Victor de la Serna is the influential Elmundo journalist, I've become chatty with over on Twitter (@VictordelaSerna). He's also the force behind Elmundovino and his label, Finca Sandoval. And when José suggested we all have lunch, Victor turned it into a classic Madrid jeebus at one of his favorite joints, Asturianos. (great wine list, older vintages, and food? An address you'll need to bookmark.)
Our newly expanded guest list included the Dutch ex-pat Richard van Oorschot, winemakers Fabio Bartolomei (Vino Ambiz, to you) and Alfredo Maestro, as well as blogger, Nacho Bueno. As I was too busy drinking and getting more and more jetlagged, go to Nacho or Fabio's blog to get the wine's blow down.
Unstoppable Victor brought about 17 bottles. José brought a few as did Alfredo Maestro and Fabio. But, how happy is a girl if the first thing that gets shoved into her hand an hour of the plane but Band-Aid/caramel-ish La Bota Manzanilla #32? Very.
Some of the more memorable wines that night? Niepoort-Navazos 2009. Palamino, the more famed grape of sherry, that developed flor, where it stayed for 6-7 months and not fortified. Metallic, juicy, minty.
On tap for us in the little vertical were: Reto 2010 Ponce (Manchuela), from (Victor's DO) had too much lees stirring, was angular and gingerale. Next. The Nispero 2009 Efrosina Perez Rodriguez was in honor of my departure to La Palma. This, which had been celebrated, was the reason for a current Albillo craze on the islands. It was all celery leaf. And then came the pithy, apple-juice-like Lovamor from Alfredo. The fourth, was the 2010 Picarana Maranones; oak influence way more than the wine could handle.
A note about the food. Yum factor very high, especially the barely poached egg sitting atop a black sea of trumpet mushrooms.....and these delightful fishies (that sighed, Manzanilla, with each swallow)
The afternoon turned to night. With some quick thinking, José and I left with yet another bottle of 32, which was to be a lifesaver three days later in Tenerife. But while we were standing contemplating the next move in the increasingly icy Sunday evening,, Fabio insisted we head out to this fabulous gin bar.
It wasn't fabulous. In fact it was a little Coney Island but not as good. (sorry Fabio). But, this was just a subversive plot so they could get their drink and smoke on simultaneously. Sitting there under a sheepskin rug (frankly, a little creepy) on a makeshift al fresco platform, Richard lost (and found the next day) his wedding ring through the slats. And I was trying to figure out why I wasn't in bed, why I was risking the next three weeks to pneumonia.The place was damned cold, too cold to drink a martini, and I really wasn't ready to start smoking out of self-defense. But, okay, fun in is way.
Ten days later, after three Canaries, multiple volcanos, Dr. Spoof #1 and #2, and a few great old vines and surprises and real, genuine Superman on the mountain who made wine in Canary pine,a meeting with a potato witch, more rojas than can kill a roach and a camel ride, José and I were back in Madrid. Checking in to the hotel José told me he really needed champagne, badly. I could understand. We also really wanted something old. The oldest wine I'd had was a sublime 1984 listan negro-based field blend from Monje, foot stomped in old lagar, whole cluster. Tasted like an old barolo. We were salivating.
We had twenty minutes before Victor picked us up. Stressful as for ten days I had worn the same clothes (did get to change my underwear, hope this isn't TMI). I was feeling grossly gross. The reason for this unspeakable marathon was José. He was smoking like a fiend. Not wanting to stink everything up as I had France to contend with for ten days after Spain, I toughed it out. With a minor miracle, a new Alice emerged in 20 minutes, feeling so damned great, in time to step into Victor's teeny chariot.
He had six bottles with him. Two of Landron's muscadet, two of his wines....etc.etc. I was worried about not making it to Champagne or older wine, I knew we were in for it.
Where were we? At another of Victor's haunts and one José himself loves. And I can understand why. The list at Restaurante Piñera, might be one of the best in Madrid. The champagne selection that Mario Garcia put together is spectacular, with lots of old friends and I loved the way he relegated the few GM's he had (the Doms etc) to the back of the bus.
We needed bubbles. I was feeling on a very, very tight budget, so we opted for a 60 euro bottle of Lassaigne Vignes Montgeux rosé and then it was off and running. José's notes: ASF's responses:
Lassaigne - Rose
JP: showing great, in fact could have just drank that all night.
ASF: seemed a little simple to me, but juicy.
Dorado Superior 2001 Albarino - Portugal
JP:- 1st was corked - 2nd better - still a little tired if not a touch flaby.
Ladron, Les Roches Vertes, 2010 - Muscadet
Domaine de l'Ecu, Orthogneiss 2009 - Muscadet
JP: - both of these wine were delicious. so focus & mineral.
-Salia 2008 ( Victor's Wine ) Manchuela
JP: showing quite good. earthy and kind of funky. in a good way. this is his basic & less expensive cuvee. Retails for around $15 here. Pretty good! A blend of Garnacha, Alicante Bouchet & Syrah.
ASF: Good value, this sells for $16? Syrah certainly comes through and at 59%...why syrah?
- Jamet Cote-Rotie 1995
JP:very classic. with typical Jamet aromatics & texture. Still young but who cares? lovely wine!!
ASF:Please some more. This was a fantastic treat, and yes, young. Chestnut honey on a leather saddle.
- Thierry Allemand - Cornas " Reynard" 2007
JP: beautiful showing. pure nose. very floral. also still a baby yet so sexy. just needs a good decanting. So, blame me!!
ASF: Yes, José, I did blame you, couldn't we have had it opened in the morning? Or a decant? That last sip was gorgeous.