Rueda is good news and it is now in all the bars in Spain. It comes from near the town of Valladolid and is dry but very fruity and very much better than the white wines of Rioja, which have no real flavours due to the Viura grape.
Rueda is made with the Verdejo grape and is similar to Sauvignon blanc. However Verdejo has been planted elsewhere and you can find it in Ciudad Real which is part of La Mancha region (also to be found in El Faro).
Remember that all ‘inexpensive’ white wines should be drunk in the year following the harvest (i.e. 2014 now) as after a year including a hot (very hot) Summer they will lose their fruit & freshness and become
Good cellaring is very important – around 12°C – and this maintains the delicate fruit /acidity balance, very important in white wines.
Pálido de Ron Montero
Rum with ice and lemonade or 7-up. One measure of rum and four measures of lemonade and plenty of ice. This comes served in a one-litre jug.
The rum can come from the Rum Distillery Ron Montero in Motril which used to be the only place in Europe where rum was made. Sugar cane used to grow in the Costa Tropical micro-climate but this is no longer the case, so the sugar cane and molasses are imported, but the rum is still distilled in Motril.
Ron Montero is open for visits (free) and you can see the rum in barrels ageing away.
In France, the sales of Rosé have shot up in the last few years to obtain a large market share. A lot of non-wine drinkers are drinking it, in particular women. The Provence rosés have always been very popular but now
we are getting these extremely pale rosés which, if they get any paler, won’t have any colour at all! Remember pale doesn’t mean weaker. In any cases most of them are still around the 13% alcohol mark.
Rosé is made from red grapes and the colour comes from the skins so if, at the start of fermentation, you take the skins out after say 20 hours you will get a rosado colour. Incidentally, Champagne is made mainly from red grapes (except blanc de blancs) and the skins are taken out immediately giving a white wine.
In Spain all Rioja and Navarra bodegas make good quality rosés. In particular Marques de Caceres, Marques de Riscal and Martinez Lacuesta, all three from La Rioja. It is all too hot to drink red wines when the temperature is over 30° so this is when the rosados really come into their own.
Invented in 1823 by James Pimm this is the British Summer drink and very refreshing too. A near equivalent to sangria. Also known as Summer Cup. A social drink: if you don’t happen to be at Glyndebourne, Wimbledon, Ascot or Henley, you can make it in your own home for your friends.
Serve one part of Pimm’s to three of lemonade and add sliced oranges, sliced strawberries, cucumber, mint and stir. Plenty of ice, of course. Best served in a jug. So this becomes a kind of floating fruit salad with a kick in it ! A glass or two of this should get you in the party mood.
Tinto de Verano (Summer wine):
Lemonade and ice with red wine poured very slowly on to the ice gives a two layered drink. The lemonade can be either the white normal one or the yellow one i.e. Sprite/Fanta/Seven Up or bitter lemon.
This is an excellent thirst-quenching drink when it is too hot to drink red wine on its own. It has become so popular in Spain that it can now be found on tap in many Spanish bars.
Manzanilla sherry with Sprite/Seven Up/Fanta or bitter lemon. Plenty of ice and mint leaves.
We all know that sherry is not what it used to be and has lost a lot of its market share to non-fortified wines. Manzanilla comes from Sanlucar de Barrameda which with Jerez (de la Frontera) and El Puerto de Santa Maria form a Golden Sherry Triangle.
Now it seems to have taken a new lease of life with non-Sherry drinkers. You normally have to order this by the jug (jarra) as it needs to be properly stirred. One of the main brands of Manzanilla is Solear from the house of Barbadillo.
Barbadillo was the last Moorish king in Spain and lost the battle of Granada in 1492 whereby he and his troops were expelled by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella.
Red wine and coca-cola. I am hesitant to recommend this popular drink as it is surely heresy to pour coca-cola into a good red wine.
Calimocho is very popular at fiestas in the Basque country and was invented by two people named Calimero and Moxto (Kalimoxto in Basque) who were hard up and bought cheap red wine and then neutralised the taste by adding coke.
Spritzer & Americano:
Spritzer is a well-known drink in the UK. White wine and sparkling water or soda. Again a good thirst quencher in the hot weather.
In Italy they have something similar called Spritz. It is like a spritzer but topped up with a shot of Campari. You can also use sparking wine instead of white wine/sparkling water. So you can use Cava instead of the Italian Prosecco.
Americano is made from red Martini and Campari and ice and topped up with agua con gas. Some people add Gin, but then it becomes a Negroni. Add a slice of orange, a sliced strawberry, mint and a slice of peach.
An Americano was originally called a Milano-Torino because Martini was in Torino and Campari in Milano (or vice-versa). But after the First World War, hordes of Americans came down to the Italian coast and drank large amounts, so the Italians renamed it ‘Americano.’
This the party drink par excellence! Recipes vary depending on what your barman decides to put in, but basically this the requirement for 15 people:
Pour into a bowl : 150cl red wine, 20cl Port or Malaga, 20cl Cuarenta y Tres, 250gr Sugar, 3 bio oranges & 2 lemons sliced, plus in-season fruits (strawberries & peaches), 15 ice cubes, a small amount of cinnamon and stir well.
By Peter Eacersnall
(News/Wines: Monthly wine column – Photo: Agne27)