Any new year’s resolutions? My sister-in-Spain’s resolution was to replace all the light bulbs in her house that were blown out – lofty goal indeed. I guess light bulbs in Spain are way more complicated than they are here in Guelph.
How about getting serious about wine this year? I was horrified last week to discover that my daughter in Toronto was drinking a glass of mediocre red that had been opened for 6 days already! Come on M – I think you can get seriously ill on that stuff. I almost got seriously ill thinking of one of my own drinking inadequate wine.
So I took matters into my own hands took control of the situation [which as i understand kids like their dads to do] in this manner.
1. I bought her a Weinfrischhalter Geschenskset “wine suctiony vacuumy thing” as brother-in-spain calls it. Since it now comes in sage [a colour I just learned while purchasing the W-G] it is now as attractive to look at as it is to say.
2. I also bought her 4 bottles of lcbo value red wines.
Hecula from Yecla Spain [$12] – a nice smooth uncomplicated Monastrell
La Vielle Ferme [$11] because the old farm never disappoints when a rustic Côtes du Rhône is on the menu
Luccarelli’s Primitivo – at under $10 it is a steal – the new Italian Job if you like
120 Santa Rita Cab blend from Chile – also under $10 and delightfully heavy on the cab franc
I can sleep easier knowing that my girl is safe and sound when i can’t be around to pour a decent glass of wine for her. Hopefully she’s saying Weinfrischhalter Geschenskset and giggling to her own amusement at funny German words like i do.
This is a “two hours on the tarmac” story. Recently my family and I boarded the plane in Madrid and were kept on the ground for over 2 hours before takeoff. The reason? While loading the luggage somebody noticed that a screw was missing on a panel. Long story short, a man in Montreal [Air Canada office] took 2 hours to give permission for an EU maintenance man to put in a screw.
I have several thoughts on this – mostly because I had two hours staring at the loading dock next to me.
1. Why the heck can’t I get a glass of wine while all this is going on?
2. I had time to estimate there must be at least 14000 screws on an airplane minimum
3. There’s no way that was the only screw missing and the chance that screw was a safety hazard? Come on.
4. I asked my kids how many screws they thought were in a plane like this. “One less than there should have been” was their reply. Kids don’t care. They just sit there and watch Spiderman. Twice!
Now if by “screw” they meant “engine number 2″ then my apologies Air Canada.
Scruffy Scruffington, where were you when I needed you?
Wherever you are there you will be. So if you be there then you should eat whatever is local.
When in the Costa del Sol in Spain nothing is more local than seafood paella with a chilled Rioja. If you’re not chilling your red wine in the summer then you need to start.
These be some photos of the paella I made Saturday night with tiny clams, Galatia mussels, calamari, and shrimp.
Some observations for my first week in Spain
1. My outdoor cocina is an upgrade from my own in Guelph. At least the view is
2. Large dogs still bark all night. The small ones bark all day – prompting me to learn a new Spanish phrase, “ese pequeño perro es un charlatán incansable” [that small dog is a tireless barker] which I think demonstrates considerable cultural acceptance from my last visit when I learned “cállate estúpido perro” [shut up stupid dog].
3. Coffee is milky and good and you get little heat blisters on your fingers because they serve it in un vaso
4. Wine is inexpensive and really good – good enough that I dared myself to drink the lunch sized tetra pack last night
5. The food colours are vibrant
Manatees, monkeys, and an octopus are all used as predictor of winners of major sporting events. Groundhogs too if you count Spring as a sporting event.
So this year I decided to open a Rioja and if it sees its shadow then Spain is going to win FIFA’s World Cup again. The proof is right before you. Start singing “Campeones, campeones, ole, ole, ole!”
Thanks Bodegas LAN – you were delicious.
I get distracted easily. Recently I’ve been writing about beer, cognac, chocolate, and the election. Already the title of this post, Picking Spain, has me thinking about the World Cup and not wine. Time to get back to wine – at least until something else distracts me.
As the summer draws closer my thoughts turn to my 2nd home – Spain. Okay, so it’s my brother’s home but whatever. I will be there in a month buying what the Spaniards call “el cheap wine“. The locals like it when you learn their language.
I think I should start preparing for my trip. My wife starts packing for her trip about now – deciding on her colour story [that’s a real thing apparently]. I’ll start with my best selections from the LCBO Spanish wines [click for LCBO link]. My colour story is 2 reds, a white, and a rosado.
- Beronia Reserva $20- classic Rioja [Tempranillo grape] at an affordable price. Reminds me of a hot, dry Spanish summer
- Hecula $12- lighter than a Rioja made in the south from Monastrell grapes
- Marquis de Riscal $13- a crisp white for those hot days in the garden
- Muga Rosado $13- get it while you can – best pink in the store
And while I think of it … I did pick Spain to win the World Cup again. Iker!!!!!
BERONIA RESERVA – Smooth tannins. Reservas are aged for a minimum of 1 yr in oak and 2 yrs in the bottle. They cost a little more but believe me, they are worth it.
VINTAGES Essential 50203 |Price $ 19.95
I am currently looking for summer. I read a funny comic last week that said “The first person to complain about how hot is is this summer gets a punch in the throat”. People get a little emotional waiting this long for summer.
I started looking for summer in the Spanish aisle of the LCBO.
My brother-in-Spain says that a good Spanish Rioja tastes like a hot, dry summer. When we opened this one I got a little emotional. Maybe I miss my brother? Maybe it’s the absurdly cruel long winter that really got me? Maybe I got a piece of cork in my contact? Whatever it was, I did get a little teary at how much this wine reminded me of a hot, dry Spanish summer.
CAMPO VIEJO RIOJA TEMPRANILLO
LCBO 342006 |Price $ 14.40
Dark plum and cherry fruits with a dryness that persisted on my palate [evoking the emotional response I referred to earlier]