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Posts Tagged ‘cellers’

A Story With a Difference:


Writing is something strange, you either feel it or you don’t.  Personally for me it’s something that’s there and often the urge to write even if I’m not sure what is strong.  Thats how Drifting came into being.  I have a book of jottings where I write down ideas and this was one of them.

In the past I have written about people and their lives Stanley for example.  His story was one of crime, sex and how he and his mother survived during and after WW2.  Then there was Jason. Now his story woven into the British Navy of the 1700/1800’s was different. This was historically challenging, not the naval side but the social side of life then, which makes these books Adult books.

Then came young persons books Clearing in the Forest, Peaceful Land and I am currently working on the third book. These were from ideas written down in my little book.

But Drifting was something different, something with no social comment, or historical reference just a plain straight forward story, of happenings and the supernatural.  I entered a strange world of possibilities and did it or didn’t it happen, was it real or just imagination and the ending well….

So I have decided to write some short stories along these lines, where it will lead I don’t know, but there is one thing I am sure of I will not be delving into this realm.  The stories will come from all over woven around an idea, yes some will have a historical nature but they will be based on factual events, only the story will be fictional because you cannot ask the characters exactly how they came to be where they were.  My research into history and stories from the west country have given me a few ideas along this line.

So there is an awful lot to do and keep me busy for a long time. Such is writing.

 

(c) Jason D’ebre – author

 

 

 

 

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Wishing all my fellow writers, followers and friends a Merry Christmas and  Happy and Peaceful New year.  May it be filled with cheer and good writing.

Well the first part of Christmas here has passed, now comes New Year then the Three Kings. All of which means the Christmas decorations are still up and the festivities continue.  So I thought you might like to see the lights in town.

The Lights in Town

The effect is a very pretty display, but as always there was a sting in the tail. When I arrived to take the photos it was late at night which was what I wanted as I thought there would be less traffic.  Wrong!! the moment I got the camera out the world and its mother turned up headlights blazing so these are the best ones I hope you enjoy.

The Car Light ones….

                                                         

And here comes the rest:-

These are the lights that wander round our local town. All over there are villages and towns decked out and they stay like this until the 8th of January, then as if by magic, they are gone, not to be seen until next Christmas.  Catalunia may be having problems but the spirit of Christmas is kept going strong.

BON NADAL i FELIC NOU ANY     Soc Michael Douglas Bosc – Author

 

 

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Plot and Counter Plot!

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They look lovely sweet caring lovey dovey love birds  OH NO THEY’RE NOT!!!!  believe me.  Michael came home from his op and showed them where he had been. (Now I have said this before these birds really help him to relax, when our daughter came to visit they helped her as well).  Anyway after Michael had got used to not being able to type or use his hand for a while he would sit there and chat to them all very friendly.  So when they had him in a relaxed mood they got him to fix the rope and wood ladder they had been given then asked for something to chew on.  He found a nice piece of wood pushed it through the bars so it formed a perch then sat back and watched.

 

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Who US???

Well as you can see they made short shift of that, but he managed to stop them for a while.  The bit they were chewing was next to the bars and their intention was to get it to fall to the cage floor once they had chewed through it.  But Michael pushed the wood through so that bit was now in the middle and this is what it looks like now.

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who us??

who us??

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But we would not change then for the world.  They shout and holler at the other birds and if anything/one approaches the house they do the same better than watch dogs lol.  The pictures above are them just being themselves, mind you during this time we would listen to the cricket on -line  and they loved it, especially when the test match was on and Tuffer’s was talking, must be his only true birdie followers…

The Finca

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Now for a long time I have also been watching the olive trees and they are loaded so we have been looking at a good harvest and our own oil for next year.  WRONG… because we have not had any rain (I mean proper rain the sort that soaks into the ground)  for over 6 months the olives have formed but when you touch them they are basically stone covered fruit, no flesh to produce any oil.  So bit disappointed but then we have had this before, and it will give me  time for some pruning.  I am just hoping that it rains between now and Christmas or we could be in a bit of a pickle water wise.  Yes I know we chose this finca knowing all the problems but we are told it has been the driest year since 1924…. We did have a few almonds though enough for cooking and Christmas.

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The garden is looking good for the conditions. I have cleared the Cacti garden and planted a few more it’s looking quite good up there. My wife has cleared away most of the dead leaves from the beds.  She found that during the hot weather they help to keep the ground from turning into rock, it doesn’t always work but it helps.  Together we have created a small Bougainvillea garden next to the little house and I built a small wall so she can build up the soil around them and hopefully they will again survive the winter.   The white stuff is their ‘winter blankey’ which along with some bubble wrap will keep their little roots warm.  Now begins the deciding where to put the ‘water tanks’ she is making for the various beds/flowers and to prune the roses.  She cut the lavender back and we now have a nice new lavender pillow to hang over the bed.

