Archive for the ‘Fiestas’ Category

A day or so ago I posted an image of a local festival on our page, depicting a crazed monk beating French soldiers over the head. And thereby lies the clue: they were French soldiers.

To cut a long story short, the celebration in Mos this month is to mark a significant Spanish victory in the liberation of Galicia, as they expelled the invading French army. March 23rd 1809 signalled the beginning of the end for Napoleon’s Iberian campaign in the Peninsular Wars fought between Napoleon, the Spanish Empire, the United Kingdom and the Kingdom of Portugal.

Starting in 1807, as Napoleon sought to occupy the Iberian Peninsula, the joint forces of France and Spain invaded Portugal. However, less than a year later, the French turned on their Spanish allies, and the depleted Spanish forces were easily overcome. Eventually, in November 1808 the Spanish Junta was forced to abandon Madrid.

The fight back, lead by a Spanish resistance that continually harassed the occupying forces (considered to be the first evidence of guerrilla warfare) started in early 1809, with Vigo and Pontevedra being among the very first Spanish regions to be liberated.

In today’s image (posted originally on the Instagram of that time) there is no firm evidence that monks were guilty of assaulting any French troops. Proof, if it were needed, that fake news has existed for many years!

Posted in Fiestas, Odds & Sods

Now here’s a local poster that caught my eye, originating from the small town of Mós, near Vigo. Of course, it is just one more example of the numerous Fiestas and Celebrations that take place every week here in Galicia (and all around Spain). Today I will not explain exactly what it represents, but leave you to ponder for a day or two. I must confess that initially I had no idea what it was myself, and had to do a bit of research to find out. Suffice to say that it is some sort of historical re-enactment that apparently involves monks hitting uniformed soldiers over the head! The explanation will come later….

Posted in Fiestas, Odds & Sods

Albariño & Dumplings

February 16th, 2018

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Xīnnián kuàilè – New Year Happiness! Today is Chinese New Year. It is the year of the dog, the dog being  the eleventh animal of the twelve year Chinese calendar cycle.

The typical dishes served for Chinese New Year are those that we have all come to know and love – the dishes that we find on the menus of our favourite local Chinese restaurants – spring rolls, noodles, dumplings, vegetables, steamed chicken and steamed fish. In addition to this, the centre piece of a special New Year meal is often a Chinese hot-pot known as huõ guō, and there will almost certainly be rice cakes (nian gao), which can be served as either sweet or savoury.

Many of these dishes, such as the dumplings, will be either filled with, or accompanied by Chinese cabbage, onion, pork, shrimp as well as egg, bamboo, meat and vegetables. Of course, many of these items are the foods that often recommend with albariño, and so, for this important celebration, with hand on heart, we can truly recommend our Castro Martin albariños with your Chinese New Year meal.

Posted in Fiestas, Food & Wine

Today is Fat Tuesday, probably better known by it’s original French name of Gras’. Of course it is called Mardi Gras because tomorrow is Ash Wednesday – the first day of Lent, when many Christians start their 40 days of fasting in the period before Easter Sunday. Fat Tuesday therefore, is the day when Christians fill their stomachs, perhaps eating richer, fatty foods. In the UK, for some odd reason, this gorging is traditionally done with pancakes (more like crêpe than the fluffier American style pancake), and is known as Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day – rarely do we mention Mardi Gras. So, whilst the Brazilians have partying, processions, wild dancing and outrageous costumes, the British simply sit at home pigging out on pancakes!

The big shock for me here in Spain, is that Carnival (despite being widely celebrated in nearly every town and village across the land), is actually NOT a public holiday, either locally or nationally. When you stop to consider some of the very flimsy excuses that the Spanish use for partying and public holidays, the fact that Carnival (Mardi Gras) is not a holiday doesn’t really make any sense.

Of course the big difference between Galicia and Brazil is the weather. February is normally the hottest month in Rio, with average temperatures of around 27°C (81°F), whereas today in Galicia, it is absolutely pouring with rain with bone chilling humidity and temperatures of only 8°C (46°F). Anyway, no matter what you decide to eat today to fill your stomach on Fat Tuesday, I would obviously recommend a chilled glass of Castro Martin albariño to wash it down with!

Happy 2018!

January 1st, 2018

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A Happy, Healthy, Prosperous and Peaceful New Year from the team at Castro Martin

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Fiestas

Christmas tipple

December 26th, 2017

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I have to say that this year’s choice of wine for our Christmas lunch at home was something rather special… Yet again, it was a bottle that I found undiscovered in a dark corner of my private cellar. Unfortunately I think this is the last of my ‘dark corners’! I was looking for something to go with a huge rib of beef that I had bought (which, by pure luck, just fits into our oven). I knew that I still had at least one or two Bordeaux Châteaux that I bought many years ago (not quite ‘en primeur’, but shortly after, whilst they were still affordable). I was under the impression that they were mostly 85’s until I discovered one single bottle of Château Gruaud-Larose 1982! Even today, in recent tastings, this wine has still been rated in the mid-90’s, and is worth more than just a few Euros (I hate to think). Well, it won’t keep forever, I thought to myself.

Apart from the usual difficult cork (no matter how carefully you attack it), the wine was quite astonishing. For a wine that is now some 35 years old (the same age the first vintage made at Castro Martin), it had a deep garnet colour, showing surprising little ageing at the rim. Although the nose showed elements of maturity, with hints of leather and cigar box, it was full, ripe and very concentrated – typical of many of the Cordier wines from around that time. The palate was bold and ripe with a core of dark bramble fruit – still quite youthful for a wine of this age. With a good balancing acidity, it was a very memorable glass indeed.

I guess my only regret is that this was just a single bottle…. Bottoms Up!

Happy Holidays!

December 20th, 2017

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It’s a sad fact in this day and age, that being politically correct is changing the way that we are allowed to celebrate some of our oldest and most revered traditions. For example, for most of my life I have never hesitated when wishing people a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, but apparently, we are now being told that this type of greeting might offend certain sectors of our community. Consequently I am very careful, and in some scenarios, never quite know what to write or say…..

(Whilst the rest of us bite our tongues and do our best to do and say the right thing in matters of religion, politics and sexuality, there is at least one world leader (no names)  to whom these rules apparently don’t apply. It would seem that holding a position of extreme power might provide complete immunity from these rules! My holiday game for this year is leaving you to guess who this could possibly be – no prizes.)

Anyway, stepping down from my soap box for a moment, Angela and I would like to take this opportunity to send our warmest winter greetings to our friends and customers around the world. May your 2018 be happy, healthy, prosperous, and above all peaceful.

(Please note that our picture today is designed specifically not to offend – maybe not net neutrality, but certainly holiday neutrality!)

It’s that time of year again, as we now find ourselves busy preparing the usual last-minute gift pack orders, which, in the coming days will be distributed to different corners of Spain. Fortunately, we are in an industry where our product (apart from simply drinking), is also appreciated as a welcome gift at this time of year. (OK, I’m not going to mention that albariño works very well with turkey, because I’m sure that you find it boring that I write this every year).

“In other news” as they say, we have rain! No sooner had I written that we had no water and that our extended weekend might be sunny and dry, than everything changed. Certainly our last weekend was very wet, indeed it was stormy, with winds of 40 to 50kph driving the rain almost horizontally. With our winter days already at their shortest as we approach the solstice, it all added up to a very miserable time. Ironically, it was the first weekend of the official Christmas shopping period, when stores are allowed to open on Sunday (this part of Spain doesn’t normally allow Sunday opening), but I guess, in these treacherous conditions, people simply opted to stay at home with a warm cup of cocoa! 

Posted in Bodega, Fiestas, Weather

Festivo in the sun

December 6th, 2017

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The 6th and 8th of December are National holidays in Spain – the 6th is Spain’s National Constitution Day, whilst the 8th is the Day of the Immaculate Conception. With these dates falling on a Wednesday and a Friday this year many businesses (including our own) are taking a ‘bridge’ day on Thursday, and closing for the latter half of the week.

I almost regret to say that as this break begins Galicia is still bathed in unbroken sunshine. This might seem like an odd statement, but it’s simply to say that we need some rain! Apart from a mere handful of damp/wet days, the entire month of November was dry and sunny, and now December has started in exactly the same way, with wall-to-wall blue skies. The only possible upside to this story is the frost. For the last week or so, under clear skies, we have woken up to freezing temperatures, providing the perfect conditions to embark on our annual pruning marathon.

The lack of water has now become so acute that the local Xunta has produced leaflets offering advice on how to save water. Obviously the cover photo illustrates that our reservoirs are falling to alarmingly low levels. Of course there are no cheetahs here in Galicia (to the best of my knowledge) but it’s the underlying message that really causes us concern.

Posted in Bodega, Fiestas

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 23rd, 2017

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From everyone at Bodegas Castro Martin we would like to wish all our friends in the U.S. (and anyone else who might be celebrating), a very Happy Thanksgiving!

And don’t forget, I still insist that albariño is not too bad with turkey…. Enjoy!