Archive for the ‘Oddballs’ Category

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

Rain Man!

February 28th, 2017

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ChoivaThe last couple of times I have mentioned the Galician weather in recent weeks something strange has happened… Call it “Sod’s Law” or whatever you will, whenever I have mentioned how dry it has been in our area, it has almost immediately started raining! Of course this could be a very useful trick if it worked every time – for example, I constantly wrote how dry it had been last summer, but unfortunately to no avail. The other upside would be that I could control the elements from my computer keyboard rather than doing a silly rain dance in the middle of our vineyards. (Not a pleasant mental image).

The rain is forecast to be with us for the rest of the week, and so it will certainly put a bit of a ‘damper’ on all the local Carnival celebrations that we have scheduled over the coming days. For those who are celebrating I wish you a “Happy Fat Tuesday”!

(By the way, the message on the motorway gantry in today’s photo is written in Galician – but we get the gist)

Posted in Oddballs, Weather

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

Tasting and the moon

November 15th, 2016

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Moon 1People who know me will also know that I can be quite conservative and traditional when it comes to certain aspects of wine making, tasting etc., but by way of contradiction there is one ‘off the wall’ hypothesis that I do actually subscribe to – the Biodynamic Calendar of wine tasting.

Wine tasting is certainly something that I have always taken very seriously, and consequently I still follow many strict rules on the days that I know I will be tasting – what I chose to eat (including the night before), not using strong mouthwash in the morning, and certainly not wearing aftershave! Of course there are also rules that apply to the tasting environment itself. OK, the inside of our tank room is hardly light and airy, but we can certainly make sure that it is odour free (some cleaning products, for example, can leave slight traces which can put you off the scent – pun intended).

With so many ‘controllable’ factors for a tasting, the Biodynamic Calendar is perhaps, therefore, something of a contradiction which on face value is not quite so logical or easy to explain….. To cut a long story short the theory is that tasting can be affected by the phases of the moon – some days are favourable and others are not, it’s as simple as that. The odd thing is that I do believe in it, but only because I have always thought that our own wines taste better on some days than others, and my experience shows that there is often a correlation with this calendar.

Only yesterday for example, I tasted the tanks of our new 2016 wines, which until now have shown great potential for the future and really excited me. At the end of an hour or so of tasting I was actually left a little deflated – perhaps I had simply overestimated the vintage? It troubled me for a while, and it was only then that I had the idea of consulting my little Biodynamic book.  It appeared that I could have simply chosen the wrong day to taste, and maybe it was yesterday’s ‘supermoon’ that had caused a bigger decline than usual? This is just my new theory, I will let you know!

Posted in Oddballs, Tasting

Apollo PeakSeveral months ago I wrote (unbelievably) about a wine for cats called Nyan Nyan Nouveau, well, guess what? There’s more! Pinot Meow and MosCATo….. I jest not, this is all, unfortunately, quite true.

Meow meow was made in Japan, from grapes (that can actually be toxic to cats – maybe it was produced by a dog lover?!), but this new cat drink, made in Denver, has had no grape anywhere near it. Which sort of begs the question, why do they call it wine at all? It is apparently made both alcohol-free and grape-free, using organic catnip and water, coloured with organic beet juice (the “white” variety coloured with golden beets). It is apparently designed so that cats can now join there owners in a glass of “wine”.

The brand is called Apollo’s Peak and is already sold in pet stores around Colorado. It will also be available at CatCon in LA.

CatCon? Really? Catcon? (OMG).


October 30th, 2015

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Nyan Nyan NouveauJust when you thought you’d seen it all in the wine business, something new always comes along to shock/surprise you. This time it is something really special….. Wine for cats!!! Now before you reach for the calendar to start checking the date, I can assure you that this is no April Fool’s joke, but indeed is a new product created in Japan by a company called B&H Lifes. The wine itself is called Nyan Nyan Nouveau, and, as you might imagine is completely alcohol free, made from a blend of Cabernet grape juice and catnip. Sounds delicious, but don’t expect my tasting notes on this any time soon!

(Apparently, just in case you don’t speak Japanese, the translation of Nyan, Nyan, is actually Meow, Meow – useful for the next time you want to converse with a Japanese cat!)

Vive le tour!

July 9th, 2015

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TDFAfter a hard day on a tough mountain stage of the Tour what could be more refreshing than a nicely chilled glass of albariño (or perhaps, as in the case of today’s photo, the whole bottle). I have also seen old photos of cyclists in the saddle drawing on a cigarette as they speed through the countryside – professional cycling has certainly moved on a long way since then!

Every year the Vuelta de España flashes past our door, pretty much in the blink of an eye. I must confess that it has never occurred to me to set up a tasting table at the side of the road, but then thinking about it, trying to grab a wine glass at 60km per hour might just be a bit perilous!

drunkThis Superbowl weekend many of us will settle down in front of the TV, beer in hand, to watch the big game. (Even I am prepared to admit that there won’t be too many drinking albariño on this particular occasion). Of course we always recommend that any drinking should be in moderation, because there is always the danger that you could end up pot-shotten!

Splifficated? Pot-shotten? Sounds like I’ve had a drop too many myself….. In fact these are old English words for drunk, and believe me there are many more, and will continue to be more with every year that passes. From a list of nearly 200 words one of my personal favourites is pixilated, which is not as you might imagine, a new expression – this description actually dates back to 1848. Some of my others from the list include, tap-shackled, reeling ripe, peloothered and drunk as a wheelbarrow! Click on today’s picture to enlarge, and see the list.

Halloween LabelsThis week is All Hallows’ Eve (the eve of All Saints Day), more commonly known as Halloween. It is a festival that been widely celebrated in the United States for many years, but is now gaining in popularity around Europe, although I rather suspect that many of those who join in have little or no idea as to its true pagan origins – it’s merely become more of an excuse to party, eat candies and play the occasional trick on people. And so, if you intend to indulge in a few Halloween treats, then what wine should you be drinking?! Well, perhaps if you’re still eating candy then you might be too young to be drinking wine anyway, but if you do, then the likelihood is that you will need something rather sweet to support all the sugar. For the adults amongst us, who perhaps prefer a more salty, savoury snack, then I would certainly recommend a crisp, refreshing albariño, which as we all know makes a great aperitif wine at any party…..

Meanwhile, back in the land of the living (a bit of Halloween humour there), we are reaching the very end of the alcoholic fermentation in our cellars. Indeed some tanks have already been sulphured, the action of which is to inhibit or kill off any unwanted yeasts in order to protect against secondary fermentations, that we don’t want or need this year. (In some vintages a secondary, malolactic fermentation can be used as a means of reducing the more aggressive malic acidity, converting it to much softer lactic acid). I have already tasted a few of the tanks, which are obviously full of sulphur, but attempting to taste through this, I think I can detect a wine that has good fruit, character and also good weight and body. As always, the acidity is very raw and green at this stage, but this will only soften given time, and after the wine has spent some time resting on its lees. We now just need to be patient.

Posted in Fiestas, Oddballs