest, with just a little spritz to it. Remarkably good considering this is just 12 Euros on the list. Good with our sushi.
Then a pair of reds. Both benefited from some time in the ice-bucket making me suspect that these rather warm bottles may have been a little heat damaged, although they are quite young and presumably don’t hang around the restaurant too long. Torres Celeste Crianza 2009 Ribera del Duero is a nicely balanced, focused red with subtle oak influence and nice fruit definition. I think this was around 15 Euros, but can’t be sure. Great with my teriyaki beef.
Descendientes de J Palacios Petalos 2009 Bierzo is a really pretty, aromatic red from the Mencia grape that’s just beginning to develop a slightly meaty undercurrent to the sweet cherry fruit. Again, this wasn’t expensive, at around 16 Euros on the list. Mencia rocks, especially when it hasn’t had the life oaked out of it.