Our Vendimia Seleccionada Barrica 2003 has just been picked as the best Albariño in “El Mundo” (not the whole world – just the Spanish newspaper!)

In a recent tasting of 35 different Albariños from around our region, our Barrica emerged as the very top wine. Indeed, the panel actually went on to comment that they had tasted this very wine exactly 12 months ago, and they agreed that it had improved since their last tasting.

Many people believe that Albariño has to be drunk young, and does not improve with age – my view is a little different……

For me, an unoaked Albariño can still be quite “angular” immediately after the harvest (which is why we do not rush to bottle our wine). Depending on the vintage it can take up to 12 months to lose this edge, which is why I think our Albariño starts to peak in September – a year after the harvest.

Obviously, the small amount of Barrica that we make (just over 4,000 bottles) is quite different, and can continue to improve three or four years after the vintage.

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Vancouver, Canada www.1049clearfm.com

The clear fm wine bar with Mark Davidson
(Vancouver’s leading wine educator)

July 24th 2006 – SEDUCTIVE WHITES

Step outside your comfort zone this week with a wine that’s a little off the beaten path.

Wine store shelves are full of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, and rightly so, but don’t you just want to get wild once in a while, and be seduced by something new?

The first wine this week is sleek, racy, and thrilling to drink – Albariño is the grape variety responsible, and I’ve been having a (not so secret) affair with it for years. The Castro Martin Albariño is from Northwest Spain, and it’s so zippy, delicious and easy to drink that it should be banned! Crisp acidity, vibrant peachy fruit, and every time I drink it, it whispers, “Mark, what are you doing? Where are the Fresh Oysters?”………
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Happy, mad or just plain angry?
Galicia is an area steeped in tradition, and still enjoys a Fiesta of one sort or another nearly every day of the year (peaking in summer and nearly always heralded by loud fireworks thoughout the day and night!)
Of the numerous local fish and seafood festivals the seaside resort of Portonovo celebrates the skate festival – and it goes without saying that this is nearly always supported by the local wine – Albariño.
During a recent summer clearout of our archives I stumbled across this jolly label, with a rather sinister looking characature of a fish. Could this be the origin of the Mad Fish label?
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It’s all about wine!

After days of deliberation, and the opinions of every conceivable language and lip reading expert (including M. Chirac himself), the truth behind the Zidane assault has finally come to light.

Apparently the Italian defender Materazzi told Zidane that, following a recent comparative tasting, he considered Italian wines to be superior to their French counterparts.

No wonder Zidane was so offended!

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Albariño is “flying” in London

According to “Wine Trends” (what’s hot and what’s not) in last week’s Daily Telegraph, Albariño is fast becoming one of the UK’s most popular white wines – and don’t forget that many wine aficionados think that London is very much a trend setter when it comes to world wine consumption. To quote the article…..

“The current hot spell seems to have helped the fortunes of Albariño too. I’ve always enjoyed this Spanish white, but have never seen it on so many lists. It seems to be everywhere at the moment: is it going to be the new Sauvignon Blanc?”

“We have seen a definite move towards lighter alcohol and more aromatic whites this year…… Albariño is flying out.”

What can I say, except perhaps, long may it continue!

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David wears the latest Zidane head protector!

Ask any decent vigneron, in any country around our great world of wine, and every single one will tell you that quality begins in the vineyard. They will also probably tell you that they don’t spray, or at the very least, they only spray when absolutely necessary. Well, I’m afraid to admit that the same applies here in Galicia, where the warmth and humidity of our ‘Atlantic Maritime’ climate obliges to intervene on occasions.

It goes without saying that when we do have to take action, we always ensure that we use the most ecologically friendly methods possible (including pheromone traps to confuse and disperse harmful insects). Having said all that, no right-minded grower is going to allow his crop to rot before his very eyes, which is why we reluctantly have no alternative but to spray.
Jokes aside for a moment, the above photograph shows our vineyard manager David, spraying in his protective gear. Do spare a thought for him – the air temperature on this day was 30°C (86°F) …….. hence David does not have a weight problem!
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Young Albariño fruit in our El Pazo vineyard

I’m afraid that some ugly rumours have been circulating relating to the gap between recent posts and the start of the World Cup football. I have to reasssure you that this is, of course, purely co-incidental!

