Archive for the ‘Other’ Category

Christmas 2016 LightsFirstly, and most importantly, we simply want to thank all our friends and customers most sincerely for their continued support during 2016. This is without doubt, the very best gift that we receive each year.

In many ways 2016 was a quite an uneventful year, albeit that we continue to increase our business on the high seas, this year adding Royal Caribbean to our growing list of cruise ship customers. I have to say that cruising is not really my thing, but should add that if we are ever invited to organise any on-board tutored tastings, then I will be the first to pack my bag!

The summer of 2016 (as you may already know), was hot and very dry. The resulting harvest was slightly smaller than usual, but with very concentrated grape must, slightly lower acidity and a touch more alcohol than usual. All the normal traits of a hot vintage. However, the wines are very ripe, fruity and attractive, and I have no doubt that they will be well received at their launch during 2017.

Finally, we simply send you our thanks and our very best wishes for a happy, healthy, peaceful holiday season and prosperous New Year.

Andrew, Angela and the team at Castro Martin

Posted in Fiestas, Other

LeesYou may know that a couple of weeks ago we returned from quite an extensive tour of the United States, and whilst we always try to stay on top of things, inevitably we always face a backlog of work. No sooner had we started on this, than I received some devastating news from the UK. The tragic loss of my mother. Without wishing to dwell on this subject, the inevitable result was that I had to spend a further ten days away from our business, and as if that was not enough, I have now returned from England with a heavy cold.

So much has happened over the last few weeks that I really don’t know what to write about first, but perhaps the most significant event, from a bodega point of view, is the racking of the first tanks of our 2015 wines. It was pretty much decided before we went to America (already a month ago) that at least some tanks would be ready to remove from their lees. In today’s photo you might notice a few bubbles on the surface of the sediment, these are from the natural CO2 trapped inside the tank, and also the crystal deposits that leave the inside of the tank stained brown….. but nothing that a good cleaning won’t remove. As I have written many times before the timing of racking our wines is ultimately decided simply by a combination of tasting and experience – not really a high-tech methodology I’m afraid.

The new wine that we are preparing now still needs to be cold-stabilised, filtered and submitted to the Denomination tasting panel before it can finally be bottled. This whole process will take another month before we can even consider selling a bottle into the domestic market here in Spain. Oh, and by the way, I forgot to mention that the 2015 wines are actually quite good!

Posted in Bodega, Other, Winemaking


May 24th, 2014

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Champions LeagueMadrid has gone football crazy this week, and so they should. For the benefit of the one, or possibly two people who haven’t heard, this year’s UEFA Champions League final will be fought between Real Madrid (playing to win their tenth title) and Atlético Madrid (trying to win their first). It is of course a unique event in that it is the first time that two teams from the same city have contested the final. Finals between teams from the same country, yes, but from the same city, never.

There will be about 75,000/80,000 Madrileños making the journey to Lisbon, about 75% of these using the main A5 motorway to travel across Spain and Portugal – a distance of around 650km (400 miles). In addition to some 1,000 buses, there will also be 10 special trains, all packed to the rafters no doubt. Possibly the most puzzling statistic is that only 34,000 of the travelling fans actually have tickets to enter the stadium. In the desperate scramble to get hold of tickets one man offered his car in exchange, whilst a young woman actually offered her body (for an hour)….. Now that’s what I call devotion to your team!

Like most of the rest of Spain I will simply be kicking back in front of my TV, with beer in hand. (I’m afraid to admit there are just a few occasions when albariño doesn’t quite cut it, and this is one of them).

Posted in National News, Other

Sidra from AsturiasWe have just returned from a couple of days visiting a distributor in Asturias, our neighbouring Province just east of us, along the northern coast of Spain. With it’s lush green pastures it is known as the nation’s capital of beef and dairy produce which includes an impressive selection of regional cheeses. It is however, also famous for another product, perhaps a little more closely related to our own….. apple cider. I should start by saying that this is nothing to do with the ‘refined’ sparkling, sometimes sweet, cider that is consumed in other parts of the world. This natural cider is flat, opaque, acidic and nearly always completely dry. Sounds delicious!

The same as our own albariño, the production of cider in Asturias is strictly controlled by its very own Denomination of Origin, which dictates not only how it is produced, but also the list of approved apples that can be used. This natural cider is bottled in spring each year and usually varies between 4% and 6% alcohol.

The ‘Siderias’ or cider bars where this traditional beverage is served are instantly recognisable by the odour of apple juice that hits you the moment you step in through the door. Of course this could be something to do with the way it is ‘thrown’ into the glasses. Once you uncork a bottle of natural cider it has to be finished in one sitting as, like the apple itself, the juice will oxidise very quickly, but then the way it is served is quite unique.

Natural cider is flat and has to be aerated, this is done by ‘throwing’ the juice into the glass from a distance – in other words pouring it from a height of about one or two metres. This might appear to be just a bit of showmanship but it does actually carbonate the cider and adds to the bouquet. The downside of this process is that by pouring the liquid from such a distance when it hits the glass it simply splashes everywhere, and, as a result, the floors of the Siderias are always damp with a covering of  juice. Also, if there is any deposits in your glass, then you can either consume them or simply dump them out on the floor – some Siderias have special drains for this and that’s why a Sideria has such a strong odour when you first walk in.

Posted in Other, Travel

9/11 tribute

April 15th, 2013

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9-11 oak tree planting

When the 9/11 memorial was originally opened in New York on the tenth anniversary of the atrocity, I was fortunate enough to acquire an entry ticket on only the second day of opening to the public. At that time it was heavily subscribed and I was very fortunate to get in…. it was a moving experience.

The main features of the memorial are of course, the two huge pools surrounded by waterfalls built on the actual footprints of the twin towers. They are the largest man-made waterfalls in North America. The pools are surrounded by bronze panels that include the names of everyone that died not only in the attack of 2001, but also in the attack of 1993. 

In the memorial garden itself there are more than 400 white oak trees planted to convey ‘a spirit of hope and renewal’. The white oaks were picked specifically because of the durability (in a city environment) and their dramatic leaf colours – green in spring and summer, changing to shades of pink, gold and brown during the autumn.

Now comes the confession part of the story…..

During my visit in September 2011 I filled my pocket with a few acorns which had dropped from the young oak trees, and upon arriving back in Spain, planted then in my garden. Last summer I had six or seven small trees growing on my terrace, and only a week or two ago I transplanted them to a new location at the back of the bodega – immediately adjacent to Domingo Martin’s favourite pine tree. The hope is that in a few years we will have one or two sturdy white oak trees of our own, grown virtually from the ashes of the 9/11 memorial itself….

Posted in Bodega, Other

Enter the Dragon

January 30th, 2012

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Chinese communities around the world have spent the last week celebrating their New Year, which this year started on 23rd January, and continues for a period of some 15 days.  This weekend many cities have witnessed parades, dancing and fireworks as the exciting and unpredictable year of the Dragon takes over from the more cautious and tranquil year of the Rabbit.

We are very lucky to find our wines placed on a number of varied and diverse winelists, including a number of very fine Chinese restaurants. (Angela is always happy to remind our customers that Albariño is perfect with sushi, but I’m afraid rarely mentions our Chinese connections).

Today’s photo was actually taken inside a customer’s restaurant in Harrogate, England and shows a typical Chinese New Year celebration dance.

Posted in Fiestas, Other