Blogs in this series

Life in Culebrón is a disconnected series of pieces about the banal and ordinary of everyday life in an inland Alicante village seen from my very British perspective.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Two fingers of red eye

My old school pal, Bob Filby, commented on the entry I did about our visit to a local bodega. His comment was that there is a much held belief in England that there is no such thing as a decent Spanish wine.

Actually it's quite difficult for us to make a direct comparison because wines from anywhere but Spain are almost totally absent from Spanish supermarket shelves. On top of that I know very little about wine but I've had a quick Google around this morning and it looks to me as though the expert opinion is that the wines from the North of Spain include plenty of varieties that can hold their head up against anything produced anywhere in the World. The wines from the centre (which includes Alicante) are much more ordinary but they are sturdy, inexpensive and intended "to swill down food." What I should have remembered and what I should have fought the Spanish corner for are the brilliant sherries and manzanillas from Jerez and Sanlucar.

Here's an offer Bob, get yourself a bottle of La Gitana manzanilla (they used to keep it in Waitrose), pop it in the fridge till it's nice and cold and if you don't think that's quality stuff then I'll buy it for you.

For lots of Spaniards though, particularly older Spaniards, wine is a staple. Old chaps in bars drink it instead of having a small beer or a coffee, families buy it in recycled five litre water containers to drink along with their evening meal. It's like bread, olive oil, garlic, onions and tomatoes - one of the standards in the larder rather than the sophisticated tipple that it is in the UK. That's why, often, when we go into a slightly trendier bar Maggie finds that she can't get the red wine she wants and has to settle instead for vodka.

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