Some final great memories from the Cuatrogatos Wine Fest in Puerto de Santa Maria. Hard to believe that it is already a couple of weeks ago (a fine testament to the velocity with which I write up my posts). It was billed as wine and laughter and vice versa and delivered on both promises.
For a start, some absolutely cracking wines you can drink by the gallon from makers like:
- Jose Crusat (Entre os Ríos) and his fantastic range of wild and woolly whites including the leesy and buzzy Altares de Postmarcos, the super sharp Vulpes Vulpes, his two wild albariños Komokabras Yellow and Green, an even wilder one with time in a tinaja and a funky ancestral called “Bubbles from Rivendell” (which I missed out on on the day);
- German R. Blanco and his range of reds from across the North, including juicy fresh Quinta Milú and La Cometa, increasingly refined mencias from Altos de San Esteban the fascinating range of parcel specific wines from Casa Aurora, and his new Rioja, La Bicicleta Voladora (which I again missed out on on the day – you snooze, you looze);
- Javier Castro and Sonia López (Bodega Ziríes) and their garnachas from Toledo – four wines that were in turns mineral, fresh, aromatic, concentrated and expressive;
- Beatriz Herranz, the “Verdejusticiera” (Verdejo law maker) from Barco del Corneta with what are probably the best wines being made in Rueda, mineral and rich, serious stuff, and also a really interesting palomino (Bruto);
- Cristina Carrillo (Bodega Finca Fuentegalana), whose stand seemed to be mobbed every time I stepped near it (to the point where I could only try one wine at a time) had a really interesting stuff range of wines from albillo to shiraz; and
- many other cracking bodegas (I would write them all up if I was a half decent blogger/had time), including Xabier Sanz and his fantastic feathered friends from Navarra (Viña Zorzal), Eulogio Pomares and Rebeca Montero, Miguel Montoto and Inma Pazos (Vinos de Miguel: Coto de Gomariz, Ailalá y Vinos de Encostas); Xurxo Alba (Albamar); Charlotte Allen (Almaroja); Verónica Ortega (Verónica Ortega); Cuatro Ojos Wines, Clos Lentiscus, Casa Castillo – the list could go on and on.
There was plenty of laughter too. Shouldn’t really have been a surprise given that we were all there thanks to the genial Federico but in addition to it was genuinely a fun place to spend the day.
And for me it was a fascinating and inspiring day. When you think about it wine making is miraculous – and I refer to all winemaking, not just the water into wine at wedding stuff – and to me there is something not quite canny about winemakers – people that can look at a vine and consider how to prune it, how many leaves and bunches it can support, when to harvest the fruit etc, let alone all the decisions and judgments needed thereafter in terms of cepage, batonnage, barrel age, and other words ending in age. It requires a lot of knowledge, skill and, frankly, hard work and I find it extraordinarily inspiring to chat to really good winemakers and let the technical knowledge wave over me. When they are as friendly and generous as this bunch were it makes for a really uplifting and educational experience.