Dolce Divas in Concert!

I can’t wait for the next Dolce Divas Concert!

Tickets are selling well but there are still seats available. The venue is the charming and intimate Teatro del Sol, between Altea and La Nucia. The date is Sunday 23rd September at 20:00 hrs – though it’s advisable to arrive eraly as it will be busy – and why not, as there is a bar for pre-show drinks!

Drinks can also be enjoyed during the interval and even after the show.

Dolce Divas’ programme includes some favourites, but there are many new songs too. Plus of course the guest star, Miguel Ángel Buigues will be blowing his own trumpet – in the nicest possible way, of course!

10€ only buys you a super evening out enjoying excellent classical and contemporary music!

Please contac me to reserve your tickets: or please call me, 629 388 159

See you there!!

First Published in Costa News SL September 2012


There’s an old adage in the Wine Trade which says: Buy on Bread; Sell on Cheese! Consequently you won’t see cheese at a professional wine tasting as it has the, perhaps enviable, reputation of making all wines taste better than they really are.

Hence, if one is trying to shift some less than good wine it’s better to offer cheese with it, than bread which will enable you to taste the wine for what it is! Bread and biscuits are what you have at serious wine tastings, you enjoy the cheese at home later!

However, if commerce is not an issue, and you are looking for some super wine/food combinations then cheese and wine is an

A beautiful table of cheese waiting for its wine!

excellent option. Having heard and read about the series of tastings with wines and food on Bay Radio and in this column, Sandra and John contacted me to ask if I’d be happy to present a cheese and wine pairing evening at their wonderful house in Montgò, Javea. I accepted with alacrity!

A group of twenty of Sandra and John’s friends and family, including several different nationalities, assembled at the end of July, surrounding a beautiful table adorned with a selection of wine glasses and, of course, several wonderful heavily laden cheese boards. I was proud of the cheese boards, though I can’t take any credit for it as it was all done on advice from the indispensable Claire, who knows a thing about wine/cheese matches having lived in France for ten years!

My other, most able assistant, Dom, John’s grandson, was a whiz at taking off the foils and opening the bottles and he made my job much easier, even pouring, with great aplomb, the correct measure into each glass! At nine years of age he restricted his interest to simply sniffing the corks – a good start for a wine connoisseur of the future!

I should point out immediately of course that there was no attempt to persuade people to buy wine by serving it with cheese – all five wines, each served with a different cheese, are super wines in their own right and certainly do not require any help from cheese! Plus there was no wine to sell anyway!

We started, perhaps controversially with a white wine to accompany a Manchego cheese. Avgvstvs Chardonnay FB 2011 is a lovely wine, made in the Burgundy style rather than New World exotic fruit cocktails and/or over-oaked aromas. Like the French themselves this wine is subtle. Integrated oak – a touch of butter, a creaminess following time spent on its lees and sniff of vanilla, but super fruit too.

This wine was served with Oveja Viejo La Cueva, an aged hard ewe’s cheese. The combination worked well and was enjoyed by all.

Bodegas Sierra Salinas provided the first two red wines tasted. First was their economically priced Mo 2010 – made with Monastrell, Garnacha Tintorera, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, it was at first opening a little tannic but after a time, and certainly when tasted with the Brique Oveja, a soft Ewe’s cheese this time, it really did the job.

Next we enjoyed their Puerto Salinas 2009. The same varieties, minus Syrah, but this time with 15 months in French oak. I really enjoy this wine each time I taste it. It’s rounded and deep with complexity and yet so easy to drink! It’s partner was the super, full flavoured Morbier. A cow’s cheese made with a thin layer of wood ash in the centre, which in times gone by provided a protective line between curd that had been made in the evening (at the bottom of the mould) and curd made the next morning.

This may have been the equal best cheese/wine combination of the evening!

Next a wine that was greatly enjoyed by all, and a cheese that also delighted tasters, but not necessarily when served together! Colección 2009 from Bodegas Castaño, DO Yecla, is the latest vintage on sale from a series of consistently excellent wines – I love this wine. Made mostly with Monastrell there is also a telling 20% Cabernet in the blend. Damsons mix with blackcurrant and a touch of liquorice with the 12 months in oak adding depth of flavour too.

The cheese was Perail Ewe’s cheese. A very aromatic, and at times quite strong, runny cheese. Sheep grazing on French fields where there is an abundance of wild flowers seem to pass on floral aromas to the cheese!

Cheese and Wine - a super combination of tastes!

Finally, arguably the winning wine, and maybe cheese too, was the Bodegas Castaño Dulce Monastrell dessert wine/Queso Azul Asturiano pairing. Blue cheese, rich, creamy and taking just a little extra flavour from the walnut leaves in which it is wrapped, is matched with the stunning dessert style red wine, a little on the lines of Port and Stilton – another marriage made in heaven!

Contact Colin: and through his unique wine services website

If you are looking for a private or group: bodega visit/wine appreciation course/wine tasting/wine and food pairing evenings etc please contact Colin. Also those in the restaurant business would do well to ask Colin to review wine lists/train staff/advise on serving, rotating and keeping wine plus wine/food and wine pairing etc. 

Comment Gratefully Received following the Wine Tasting @ Finca Rustica

Finca Rustica - for the perfect de-stress break!
Hola Colin
May we say how thrilled we were of the well organised wine and tapas
event you presented in our home. It was such an interesting
presentation and thank you very much for the flattering introduction to
everyone present about our Mountain home. The prestigious wines you
presented were appreciated by all and judging by the comments everyone
seemed to enjoy the tapas we had prepared. We were a little nervous
about meeting everyone for the first time but the feedback afterwards
has been ‘Please let us know when we can book the next one!’ Praise in
deed as we enjoyed hosting it with such a fun crowd and with your
expertise at these kind of gatherings even we felt totally relaxed and
enjoyed the day. Thank you also to Clare who very skillfully averted a
rather determined wasp from helping himself to the tapas. Possibly
sitting under our vines with juicy grapes hanging down was just too
much for him to resist!. After you left we delayed the dinner untill
9-9.30 so all the house guests had time to unwind with a book in the
finca or take a nap and refresh before the evening meal. As they sat
outside they said the views of the mountain and the almost full moon
created a great atmosphere. Our only regret is the absense of our
background Spanish music specially prepared and unused purely because
the conversation along with our Finca Rustica wine was flowing too well
to be interrupted. Credit to you Colin as the couples who stayed the
evening gelled so well with each other they have made new and lasting
friendships. Any way some were given  leaflets about our week/week-end
breaks here and most had a look around the casita and the main finca
and wine making room. Please thank them all for coming it was a
pleasure meeting such an interesting group of people.If anyone didn’t
take our contact details perhaps you wont mind us including them in
this email for you to pass on. They can find us on
( property reference s14708) or our own website or email or if all else
fails mobile 00447977219151.
Hasta le something….Sue and Roger
Finca Rustica - taken from the vineyard!

Comment Gratefully Received La Gran Cata en La Montaña!

Fine Wine & Tapas tasting at Finca Rustica!


We spent yesterday afternoon in the mountains behind Calpe and Benissa in a super and stress busting location at Finca Rustica. A beautiful home created by 2 very entertaining hosts. But we were there for a fine wines tasting with Colin Harness – the wines were carefully matched to substantial tapas prepared and presented by our hosts, Sue and Roger.


We were introduced to some excellent wines from around Spain, some super food – and some new friends. Colin led us through the wines in his own professional style.


This was a delightful afternoon alongside the small vineyard, which some of us were able to continue enjoying by staying the night.


We hope that the next one is not too far off Colin!!!


Andrew & Kathy Johnson


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