Family Estate 2022 does it again!

June 19th, 2024 | Competitions

Breaking News!


Once again our Castro Martin Family Estate has been recognised for it’s quality. In the extremely tough, well-judged and highly respected World Wine Awards, it has been awarded 92 points and a Silver Medal.

This wine had already received 91 points at a tasting of Spanish Wines in Decanter just a few months ago (so both they, and the wine, are at least consistent!).

Another top accolade of  93 points came from Tim Atkin MW, who also rated the wine as ‘Best value white wine of the year’.

92 points were also awarded by both the Wine Enthusiast (in the U.S) and the Guia Gourmets 2024 (here in Spain). Not a bad haul for one vintage!

The other good news is that we also still have stock of this wine to sell!


June 11th, 2024 | Vineyards

A couple of weeks ago the late spring weather was still pretty bleak, too much rain and unseasonably cool temperatures, really not the best conditions for flowering. Then, suddenly, almost in answer to our prayers, the rain stopped, the sun came out and we enjoyed just over a week of warm weather. It was (quite literally), the right weather at exactly the time that we needed it. We must have some friends in high places! Finally, the long and short of it is that the flowering was saved, and passed off better than we had dared hope just a week or two earlier.

This spell of fine weather came to a fairly abrupt end, and was marked by thunderstorms, albeit more in the south of our denomination (Condado and Rosal). Some of these storms were accompanied by our worst enemy – hail. Usually hailstorms are very localised, and despite today’s video having been shot the the Condado region, I have not heard any reports of damage to vineyards. The Salnés Valley did have rain, but luckily we seem to have escaped the dreaded hail (he says, touching wood!).

Now that flowering is finally over we can calculate, more or less, the timing of this year’s harvest. At this point in time we are looking at the very middle of September for our ’24 vendimia.

Climate change

May 16th, 2024 | Local News

I am now really starting to think that the people who deny climate change must be made from the same mould as the flat-earthers (and should probably all be wearing protective hats made out out of tinfoil). Every day on our TV screens we see an increasing number of natural disasters, often in extremes. If it’s not catastrophic floods, then it’s severe drought, that can, in turn, leads to dreadful wild fires. All too often we witness destruction of property, the ruination of livelihoods and nearly always death.

I should say that here in Galicia we have been lucky (so far, and I am touching wood as I write this). Whilst we have witnessed unseasonal weather, heat when it should be cold and vice-versa, we have still, somehow, managed to escape largely unscathed. Of course, being fruit farmers, these unpredictable conditions do cause us problems and can easily interfere with the growth and development cycle of our grapes. Today, for example, we are already into the third week of May and the outside temperature is barely into double figures (°C). Apart from that, we have rain showers stopping and starting every 10-15 minutes. Also, don’t forget, that it is also the time of year for flowering and so, quite obviously, these are far from ideal conditions. We will simply have to wait to see what transpires over the next week or two.

To change the subject completely, today’s picture shows one of the world’s most ‘over-constructed’ car parks, built by our local council (almost in the middle of nowhere)! The original piece of waste ground was already an area of concrete, and now, after about 18 months work by a team of perhaps ten or a dozen workers, it is now simply a new piece of concrete with lines painted on it! Admittedly they have added lighting, but I feel quite strongly that the amount of time and money invested on this project (paid by our local taxes) has been largely wasted. Rant over for today!

April Progress

April 24th, 2024 | Bodega

After spending six months resting on their lees the first wines of 2023 are now being prepared. However, as we still have good stocks of our (fantastic) 2022 Castro Martin Family Estate, the tanks which have been selected for this special wine will not be touched, perhaps for another few months at least.

Although we only make a mono-varietal albariño wine not every tank is identical, there are many variations, usually dependant upon the original source vineyard used to make each tank. For this reason, we always select a number of tanks according to their different attributes – flavours, textures, structure, balance etc.

I always equate this process to cooking, taking a number of ‘ingredients’ and trying to imagine how they might compliment each other when put together, but even more importantly, how they might evolve over time. There is a lot of trial and error involved, based almost entirely on the taste of each sample blend that we try. Once the final mix is decided, it is then down to the ‘simple’ task of moving thousands of litres of wine around the cellar, akin to one huge game of chess!

