Archive for the ‘Local News’ Category

I mentioned the other day that the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, likes to spend his summers here in Galicia (being born and raised in Pontevedra). Well, that might not be the case much longer – assuming that he has good taste.

The mayor of local seaside town Sanxenxo (where Sr Rajoy has his apartment), has decided that he wants to paint the town red – together with several other colours of the rainbow. Apparently this has something to do with art, and is the “brainchild” of a local art student (who apparently wants to transform the town into some sort of circus).

Translated, the artist claims that we can “walk alongside a rainbow full of reminiscences and stimulate our senses with this chromatic circle (it will be painted on a long curved wall), filling our steps harmoniously”. Translated, I still don’t know what it means, but my own translation would be “ugly and tasteless”….. but then, that’s art!

Posted in Galicia, Local News

Village life

April 11th, 2018

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Apart from my early childhood, I have lived nearly all my adult life in cities. Of course, I now live in the small provincial ‘city’ of Pontevedra, and when I first moved here some 16 years ago, the change was quite a shock to my system. For example, the difference between London, where I worked, and the village of Barrantes, where I work now, was…. well, like being on a different planet. It was not simply a question of size, or the conveniences that you take for granted in a big city, but it was actually more to do with the ‘culture’ of village life.

London can be a very impersonal place, where you might not even know the person living next door to you. People could be crammed onto public transport, almost face-to-face and never speak, and to be honest it’s not really the easiest place for making new friends.

Barrantes is the polar opposite! Even people you have never met know who you are, and even personal details about your life. The thing is that people talk – in fact, a few that I know never stop talking. Perhaps even unwittingly they disclose information about themselves, their families, their neighbours and their friends, I think it’s what some might call ‘village gossip’. Perhaps it’s because I’m English, and already stand out from the crowd, but I have introduced myself to many people who actually already know who I am. My fame goes before me.

Behind the scenes in certain Galician offices there have been some, more or less, secret discussions. Apparently, for the last couple of years, our denomination have been discussing the idea of renaming our very own wine region – Rias Baixas. Their concern has been that many consumers outside Spain are a bit intimidated by the name, especially when it comes to the pronunciation. Of course, the word Albariño is comparatively simple for most people to wrap their tongue around, but when it come to our ‘lower estuaries’, then it becomes more of a problem.

Their solution, apparently, is a slight revamping, which at first glace, I have to admit, looks a bit odd. The reason is that the new name is pretty much what you might describe as being ‘Spanglish’ – half Spanish and half English (but rolls much more easily off the tongue). In the near future an official announcement will be made, no doubt involving huge wine press coverage and some fanfare. 

I do not have the official date, but I can tell you (even though I’m not exactly sure that I’m supposed to), that very soon we will know as the ‘Low Rias’ wine region – complete with brand new logo.

It takes a bit of getting used to, but in the long term, if it makes it easier for the consumer, then it does make some sense.

A dog is for life

December 28th, 2017

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It’s at this time of year when charity is often at the forefront of our minds, and Castro Martin is no exception. We are now supporting a local animal refuge in Cambados (about 5km from the bodega), but not only at Christmas time, this is a cause that we support throughout the year.

The refuge not only provides temporary homes for lost and abandoned animals, but also has it’s own veterinary service, and a pet shop (the income from which also helps to fund the enterprise). So not only do we support the centre financially, but they also sell our albariño in the shop, any profit also going directly to the charity. Each bottle of our Casal Caeiro brand (sold widely in Spain), carries a special booklet, highlighting our backing of this deserving charity.

So, of all the charities around why would we select this one to support? The answer is quite simple – Angela’s sister Duliana is one of the people who helped to set up the refuge, and now spends her time managing the shop.

As always, the message here in Spain, is very much the same as that in the UK – “a dog (or any pet) is for life, and not just for Christmas”.

Galicia burning…

October 16th, 2017

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Yesterday was a black day in Galicia – when forest fires suddenly sprung up in nearly every corner of our Province. It was almost as though they had been orchestrated, and indeed, Police are already saying that many had been started deliberately. 

Meteor-logically Sunday was already quite odd, in that by 8.30am on this mid-October day, the outside temperature was 23°C / 74°F (even before the sun had appeared over the horizon). The wind had picked up, blowing directly from the south, which after a summer of very little rainfall, had created the perfect environment for forest fires. (These warm winds had long been forecast, which is why I suspected that perhaps the pyromaniacs had chosen this particular moment to strike).

Three people died during the night, many homes and some businesses were destroyed, and one petrol station exploded in the inferno. Local people were rushing around with buckets, forming human chains, in a futile attempt to protect their homes. Of course, this was nothing on the scale of the catastrophe in California, but when people die, it is still a very serious event. The only positive note to this story is that it did start to rain, and I believe that this has helped to bring at least some of the fires under control. Today is still damp, so hopefully relief will come quite quickly.

Posted in Galicia, Local News

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!

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

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…..

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

Something fishy?

February 20th, 2017

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9 fishSpoiler alert: Is there something “fishy” happening at Castro Martin? Well, perhaps fishy might not be the correct terminology, because it’s really more a question of some changes that we have in the pipeline. Don’t worry, we’re not talking about personnel (I’m not retiring just yet), but just some ‘upgrades’ to different parts of our business. If you want to keep abreast of new developments then you will simply have to watch this space!

Posted in Local News, Oddballs