Anybody who’d been away from Alicante for a few years would have been pleasantly surprised if they’d returned, perhaps looking for the Number 48 at what used to be the Bus Station in November!

Come to think of it, ‘Old Bus Station Wines’, sounds rather like the name of an Australian winery, bringing forth images of a wide expanse of vines just outside the dilapidated, Walk About Town, where once Crocodile Dundee types waited to catch a bus to Far Away! But there were no foreign wines when I was invited to sample what was on display at the grand Verema Alicante Tasting!

Verema is a sort of catch-all wine community. Go to their website ( and you’ll find pages detailing wines they sell, Denominación de Origen details and info, forthcoming tastings, Videos, Guides, Wine Tourism and a plethora of other wine stuff! It’s a fascinating and most useful resource.

As a gentleman of the Press, (well, OK, gentleman, is going a bit far!), I was invited to attend, and having heard of the quality of the wines usually presented at these events I responded in the affirmative with some alacrity. I wasn’t disappointed!

The whole, quite compact area has been given an impressive make-over, with flowers, plants and walkways leading to the main building. It’s an excellent venue for presentations and the Verema staff were most professional and helpful. There was a wine glass to collect, which was mine to take home, having sampled, well, as many wines as Iliked. And I did like!

At such events I always find it best to have a plan, otherwise the eye can be distracted as you weave between the massed throng, in and out of the exhibitors’ tables. It’s easy to be overwhelmed. My usual plan is to start with the sparkling wines – there are a number of reasons why I take this approach. Fizz is usually a little lower in alcohol than still wines, which helps when there are some many more wines to taste! Also, I find that sparklers freshen and lift the palate, whilst, let’s be honest, putting one in a good mood also – ready for the onslaught to come!

I was pleasantly accosted by my friend based at Balmoral wines, the subject of a Cork Talk some years ago. Their winemaker there learned his trade in Champagne and has honed his skills in the Albacete area, here in Spain. Their Edone range of Sparkling Wines are exemplary, and well priced too! (

I was also taken by the whole range made at Montesquius (, which were again very well priced – from about 8€ up to about 20€, with a superb Magnum Gran Reserva Brut Nature, coming in at 50€ (remember, a magnum holds two bottles worth!). It has star quality in that it would look magnificent when unveiled at a dinner party, and would knock out your diners re its depth of quality!

I next visited Bodegas Muga, one of the great stalwarts of DOCa Rioja. Having tasted it in situ several times, I certainly could have been tempted by their Cava (yes, the Rioja area is one of those zones outside of Cataluña where Cava can be crafted), but I’d moved on to still wines by this time. I wanted to taste their white wine.

Made with Viura and Malvasia it’s still a jolly nice white. Their Rosado, quite Provencal in colour, is always a treat – the epitome of elegance. I was also keen to try again their Gran Reserva Prado de Enea – one of the reasons I moved to Spain all those years ago! I enjoyed it, yes, but thought it a little too oaky – not how I remembered it. However, it was certainly a delight to taste the Selección 2014 – firstly because it is such a gorgeous wine now, and potential to age so well; and secondly because we have a magnum of the 2004, the year of our daughter’s birth, biding its time until she turns 18 yrs old! Boy, I hope she doesn’t like wine then!

I expected to like Bodegas Martin Codax’s Organistrum, from DO Rías Baixas, and I certainly did. As you might expect, given the area of production, it’s made with Albariño, 100% in this case. This winery also makes fine quality red wines Galicia, but it’s true to say that it made its name with the whites.

Whilst the basic Martin Codax Albariño isn’t a bad intro to the variety at all, it’s really the finer white wines (yes, a little more expensive, but so worth it) that define the bodega. I have really enjoyed each that I’ve tried – and it’s not just Albariño that they put to such good use!

Well, there were plenty more, but space runs out, and anyway, I have to catch a bus!

Twitter @colinonwine

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