9 MarilulaSo the latest clue in our ongoing artistic puzzle is an odd little beast – half mariposa (butterfly), half libélula (dragonfly) – hence the name we have given it, our ‘marilula’. In English I guess we might call it a butter-dragon?

By the way, just in case you didn’t already guess, the story about visiting Cuba and selling albariño in exchange for cigars was a just a bit of fun (for April Fool’s Day!!) The nearest we actually got to Cuba was ‘Little Cuba’ in Miami, which is where the photo was taken…..

Little CubaJust a short boat ride (or swim perhaps) from the coast of Florida lies Cuba, and this is now the very last stop of our tour. Of course finding importers for foreign goods is one thing, but finding the dollars for payment can be even more difficult. Negotiations have been tough, but we think we might have found a solution that will work for both parties…. our new importer will pay for our wine with their finest Cohiba Cigars. We will probably make a selection from their classic line – Esplendidos, Robustos and Exquisitos.

Certainly the paperwork is going to be complicated at it will mean extra work for Luisa in our office, but we still feel that this is a good deal, and will add a completely new dimension to our range. It did occur to me that in future we might not simply be making tastings, but possibly we might have to organise ‘smokings’!!!

Posted in April Fools

Tasting Florida styleFinally getting towards the end of our world tour of the USA (it just feels like a world tour after so many flights), it seems that, for once at least, we have just escaped some serious weather. Just before we left Tennessee there were already warnings of severe thunder storms, hail storms and even a 25% chance of tornadoes. Even thought there is something quite fascinating, even slightly hypnotic about tornadoes, I confess that I have no real desire to witness one first hand. Anyway, it is reported that since we left Tennessee, in areas around Nashville and Chattanooga, that some of these threatened storms have actually hit, with severe thunder and hail the size of baseballs! The good news for us therefore, that we now find ourselves cosseted in the warm comfort of the Sunshine State – Florida.

For selling albariño Florida is actually a little more complicated for us – although it is a wine perfectly suited to this climate, it appears that the Floridians are possibly not quite as receptive and will take a little more convincing. Our wine really is a ‘hand-sell’ here. The cities are spread out and quite diverse in their approach to buying wine, not to mention that there are already some other brands well established in the area. Maybe we will have to come back to this sunshine paradise on several more occasions, to see if we can get the job done! The upside is that at least one customer yesterday did describe our wine as “kick-ass”…. That’s a new descriptor to add to my tasting vocabulary – it speaks for itself and does not require any explanation!

Posted in Travel, Weather

All RoadsNow in Memphis and Nashville on the next stop of our American road trip, where not only has the taste of our wines gone down really well, but Angela and I have now also tasted something special for the very first time….. real Southern Hospitality. The people here are just so great, you could eat them with a spoon! But seriously, the most important thing of all is that they have really appreciated our wines and so converts to the new cult of Castro Martin albariño appear to be increasing….. we are thrilled.

So here in Memphis we find ourselves caught up in the middle of ‘March Madness’, where the elite teams of the NCAA (college basketball) compete for the National Championship. This weekend saw the start of the ‘Sweet 16’ games, where the final sixteen teams are whittled down to the final four – one from each regional tournament. The Southern games are being played at the FedEx Forum in downtown Memphis, and believe me, this is really serious stuff. National TV coverage and with a visit from the Vice President Mike Pence thrown in for good measure – he was disappointed to discover that MSU (Moscow State) had not made it through!! (Sorry, I couldn’t resist that one)

Just by way of information, Memphis is also the home to both FedEx and Graceland.

Posted in Odds & Sods, Travel

Snow in Galicia!Yesterday was Memphis and today is Nashville, Tennessee on our continuing Grand Ole Tour of the USA – we really are in the heart of music country (or should that be country music)!

Over the last few days I have been talking a lot about the weather, and how changeable it has been in the some of the States that we have visited so far. Well, it appears that, not to be out-done, Galicia is now chipping in with it’s own bit of freak weather. After days of temperatures pushing the mid-20’s°C (70-80°F), Galicia has just been hit by hail, sleet and snow! Unfortunately I wasn’t at home to witness it myself, but I can say that in all my years in Galicia, I have never seen snow!

Who would want to be a weather forecaster these days?!

Freezer to oven!

March 22nd, 2017

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DenverOK, so I’m a bit obsessed about weather, but this is just plain wrong…. New York was too cold, and now Denver is too warm! After a couple of freezing days in New York we flew into warm, almost hot sunshine in Denver on the second leg of our US tour. Talking to the locals in Denver they would tell you that the temperature is probably as much 10-15°C (20-30°F) above the seasonal norm, albeit that this will certainly change in the coming days (snow is forecast, which is more customary at this time of year).

