Saturday, 29 June 2013

Rías Baixas - Rosal

I am lucky enough to know this wine region for many years, not so much all the wines that are produced here, but the Rosal area, yes! 

The first summer spent in this land was at the age of 16, quite a long time has past, however; the memories are still very vivid and present in my mind and very close to my heart. Around this land I was a teenager once. Not so sweet sixteen, specially for my parents. I lived and loved the summers here, at the times when school was over in June and we did not have to go back until October, so the long summer holidays spent here are very dear to me.

This place was the scenery of summer friendships, summer freedom, summer outings and summer hangovers. The first time I tried wine and many other spirits, not always of the best quality and of not so clear origin. Yes, the summers spent here were very important and enlightening. Who would have guessed then that twenty plus years later I would be approaching this land from a very different perspective.

I do not even think back then the wine from this region was known as Rias Baixas, I think we would then order a wine from Rosal. It was good back then and I would say even better nowadays.

Back then we would suffer the high acidity of the alvariño grapes in our own stomach, nowadays this same acidity, proper to the grape sort is much better balanced, giving the wines all the freshness without the pain. Thankgodfor modern viniculture! 

Galician white wines have always been a reference of quality in the national market, however, of the Spanish whites one can find outside Spain, Rias Baixas is for sure one, and a very appreciated one. Fruity, fresh, citrus, full of life. They are great with the regions excellent seafood or drank on their own. 

The vineyards in the northwest part of Spain encounter different challenges, like the excess of autumn to spring rain and the very warm dry summers, not so drastic near the coast where the DO Rias Baixas is located. O Rosal has a microclimate of its own. Moderate temperatures, plus the fogs from the banks of the Miño river. A nice, stable temperature with no frost nor too hot in summer. I am sure grapes are happy here, just like me! ;)

Today I had lunch at a nice place in the middle of the Rosal area: as Eiras. Long time no see and still a pretty place to go. It opened back in 1988 and I have been a costumer since then. At that time it was a real act of heroism to wait for a table and have dinner, maybe after 5 hours... It is much more elegant and better organised now, it has gained some good things and it has lost some very charming ones.

There are things that despite of the years and the seasons one never gets tired of seeing, that is the case of this view. I have seen this view from the widow for over 25 years now, and every time, I find it as beautiful as the first time I saw it.

It has been a lovely SUMMER day, full of sun and over 30 degrees.

Salud! I am out to drink some Rosal wine ;)

Have a nice weekend and enjoy.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Pass with Merit

Today has been quite an odd day. I guess it is Monday!

It started out bright and sunny, but the skies started to cover and by 10 it was raining again, and since then, it has been on and off. And it is cold! Brrrrrr... 

I do not know if the summer will eventually arrive to stay, but for sure; not today. Blankets out and hoping the sun comes back soon. 14 degrees in June is not fun, it's fresh.

The paperwork to import my car is ongoing, I am starting to get the hang of it and in no time I will be greeted by my first name in all official institutions. Lets see if I manage to close that soon. Also the amount of boxes in my house decrease by the day, everything is finding its place and I just need a reasonable estimate and a reasonable delivery time for a new kitchen, et voilà! All sorted.

Met two friends for coffee and my mother called me to tell me that an envelope from the "Royal Mail" had arrived for me. If you are wondering if Prince Harry himself wrote me a letter, I am afraid not. However; the envelope contained a certificate from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust with my 'WSET Level 3 Award in Wines and Spirits'.

Yu-ju, I passed! And that means that the first step of my wine career is ticked. Next stop: the Diploma.
Now I must decide what format to choose for the next two years... OK, I guess today I can rejoice and tomorrow think.

Buenas noches y... salud!

Friday, 14 June 2013

Week Two

Furniture in place and 60+ boxes ready to be unpacked, days go by with many things done and many others to do.

Yesterday the movers brought in my 21 cubic meters of unnecessary but happy-to-see-again things. 

The day started out cloudy and grey, but by noon, beautiful cloud-free and bright-blue skies together with 25 degrees were so nice to be living in. 

