Archive for the ‘Unbelievable’ Category

Blitzed wine?

May 26th, 2018

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Yesterday I missed yet another ‘National Day’ – apparently it was National Wine Day (or at least it was in the USA). About 10 days ago I also missed National Tea Day, which, as the world’s greatest tea drinker, came as quite a shock – albeit that every day is National Tea Day for me!

Moving on quickly I read something very interesting yesterday, well, actually quite shocking to me! Putting red wine in a blender to help it breath! Apparently it’s called ‘Hyperdecanting’…..

OK, we live in an age where everything is instant, and few people have the patience to wait for anything. Many prefer to ignore the slow, careful, perhaps more traditional method of decanting, but putting wine into a food blender? Really? Certainly this is something that I would never ever consider myself, even for a half-decent wine, but then we are told that this blitzing is ‘ideal’ for cheaper red wines – it can accentuate the fruit and make them less harsh. Well, I doubt if I will be trying this theory any time soon.

For example, could you ever imagine the sommelier of your favourite restaurant plugging in a blender at the side of your table to aerate your wine – I think not. Simply open the bottle, pour, swirl, wait and savour (or just stick to Coca Cola).

One commentator summed this idea up beautifully – it’s quicker to open a wine with a chainsaw, rather than a corkscrew – but you wouldn’t!!

Circumnavigating Vigo

December 11th, 2017

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To be honest, when friends and visitors ask me, I’ve never really recommended Vigo as a place to visit – Santiago de Compostela always, La Coruña sometimes, and also Pontevedra on occasions, but never Vigo. It’s not exactly a ‘pretty’ place, there’s far too much faceless 1970’s architecture, and not too many tourist sites of special mention. It’s a very important industrial fishing port, but not much more than that.

I usually only visit when I have chores to do, and so last week, on our bridge day, I went there for a couple of things. The first errand was in a place that I know well, whilst the second was in a place that I really don’t know at all. Fortunately I managed to find both (without the aid of satnav), but then, when it came to the return journey, then that was another matter….

A combination of the unfamilar roads, changed priorities and a couple of diversions left me, quite literally driving in circles – stuck in a never ending loop. For nearly half an hour it was like being stuck in a maze – trying a different route each time, but then always ending up in the same place. Of course, owing to the road closures satnav wouldn’t necessarily have helped, and so it became simply a matter of trial and error. Groundhog day with traffic! I am convinced that the traffic planners in some of these places clearly never have to use these routes themselves, or perhaps they don’t even drive… that’s just my theory anyway.

Snow in Galicia!Yesterday was Memphis and today is Nashville, Tennessee on our continuing Grand Ole Tour of the USA – we really are in the heart of music country (or should that be country music)!

Over the last few days I have been talking a lot about the weather, and how changeable it has been in the some of the States that we have visited so far. Well, it appears that, not to be out-done, Galicia is now chipping in with it’s own bit of freak weather. After days of temperatures pushing the mid-20’s°C (70-80°F), Galicia has just been hit by hail, sleet and snow! Unfortunately I wasn’t at home to witness it myself, but I can say that in all my years in Galicia, I have never seen snow!

Who would want to be a weather forecaster these days?!

Well, our local beach resort of Sanxenxo really excelled themselves last night. On the last night of a week long fiesta they celebrated with the usual 20 minute firework display. In fairness, I’ve always thought that there are better ways for local councils to spend their money (as every small town and village lays on their own individual display over the summer months),but last night, well, what can I say?

At 10pm I went out for a walk, or rather a “reccy” to look for a good location to set up my camera and tripod. I thought that this year I would try to shoot my photos at a low angle across the water, and take full advantage of any reflections. I found the perfect spot, only about 5 minutes from our front door, and so I planned to return about 15/20 minutes before the midnight kick-off.

At 11.40 I looked out of the window…. shock, horror! The whole town was shrouded in a thick, damp sea mist – and when I say thick, I mean about maybe 20 or 30 metres visibility. Surely they had to postpone?….. Wrong! Watch my brief video and witness how thousands of Euros worth of fireworks went up in smoke, or should I say, went up in mist. This must be the most stupid, incompetent things I have ever witnessed, but I’m sure you will agree, at least it did sound impressive!

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!)

Shiba SommelierIt’s not often that you come across a canine sommelier, and before you ask, no, I’m not taking any substances! This week we have our first tasting note from a Japanese Shiba Inu who lives in New York (with his wine-loving human companions). Shiba was kind enough to rate our A2O albariño as 4 bones out of 5 and commented: “Hehe, I need some food with this Albariño! Nice, gentle nose of pears, lemon, and white stone. Tiniest touch of salinity on the palate with lovely white pear, lemon, and stone notes. Nice acidity. Not the saltiest of Albariños but would pair excellently with some gambas! 

