Please note that some places are still left for our unique Ethnic Cuisine/Spanish Wine Pairings Evenings thoughout May in Moraira. Our first is at Restaurante Marhaba, Moroccan Cuisine, on Thursday 3rd May, 19:30 hrs, 18€; then Restaurante Bajul, Indonesian, 16th May; 19:30 hrs, 17·50€; finally Restaurante Himalaya, Nepalese/Indian Cuisine, 19:30 hrs, 18:00€.

Each restaurant is providing 4 or 5 dishes that they feel best represent their style of cuisine and I am selecting a different wine to go along with each course, therefore 4 or 5 different wines!

The restaurants have been selected as specialists in their own field and I’m certain that these evenings are going to be super – a chance to enjoy something different, and I’m sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised at some oif the wine/food combinations. This is no curry and lager night, that’s for sure!

Please call me on 629 388 159 for more details and to reserve! Hurry though, places are filling fast!


First Published Costa Nwes Group April 2012




It’s not surprising that an organisation that boasts over 1,500 members can fill a venue within a week of advertising an event! So it was, with the Moraira/Teulada U3A for a recent Wine Presentation held at Cafe Del Mar, on the coast road to Calpe.

The idea was the brainchild of Groups Co-ordinator, Shirley Baehr, whose project of a series of work-shops for members is clearly proving rather popular, if this, the first of several, is anything to go by! The aim was to entertain and inform members about some of the different styles of wine that are to be found in Spain.

Sometimes it can be confusing when confronted with a bottle of wine in a shop or restaurant – what does it all mean? Our objective was to give members some extra information, enabling them to make more informed choices when next buying their wines, with some tasty fun along the way!

What better way to do this than by tasting examples of four different styles of wine, with choices made from the huge portfolio of wines offered by wines from Bodegas Vicente Gandía, along with some tapas? For added value, considering the fact that this pro-active bodega now has outposts in several different wine producing areas of Spain, we also had the opportunity to introduce members to some Denominaciónes de Origen, whose wines  they perhaps hadn’t sampled before.

Members were fascinated to learn of the Nocturnal Harvesting now undertaken in DO Rueda, from whence comes some of the best white wine of Spain. In an effort to obtain the best out of the indigenous grape variety, Verdejo, which has a tendency to oxidise too easily, grape bunches are harvested by pickers using miner’s lamps on their heads at night time, to avoid the high temperatures brought by sunshine.

Nebla is such a wine – resulting from Bodegas Vicente Gandía’s first foray into this wine producing area hundreds of kilometres North East of their home in the hills of DOs Valencia and Utiel-Requena. Super Sauvignon-esque aromas of gooseberry, kiwi and herbs with a touch of fennel are joined by further vegetal notes on the nose and palate. This wine was the chosen representative of the Joven, or Young, style of wine – the first of the four styles discussed during the evening.

Next, in the red corner, members learned of a relatively new style of wine, a type perhaps most easily understood by the term ‘Semi-Crianza’, though often called ‘Roble’ instead, and even sometimes not called anything particular at all. Sound a bit confusing? Well yes, but listen up!

I think probably most wine lovers will know that the term Crianza (in fact the third style of wine described on the night) means that the wine has to have a had a prescribed minimum amount of time in Oak and then in Bottle, before it can be released onto the market. This minimum of 6 months in oak and 12 months in bottle is in fact laid down by law.

However I’m delighted to say that many winemakers like to include the influence of oak, but not as much as 6 months’ worth. Hence the term Semi-Crianza which tells the buyer that the wine has had some oak ageing but not as much as a Crianza, wine. Sometimes such a wine is called a ‘Roble’, wine, which is of course the Spanish word for Oak. Often Roble wines will also say on the label just how many months the wine has had resting in oak before bottling.

And sometimes neither Roble nor Semi-Crianza will be written on the label but reference will be made to oak ageing, like Dolmo, Bodegas Vicente Gandía’s Ribera del Duero Wine, which has had 4 months in oak. I love this wine – made with Tempranillo, it’s darkly coloured, rich and quite deep, ideal to drink with or without food.