In the afternoon; unpacking and cleaning. With the windows wide open and the magnificent and recently released Cecilia Bartoli's 'Norma', playing loud, courtesy of my friend Nacho. The birds happy with the music and singing along. It is good to be in the middle of nowhere surrounded by peace, quiet and nature (not always that silent).

The landscape is beautiful. I just can't help being amazed of the natural beauty of this land, so often abused and badly treated, in the best case scenario, just ignored or not appreciated. I guess the saying: 'you do not know what you've got till it's gone', can also apply. This year has been so rainy, that everywhere is an explosion of green. My garden is blossoming and the mountains, yes! my very much missed mountains, are a succession of green waves crossed by blue, full of water rivers. 

I promise to post some breathtaking pictures, but I just can't make up my mind of which one. I guess you should all come and see it with your own eyes. In the meanwhile, a picture of my blossoming kiwi trees :)

Talking about visiting, the week gave me two GREAT surprises. The first one is confirmed to arrive on the 16 of July, only 31 days to go and counting... I was so excited that I almost cried of joy. Later in the evening, the second surprise arrived, pending exact day confirmation, another visit of another dear friend for the first or second (why not both?) week of August. So if I ever feared I would get bored (which has not been the case so far), it seems that from the 16 of July, to the 20 of September I will be happily showing my latest place on earth to some very dear friends. I am thrilled!

Time for tradition, 'un vinito' (a wine) with Marieta, where other friends might join, in a terrace under the 21:00 sun. 

Yeap, life in Spain is (still) good, despite of the news.


Friday, 7 June 2013

Home Sweet Ribeiro DO

Long time no write. I know some of you are wondering if I fell in a barrel of Mencia wine in Bierzo, but fortunately (or unfortunately) it was not the case.

I arrived to my Galician hometown a week ago. The week has had its share of wine drinking, not so much of wine tasting. 

Arriving in June is the perfect timing for all the school year end and other festive activities. I started out on Saturday with a friend's sixties birthday party. Fantastic! My niece's gymnastics show, Sunday morning. The 'fabulous four' gathering, in the afternoon; painters and workers in my house; my other niece's theatre play on Wednesday and my own share of bureaucratic diligences throughout the week. I must say, in this sense, it is great being In Spain! Even tedious paperwork is much more bearable with nice, customer friendly people behind the counter. At least there is one skill Germans could learn from us. It is interesting to see the idea people have about other nationalities. No, Germans are not always right and not always 'that' efficient, and Spanish are not always sleeping siesta and dancing flamenco. A pity, but true ;)

To be honest, a week ago I was a bit scared about my landing. For over a month I had been living in an in-between, meeting different people, seeing beautiful places and discovering new wines. Lovely! But the idea of being back for good, was a completely different thing and I was not so sure I was fully  prepared for it (like if anyone is ever 'fully' prepared for anything). However, I must say: "so far, so good". 

Head first, my actual project is now sorting out my house, which is looking prettier and prettier and the upcoming months promise to be full of cleaning, organising and gardening activity. 

With the idea of 'one step at the time' still in mind, I think I could fill my summer days with this purpose. And why not, some well deserved sun and fun. After I settle in and before I start my next level at the Wine & Spirit Education Trust, I will continue with my wine tasting excursions and finding my place. 

At times it just doesn't feel real, is like the film of my life in 3D, I do not know if this lack of full awareness is some kind of anaesthetic effect because the body and the mind know best, or is it the effect of wine? ;) The other possibility is that I am so fully aware and feel so comfortable in my skin, that everything feels right. Too late to start worrying about formalisms, non-constructive thoughts are not  welcomed in my mind and I have absolute faith that time will set the pace and events will flow when the time is right. It was only me who decided to follow this gut feeling and now I have to keep walking, not a good time to start getting rational and pragmatic, only confident and proactive.

Today's post is not really about wine, but about my present status. Maybe you were also wondering about my doings. I will not entertain you more with domestic matters and promise to be back as soon as my wining life is restored. 

Have a nice weekend, be happy and enjoy.