Sunday, June 12, 2011

Note: As I'm wont to say, this is an earlier-than-usual Sunday post. Scroll down for last night's, if you haven't read it yet. 

I've been contemplating changing my mobile phone for some time now, hampered by the fact that - as El País says today - the deals offered are sometimes completely incomprehensible. Plus, as far as I'm aware, there's no consumer-orientated site doing the comparisons for you.

Taking my wine and squid in Vegetables Square today, I noticed an increase in the human traffic in the flea market. And then I realised this was due, in part at least, to the presence of the dog-dragging members of the Indignados community, which may or may not strike camp today.

I had quite a success on Friday in respect of my house in the hills; I managed to get three companies to come and examine my trees within one hour. Two at the same time even. Which would probably have embarrassed me, if I were still British. It will now be fascinating to see how different the quotes are. By the way, not one of them obeyed my (clear!) instructions about how to get to the house. I'm lost as to why this should be such a feature of Spanish life. Do they just not listen, preferring to talk? I refuse to believe that intelligence plays a part in this regular scenario.

I had hoped to rent out this house to people coming here for the European Triathlon Championships next week. But no luck so far. If I do get an enquiry at the last moment, I can, of course, double the price! Vamos a ver and fingers crossed!

In El País today, there's a report on the UK backlash against the sexualisation of young girls. One interesting point made was that this process had hardly been noted here in Spain. I wonder if this is because it's perfectly normal/acceptable for females here to make the most of what I think are called their secondary sexual characteristics. And perhaps because there's no tabloid press here constantly banging the drum about paedophilia. Not that the statistics of abuse will be any lower here than elsewhere, I suspect.

Penultimately . . .  There's a prize for the best translation of the Spanish idiomatic phrase - Me pasó a mi por los huevos. Though I suspect it depends on the circumstances.

Finally . . .  here's an ad for a fabulous au pair opportunity. Anyone interested should act quickly:-

My lovely new neighbours, Ester and Jacobo, need an au pair for the months of July and August. This will be a not-very-onerous challenge, allied with the opportunity to spend two months in a beautiful part of Green Spain and to live in a community with its own private gardens and large swimming pool. And near to the vibrant city of Pontevedra, with its superb nightlife, its extensive summer events program and its annual fiesta in August.

Accommodation, food and pocket money will all be supplied and all you'll be expected to do is to look after/occupy/entertain a couple of kids of 6 and 8 for 4-5 hours between 10 and 2.30 and to attend meals as a member of the family. Weekends will be entirely free. No cleaning or cooking is involved. Though you may be required to make a couple of beds. Or make the kids do it!

Fluent Spanish is not required as Ester wants her kids to pick up English. But some Spanish would certainly be useful.

Anyone interested in this tremendous opportunity should write to me at

As it may not be possible to find someone who can work for the whole period, anyone who can only work for July or August should still write.

Finally, finally . . . As part of my attempt to educate you all on the superb but cheap wines available from Galicia, here's an article on wine made from the Godello grape, which I've seen improving over the last decade. See if you can get it. You won't be disappointed and pricewise, you'll be ahead of the game. Which is not bad when it comes to one of life's greatest pleasures.

Grape Variety

Godello is a variety from north western Spain, at its best in Valdeorras. A grape of great aromatic cleanliness, it produces wines in which the sensation of freshness is marked by truly noble elegance. In addition it is accentuated by a very perceptible bitter note at the end of each sip, It shares the softly aromatic apricot character of Albariño but has a silkier texture, rather like a good Viognier. It seems to be native to the gorges of the Sil Valley, but nearly became extinct in the 1970`s. Godello is a straw-yellow colour dotted with green tones. It has a particular ripe white fruit aroma, good body, good acidity (and a marvellous balance) and is long and tasty. Possessing the minerality of a Chablis with the acidity of a Sauvignon Blanc, it boasts delicate aromas of wild flowers, lemon, white peach, ripe pear and almonds.


Celestino and Maria Teresa are the driving force behind Bioca. They directly manage four hectares of vineyard situated around la bodega. The vines are located on steep slopes of the left bank of the river Sil. Their soils are a mixture: approximately half are granite and the other half slate and clay. Granite soils allow for slow ripening: during the day they give off heat and at night they cool quickly. The difference in temperature makes it possible to increase the sugar values on account of the sunlight, preventing loss of acidity during the night thus favouring more flowery wines. Whereas slate-based soils favour a notable mineral content. The land is suitably warm, which increases the alcohol content and the complexity of the grapes. Valdeorras has a Mediterranean continental climate (with Atlantic influence). Cold winter, mild autumn and spring and warm summer. With one of the lowest rainfalls in Galicia, between 850-1000 ltr a year and an annual average temperature of 13 C. The vineyard sits in a sheltered location which protects it from frost and hail . As well as counting on help from its local patron St, Payo who protects their vineyards from damaging hail.


The 2010 growing season: A wetter than average winter, gave way to a dry and mild spring. The vine sprouted normally with flowering and fruit setting developing properly thanks to the sheltering micro climate enjoyed by their vineyards. Summer was hot and extremely dry, which favored a splendid maturity of the grape. A crop of excellent quality, very healthy, balanced grapes that express the full potential of this variety. Picking started end of August but continued till well into October. Using a meticulous and careful selection process, plot by plot, determining whether to pick or wait.

Vineyard practices

The vines are nurtured on a low input, environmentally friendly basis, under the exacting care of Celestino. Treating the vines with copper and sulphate on average around 5 times a year. Using micronized copper has allowed Celestino to reduce the dosage by half. Crop management in the form of intense double guyot pruning: continuous green harvesting, helps to maintain low yields. In their experience it is really important to keep the floral mass. Picking and expert selection are all done by hand, with the added benefit of being so close to la bodega that oxidation is kept to a minimum.

Wine Making

In the Bodega Celestino follows a classic white wine vinification, performing a very gentle press, using a specially customized pneumatic press that minimizes oxidation by filling directly the fermentation tank instead of through an open draw. Followed by a lengthy (over 4 weeks) cold fermentation at 12C which helps to increase significantly the volatile acidity to approx 0.5-0.6 g/l compared with the norm at DO of around 0.2g/l. Filtration is kept to a minimum. Followed by clarification and cold stabilization to remove impurities.


kalebeul said...

The au pair position might attract more interest were accommodation provided at the vineyard.

Sierra said...

Mobile phones - may help (or confuse!):

Colin said...

Thanks, Sierra. Yes, the El Pais article gave a table which included these. I went to Vodafone this morning and will report this evening!

Colin said...


There's an accomm option at my house, next door. Which is the next best thing to a vineyard . . .

Mike the Traditionalist said...

Colin you are lucky to have someone come and actually look at your trees. We want to have the woodwork replaced in our portal and we contacted two people who came to look but never came back. It's been over a month now so there must be so much work around they can choose what they want and what they don't want. So much unemployment and yet can't get a reliable carpenter. Oh and by the way the two who came to look wanted the money in hand no paperwork.

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