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WineRelease.com's April 15, 2010 Monthly Newsletter.


Greetings from WineRelease.com, now 1,592 winery listings strong!

Where to start... Well, we are certainly taking advantage of living in Spain and over the past month or so, have spent almost every weekend getting to know a different wine region. (Like I’ve told my wife, I’ll live anywhere in the world, as long as it’s known for its wine - I used to say ‘as long as it’s a wine region’ but a trip to Vinopolis in London, where they claimed wine regions in the UK made me modify my mantra a bit).

After our Rioja trip with friends (as mentioned in last month’s newsletter), we spent a 4-day weekend in the Andalucian region of Spain at a cooking school run by a French-trained chef and his wife. http://finca-las-encinas.com/

First, it was absolutely gorgeous up there.


Second, Clive can cook.


Each night we’d come back to the school (small B&B in the middle of olive groves up in the mountains of Andalucia), accept the mandatory glass of fino (sherry) or tinto (red wine) from Clive, then gather in the kitchen (no more than 4 at a time allowed in there) and prepare a fantastic Andalucian meal, ranging from a typical fish dish to a variety of tapas to a paella.



In addition to the culinary wonders, we had to explore the wine of the area, so did a half day tour/tasting at Alvear (apparently the second oldest winery in Spain and the oldest in the region), learning about fino (sherry). This is not your grandmother’s sherry. Five different grades/types/methods explained to us in an inordinate level of detail, but all worth it for the tasting.



Also, as part of the tour, we got into the heart of the production - and watched them fill up a (small) tanker with some of their finest sherry, using a gas-like pump. Check out this 15 second video to see what happens when good sherry gets a little out of control:



And I probably missed the first 10 seconds or so. Where is that pocket carafe when you need it most??

If you thought that tanker was of good size, check out his big brother.



After four days of cooking, eating, drinking, and exploring, the high speed train from Malaga back to Madrid was just pure relaxation. I highly recommend traveling via train in Europe whenever you can. Unfortunately, at times it costs 3-4x plane flights, but when the price is right, you can’t beat it.

Not ones to let the moss grow under our feet, less than a week later, we headed off to France. Ah, France. To quote our Catalan friend, ‘Damn, those French know how to make some good $%^ing wine’. And oh yes, they do.



We spent a week in France (a few days with family in Briancon, then down to Provence, ending up staying with friends outside of Beziers, on the southwest coast of France). We drove down very, very, very narrow streets.



Antoine and Lis are getting married there in the late summer and we ‘helped’ them look for a place for the wedding. (‘Helping’ consisted of visiting 10 chateaus - mainly wine producers - in 2.5 days, a Michelin star restaurant, and a lot of good times, good food and good humor).



The highlight of the trip for me was a product I’ve been preaching about in the US since the early 2000’s, the Bag in Box (or BIB). Now, hear me out... The cryovac system ensures that as you drink, no oxygen gets into the BIB and your wine stays fresh and delicious. And everyone’s doing it. Seriously. Everyone. Did I mention how much I love the French? For €20 (~$26), you can get a 10 liter box. (That’s over a case, for those of you counting). And it’s good stuff. Due to some size constraints in our vehicle, we only brought home three boxes (5 liters of red, 10 liters of white, and 5 liters of muscat).



As a second choice, you can bring your own container and have them fill it up at the winery for you. Not quite the same appeal for me of the cryovac system (and the oxygen depletion technology), but incredibly cost effective, easy, and environmentally friendly (doesn’t hurt to be green).

In addition to our BIBs, we did manage to get a few ‘traditional’ bottles of wine from the Languedoc region, along with the table cloths, Christmas gifts, serving platters, and cast iron pots that my wife accumulated during the first few days of the trip.

To sum up that trip, we had a 12 hour drive home with 4 adults, 4 suitcases, 4 laptop bags/purses, and the equivalent of 74 bottles of wine in a 2 door hatchback. Ay madre! Well worth it.

In the coming months, we have a handful of other trips planned that will heavily feature wine. Looking forward to sharing more with you.....


And now, on to the wine...


May 2010 Wine Releases


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