March 27 around already and another year has flown by. An appropriate moment perhaps to take stock and reflect. The old blog has had a few hits: 49,800 in total now (meaning 33,200 since this time last year) from 17,100 daily visitors in 105 different countries around the world (not including Iceland or Uruguay). It really is rather humbling, and all I can say is many thanks to everyone for your clicks, retweets, comments, likes and messages. There has been a fair bit to look at too: 326 posts this year, not including this one, or the page updates with lists of restaurants and the like, and just shy of 5,200 tweets, plus all the facebooking etc. Makes me wonder where I find the time.
I am not much cop at deciphering the stats so can’t really tell you with great precision which have been the most visited pages and posts of the year, but I am happy to say that by far the most used page on the blog is the Where To Drink It section, with its list of restaurants of every kind where you can drink the wines of Jerez and Sanlucar, and after that most of the interest appears to be directed at the (proper) Authorities and at the learned writings on topics such as Terroir.
After that, I am also very pleased to say that the wines that arouse most interest are some that are very near to my heart: the Fino la Barajuela 2013, UBE, Encrucijado, the Pitijopos, the Mayeteria Sanluqueña and the Wines of Alba Viticultores. I am convinced that these wines don’t get nearly the attention or respect that they deserve and make no apologies for my numerous posts on them. I only wish that they were more widely available – I have received more than one grumble about my blogging on wines that are made in less than 1,000 bottle batches and I can understand that frustration.
There have once again been a fair few highlights (since March 27 last year):
- Without question the top day was a visit with Willy Perez and a tasting of the wines of the Barajuela Project down in his cracking bodega in Jerez. I really think these are fantastic, exciting wines and the chance to sit down and taste them altogether was really a treat.
- The Cuatrogatos Wine Fest, in Puerto de Santa Maria this February, was an absolute blast, with top wines, top people and a lot of laughter in general and in particular a first look at the Mayeteria Sanluqueña.
- Ramiro Ibañez was involved in many of the highlights of the year, and in particular (and aside from his wines) his two day residency as guest sommelier at Surtopia (Day 1 and Day 2) and an absolutely top drawer masterclass on Palo Cortados in the eponymous taberna (which I am still writing up).
- Primitivo Collantes gave one of the best tastings of the year, and one of the most disarmingly convincing advertisements for terroir focussed winemaking I have seen, a few weeks ago in Enoteca Barolo, restoring my faith in moscatel in the process.
- And indeed there were a lot of good tastings, including the Lustau Almacenistas (in Taberna Palo Cortado), the Wines of Alba Viticultores (in La Buena Vida), Toro Albala (in Taberna Palo Cortado again), Mons Urium (in Taberna Palo Cortado again), the Williams Colección Añadas (in Taberna Verdejo), the great Gran Barqueros (in Reserva y Cata) and a fascinating “vertical” of the Tradición Finos (also in Reserva y Cata).
Regrets, as they say, we have had a few, but only a few. The lowlight of the year was the end of an era in one of my erstwhile favourite watering holes some six months ago (although I am told that good news is around the corner), and there were a few tastings, and wines, that to be quite honest were a bit of a let down. More generally, older and, maybe wiser, maybe just grumpier, I find myself getting more irritated these days with wines, and blarney of all kinds (and the acceptance of them by some sommeliers, who ought to know better), that I might have found charming a couple of years ago, and the “everything is awesome” tone of the blog is getting harder to maintain.
Finally, though, I couldn’t write about this last year without talking about Territorio Era. It is without doubt my favourite bar or restaurant in Madrid at the moment and it should be yours too. All available space that is not dedicated to Diego’s fantastic cooking is given over to storing hundreds of wines of every kind, of which over a hundred are available by the glass. I have lost count of the fantastic lunches and dinners, swift and cheeky glasses of wine and general emergency stops that have taken place in there.
So onwards to year three. There is still a long way to go for the wines of Jerez and Sanlucar so time to push on. Many thanks once again to everybody for all your support up to here and I look forward to the next twelve months.