However, I confess that between matches I have been asked by some customers about the progress of the 2006 vintage, and when I answer that everything is going well, I am always afraid that I will be tempting fate. However, despite the early summer being a little cooler than 2005, we still appear to be on track for a very healthy and generous harvest.

At this moment our team are in the vineyards thinning the canopy to optimise the amount of sun that penetrates through to the fruit. This is actually a careful balancing act, as, believe it or not, grapes can actually suffer from sunburn if they are over-exposed. Perhaps a light spraying of Ambre Solaire factor 15 might be the answer?

Seriously though, despite my recent silence, there are actually a number of new and exciting happenings in the pipeline. As soon as they come to fruition you will be the first to know…..

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Weather from the good old BBC

I often have to remind myself that we are, in fact, an agricultural business, and that like most other “farmers” we have to keep one eye fixed firmly on the weather. As we all know forecasts can be notoriously unreliable, especially in our corner of Spain (where we are often skirted by weather systems scurrying across the Atlantic on their way to soak the shores of the UK).

As previously mentioned, we have already experienced our fair quota of rain this Spring, and the month of May, until now, has been largely cool and changeable. Not the best weather for the growing vines, and indeed we have already been obliged (reluctantly) to spray against mildew.

Yesterday, on my daily visit to the BBC weather site I spotted something quite unusual – a fairly dramatic change anticipated over the coming days. Yesterday for example, the daytime temperature was a mere 17°C, today it has risen to about 25°C, tomorrow is forecast to be 33°C, Saturday 35°C and Sunday 37°C (albeit that this has since been revised down to a mere 35°C!). So, within the space of 5 days the temperature is expected to double!

To be honest a long dry spell will be more than welcome, especially in view of the flowering, anticipated during the coming weeks………

Time for a chilled Albariño and the factor 15!

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Angela – As seen in Cocina y Vino – Venezuela

Far be it from me to make fun of my wife by posting a funny picture on the Internet, but here goes…….

Joking apart, Venezuela is one of our best export markets (which might have something to do with Angela being born there). Our partner there is one of the very best importers, and they do a great job promoting our Albariño.

Naturally, we get some excellent press for Casal Caeiro, the latest being a six page article in one of Venezuela’s top food and wine magazines – Cocina y Vino, about Angela, the bodega and our wine. My Spanish is by no means perfect, but Angela assures me that it is one of the best articles she has ever read about us. For me, I just like the picture!

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Campsa Guide 2006

April 20th, 2006

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Another wine guide, another accolade……

If I´m honest I have to admit that our Casal Caeiro Vendimia Seleccionada Barrica is a wine that I often forget to promote – I put this down to the fact that I have never been a great aficionado of oak, and more especially in white wines. I´m an unoaked Chablis man…….

Having said that, when I taste it, I am always pleasantly surprised by our Barrica. Angela and I have worked very hard to produce a wine that is well balanced – the natural fruit of the Albariño being complimented by a hint of oak, and ensuring that the subtlety of this delicate grape is not overpowered.

In addition, we have also invested in some top quality oak to further enhance and refine the finished product. After visiting Bordeaux for a comparative tasting with the renowned barrel producers Seguin Moreau, we finally selected their fine grain Allier oak, with a medium toast.

Our Barrica wine is fermented in stainless steel tanks, and only then is aged for an average of 5-6 months in 225 litre barrels (one third of the barrels are replaced each year). During the ageing period we taste regularly to chose the optimum moment to finally bottle the wine.

This year our efforts have been recognised by the Guia Campsa 2006, with our 2003 Barrica being awarded 90 points – don´t just take their word for it – you should buy some and have a taste for yourself!

Along side this in Campsa comes our (unoaked) Castro Martin 2004 which also emerges with 90 points. This does not mean to say that our two other wines are in any way inferior, it is simply that they were not reviewed in this year´s guide.

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