Archive for the ‘Visitors’ Category

View restoredOver a dozen years ago, when I first arrived at Castro Martin an integral part of our bodega tour was to take visitors upstairs, to the rear of the building, and show them both the view of Salnés and our proximity to the Atlantic Ocean. In recent years however, this had become impossible, owing to a forest of tall eucalyptus trees that had sprung up behind us.

The eucalyptus is not indigenous to Galicia, but rather was planted extensively throughout the region as a source of fast growing, cheap timber. The species was originally imported from Australia, and has been actively promoted by the paper industry since the mid-20th century. Compared to other parts of Spain, Galicia still has many densely wooded areas, which, during prolonged periods of dry weather, can cause a problem with some significant forest fires.

By coincidence, only last week, I took a group of American visitors up to a ‘mirador’ (look out point) on a local hillside to show them a complete view of our valley, only to discover that it is now partially obscured by eucalyptus, now seemingly growing out of control.

The good news is however, that the trees at the back of our bodega have now been cut down to make way for a new vineyard (not ours), and our view has now been restored. I have highlighted the Ocean in today’s photo, and whilst it might appear like a distant speck on the horizon, it is in fact less than 5km (3miles) from our back door.

Posted in Bodega, Visitors

We have wine!

October 21st, 2015

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VenezuelaWell, roughly a month after the first grape was picked in anger, we have tanks that have completed their fermentation and can now clearly be called wine, rather than must or grape juice. Of course they are not ready for sale by some distance, as there are many processes that they have to undergo, not least of all a period of lees ageing. Fine lees are the exhausted yeast cells left over from fermentation that help to intensify our wines by adding richness, flavour and aroma complexity. Specific proteins are released naturally during lees contact, and it is these that create a creamy, silky smooth mouthfeel, and texture to the body of the wine. The lees also enhance stability and increase the ageing potential of our wines.

So now it is time for the tanks to simply rest, and the only time that they will be disturbed over the coming months is when we taste them on a regular basis. I will give more details on their progress, and of course my tasting notes, in the coming weeks, but as they have just been sulphured, now is not really a good time to pass judgement.

One of the unique events that took place during this year’s harvest, were a couple of PR/customer visits. Under normal circumstances we are far too busy, and the cellar is in far too much disarray to welcome people through our doors, but this year we made a couple of exceptions. The first was a small group of sommeliers and shop managers from the UK, a visit set up by our D.O. office by way of PR and education. Second was our very long-standing importer from Venezuela. Of course it could be that we made these two exceptions as the visitors were from Angela and my respective home countries, or maybe that is just a coincidence…. Suffice to say that we hope both groups enjoyed their time with us. (By the way, Angela doesn’t normally wear a baseball cap in the bodega, but the cap is actually designed in the colours of her National flag!)