Archive for the ‘International News’ Category

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!

You might think that living in an isolated corner of Spain, we might escape from the epidemic that is currently sweeping across Europe, and indeed many different parts of the world. I am of course talking flu, or ‘gripe’ as it is known in Spain. This year it seems that we have been hit by as many as three different strains, including ‘Aussie’ flu (H3N2 – probably from sub-tropical regions) and Japanese flu (‘Yamagata’ influenza B).

Of course jet travel now gives us the ability to fly half way across the planet in less than a day, and so it is hardly surprising that some of these viruses can have exotic, long-distant origins. Indeed, I have often thought that an aircraft cabin can be an extremely unhealthy environment, (especially if the person behind you is coughing and sneezing in your ear, and there is simply no means of escape). We may scoff at the Japanese who often wear surgical masks on public transport, but when you’re lying in your bed with your head throbbing and your muscles aching, then perhaps it’s not such a bad idea after all.

Here at Castro Martin we have not been immune – since the beginning of 2018 more than half of our permanent staff have been infected, including myself. Fortunately it appears that the flu vaccine I had at the beginning of the winter has helped to moderate some of the symptoms, but I am still staying away from the cold, humid atmosphere of the bodega until I am 100% again. I also encourage our people to stay at home when they have colds or flu, as working in a small, confined office, it will simply be passed on in no time at all.

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!

Why?

November 1st, 2017

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NO WORDS

August 18th, 2017

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THERE ARE NO WORDS…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SWA Gold

June 8th, 2017

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Blimey! It’s happened again! It seems that no sooner do I make a comment suggesting that the consumer should pull the cork and make their own wine buying decisions (rather than simply following reviews, medals or points), than we receive another accolade…. In this year’s Sommelier Wine Awards in London, we have been awarded a gold medal for our 2015 A2O ‘Sobre Lias’ Albariño!

The panel of judges is made up of a cross-section of tasters, including sommeliers, buyers, consultants and a handful of MW’s. The judges were enamoured with our wine’s fresh, sprightly style, awarding it Gold, whilst also commenting: ” the acidity is quite perky, and there’s a nice spritz on the finish” – ” I am reminded of the sea shore – mineral and fresh – but the palate shows honey notes, along with lemon peel. Rich yet fresh, and long-lasting”.

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….

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 24th, 2016

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Happy Thanksgiving…. to all our American friends around the world!
I believe that one of the traditions of Thanksgiving is to tell friends and family what you have been thankful for during the preceding year. Well, I can only say that I would be thankful that I wasn’t trying to get home on 405 freeway in California yesterday.

Apparently, locals say that this freeway is known as the 405 because they say that the average journey time can often be 4 or 5 hours!

Carry on cruising

November 14th, 2016

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Rhapsody of the SeasA couple of months ago that I made a post about our new cruise ship customer – ‘The World – a residence at sea’, at the same time mentioning that we already sail on many a P&O/Cunard ship. It would now appear that this has become something of a trend, as we find ourselves listed with yet another new customer of the high seas – Royal Caribbean International Cruises. Quite naturally we are delighted to be pouring our wines for such prestigious customers, and in so many distant and celebrated locations around the world.

It does however, throw up an interesting question. In the annual export statistics that we supply to the office of our denomination, they require details of where our wines are being sold/distributed. If our albariños are now being poured on airlines and ships that are constantly changing location, what can we submit on the forms – how can we specify the country?…. Moving markets? World markets? I will have to think of some witty answer, but am open to suggestions!

Election free zone

November 8th, 2016

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US electionToday is a big day, and not just because we are bottling wine. After 18 months of acrimony, insults and to be frank, very little focus on political issues, the U.S. election is finally here. I can hear the vast majority of commentators heaving a collective sigh of relief, whilst at the same time holding their breath in anticipation (or perhaps trepidation), of what the future might hold for us all. I say for us all, because inevitably the outcome will have a knock-on effect for the whole world, one way or another, for better or for worse…. who knows?

So, setting that thought aside completely, I think the best thing to do today could be to kick back on your sofa, open a good bottle of albariño (Castro Martin of course), and maybe plough your way through a series or two of Aaron Sorkin’s superb series ‘The West Wing’, where I think that some of the characters perhaps have a shade more credibility than today’s two tarnished candidates. My advice? Vote for Jed Bartlet and save the world!