 

(c)  M.D. Bosc  Author

 

 

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A Gentle Ramble Through My Life

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Well yes the sun is shining but there is also a cold wind which means the beaches are either sand blasting places or sun traps, either way the sea is still cold and when we have been to the coast recently the beaches were not exactly crowded. Which is a shame as we have some of the best beaches along our stretch of coastline, besides the main sandy stretches there are little coves dotted around which makes discovering them interesting.  Places to fish from or topless sunbathing or just a quiet secluded beach for romance.

It’s also where I get some inspiration for my books. The sea is a wonderful conflicting place calm one moment a raging tempest the next and just sometimes something in between. A walk along an empty beach or sitting with a rod waiting for a fish to take the bait these are moments when stories find me. Whilst looking out to sea I am joined by characters new and old all jostling for attention linked by a love of seafaring and somewhere in there is always a new story.

PETANCA

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For those of you not familiar with our life these are our Petanca friends whom Michael plays in the competitions with.  He was at Fraga a while ago and won wine and a round of goats cheese which we have literally just finished. Then last weekend the club had a paella and Petanca day on Sunday (blog to follow) and I and my partner were top in our group so we played the top team in the other group to see who was top over all. We came second, wine and olives were our prizes and very welcome to.  The paella was a sea food one with salad, dried meats, crisps and olives to whet our appetites. Only when we felt the first spots of rain were we convinced it was time to go home. Mind you we had been there since 8.30am and by the time the rain appeared it was close to 3.30pm.

 

Doctors

Right so What’s Up Doc? well when you get older things begin to squeak and rattle (mostly from the pills) and that is a question I could have asked three times this last week.  The medical staff is very good here, go for any test and they not only tell you the results but give you a printout so you can see how you’re doing, no secret squirrels here.  Well where to start, a visit to my dr found that I was doing well so she thought she would try to lessen the tablets I take “we will try leaving off the aspirin for a month.” Ok sounded good to me but after a couple of weeks I began to get headaches and stuff so I made another appointment with her to let her know things were not going well, and went back on the aspirin. Headaches disappeared and felt better so when I told her about it she asked how long I had been on them 8 years I said oh my god, quick as a flash she had written me a prescription for some other tablets which help to safeguard the stomach so now back to normal. Then I got a phone call from the hospital, need to see the anaesthetist as they are going to operate on my hand next month this entails two visits and an ECG before they will confirm a date.  Looking forward to this as hopefully my little finger will finally be straight and I will have to be chauffeured around meaning I can look at the country side and spot the birds.

 

The Boys

IMG_0052 (640x480) This is where their cage sits during the night and on windy days with the nest box facing the other way for protection. During the day they are at the other end of the FFZ enjoying the sun and shouting at the birds.  But as all kids do when we go shopping and return home first thing they do is to stand on their perches and shout until one of us appears and gives them a treat.  Or if Michael is at his desk working with the window open they shout and holler till he either speaks to them or I go and sit in the FFZ with them taking my laptop/tablet with me. Yep I know it’s confusing but sometimes we both contribute to these blogs just for the hell of it.

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc

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Spring Flowers

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These are the wild daffodils that grow in the forest.  When the track was being re-done I rescued some of the bulbs that were in danger of being destroyed then my wife planted them in different parts of the garden. These have taken in the side garden by the house and are looking good.  When we go walking around the finca we find quite a few so there is always a small vase of them indoors and their perfume is strong for such dainty little things.

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If you add to these the violets that are putting on such a show this winter (only pic I have at moment) then each room in the house has a different perfume.  When the lilies eventually get to flower their perfume can be overpowering, but even I have to admit the kitchen smells wonderful, as you can tell my wife likes her cut flowers.

