Archive for the ‘Labels’ Category

For the last couple of months I have been hinting in my posts about something new coming to Castro Martin – and finally it’s here – a new label!

A label? Is that all? So why all the fuss? I hear you ask. Well, the answer is quite simple –  the fuss is because this is something of an historic change.

The very first, and original brand of the new era (since the current bodega was built in 1981), is Casal Caeiro, created by Angela’s father some 35 years ago. (The Martin Family had been making albariño long before this, but mainly for local consumption, without labels, before labels were a legal requirement). Since it’s inception the Casal Caeiro label has slowly evolved and appeared in many different guises, but until now they have always had one thing in common – the Pazo vineyard had always appeared on the label.

In a break with tradition we decided to employ the services of local artist Elena Gomez Dahlgren to come up with something different (and original), and I think that her new design idea is both unique and spectacular. A quadriptych – a set of four labels that when displayed side-by-side join to form one larger picture.

The new 2016 vintage, using this presentation, is available from this week (albeit that our website will take a little time to catch up). New photos already appear on our webpages, and updated fiche and bottle shots are also available. In addition to this, we will eventually add more information about the inspiration behind the design, and also about our artist, but in the meantime you will simply need to buy some wine to see this work of art first hand. Oh, and by the way, you will need to buy at least four bottles to see the complete design!

A to ZWell, you learn something new every day as they say, but only recently did I discover that Castro Martin actually has something in common with one of the largest companies on the planet!

One of our most Frequently Asked Questions is about the logo/name of one of our brands – A2O, and to be honest I feel just a little embarrassed when I have to explain it’s origin…. but not any more. It seems that the logic behind it (if you can call it logic) is shared with one of my most frequently used websites, Amazon. Please allow me to explain.

The name A2O quite simply comes from the word AlbariñO, which starts with the letter A and ends with the letter O, in other words from A to O (and we have simply substituted the word ‘to’ with the number two, and given it an accent to add a bit of a Spanish flavour). So that’s the story – clear as mud, I’m sure you’ll agree!

OK, so what about Amazon you ask, and where’s the similarity? Well, did you ever notice the arrow in their logo that underscores the name? Do you know why it’s there? I didn’t. If you look at the placement of the arrow it actually points from the A to the Z, and yes, you may have guessed already – the implication is quite simply that AmaZon stocks everything from A to Z (or should that be A2Z?!)

I have to admit that knowing this makes me feel a whole lot better, and it goes without saying that the next time someone asks about A2O, I will also make a point of explaining our very tenuous link with Amazon.

Final clueOver the last two or three months I have dropped a few clues about something new happening in the bodega. The launch of whatever this might be is imminent, and so I thought I would add one final clue before we make it official.

As you may know, I am quite a keen amateur photographer, and many of the photographs that you see both on our website and on our social media pages are taken by me. It is however, rare to see me at work, but in today’s picture (working on our new project), I have been captured in the act, so to speak. On a few previous occasions when I have been taking photos I have caught myself in a mirror or perhaps in some type of reflection, but it is really odd to actually see how others perceive me when I am working…. the photographer’s photograph, if that makes any sense?

Anyway, in a couple of weeks we will be making an official announcement about our closely guarded secret, so watch this space, as they say.

BCM 2013The Bodega Castro Martin label that we have been using until now, was the original design that we created for the very first vintage of this brand back in 2002. It is quite unusual for any label to survive for so long without even the slightest modification, but we unwittingly created such a ‘timeless’ design that even now it does not looked in the least bit dated. This doesn’t mean however, that the time for change doesn’t eventually arrive, and so last year we set about working on an upate – very much with the 2013 vintage in mind.

The design brief was to try to come up with another classic design that would also stand the test of time. Of course, being our premium brand we also wanted the label to exhibit an aura of quality, and so it was never going to be an easy exercise.

Our new 2013 Bodega Castro Martin (Family Estate Selection) is only now starting to appear on the market as customers take their first shipments of the new vintage, and so we anxiously await the initial reaction. Please take a moment to examine this new label closely and notice the attention to detail – the raised screen printing, the gold foil with shadow outline, and the embossed border. It certainly looks minimalist, but I can tell you that a great deal of thought went into the final design. We really hope that you like it!

Posted in History, Labels

Easter label?

April 20th, 2014

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weingut knollAs Christians around the world celebrate Easter Sunday I did think about adding a picture of some decorated eggs to brighten up today’s post. Apparently the giving of eggs at Easter is supposed to symbolise the giving of new life – the resurrection if you will…. It could be said however, that this underlying meaning has since become a little lost, and that for many children at least, it has become more to do with the worship of chocolate. The symbolism of the Easter Bunny (or hare) is perhaps even more tenuous – it allegedly relates to the legend of an Anglo-Saxon goddess and a magically transformed hare that discovered it could lay eggs! Enough said.

So, instead of all this, I decided to include a wine label from Austria. Weingut Knoll is located in the well-known wine region of Wachau and produces mainly white wines, predominantly Grüner Veltliner and Riesling. The wines are vinified more especially for long keeping and the winery is also highly acclaimed for its selection of sweet dessert wines (where vintages permit). Knoll wines are instantly recognisable by their very traditional labels, which it must be said, would not look out of place in the Vatican.

Posted in Fiestas, Labels

HTC SmartphoneWhat happens when you’re smart phone becomes too smart…. or at least when it thinks it is? The other day Angela went to an official tasting at the Rias Baixas denomination office in Pontevedra. Whilst she was there she had to collect a box of ‘tirillas’ (in case you don’t remember these are the small stickers that we attach to every bottle to prove that our wine has passed the official tasting and is an authentic Rias Baixas wine). It is the proof of origin if you like.