For more extraordinary dog ‘tails’, please visit Shiba’s very own website!

Posted in Press, Unbelievable

Japanese grapesThe vineyards of Rias Baixas are very fragmented – there are 23,400 different locations, divided between more than 6,700 registered grape growers. Consequently this means that there are not very many Bodegas that are completely self-sufficient in grapes, and the vast majority buy at least some of their crop from the growers. One of the big problems is that, believe it or not, there are very few contracts in existence, and whilst there is some degree of loyalty between Bodegas and growers, it is still very much an open market. Of course the downside of this arrangement is that, in years of shortage, there can be a lot of pressure on supply, and therefore on prices. Such variations make it difficult to always offer a stable bottle price.

A couple of big harvests in recent years have helped to keep our grape prices down, but even in the most expensive vintages they are nothing when compared to the price recently paid for 800g (28oz) of Ruby Roman grapes in Japan. A single bunch of only 30 of these juicy red grapes was bought at auction for $5,400 dollars, the equivalent of about $180 per grape to you and me! OK, so each grape can be as much as 3cm (1.2in) in diameter, but even so, that’s quite a lot of money for a single grape…..

There is no real explanation as to why these particular grapes are so expensive, except to say that only 16,000 bunches are expected to be sold this season, and only in the prefecture of Ishikawa in central Japan. The Japanese are known to present top-quality fruits such as melons as gifts, and the first batches of carefully grown fruit often fetch extraordinary prices, making headlines in newspapers.

Suffice to say that next week we will be grubbing up all our Albariño grapes and re-planting with Ruby Red!


August 7th, 2013

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Drunk driverI mentioned just the other day that there had been much serious drinking at the Albariño Festival, and questioned whether this was really a positive advertisement for our denomination or not. It is claimed that some 90,000 bottles of our local wine were consumed in four days, and if this figure is correct, then it is perhaps understandable why there were so many “happy” people falling about! This number represents roughly 6 full 40ft containers of wine, which in turn equates to 30 pallets a day, sold by only 44 stands….. not bad going!

On Saturday night/Sunday morning there was a very interesting and somewhat usual occurrence in the Ria of Arousa. Many of the river estuaries (Rias) of Galicia are dotted with large wooden platforms used for farming mussels – beams made from eucalyptus trees fastened on top of several floats and anchored to the sea bed by a concrete block. From each raft hang a number of ropes where the mussels grow. During the spawning season the mussel larvae float downstream until they attach themselves to the ropes of the platforms, or sometimes they are transferred there by hand by the mussel farmers themselves.

Last Sunday morning at 1.30am one of the platforms had a rather unusual visit when it was ‘mounted’ by a motor cruiser travelling at speed down the river! The boat hit with such force that it was left completely high and dry on top of the platform. There were twelve people on board at the time, and two of them were injured (we don’t know how seriously), but suffice to say that the survivors had to be evacuated by an air-sea rescue helicopter.

The occupants of the cruiser had been attending the albariño festival….. probably enough said. 

When I read this story my initial reaction was to check the calendar once again, to see if it was April Fool’s day. Either an outrageous story, or perhaps just an excellent piece of marketing? Are you sitting comfortably? Then I shall begin.

OK, so an ex-pat British wine maker (from Norwich) who now lives in Chile, has two passions. His vineyard in the Cachapoal Valley and Astronomy. So, how do you go about combining the two? Easy – first borrow a 10cm meteorite from a wealthy American, dip it in a barrel of your wine for a while, blend this single barrel with a lot more wine, and then sell it as Meteorito – a wine in which you can allegedly taste the origins of the Universe itself! Brilliant! Why didn’t I think of this myself?

Sorry, do I sound a little sceptical? Well, maybe it’s because I am! Suspending a small meteorite in a single oak barrel of Cabernet Sauvignon for a year is one thing, but then taking this single barrel, blending it with another 10,000 litres and claiming that you can still taste the effects of this maceration is quite frankly, beyond belief….

Just a minute, I’ve had an idea – the soil in our vineyards contains both granite and quartz that originate from the magma of the earth’s crust, and you can actually taste this in the mineral character of our wine. In future I’m going to claim that in our albarino you can actually taste the very origins of our planet!

Posted in Unbelievable