Look Who’s Back

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Walking out towards the little house yesterday I came upon Puddytat sleeping on a pile of weeds that my wife had left out. It was nice to see he didn’t dash away when I passed but slowly got up stretched then wandered off as if to say ‘can’t a cat sleep in peace?’.  Not seen him around the ffz whilst the boys are in there but expect he will peer in through the netting at some time. Then the other morning there he was, looking well strolling around like he owned the place – well cats do don’t they –  he is one chunky healthy wild cat, so the wife grabbed her camera and wandered round the garden and got these shots of him:-  Finding the sunny spot,  having a clean up, off to find a spot in the sun and finally take a nap:-

 

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An Update On Big Momma X

 

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Talking of whom Big Momma X is still sitting on her eggs. Apparently it takes 20 days before anything hatches and as these are a young breeding pair they might not come to anything but as the Cooler King is helping with the hatching I think we have a good chance of a squawk or to two. They are very good at the nesting and if you peek inside the box from the front  you will see both of them sitting side by side, there is no touching the box or they will destroy the eggs/chicks so it’s a peek through the ’round window’.  However when she comes out to stretch her wings, feed or drink if he thinks she is taking too long boy does he shout. They have begun to practice feeding so we have hopes yet.  Going to cost me though, will need to go buy a bigger cage ah well they are worth it, will keep you up dated.

Us Oldies

Ok that’s it for now wife’s back in bed that nasty cough returned and she has been ill for a few days. Problem is she wont rest. Take Wednesday she woke up feeling in her words “miles better”, so we went to the market to collect some feeders from the bird man.  The ride in the car a short walk to the stall and back and she went from feeling ‘miles better to feeling knackered’! Wednesday night she was really really ill no sleep and where she had been coughing everything hurt. So yesterday morning what do I find she’s outside weeding, grrrrrr  that did it she went to see the dr yesterday afternoon and he gave her some dissoluble tablets to bring up the muck one at night and she has another appointment in a weeks time to see how she doing. Me? well I went to see the nurse and I have another round of tests to be done and I see the doctor in May so between the two of us we going great lol.

 

(c)  Michael Douglas Bosc

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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To look at Bluebottle you would think he is a contented sleepy little parakeet, WRONG….  He is a bossy, noisy, scheming little git.  If you look closely at this picture you can see where he has been hard at work on the nesting box trying to dig his way out, hence his nickname ‘Big X’.

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Mind you this one is no better.  He watches whilst ‘Big X’ gets going then joins in especially when I have placed clean tissue in the box to keep them warm whilst they are outside, we sat and watched them one afternoon.  I had just cleaned out their cage put clean paper – in bits I might add – in the box and they were sitting on top in the sunshine behaving.  So we sat there enjoying the sun and their company when Bluebottle suddenly dived into the box then emerged with tissue in his beak.  He then hopped up onto the top and proceeded to pull it apart.  This of course made Eccles want to join in there then ensued a small squabble – which is normal with these two – before we noticed each had a bit of the paper and were pulling from different sides.  Needless to say after another small squabble  Bluebottle regained control of his prize whereupon Eccles turned his back on him and we saw he had a piece of paper to nibble. it went something like this:-

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Look what I’ve got mum Eccles hasn’t got any its all mine….

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What you got there Bluebottle? I want some I want to play.

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No! I got it out it’s mine you go get your own..

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Ok I will, but you can’t share it and I’ll get a bigger bit than yours….

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Oh alright, here you can share it with me be friends.

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Right lets play tug of war winner gets the paper ok?  Ok!

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Hehehe got a piece,  he didn’t see that!

They are also control freaks.  If we get up early and open the shutters to see what the day is like they start shouting and hollering to be taken outside. Well the other morning I got up to make a cup of tea and they started, so as I could see it was not only cold but very misty out there I simply opened the front door and put the cage there in about 5 minutes they were quiet and in their box heads poking out as if to say ‘close the door mum’ it’s cold.  Now I don’t know if other people who own parakeets have found this, but we bring them in at night because it gets really really cold up here, and when we go into town for school they are left inside all nice and warm with the bathroom light on.  However, on returning home we would be met with shouting and screeching because the lights go on along with the kettle and television. It was a case of ‘we are tired YOU go to bed’….  So now when we come home I open the door turn the light on and sing out ‘hello boys and what about the workers’.  Know what? no more shouting or screeching, they have learnt we rule at night – at least I think they have……

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc

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I tought I tought a Puddytat a creeping up on me  I DID I saw a Puddytat plain as he could be…….

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I have been on about Puddytat the wild cat that has adopted us and our Finca.  Well finally I have some pictures only not of Puddytat himself who is larger with white tufts on his ears but this character who my wife calls “Puddytat Jnr”.  Healthy, cocky and definitely not friendly to humans ( I am pleased to say he/she wont come near us) and there is my dilemma because I personally think he is a she….

