The wine buff... Life's a beach
It is particularly exciting to visit wine regions during harvest time, and better still when the harvest is good and everybody is happy. On my recent visit to Galicia, I stopped off in the historic town of Cambados, on the coast of Rías Baixas. On the main square, I could see a winery working at full throttle. It was after midnight, the shutters were pulled up, and two people were loading crates of hand-picked Albariño grapes into the de-stemming machine, and, outside on the street, another guy was busy stamping down the discarded stems in a large crate.
Overseeing the work, I soon realised, was Juan Gil De Araujo, the President of the Regulatory Council of the Rías Baixas Wine Appellation - you'll find his Bodegas Fefiñanes Albariño in Avoca in Rathcoole and the shop at Ballymaloe. I had visited his winery last year. It really was spectacular to see everything happening in full view in an urban setting.
Cambados is in Val do Salnés, the coolest and wettest of the five wine producing sub-regions of Rías Baixas, but don't let the wet bit put you off. While I was there, I visited Lagar de Costa, which is run by Sonia Costa Fontán and her brother Manuel, the fourth generation of the family to make wine. It is in a dramatic location. As we walked down the lane from the winery, the vineyards suddenly came into sight - pergolas of lush green vines that run right down to the sea. The vines are trained in the traditional style, over a high trellis supported at intervals by pillars of granite, so to get to the beach, you walk under the canopy of vines with the bunches of grapes hanging down, ready to be picked. It's possible to stay at this small winery; I had a quick peek at the guest rooms, which are really lovely, so if you're thinking of exploring the wine of the region, add this to your list. Their wine is featured in today's line-up.
It is also possible to visit the vineyards at Pazo de Señoráns, a 16th century manor house not far from Cambados. Both of these wineries are close to Santiago de Compostela, so if you're thinking of doing the Camino, why not reward yourself with a spot of wine tasting at the end?
Lagar de Costa 2017
€16.95, reduced from €19.95, 13.5pc, from O'Briens and obrienswine.ie
From the beach, this has a delightfully open-knit nose with aromas of peach and white blossom, and somehow dances across the palate with a lively minerality, a prickle of white pepper and a touch of salinity on the finish.
Pazo de Señorans 2017
€19.95, reduced from €22.95, 13.5pc, from O'Briens and obrienswine.ie
A classic Albariño which is beautifully structured with flavours of grapefruit, apricot, pear and a touch of lime, the tingling acidity and pronounced mineral edge make this wine deliciously refreshing. Beautiful with fish.
Paco & Lola 2017
€14, 13pc, from Dunnes
With a herbal, slightly earthy nose this has plenty of fruit on the palate with citrus flavours of grapefruit and lime combining with a silky touch of honey and whisper of tropical fruit. Great to drink on its own or with seafood.
If you're looking for something interesting to do tomorrow afternoon, head into the Cliff Townhouse on Stephen's Green where drinks consultant and expert Susan Boyle will be hosting a wine tasting featuring five wines - a rosé, two reds and two whites - from the Navarra region of Spain. And don't forget that October is cocktail month, so check out all the offers around the country on facebook.com/GreatIrishBeverages