On my new, all-singing, all-dancing HTC smart phone I wanted to send Angela a simple message to remind her to collect these special labels. What I typed into my phone was “Don’t forget to collect the tirillas”, but what my smartphone thought I wanted to type was “Don’t forget to collect the gorillas”! Suffice to say that Angela was just a little confused!

This morning when we actually came to bottle the wine in question, we started with a problem that we sometimes have at this time of year – sweating bottles. When the cold wine hits the slightly warmer empty glass bottle, a very fine film of condensation forms which can prevent the labels from sticking properly. On this occasion it was the tirilla that refused to stick properly, which made me laugh….. I couldn’t resist telling Angela that the ‘gorillas’ wouldn’t stick to the bottle! I apologise yet again for my infantile sense of humour, but I’m told that it’s only healthy to laugh now and again (even if it is at your own jokes!)

Posted in Labels, Odds & Sods

Construction shirtPeople who know me, or perhaps those who have read our blog before, will know that I am a pretty huge Liverpool F.C. supporter, and that we actually have one small corner of our wine cellar dedicated to my favourite team…. a small shrine if you will.

A week or two ago I was browsing the LFC website, when I came across a t-shirt design that made me smile. By complete co-incidence it was almost a carbon copy of our new A2O label design – a sort of  ‘Da Vinci-esque’ logo, using architectural construction lines. Of course I could not resist, I had found yet another perfect excuse to add to my already substantial collection of Liverpool shirts!

What is it they say? Great minds think alike (or is it that fools seldom differ?)

Posted in Labels, Odds & Sods

Too much information?

February 12th, 2013

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At the beginning of this month a UK government health minister revealed that in future wine labels might be required to include yet more information, this time relating to calorie content. Wine labels are already crammed with consumer advice, and this is made even more complicated by the fact that each country has its own regulations.

This latest idea suggests that wine consumers are becoming overweight and obese owing to excessive alcohol consumption, although I would have thought that this problem is perhaps more related to beer than it is to wine. Having said that it is perhaps true to say that alcohol can be underestimated when it come to calories, one pint of lager beer for example can contain 250 calories, whilst one single glass of wine might be anything from 140 up to 230 calories (depending on the wine style).

Perhaps I am biased but I still believe that wine is sometimes unfairly blamed for specific health problems. For example, binge drinking is rarely associated with wine, liver disease is more often caused by spirits, and I am still of the opinion that weight problems are probably more related to beer drinking. Of course, wine is not completely blameless, but it does often get dragged into the argument. 

The calorie count in wine comes from the sugar and alcohol, but there is no hard and fast rule as to which type of wine contains the most carbohydrates – it is perfectly possible to find a slightly sweet, low alcohol wine that has less calories than a dry, high alcohol wine. Perhaps surprisingly, it’s not all about sugar, indeed there are more calories in the alcohol itself which is why it is so difficult to provide a standard calculation.

The good news is that besides the carbs and calories, there are also nutrients in wine that come from the skin of the grape itself. Generally speaking red wine contains more minerals and antioxidants than white wine, but any colour of wine, in moderation, is not bad for you!

Yet more warnings!

August 20th, 2012

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It was only a day or so ago that I was writing about the abuse of alcohol, and how (as responsible producers) we should never condone heavy drinking. I’m sure that I have written on many previous occasions about the huge number of health warnings appearing on wine labels around the world, and this trend continues with every day that passes. One by one countries are adding compulsory warnings to their labels, the most stringent of which is probably the US. The vast majority of warnings are quite obvious and just plain common sense, such as, do not drive or operate machinery, do not drink whilst pregnant, do not allow children to drink etc. The collective message? Use alcohol responsibly and never abuse its use…..

The only problem is that new research (God help us) has now apparently determined that even moderate drinking can be related to the onset of dementia in later life. The risk, ranging from mild cognitive impairment to full blown dementia, was higher among those who reported drinking more alcohol. It’s hardly surprising that regular binge drinking (for example, our regular weekly Botellon here in Spain), increases the risk dramatically. Among the thousands of men and women they studied, those who reported heavy bouts of drinking – at least one episode per month – were more likely to experience dementia-like problems. The more regularly they binged, the more the risk increased.

Apparently alcohol can cause your blood pressure and blood cholesterol to rise which, in turn, can damage the blood vessels supplying the brain, causing problems such as vascular dementia.

Of course, this is only one side of the story, as on the other hand there is still research claiming that taking alcohol (in moderation) can help your digestion, and possibly keep your heart in good shape. So it’s not all doom and gloom for wine drinkers!

Quick Response?

February 29th, 2012

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It’s probably quite appropriate that in this age of instant information this relatively new technology is known as a QR, or Quick Response Code (to give it it’s proper title). I believe that this two-dimensional matrix barcode was originally developed for the car manufacturing industry, where it was used for marking cars and their parts. (You may have noticed it years ago at your local car dealership, or even on the documentation of your new car). Its big advantage over the usual UPC barcode is that it’s much quicker to read, and by virtue of its design, has a much larger storage capacity.

Originally its use was confined to industry, but now, with the advent of smart phones, we are all pretty much carrying around a portable QR scanner in our pockets (or handbags). By downloading a simple App we now have the ability to gather information on pretty much anything, including our favourite wine cellar, Bodegas Castro Martin. On a recent visit to London I even saw them being used outside restaurants to replace the traditional curled-up menu in a glass box, so that a potential customer can now browse the menu at his or her leisure.

From the 2011 vintage QR codes will be added to all our labels, for you to download instantly all the relevant information about the contents of your glass. 

………beam me up Scotty!

Posted in Labels, Technology