 

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Anyway the other evening my wife was cooking chicken for tea and as I went into the kitchen I glanced sideways towards the door and there was Puddytat bold as brass looking to see if anything was in the offing.  We managed to get a couple of shots through the anti insect netting but the best one came from the sitting room back window. Not sure what he was looking at but as you can see he is completely at home.  Needless to say he had chicken later that evening, and don’t be fooled by his size he’s still growing and I can a sure you he has talons…

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I have mentioned several times about the rose garden and how they have (thanks to my nieces advice) put on a really good show this year. We planted them under the olive tree which – in our unwise wisdom – we thought would be good for shade from its overhanging branches.  My wife was talking to our niece and asked her advice – she’s a gardener – and it was suggested that we lop the branch open up the area giving the roses more sun. This we did and you can see they appreciated it.  Only two have not bloomed but hey the white one was dug up by the piggywigs and the other well we will see.   Thanks Sharon advice very much appreciated.

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Hang on I know that person from somewhere….  Needless to say getting old has its drawbacks one of which is recollection of people. As you can see from my expression I have to ask the wife how I know them or IF I know them.  We were sat outside one of the bars in town one evening when a car tooted whilst the occupants waved like mad as they whizzed past, being the only people there they obviously knew us. But do you think I could remember them? turned out they were petanca friends oh boy I must be getting old.

 

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Now the town has closed the access to Club Nautique for construction work.  They are building a ‘cantilever walkway’ out over the river so no cars are allowed down there and pedestrians can only access the club IF they have a card saying they live in the road.  Well its mid May and the club opens at the end of the month so it will be interesting to see what happens.  It wont affect us as we can drive along the river road and park on the club side, but how they will get the boats in back and forth for the races they attend in other places is going to be really challenging. Will keep you posted on that one.   As for those traffic lights and the one way system they put into place didn’t work so they have taken them away and we go up and down the cliff like before and as there are passing places so fary so goody.

Well today was local election day so I went to vote.  Very different from the UK, you get lists of names for the council – there were three – then after registering you take one list and an envelope  fold the list up place it in the envelope seal it then pop it in the ballot box.  All this is done under the eyes of 7 people who, if asked, tell you the procedure but will not aid you or touch the paper or envelope easy really.   So after that we have retired to the café for a coffee and lemon tea.

 

©  Michael Douglas Bosc

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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We would normally spend a petanca paella, sitting down to eat in good company and sunshine, however, today was to prove an exception of sorts.  For a start, we had been looking at the weather – el tiempo – for the past two days and according to the tv we would be up to our armpits in water oh yeh???

This morning arrived in full sun warm and promising a lovely day with no clouds in any direction and as we could see down the valley we made the usual remarks about pity it was raining so much or we wont have to drive down with all this rain we can float…. should not have said anything.

We spent the morning tidying up and fiddling about to pass the time – we did not get up until gone 10 o’clock as I was watching the football on tv then the Godfather 2 till late. Anyway I decided to have a lie down before we left – it’s a requirement as there is plenty to eat and drink and a few games afterwards – so I was a little surprised to find it getting cloudy with large white clouds that were giving way to varying shades of grey appearing over the mountains. Still we have a club house so I was not worried we have had the paellas in there before, we are a versatile lot here.  So once rested and washed I was handed the bag with our dishes, forks, glasses – for vino – a bottle of wine and lemonade plus the obligatory roll of paper towels -and we set off for town.

It was getting grayer as we drove into town but the tables and chairs were set up out under the trees then the sun came out.  This was more like it, however this did not last long and I think the weather report might have put quite a few people off as there were not many there, but those who were were good company and  good friends.  We found our spot at the table and whilst I went to chat with my friends my wife went to the shop for one or two bits to go with the lunch, crisps, cakes and apricots.   Then we all settled down to the traditional country paella of rabbit, chicken, peppers and rice cooked to perfection as always by Hosea.  It was whilst we were on the last course the water melon and coffee – the coffee was passed round from various flasks – that the first spots of rain were felt.  During the conversation no one had noticed the clouds getting thicker and darker, but just one not so dark and dense was the one that tinkled on us.  Well that was that, we went from laughing at the remarks of the women about our petanca prowess to being told by an army of female  organisers – my wife included – to get out of their way and with in a few minutes the tables were cleared so we men could stash tables and chairs away all neat and tidy.   I looked around but everyone had basically gone, so it was really annoying to find that 10 minutes later it stopped raining and as I write the sun is out.  Can’t trust the weather man can you lol.

So no pictures were taken however here are some of the best from past meals just to give you an idea of the fun we usually have.

 

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So hopefully the next one will be like this good company and  friends lots of sun and a few games after, oh and I must remember to take a flask of coffee next time…..

