Comment from El Campello Social Club March 2012

Hi Colin Just wanted to say thank you for a great day out at the Bodegas Castano and Bodegas Sierra Salinas We at the Campello Social Club always enjoy ourselves but this trip more than surpassed our expectations. Good guide, good food and good value for money in every way. We look forward to another trip with Tin Lizzie Tours soon. Keep up the good work All the best Jean.

Bodega Visit, Tasting and Lunch!

We have just a few places left for our dual bodega visit this coming Tuesday 13th March. It’s going to be another geat day out: we visit Bodegas Sierra Salinas where a tour in English explaining in a fun and user-friendly manner the wine-making process and the bodegas philosophy is followed by a tasting of two of their wines. Then we go to their sister winery Bodegas Castaño in Yecla, 15 minutes away. Here we see a much larger facility including the large crianza area where all their fine wines are maturing in oak.

Then in their restaurant we have a super 3 course lunch with four different wines, generously poured! A raffle and quiz on the day’s events ends this excellent trip on our way home. All this for an incredible 30€ only!

Please call me now on 629 388 159 if you’d like to join us!

First Published in the Costa News Group’s four titles March 2012




Bear with me here, this is the wine column, I assure you!

For one who was once heavily involved in football: both amateur (I played in local leagues and coached schools’ and representative schools’ teams); and professional football (I spent six years as a professional scout for Liverpool FC) you may be surprised to hear me saying that over the intervening years I have become somewhat disenchanted with the sport.

Whilst I suppose that for me it will always be, to put it in the great Pele’s words, “The Beautiful Game”, I can’t help but feel that the name has become tarnished since those halcyon days when the Pele, universally recognised as his generation’s best exponent, astonished us with his supreme skill as well as his humbleness and exemplary conduct. I’m sure you’ve now guessed where I’m coming from.

Pele, Bobby Charlton, the late Bobby Moore, Franz Beckenbauer et al plus perhaps their more modern day equivalents like Gary Lineker, and fast-forwarding to the wonderfully gifted, Messi, for example must watch and read aghast at the shameful face of today’s football. It seems we can’t open our newspapers or turn on the radio and TV without hearing about, at best, the petty, petulant schoolboy squabbling of current practitioners of the now less than beautiful game; or indeed at worst, accusations of sexual harassment, violence and, currently in vogue, it appears,  disgraceful racism.

We’ll I recently experienced another side of professional football, one of which Pele and his like-minded friends would surely approve. At last a warm story about the most popular game in the world and, my wine-loving friends, a story related, you’ll be glad to know, to this column’s raison d’etre – wine!

Those of you who, like myself, retain at least an interest in football, despite all that’s currently wrong with it, will know the name Andrés Iniesta, scorer of Spain’s World Cup winning goal in 2010 and, put simply, one of the best players in the world. Indeed his invaluable contribution to Barça’s midfield is one of the main reasons why Barcelona currently enjoy being lauded as the best club team on Earth. In sporting terms he really is a living legend!

And it’s Andrés Iniesta who has managed to put a smile back on my face, not just when I see him play, but also because of a little known off the field activity in which he is involved.

Señor Iniesta, Andrés father, and his family have always worked the land around a small village Called Fuenteabilla, not so far from Albacete. As a young man and using a horse he used to plough the fields surrounding the relatively grand finca of the wealthiest man of the village, dreaming a seemingly impossible dream of one day owning his own land and planting vines to make and sell vines, on a small scale of course.

Well, when his son Andrés achieved part one of his own apparently intangible dream by signing as a professional player for Barcelona he used a significant part of his signing-on fee to realise that of his father. The wealthiest family of the village were approached, a price was agreed and Andrés was able to present his father with not not only the land surrounding the finca, but the finca as well! Bodega Iniesta was born!

On a gloriously sunny but very cold morning in early February I exited the state-of-the-art building with Chief Wine Maker Juanjo Muñoz who pointed out to the rear, across pristine vineyards of neatly pruned 50+ year old vines, the white finca on the horizon which sits happily amid the vines of Bodega Iniesta. Inside the grape reception area the temperature was wine-friendly, though not so journalist-friendly, and my fascinating tour began.

Bodega Iniesta is not a Glitterati trophy bodega as are other wineries in different countries. Famous Rock Musicians, Actors, Film Directors and Sports-people have invested in wine operations, some with more success than others, and some, really with no other thought than simply expanding their fame, and wealth, hopefully.

It’s clear from the outset that Andrés Iniesta has inherited his family’s passion for the land, for the vine and ultimately for the wine produced on it. The philosophy of the bodega is to produce wine that tops the price/quality ratio list where a celebrity’s wine will not boast celeb prices. No wonder a banner in the village proudly proclaims, ‘Iniesta Siempre Contigo!”

Part two next week!

Ethnic Cuisine and Spanish Wine – A Marriage Made In Moraira!

Check out this hot news:

I’ve just added the final piece in the jigsaw of a brand new and original project I’ve been thinking about for a while now, and I wanted you to be the first to know!

Some of you may remember that I used to have two restaurants in the UK where I had a particular interest in matching our cuisine with our wines. I’ve been able to carry on with that interest here in Spain as one of the things I have done since I’ve been here is designing wine lists for restaurants – I’m currently working on two in fact.
Plus for the last two years I’ve been consultant wine expert to Bay Radio where my brief is to recommend wines to accompany the recipe of the week, and once a month I present a live on-air tasting doing the same with Sunday Brunch Presenters, Noelle and Bob.
I’ve been asked to present a wine tasting in the Torrevieja area at an Indian restaurant where I’ll be recommending wines to match their cuisine. This made me think about Moraira, where I live and where there are a large number of excellent ethnic restaurants. Wouldn’t a wine tasting to accompany the different ethnic specialities be a superb evening?
Well it’s on – a series of 3 for sure, maybe 4, fortnightly evenings in the following selected restaurants, starting in May: Happy Garden Chinese Restaurant; Bajul Indonesian Restaurant; and Himalaya Nepalese/Indian Restaurant! I’m really excited about it as it will be a fine opportunity for the restaurants to showcase some of their top dishes and for me to match them with some of their best wines from their wine lists! Plus of course it will be a chance for you to return to your favourite restaurants and try some of their different dishes and wines, or a chance for those of you who haven’t been to the restaurants involved to sample what they have to offer. I’m certain many of you will return!
There will be 4 or 5 different dishes, each served with a different wine as recommended by myself having consulted the chefs re ingredients etc. It’s going to be excellent! The cost of each evening will be between 15€ – 18€ (individual restaurants to confirm their price soon).
The first of these rather special nights will be on Thursday 3rd May at Restaurante Happy Garden (Chinese). The next is likely to be at Restaurante Bajul (Indonesian) two weeks later – date to be confirmed. The third will be at Restaurante Himalaya (Nepalese/Indian) – again two weeks later, but the exact date is to be confirmed. Prices, definitely within the band above, will also be confirmed soon. It is possible that a further ethnic restaurant will be added to the series probably for the second week of June, but this has to be confirmed.
Please note, although I’d highly recommend going to all three/four (that’s why they are spaced out so it’s not too heavy on the pocket in one go!) as these will be really tasty nights, it is not obligatory to reserve for all, of course!
The restaurants and myself are sure that these will be very popular nights so I’d highly recommend that you keep track of details by listening to Bay Radio on the Sundays when I’m on air, by reading Cork Talk in the Costa Blanca News and/or by visiting my website click Events.
Alternatively you could reserve with me right now, subject of course to dates and price! Either call me on 629 388 159 or e-mail me at
I can’t wait – see you there?