*Advance Warning – Date to be confirmed, likely to be Tuesday 20th November or Wednesday 21st November*

Another of our super Lunches with Wine Tasting @ La Parrilla del Celler, in Javea Pueblo (Javea Old Town) – with the inimitable Chef-Patron Pepe, cooking us up a super lunch, which will be paired with fine wines – including different styles of Sherry!

Think Sherry is outdated, something to suffer at Aunt Maude’s Christmas gathering?

Think again!

There’s such a variety of styles, pairing perfectly with different foods – once tasted, you’ll be a fan, for sure!

Wines also – and great fun!

Watch this space for more details!

Super Short Break – March 2014

Hola a todos!

Well at last – here are the details of the proposed Short Break to the beautiful mountains above Granada, the rolling chalk coloured valleys of Jerez and the stunning historical city of Seville!

The dates are Monday 24th March – Friday 28th March 2014 – that’s 5 days, 4 nights.

Please note that as Granada is not too far away we won’t be making a really early start!!

We’ll be staying the super, tranquil 4* boutique Hacienda Señorio de Nevada on the first and last nights; and in the 4* luxury Hotel Sherry Park in Jerez for the middle two nights.

As you know this is a wine/sherry/cultural orientated trip and we’ll have organised tours and tastings in the little known (as yet) but excellent area known as Vino de Calidad de Granada; plus of course Sherry in its natural home, Jerez. We’ll also have a day visiting wonderful Seville.

The Hacienda sits surrounded by its own vineyards which make award winning and lovely wine and there are sensational views of the nearby snow-capped mountains of the Sierra Nevada!

We have Dinner Bed and Breakfast for all but the third night, which will be free for you to choose your own restaurant in Jerez, if you would like to experience dinner out of the hotel – though the hotel option will still be open to you if you wish.

The price, 475€ per person, is the most economic I can make it – and it includes:

All the above, plus return travel, of course; a prize raffle, a prize quiz on the visits etc of our trip, during our return journey.

A full itinerary will be available later – there’ll be none of the above left out, of course –  but there may be some interesting additions!

NB Insurance is not included – please make your own arrangements.

I am sending this to all of you before making it public, advertising it in the Costa Blanca News, Facebook etc.

The Hacienda is a boutique hotel so places are limited. Therefore if you fancy joining us please let me know as soon as you can. A deposit of 100€ per person will be required but not until the week beginning 16th December (though you can pay this before of course!).

If you have friends who would also like to join us please let me know – it’s a case of first come first served!

Many thanks – I can’t wait.

If you have any queries please contact me – and please don’t forget to confirm as soon as you can that you are joining us!



Twitter @colinonwine

First Published Costa News Group November 2011





It’s mid-November and I’m writing this in Granada, shivering under the majestic snow-topped Sierra Nevada, on my return from the rolling, chalky hills of sunny, 28ºC, Jerez. My cases are much heavier than when I left home – the reason, I’ve stocked up on what must be the most undervalued ‘wine’ in Spain and maybe the world!

Jerez (aka Xerés and Sherry, because it was misspelt by our forbears in times before the Bard was born, let alone before he’d picked up his celebrated quill, calling it Sack – but hey, a Sherry by any other name . . . ) is a very special wine, fortified by grape spirit to about 16 – 20% alc. The happy and up-for-it group I am with have of course tasted Sherry before. However, by their own admission, they would rarely think of ordering it in a bar as an aperitif, and probably never would have contemplated it as an accompaniment to dinner.

Well I’m delighted to say they may well think differently from now. You see, Sherry is not just about ancient Aunt Matilda’s Christmas tipple, bless her. Sherry comes in several different styles, thus lending itself to many varied dishes and I implore you to give it a go and become a born-again sherry sipper! This is the first of a duo of articles, written not long before Christmas, but to ask you to think above and beyond simply the festive season. Sherry rocks!

I was first at Grupo Estevéz’s elongated white painted premises, probably three, maybe four, years ago. I was invited to bring another group of disciples along to see how things are going, bearing in mind the

The Beautiful Reception Hall at Grupo Estvéz

latest challenges brought about by La Crisis. I’m very pleased to see that all continues as normal, as it has for centuries in this unique wine-making area.

The company as it is now only started in 1982 – a new kid on the block really. But they soon acquired for example the brand name Valdespino, which has been in operation since William’s time (no not the Prince, the Poet!), and continued a fine old tradition exporting around the (Globe, no, not the theatre, the world)!

It’s a beautiful place to visit. The tranquil setting (if you ignore the shopping centre that gradually creeps forward like lava burning land before it) is a delight. It’s not only home to tens of thousands of oak barrels holding some twenty five million bottle’s worth of sherry. It also is a stud for the stunningly beautiful black-caped Jerez horses whose stables we visited, as well as the the tack room and of course the wonderful antique carriages used on special occasions and for competition too.

Plus there’s an assortment of dogs (including Spanish speaking Jack Russells) left to roam and deal with any vermin daft enough to come sniffing for sherry! But that’s not all – there is a magnificent collection of antique furniture, particularly Long Case Clocks (Grandfather Clocks), as well as an art gallery – which would be worth the visit, without the sherry! In some ways it’s a living museum and all with a sense of history and quiet elegance.

We tasted seven different styles of wine – first up was Tio Mateo. It’s something of a cash cow as sales are wonderful – a dry slightly salty fino which we enjoyed with olives. Finos are super aperitif drinks very often used as such chez nous.

Then an Amontillado (remember that in its natural state Amontillado is

Two Fellow Tasters and the super Sherry!

dry and light brown in colour). Del Principe Amontillado Muy Viejo is 18·5 alc and was one of my favourites. We enjoyed it with some darkly coloured jamon.

Contrabandista Amontillado Valdespino has had a small amount of the naturally very sweet grape PX (Pedro Ximenez) added to the blend to make it a little more like the Amontillado’s found in the UK where, traditionally, there has been a demand for a sweeter style.

Solera 1842 Oloroso VOS was a star! Oloroso is also naturally dry – until doctored for the imagined (and often correctly) British palate. This dry 20 year old wine has a rich acidity and very dark colour from it’s slow oxygenation and a faint toffee nose.

The Pale Cream Sherry (now we’re getting into the Aunt Maude zone) is 17·5 % and has a whiff of sweet orange peel and fruit about it. Royal Cream Marqués de Real Tesoro would suit Maude down to the Zimmer and was accurately and delightfully described by group leader, Glennys. as being ‘quite custardy’.

Finally we moved onto the Pedro Ximenez (PX) 100% – a sherry that is a dessert in itself. It can also be enjoyed with rich fruit cake, Christmas Cake and, as it is often described (by me anyway) as liquid Christmas Pudding, you’ll love it with that final taste of our traditional Festive Food.


Perhaps the most underrated ‘wine’ in Spain, Jerez (aka Sherry), takes its name from the area surrounding the town of Jerez in Andalucia and that’s where I’ll be in the coming week, 7th – 12th November! I’ll be visiting at least one Sherry Bodega and of course writing about my experiences and my tasting notes here. Perhaps some of you will be persuaded to try some of the several different styles of Sherry and maybe become a devotee like myself?! Watch this space!