Archive for the ‘Fiestas’ Category

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!

Missed it!

August 9th, 2017

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Last week was the Festa do Albariño, and this year I pretty much missed it completely! In previous years I have commented about excessive drinking, and even a naked guy in the middle of the tasting, but this year I’m not really sure what happened. Admittedly, I do usually steer well clear of the area (as large crowds of drunken people are not my thing), but then in the aftermath I do sometimes hear or read about some sort of outrageous activity that has taken place during the event. Of course it could be that nothing exceptional happened this year, and to be very honest, the only difference that I really noticed was a sharp increase in the road traffic heading in the general direction of Cambados (5km from our Bodega).

In recent years, since its inception, I have been a supporter of the tunnel of wine – up to 140 albariños under one roof, and therefore a great opportunity to taste in relative peace (the tunnel is located well away from the main festival area). Unfortunately this year, owing to ‘operational difficulties’ I was not able to attend.

So this post ends up being something of a rather boring, ‘no news’ report, but I guess this is marginally better than fake news!….

Posted in Fiestas, Wine Fairs

This coming weekend we have a local wine fair in the village of Barrantes (the village where Castro Martin is actually located). Oddly, despite this being in the very heart of Albariño country, the festival actually celebrates the tinto wines of Salnés. The vast majority of red wines from Rias Baixas are made with the grapes of Caiño tinto, Espadeiro, Loureira tinta and even Mencia (although Mencia is perhaps more widely known from our neighbouring denominations of Bierzo, Ribera Sacra and Valdeorras).

There are other red grape varieties, which when vinified, make a low alcohol, but very intensely coloured, tooth-staining wine, perhaps the most famous of which is known as Tinto de Barrantes. The problem is, that the grape varieties used to make many of these local wines are not officially permitted, and so the wines can only be made for personal consumption (well, that’s the official line anyway). My guess is that this is why the festival is called the Tinto do Salnés Festival, and not the Tinto Barrantes Festival….

This year’s publicity poster does however, include a jolly pink pulpo (probably stained by the local tinto), and also shows the traditional white ceramic wine cups containing a liquid that looks suspiciously like our very own Barrantes red wine!

Posted in Fiestas, Local News