Winter sometimes comes early to Northern Spain, and long before we had reached the vineyard the steady October drizzle had turned to snow. Spain’s usual hot climate dictates that good grapes will only be produced in the cooler temperatures of higher altitudes – 600 to 900 metres – and today the freezing level was about 400 metres! Seeing grapes being harvested in a snowstorm was a surreal and I hope unique experience. But the lady winemaker and owner, who we had met in London a few months earlier, was expecting us and had 5 different bottles of her full flavoured red wines open, ready for us to taste. Unfortunately the bodega was freezing cold and so was the wine – it was too cold even for white wines, let alone the recommended 16 – 18 ºC for red. “Take them back to your hotel room and taste them this evening when they have warmed up”, advised our host, and so we did, and made our notes accordingly. The next morning, 24 hours after being opened, the wine in the 5 still-almost-full bottles had faded so down the sink it all went, into the waste bin went the empty bottles and off to our next tasting visit went we.
“Must have been a good joke”, I thought as the receptionist returned our room key later that afternoon, “she can only just stop herself laughing out loud. And the waitresses seem to be in on the joke as well…it’s not something funny about us, is it?”. Only later that evening did we discover that the joke was indeed about us – stories about notorious English binge drinking must all be true because even that seemingly respectable middle-aged couple got through 5 bottles of red wine in one evening…and, estupendo, they don’t seem to get hangovers either!
Try some of our wines, in moderation of course, at a West Dean or Weald and Downland Event, or come along to our next Wine Tasting near Emsworth. Phone 01243 378618 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for the most up-to-date information.