© Michael Douglas Bosc

 

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Well it is the first of May next week and that weekend heralds the Falset Wine Festival.   The last time we visited Falset’s Wine Festival it was held in the castle with around 50 stands from the Priorat and Montsant DO all displaying their wines, which for 8 Euros you could buy a glass and sample.

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We did not manage to get there last year due to family but we have been told that the Festival was back down in the main street where it was usually held, although there were not as many stalls at before.  Despite this it is a renown wine festival with other things happening besides wine tasting.  You can for instance, attend lectures on the various aspects of wine making and tasting.  I would like to try and attend a blending lecture as I find it rather fascinating how they manage to get the various blends.  My one problem is that I know what I like and find some of the reds a little ‘mouth pruning’.  Having said this I can honestly say there are few that I do not like or could drink.

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 I am not an expert but look at wine from the lay-mans point of view which is, if it suits my palate that’s fine.  But I have been taught so much about this art of wine making,  that I now know a lot depends on the blender and what he/she is trying to achieve. I have also learnt that the old ‘red with meat and white with fish’ is basically a snobbery thing.  People who not only grow the wines but make them will drink their produce be it Red, Blanco or Rosado with what ever they are eating.  In certain parts of France they drink red wine with fish, but then that is the wine they produce. So I am certain that a ‘wine snob’ is someone who knows what they like and sticks to it regardless.

 

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Some old friends and new ones exhibit here and it is always good to meet up again and learn what is new or different since we last spoke.  I will be looking to see if any Cava stands will be present.  This wine is very underrated and I feel it should be promoted a lot more as in my opinion it is far better than Champagne having no sugar added to it.

If you are in Cataluña do yourself a big favour and visit the Festival, you will not be disappointed and you can see for yourselves why I am so taken with the wines of this Country.  The Festival is on from Friday the 2nd of May until Sunday the 4th of May cheers!!!!

© Michael Douglas Bosc

 

 

 

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It is a while since I visited the Co-operativa in Batea, so once my life had returned to normal I contacted Judith and heard they had a new wine. This was a must visit so I hitched up the ‘Wine Wagon’ and on Wednesday morning headed off into the high country. The day was fine and warm which for this time of year was a plus. although there was a gusting wind which made driving through the mountainous terrain interesting.  The drive took me past the pink hue that are the peach and nectarine groves heralding the coming of spring whilst here and there farmers were doing some late pruning.  Although they were all wearing jackets I was quite sure they were pleased that the sun was out even if it was a little windy.  I arrived in Bata around 11ish and went to meet Judith in the showroom.

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This Co-operativa is an ever evolving entity, a place where new ideas are born and sure enough when I entered the bright and  spacious  showroom I found bath products such as Garnatxa bath oil and Cabernet Sauvignon soap for sale. This is something that I find interesting as it is a new way of presenting the various varieties of grape to people and I rather fancy a Sauvignon shower.  But these were not what I had come to see.

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Ranged along one wall are the various wines and liqueurs that are produced and sold  here in Terra Alta plus the odd bottle of Cava from Penedes.  Sitting on a shelf near the new wine was something that no kitchen or cook should be without – Ranci.  Here it is used in cooking by the older generation to add flavour to dishes and  has a warmth and bite that reminded me of  “cooking sherry” a perfectly pleasant drink just don’t let the cook near it.

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But this is the new comer,  the wine I had come to see the ECOLÒGIC. There are three wines in this collection one white and two reds. First to arrive on the shelf is the white. This is a pale yellow which if held against a white napkin gives a soft slightly lemony hue, with a hint of violets but certainly you can sense wild herbs on the palate. But this wine has a flavour of something which is just out of reach but oh so familiar, almost as if it’s teasing you to pin the ‘something’ down. It certainly made my palate want more if only to do just that, this is definitely a wine for summer and is certainly on my list.

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However the reds are to  follow.  Because of their time in the barrels the first Tinto not due till April, with the last due later in the year after spending around 12 months in the oak barrels. To explain this Judith took me to the barrel room.

 

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So I will explain the blend. The barrels on the left contain white wine which is blended with the red in the barrels on the right to produce the Ecologic reds. The first red to arrive spends 3 months in the barrel and is blended with white wine from the Garnatxa white around 10% to three barrels of red.  The Other red which will be a slightly deeper colour is blended with Cabernet Sauvignon at 10% to four barrels which gives it its distinct flavour.

The White is particularly good so I am looking forward to the red later this month.  Judith also informed me that they only use the oak barrels for around two years then these are off to make brandy, or perhaps somewhere to sit, sip and contemplate the art of wine making.

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Cheers!

© Michael Douglas Bosc

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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