Of course, these wines need to be racked into clean tanks anyway (to separate the clean wine from their lees), and so by blending at this moment we can actually kill two birds with one stone (and thus minimise the number of times that each tank is moved). In some cases, these wines may never be moved again until they are actually bottled.

To be honest, blending is one of my favourite jobs of the year as there is always a great deal of satisfaction in tasting the ‘finished’ wines (after allowing some days for the individual component wines to marry together completely).

Meanwhile, in the vineyards, it is time to grub up and replant a few vines. These may have come to the end of their working life or perhaps simply started to die off, which sometimes happens. The weather over the last three weeks or so has been must better, with dry, sunny days many of which were tempered a little by cold easterly or northerly winds. Unfortunately, this is set to change in the coming days as yet more rain looms just over the horizon.

From acorns to oaks

April 10th, 2024 | Odds & Sods

This morning I was in the vineyard behind our Bodega, mostly to check on the progress of our vines. The rain has finally stopped, and the forecast tells us that the week ahead should be bright and dry… we shall see! After such a prolonged period of cold, wet weather we have just made our first, precautionary, treatment of the year, a small dose of sulphur. Clearly, spraying ‘contact’ treatments in wet conditions would be of no use, and a complete waste of both time and money. Now we simply have to take full advantage of the dry conditions. Anyway, it seems that the plants are healthy and that growth is already quite rapid (a combination of sun and moisture in the soil).

Whilst I was surveying the vines I caught sight of our young oak trees, which 12 or 13 years after being mere acorns, have now grown into something much more substantial (see today’s photo). You may not recall, but the significance of these young trees (to us at least) is that the acorns themselves were gathered from the white oaks newly planted at the 9/11 memorial in New York. I guess that, strictly speaking, we maybe should not have imported acorns in our luggage, but to be honest, we are now quite happy that we did.

Into summer?

March 27th, 2024 | Galicia

We have now just passed the Spring Equinox and this weekend it will be time to change our clocks to ‘summertime’.

Having said that, as the Easter weekend approaches, our spring weather continues to be erratic. After a couple of day of warm sunshine, we have now returned to our more usual grey skies, showers and much colder temperatures. The forecast for this holiday week is for rain and more cold weather, which is not great for local tourism as some visitors may well be discouraged from even coming at all.

Of course, Galicia is known as being a part of ‘Green Spain’ where we have far more rainfall than other regions. I truly believe that many foreign visitors to Spain (and also this verdant corner of Spain) come with the preconception that Spain is always hot, that it is the land of “sun, sand and sangria”. As I look out of my window at this moment, I can assure you that nothing could be further from the truth!

From a wine producing point of view, our hope now is that this combination of very cold, wet conditions does not produce hail, as the new buds of this year’s new growth have already appeared in our vineyards. As always, we simply have to keep our fingers crossed.

I was wrong!

March 9th, 2024 | Vineyards

Back in February I said that, whilst the weather had been warm that it was not exceptional… I was wrong. We have just learned today that February 2024 was the warmest February ever recorded, extending the run of monthly records to nine in a row. This is, of course, can be attributed to global warming (where greenhouse gas emissions are trapping the heat). Temperatures in 2023/2024 were also boosted by an ‘El Niño’ weather event. The warming gases helped to push the monthly average about 1.77C warmer than “pre-industrial” times (before humans started burning large amounts of fossil fuels).

March, however, has seen a drop in temperature – both daytime and during the night. This comes as a slight relief to us in that, had the February trend continued, there was a danger that budding in our vineyards would take place even before pruning is completed – really not good for the plants. Quite apart from that, assuming that this cycle continued we may well have been harvesting our grapes in mid-August, which for our area is unheard of. (Our earliest recorded harvests have been at the very tail-end of August, but never earlier than this).

Unrelated to this was an innocuous accident that took place, whereby our vineyard manager has badly sprained his ankle on his way to work. This was at the very end of January, and he has not worked since then, despite the fact that he is desperate to come back. Winter is one of the busiest times in our vineyards (owing to the pruning), so this really could not have happened at a worse time for us.

Into ’24

January 2nd, 2024 | Holiday ramblings

It’s been a fairly quiet start to the New Year, although a few customers have been stocking up after the Holidays, which is always welcome at this time of year.

