Every now and then you have to take advantage of an offer and this is exactly what we have just done.
As I write this, I am sitting with my wife Wendy looking out over the Mediterranean, across the rooftops of the Andalucian town of Nerja in a little village called Maro.
The temperature is just around 20 degrees and pure blue sky.
We had virtually made the decision that a holiday wasn’t on the cards when Wendy’s sister and brother-in-law offered us the use of their house here in Spain. How could we say no?
I have mentioned Spanish wine more than once in this column but what an opportunity to see just what the Spanish drink themselves!
On our first night, we headed down into the village on the lookout for something really local.
We soon found ourselves in a small bar with about 10 of the village men crowded around the bar and their wives sitting at tables.
The conversation was at fever pitch, with lots of laughter and the ladies speaking in that staccato Spanish which is so fast you can’t catch a word.
I ordered a beer and Wendy a glass of white and a couple of tapas – fresh broad beans with pancetta, and a dish of meatballs (Albondigas con Salsa). We made the decision to eat here almost immediately.
The white wine, we found out, was a Verdejo from Rueda – stunning with fabulous aromatic fruit on the nose and a richness on the palate, a light lime flavour keeping it so fresh.
This is where Spain has leapt forward with its white wines.
We ordered another bottle and some more food!
Looking around in town last night we stumbled across a good-looking wine store in the middle of town and I became fascinated in the Malaga wine story.
This is effectively a sherry style.
I am familiar with their sweet style made from Pedro Ximinez grapes which is glorious but I found that there was a whole range from dry to sweet and loads in between.
This is a subject I must research. The dry one is fabulous as an aperitif served very cold.
These wines are not widely available in the UK but worth searching out if you are on holiday.
While we were in the store we found that a number of the labels we keep were on our shelves.
Vina Izadi Rioja, Vetus and Flor de Vetus from Toro, Martin Codax from Galicia which was great for us to see.
My attention was also drawn to some wines from Ribero del Duero; not available here under the Sitial label but incredible value for money.
Clearly all these wines are being sold for a lot less than we can offer them because we have to add the cost of the UK customs and excise duty of £21.70 a case, the transport from Spain and then our VAT on the total.
We have been offered lovely light Tempranillo, glorious Verdejo and a white last night that we couldn’t identify off the label but so drinkable; as well as lovely fresh Cava and some of the Torres wines such as the beautiful Vina Ezmeralda (only Miguel himself could have thought of mixing Muscat with Gewurtztraminer).
Coming to Spain out of season has been an eye-opener and it won’t be our last visit.
We have been incredibly lucky with the weather and we have managed to get in some wonderful walks along the coast and in the mountains, so it’s worth the gamble.
It is also nice to have relations with a house down here – thanks guys!
Published: February 6, 2012
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You should visit Galicia, the inland is very much like the Lakes, with dry stone walling and stone built houses.
It is warmer and sunnier through!