All posts filed under: Spain

Rioja Alavesa trip #2 – a photo diary

Here are some of my favourite moments from the trip to Rioja Alavesa on instagram. I was thrilled to catch up with the Vinisud team again.For more instagrams from beautiful Rioja Alavesa, check out: charliewines (Charlie Arturoala), rockinredblog (Michelle Williams) and thewinesleuth (Denise Medrano). This week I am in the Basque part of Rioja – #RiojaAlavesa. Driving from Bilbao, it’s higher and cooler here. Very cool to see the Cantabrian mountains, they protect the vines from the Atlantic winds. There is still the humidity – great for vines (but not so much for my hair!) ;-) #winelovers #winelife #RiojaAlavesa #basquecountry #basquewine A photo posted by Juel Mahoney (@winewomansong) on Jul 7, 2016 at 6:00am PDT A photo posted by Juel Mahoney (@winewomansong) on Jul 7, 2016 at 6:00am PDT Getting the “Vinisud” band back together – on tour of Rioja Alavesa with rock stars @rockinredblog and @thewinesleuth. Later today we are giving a presentation to 100 producers about social media and wine trends with @charliewines chairing the panel (we will also see some of his film – The Duel …

Rioja Alavesa trip #1 – Will Basque Rioja break away from Rioja?

My introduction to Rioja Alavesa went a little something like this: “We are going to visit Basque wine country!” wrote Charlie Arturaola, “We are going to Rioja.” “Are we going to Basque country or are we going to Rioja?” I tapped back. “Both!” When you think of Basque country, you may be forgiven for thinking of tingly white Txacoli poured from great heights in the bars of San Sebastian.  But there is a part of Rioja, near the Cantabrian mountains, that is also part of the Basque country. What did the Level 3 WSET book have to say about the Basque part of Rioja? “Rioja Alavesa is situated to the west of Logroño, on the north bank of the Ebro. Vineyards are planted up to 800 metres into the foothills of the Cantabrian Mountains. The soil is very chalky and the wines are perhaps the lightest of Rioja, but have the most finesse” (Wines and Spirits, Understanding Quality, WSET, 2012). And that’s it… Nothing about Vasco Pais, Euskadi, Basque Country. And about half as much information than for Rioja Alta and Rioja Baja.  And yet, you …

Reto by Ponce

  Fashion photography, much like most wine writing, can focus too much on the facts for my taste – shoes, hats, dress, size, price, perfunctory smile and twirl – and then, there is the photography that makes everything “rich and strange“. This is the photographer, Guy Bourdin: his exhibition is currently on at Somerset House in London. His posters stare back at me every night on the tube on the way home from work. The effect of his photography on the senses during peak hour is like seeing an elaborate window display of pastries when on a sugar-low. Although Ponce (pronounced Pon-the) is the winemaker on everyone’s lips at the moment, from his cool spot in Manchuela in Spain, I was blissfully unaware of the wine facts when I tasted Reto. It is big, wintry white wine that some may dismiss as easily as puff shoulders and flouncy gowns. It is big but this Albilla (the grape variety) is certainly more precise than a Chardonnay from the 1980s. Not everyone wants lean and mean and I believe there is a secret group of people …

Random Access Memories: 2003 Rioja Blanco Gravonia

Tasting Gravonia on a cold Monday night while listening to the sneak preview of Daft Punk’s latest Access Random Memories album is like every 70s tropical sunset in the past but seeing it again projected in a fourth dimension. Both are what I can only describe as future-nostalgia. Lopez de Heredia’s wine are very old school Rioja, the one we long for… but have forgotten that is what we really want. It is rolling and smooth – the texture is downright mellow – and touches you as gently as the orange air of a Bali sunset. The honeyed groove is like Nile Rodgers on the bass. Did I mention the texture? Oh yes? It rolls with a creaminess but then seems to REFRESH every 30 minutes. Defying time by becoming younger and younger. As NME says in the review for the album, there is a “wide-eyed sense of freedom… coursing through.” An interesting fact I learned today is that the average age of the collaborators on the Daft Punk album is 45 years old with …

4 Kilos from Mallorca

Can you judge a wine by its label? Yes, in this case, yes. Call me deeply superficial, but this wine from Mallorca matches the quality of the label: smooth dark chocolate, black juicy fruit, mysterious dry garrigue and an unexpected bang of freshness, which I can only guess comes from 50% use of the native grape, Callet, rather than the 40% Cabernet Sauvignon or 10% Merlot. Who are Vino de la Tierra de Mallorca and what are they doing making great wine with great labels by local artists? Their quirky website tells me the winemaker Francesc Grimalt is known for reviving the use of the local Callet grape and has partnered up with owner Sergio Caballero, a musician and founder of Barcelona’s Sonar Festival of advanced music and multi media arts. 4 kilos refers to the 4 million pesatas used to start up the adventure, which is still a micro-winery and mostly made in the garage. The label is by artist known as Marti. And if you want to know more about the label, here is a coolly …