The third wine style, a Crianza wine, comes from La Rioja and is named Raiza taken from the Spanish word for roots, letting consumers know that here is a wine rooted in the traditional wine-making techniques of the hallowed lands of Spain’s most famous wine crafting area. A Rioja Crianza in fact exceeds the minimum number of months in oak, doubling it to a whole year. Raiza has the aromas and flavours that speak of place – classic Rioja red wine whose dark red fruits integrate with the vanilla of the oak in which they’ve been aged.

The final style, is the same as the above, but more so – Reserva, and Vicente Gandía’s Hoya De Cadenas Reserva, which has had 14 months in American oak, is from their home vineyards in DO Utiel-Requena. Tempranillo is aided and abetted by Cabernet Sauvignon, and marginally proved to be the favourite of the evening.

PS Please note reservations are now being taken for the wine/ethnic food pairings evenings in Moraira: Ethnic Cuisine Courts Spanish Wines – A Marriage Made In Moraira. Thursday 3rd May we are at Moroccan Restaurant, Marhaba, just 18€; 16th May Restaurante Bajul, Indonesian Cuisine, 17·50€; and Nepalese/Indian Restaurant Himalaya, 29th May,18€. Each of the 4 or 5 dishes will be paired with a different wine to complement the Ethnic specialities – I can’t wait! Please e-mail or call me on 629 388 159 to reserve your places and for more information.

Comment from Rotary Fellowship Chairman, Barry Lloyd following Bodega Visit

Hi Colin,
On behalf of the 35 members and guests of the Rotary International
Fellowship we wish to thank you for a splendid day on 13 March when we
visited the Sierra Salinas and Castano bodegas. As Ann and myself have
previously experienced, on day trips and three-day away excursions, your
organisation is supurb both as a host and guide. Added to that, your
knowledge and experience of wines in Spain is unsurpassed on the Costa
Blanca and beyond and your elevation to the International Wine Panel is a
testament to that.
Please pass on our thanks to Raquel for acting as our guide and for her
considerable help and knowledge of how wine is produced, stored and packed
in Bordega Costano.
I can best sum up our day with the following quotes from some of our party:
”Interesting, informative, entertaining and the facilities for tasting the
wine with lunch were excellent.” D A, Moraira.
”Always find Colin’s trips informative, interesting and fun.” A and K J,
”We did enjoy ourselves so much, great wine and nice people.” S and J G,
”A most enjoyable day.” S B, Javea.
The day was rounded off by an excellent lunch and the opportunity not only
to taste some of Castano’s top wines, but also to purchase some at very
attractive discounted prices, as the number of boxes on the coach testified!
Again our thanks for all your hard work in the days’s organisation,
including the enjoyable quiz during the return jouney to Moraira and
Finally, anyone reading this who would be interested in finding out what we
stand for as a Rotary Fellowship please feel free to contact me on
965795421. With the exception of June, July and August, we meet on Friday at
Los Leones Restaurant, Moraira, part of the Sol Park Tennis complex, for an
enjoyable lunch,1.0 for1.45, followed by a speaker.
Once again Colin, our thanks.
Kind regards,
Barry Lloyd,
Chairman, Rotary International Fellowship Committee, Javea.

Comment received after the Rotary Fellowship visit to Bodegas Castaño and Bodegas Sierra Salinas

Bill and Sheila Shipsides.
We both thoroughly enjoyed our trip last tuesday to the Bodega Castaño. Of particular interest was their the manner of ”pressing” the grapes by using their inherent weight and therefore not mechanically bruising and damaging them.
Also their forward looking vision in growing 16? grape varieties with the intention to blend and create new exciting tastes.
The paella meal with plenty of wine to accompany it was a fitting finale to a super day.
The whole was ‘orchestrated’ by Colin in his inimitable and humorous style.
Thanks a lot. We look forward to the next time!!
B & S Shipsides