Costa Blanca News

Barbecues and wines to match

- Cork Talk by Colin Harkness colin@colinharkn­ Facebook Colin Harkness Twitter @colinonwin­e

When we received our invitation to Neil and Carol’s BBQ, to celebrate the former’s birthday, it wasn’t entirely true that all the wines we would be tasting were largely down to my having introduced them to Neil, as he actually said.

I can’t claim credit for the super Luis Roederer Brut Premier Champagne, served as a welcome drink. Also, the delightful M de Alejandria dessert wine, was a new Moscatel to me, but one to which I’m sure I’ll return.

However, I might perhaps have played a part in Neil’s choice of white wine, paired with the delicious barbecued fresh prawns; as well as the simply wonderful, exemplary DO Yecla red wine, Casa Cisca from Bodegas Castaño. After all, I did take Neil and Carol to visit the bodega a couple of years ago.

It was one of those social events that one knew had to be a success! I was, obviously, very confident in the wines. Neil knows a thing or two about wine, that’s for sure, so whilst I knew very well the two I’d recommende­d, I was certain that the others would be of the same standard. Plus, Neil is several steps above being just an accomplish­ed chef – his dinners, and BBQs are legendary!

The food therefore was a given from the start - bound to be top class. All was set for an excellent barbecue.

Roederer produces the hallowed Champagne Cristal Millesime Brut, retailing at well over 100€ per bottle and their other wines are, of course, of a similar standard, and not a lot cheaper!

A high proportion of the base wine for this Champagne is barrel aged, giving the finished product greater depth and a little extra flavour too. The Champagne stays on its lees aging in the cellars for a minimum of 48 months before its release! Balanced, elegant, full flavoured – a great way to start!

Regular readers may remember me singing the praises of the Albariño based wines of Bodegas Palacio de Fefiñanes, where Claire-Marie and I were once invited to attend a lunch within the castle-like, Manor House! Their whole portfolio of wines is excellent! I’d recommende­d them to Neil and he bought their ‘regular’ Fefiñanes Albariño as well as their rather special Fefiñanes III Año Albariño 2013, asking me to choose! Both are exemplary, but I opted for the latter, as it’s a bit different!

The Albariño grapes are handpicked, passing at least two inspection­s – only the best bunches are used in making this wine. It’s fermented in temperatur­e-controlled stainless steel tanks and then left on its lees, with gentle stirring for over 30 months. Albariño is a variety that revels in this treatment, giving the drinker in return a beautiful, golden hued wine which is dry and elegant redolent of peach and apricot. Excellent!

Bodegas Castaño’s Casa Cisca 2013 is probably sold out right now! It always sells out as it’s a wonderful wine. At 15% it looks like a big wine, and it is, yet for all its weight and body, it is fresh, plumy and elegant.

When you put the glass to your lips, but smell, before tasting, the wine speaks to you, seduces you, before you’ve even tasted it. And its promise is delivered when you hold it on your palate and let your taste buds go to work, eventually swallowing. It’s a conversati­on stopper – and the huge rib of beef with which it was served, well, a perfect pairing if ever there was one!

Cristina Rodriguez Vicente’s childhood dream of producing a dessert wine made with her own Moscatel grapes came true in 2016, having replanted an ancient vineyard in the Teulada landscape of the Costa Blanca. The first commercial wine from this enterprise, M de Alejandria, made in the ice wine style, in fact by friend and colleague, Daniel Belda, of the eponymous bodega, is the one we enjoyed so much with a special peach dessert.

Sweet yes, as desired, but also with the crucial acidity that keeps dessert wines fresh. Honeyed ripe orange peel aromas and flavour with lovely honeysuckl­e and white flower fragrance!

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