From the point of view of our wine, it was very interesting to discover that albariño is already quite well established as a grape variety in the Denver market. It can be found in the majority of wine (liquor) stores and also on many restaurant wine lists – the the local sommeliers all know it. F, the rom our own point of view the tastings that we made were all well received, almost without exception, and we are happy to say that we have found at least a few new Castro Martin ‘recruits’ in the Denver market. Of course any success does not come easily, and so we really need to acknowledge the help and support of our team ‘on the ground’ (our importer and their distributors) for their enthusiasm, professionalism and unerring belief in our wines.

Today’s photo was chosen quite simply to show the stark contrast in the weather (and also the fact that Angela looks a lot happier in the sunshine!)

Posted in Travel, Weather

Angela NYCIf you have been following our page you will know that our planned US tour got off to a rather shaky start – our Trans-Atlantic flight being cancelled the night before we were due to leave (thanks to winter storm ‘Stella’ blanketing New York in snow). We finally got off the ground on Wednesday night, for an overnight stay in Madrid before our re-routed journey through London and onward flight to New York. On Thursday morning we soon discovered that London was shrouded in fog, and that all flights going in were subject to delays, it really felt like the weather Gods were conspiring against us. Suffice to say that our leisurely connection was reduced to a quick sprint across the Heathrow’s Terminal 5. Luckily we just made it in time…. but unfortunately some of our luggage did not! Our last suitcase arrived several hours later and was delivered to our hotel room at 3am! Being disturbed at 3am and already suffering from a lack of sleep, it was just the proverbial ‘icing on the cake’ – the culmination of our on-off, nightmare journey.

Despite all the setbacks, our reduced time in New York (and New Jersey) was well spent, and we at least managed to achieve the most important goals of our foreshortened itinerary. Having said that, leaving the warm spring sunshine of Galicia (20+°C or 70°F) to arrive in the freezing temperatures and icy winds of New York, required quite an adjustment. As you can clearly see from today’s photo, standing on an icy street (in front of the Queensboro Bridge) was possibly not Angela’s idea of a fun time!

So, our next stop is the ‘Mile High’ City of Denver, to catch up with old (business) friends, where, at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, temperatures are unseasonably warm at around 25/26°C (mid-70’s F). A dramatic change of wardrobe is required!

Posted in Travel, Weather

Grounded!

March 14th, 2017

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Blizzard!As I write today’s post we should really be at Madrid airport boarding a flight to New York – but we’re not. With an extensive tour of the U.S. planned for the next couple of weeks, the weather has now decided to intervene.

For the last few days I have been following the forecasts for all the States that we plan to visit – New York, Colorado, Tennessee and Florida, trying to anticipate what to throw into my suitcase. Until a day or so ago we understood that New York was going to be very cold, around freezing (with snow ‘flurries’), which is in stark contrast to the heat predicted for Florida. It was always going to be a difficult trip to plan for.

Last night, with cases packed and ready by the door, we received an e-mail from Iberia (Airlines), simply stating that our flight had been cancelled – Panic! The reason, we now discover, is that the snow flurry has evolved into a major winter storm, wreaking havoc across the whole of the north-eastern United States. With 1 to 2 feet of snow predicted in the next 24 hours a state of emergency has been declared in New York and three other States.

To cut a long story short, we are now re-booked to fly on Thursday morning, from London. We shall see….

Draught BeerYou will probably already know that I am quite keen on cooking – a frustrated chef if you will. To be honest, cooking is an extremely common pastime in the wine trade, very obviously because of the close relationship between food and wine.

Sometimes when I am bored or just need to clear my head, I cook (and also when it’s time to eat). At home I do nearly all the cooking and most of the food shopping, quite simply because I enjoy it – to me it’s almost therapeutic. In addition to this I sometimes do ‘batch’ cooking, making several portions of a dish, vacuuming them in individual servings, and freezing them. Batch cooking is usually reserved for very early on a Saturday or Sunday morning, when the house is quiet. I stream an English talk radio station over the internet, roll my sleeves up, and get stuck in!

In my kitchen I confess to owning a small draught beer machine (which can be filled with several different brands of beer sold in tiny ‘barrels’). The brands available might not be the best on the market, but the machine itself suits my needs in that it keeps the beer nicely chilled, and that you can draw off as much or as little as you want – if you need a small top-up, then no problem. It works very well.

The point is that whilst I am cooking (at meal times) I will nearly always have a glass of beer on the worktop beside me. Perhaps it’s because the cooking process stimulates my taste buds, or maybe it’s just that I developed the habit, but a nice ‘cold one’ slips down very nicely thank you. It has however, created a dilemma. What do you do when you are cooking at 9am on a Sunday morning and you suddenly fancy a beer? Is this new habit turning me into an alcoholic?!!

Need a hand?

March 8th, 2017

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9 handA week or so ago it was a mystery fish – today it is a ‘helping’ hand. So what does this all mean? What is the significance of today’s hand, who does it belong to, and how does it relate to our wines? Well, it’s just another piece of our artistic puzzle, and in a month or two all will be revealed…..

 

 

 

 

Posted in Local News, Oddballs

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