For us, the Christmas and New Year period will go down as the season of techie nightmares! For long periods of the holiday period both Angela and I suffered from both software and hardware issues meaning that we did not have access to our computers and/or files, but each for completely different reasons. Anyway, it appears that these trials and tribulations are mostly behind us, and so we can now move forward into 2024.

January itself was mostly unsettled and quite wet, which, of course, is only to expected in Galicia at this time of year. Having said that, since the end of the month and now into February the temperatures have been unseasonably warm, up to a high of around 21°C (70°F). Whilst this is not particularly extreme, it only goes to show how variable and unpredictable our weather can be, and also that forecasts these days, are not always accurate.

Whilst the sunshine itself is quite welcome, the warmth is not good for our vineyards. This should be a dormant period, and the danger is, that if these very mild conditions persist, then the vines themselves might start to bud too early, exposing them to the threat of frost should temperatures suddenly fall.

Nearly Christmas…

December 21st, 2023 | Festivo

After two months of rain, it appears that the last two weeks of December might actually be a little more pleasant. Cold, but at least dry and sunny. Indeed, in the last few days we have seen our first frosts of winter, which are always welcomed in our vineyards as a way of killing at least a few pests. These cold temperatures also reduce the vine’s metabolic activity, conserving energy that can be used for growth and fruit production during over the coming year.

Inside the bodega it has been slightly traumatic in the last week or two. My business laptop overheated (a replacement battery was at fault, although at least it didn’t explode, as sometimes can happen!). The keyboard was damaged and so I have been working with a USB keyboard and no battery at all ever since. Finding a new laptop is more difficult than you would think. It is almost impossible to buy a new laptop in Spain with an English keyboard. To cut a long story short I bought one in the Republic of Ireland, which I am now still in the midst of setting up.

On top of all this the WhatsApp account on Angela’s mobile phone was hacked a day or two ago. This might not sound to bad, but the hackers can do a lot more damage than you might think and trying to contact WhatsApp by any means is more or less futile. They simply send you into a loop of never ending, and mostly useless suggestions. In the meantime the hackers are soliciting money from Angela’s contacts by any number of different rouses. The lesson is quite clear – NEVER click on any link in any message unless you know that it is completely legitimate.

After all these trials and tribulations the only thing now left to say is, enjoy the Holidays and have a healthy, safe and Happy New Year.

Castro Martin 2022

December 3rd, 2023 | Bodega

Since the very first time that I tasted the grape must of our 2022 vintage I must confess that I was very enthusiastic (or perhaps it would be fairer to say that, at that point, I thought it had great potential). We had enjoyed some pretty good vintages in both 2019 and 2020, although I have to say that I was never completely enamoured with our 2021’s (which was quite a difficult year).

A year or more down the road, after several months on its lees followed by a few months in bottle our 2022 is only just now starting to show its real identity. (I have said for a long time that it really takes a year from harvest, for our wines to realise their potential, and our 2022 Castro Martin certainly does not disappoint).

In Tim Atkin’s recent, and very comprehensive review of the 2022 vintage in Rias Baixas, he awarded our Castro Martin Family Estate 93 points and commented: “Unfiltered and lees-aged, this unwooded Albariño hails from Salnés Valley vineyards grown on a combination of granite, schist and sandy soils. Fuller flavoured and more textured than
the 2021 release, it has notes of oatmeal, pear, lime and kiwi fruit and the focus and salinity that come with the territory in this part of Rías Baixas.” He recommends drinking between now and 2027, clearly showing great faith in its ageing potential.

Apart from this positive review and the points, our Castro Martin also appeared on Tim’s ‘Podium’ of awards for different categories of the 2022 vintage. He rated this wine as ‘Value White Wine of the Year’ (bearing in mind that many of the wines above ours in the general ratings are premium cuvées, older vintages, limited editions and special elaborations, that attract a much, much higher price in the market. As a former wine buyer myself I am very proud of this accolade as  we always preach that quality/value is a very key point in the philosophy of our Bodega.

Of course, this score can be added to the 92 points that we also received for our Family Estate 2022 in the Guía Vino Gourmets 2024. I highly recommend that you buy a bottle (or two) to savour with your favourite marisco!

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