November '07

Fira de Vi

Gandesa held its 20th wine festival on the first weekend of the month, so we decided to drive up to find out about the local wine cellars and see what we liked. There were 30 or so stalls each with 5-6 different wines to try. €5 bought you a wine glass and six tickets to hand over in exchange for the wine. What was surprising was most of the white wine was better than the red wine. All the 2006 reds seemed musty and without enough character. The older ones were better, and there were some excellent ones hidden away. The most surprising was a sweet red dessert wine which was just amazing. We bought a bottle and will take it back to the UK to drink with Moomin's Christmas pudding.

What we did notice was that nearly all the wines we liked came from a town called Bot. As we had not stopped and investigated the town we decided to make time to go there as soon as possible.

Two weeks later our Catalan teacher had to take a week off, which gave us the opportunity to take a meandering drive out round the Els Ports mountains and visit Arnes which is very beautifull and then Bot, where we had lunch. We were given a bottle of Vall de Pou with our meal and liked it, so when we were told the Cellar was 100 metres up the road, we had to go and roust the owner from his siesta so we could buy a case. At €22 a case, it was a good investment.


As we had the free time we spent the rest of the week down at the Mill building a large earth and stone ramp between two terraces. This will allow access for cars from what will be our entrance down onto the parking area which is just above the Mill. As the barn is also going to be in this area, we needed to get the ramp built, so that it can settle and if neccesary, be concreted to allow lorries in. It has taken 3 days to get the basic ramp built and we must have moved about 6 tons of rocks and 12 tons of stony soil. The Hilux can now get up it, but it will need just a few more tons to smooth the slope enough for cars and lorrys to use it safely.


As we have had pretty much continuous sun (with the odd cloudy day) and balmy temperatures since the beginning of May, it was a bit much to see the thermometer drop to 3c last night (15th November). It has been sunny and very clear for the first two weeks of the month and is expected to stay mainly clear till the end of the month.

Just as well we have a little friend Ramon who comes in and keeps us warm in return for some Jamon.

The decanter of Aguadiente that I was given in May has matured nicely and will also help ward of the chilly evenings to come. The bottle on the right is what the locals call "Gandesa Whisky" otherwise known as the Vi Blanc in Bar Mario. Toni Marti Royo (below left) runs Bar Mario. Andres (below right) is his brother.

Last Saturday we were given a full set of wild boar ribs, with the proviso not to eat them till the analysis came back from the laboratory, as the boars can carry parasites that you really don't want to aquire yourself. Well, we were told the analysis results were clean, so having picked out the bullet fragments I have been marinading them and will be serving them up at the bar tonight. Hmmm.



October '07
December '07

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