First day of my summer holidays and my girlfriend Elsa and I are driving down to the
Up early to drive to Girona airport just over the border in
Today we explore the ‘Sherry Triangle’. The sherry triangle is made up of the points of three towns; Jerez de la Fronterra (inland), Sanlucar de Barrameda (on the west) and El Puerta de Santa Maria (south west of Jerez). It is in these three towns that you will find the famous sherry ageing cellars with each town producing a unique style of sherry due to its temperatue, humidity and proximity to the sea. First stop is Sanlucar, the home of Manzanilla dry sherry where we visit bodegas Sandeman and the vast cellars of Barbadillo. Their buildings (in fact, streets!) are painted in their distinctive colours of white and brown and it seems like they own half the town.
We then stop off for a look around the old
This evening we are being entertained by the one and only Bob Dylan who is performing a small concert in
Today we have a Bodega visit at the legendary Alvaro Domecq Bodega in the centre of
For dinner we venture in to the old town quarters of
Back to Girona and then spend the weekend in the Roussillon in
We are off to
After a week of sea, sun and no vineyards in sight we decide to go down to the Spanish DOQ of Priorat to see some friends and visit some bodegas. Priorat DOQ is situated about 150km south of
Priorat DOQ is an area made of pure slate soils and can be found inside the DO of Monsant, all vineyards are cultivated on incredibly steep terraces and the Grenache and Carignan are the king and queen of the grape varieties grown here. The area is unique mainly due to the remarkable temperature difference between night and day. The temperature on average falls and rises17 ºC in 24 hours and it is this that enhances the complexity during the grape maturation. This explains why Priorat wines have this immense strength but remain elegant and fresh on the palate.
We are staying the lost town of
We meet up with our friend Stephan Lismon for coffee. Stephan is a Flemish Belgian who has lived in
After lunch we are on the winding road from Falset to Porrera trying to find the winery Ferrer Bobet. My friend Norrel knows the owner and has organized the visit for us all and the only background info I have is that he told me “it will blow your mind”. Bend after bend passes by and no sign of life let alone a winery, then out of blue there is a UFO sticking out of the mountainside. After taking the private road up to the Bodega which sits at 600m above the main road we are met by Isabel Fortuny at the winery door. The place is amazing and the two owners Sergi Ferrer and Raul Bobet and spent a ridiculous amount of time and money to construct this winery. It has all the bells and whistles such as huge drive-in fridges to store the grapes whilst waiting to be processed, gravity lifts and cranes, tiny temperature controlled oak and stainless steel tanks, various underground barrel stores, more electric Star Wars-style glass sliding doors than you can shake a stick at, and an amazing bay windowed control bridge (a la Star Trek) tasting room!! After the cellar tour we are showed into a big 4x4 armoured type land Rover and chauffeured out of the winery up towards the vineyards only to stop at a huge gate. As the driver punches in the code and the gates swing open I have a very weird ‘
On our way back to
Back to real work today and I am meeting Thierry Cazach the director/winemaker of the Caves de Maury to discuss the 2008 vintage for the President XV and G.G. We go through the details and then I go out with Arnaud the viticulturist to have a look at the progress of the vineyards. The vineyards are looking good and I estimate 4-5 days behind last year.
Today I’m back in the
Maury GG, vintage 2008