Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Back In The Chai

I am back in the Chai after a great holiday in French and Spanish Catalonia. Libby and I started our holiday in Perpignan and made our way down the coast crossing into Spain and heading inland through Figueres to Can Serola. Here we stayed at an absolutely amazing hotel lost high in the green foothills of the Spanish Pyrenees.

We visited some of the surrounding villages, one being the picturesque old town of Besalu, good tapas and good dry Xarrelo I remember well!

We sadly left the mountains after a couple of days and headed to the coast of Catalonia but stopped off first at Figueres – the birth town of artist Salvador Dali – and visited his very bizarre museum. The museum is well worth a visit even if it does leave you a bit dazed and confused afterwards!

We finally arrived in the small fishing town of Cadeques late Sunday where we took over our keys for an apartment close to the town centre and with great views from the terrace over the bay of Cadeques. That evening we sampled some local wine and discovered a very interesting white wine from Emporda made by Martin Faixo and from a rare blend of 91% Picapoll Blanc (known as Picpoul in France) and 9% Muscat.

The rest of the week the car remained stationary and we wandered in and around the village lunching on tapas. For dinner we picked up freshly caught bream, squid and sardines for the barbeque on the terrace and of course an interesting wine to go with it!

Before leaving Cadeques we stumbled on an equivalent to our ‘Voyager’ restaurant back home in Castillon. It was bustling with workers, older people there for their daily rations, the odd curious and worried looking tourist. Menus were in Catalan only, grumpy chef, efficient and pleasantly rude staff – love it!

With only a vague idea of what we ordered the food that came was superb and you could now see why the place was packed full. We had red peppers stuffed with salt cod mash, ham croquets, grilled conejo (rabbit) and whole fried baby squid, tomato bread, best chips since the voyageur and all washed down with red carafe table wine, perfect!

Some memorable wines tasted during the holiday were:

• Always good Manzanilla La Guitara
• DO Cataluyna Samso (Carignan) 09' by Ramon Roqueta
• 100% Samso Emporda 2007 Rigau Ros
• Prado Enea 2000 Gran Reserva Rioja (Muga)
• 1999 Rioja alta from Vina Ardanza
• 100% Tempranillo 2004 Ferratus Ribera del Duero from Bodegas Cuevas Jimenez
• 1995 Gran Reserva Rioja from Bodegas La Rioja Alta SA
• 'Adaia' Organic Cava (in a rather special bottle!)

Most people bring back a few bottles from their holidays but not me I came back with 30,000 litres! As soon as we crossed the border back into France there were already two trucks waiting for me in Maury – one for the 2009 Vent de Folie the other for the Syrah de Folie 09’. They were soon loaded and I was heading straight back to the Chai.

Whilst I had been away cellar master Denis had been filling the new Dordogne cellar with barrels ready for the arrival of the 2009 wines. It’s a good job he’s been busy as tomorrow I am off to St. Emilion to pick up another one of our wines for ageing in the Chai.


No comments: