I am not indulging in a Dry January, but an attempt at Austerity January has almost amounted to the same thing.
Feeding ourselves from the contents of the freezer and cupboards, with as few forays to the shops as possible, is fast depleting our stocks of everything. Including wine.
Imagine the unbridled delight when my youngest son finally unpacked his suitcase to produce the loveliest little bottle of wine which I’d forgotten he’d purchased in the Spanish seaside town of Sanlúcar de Barrameda. Yesterday was a glass half-empty day (for me), and No. 4’s tardy luggage liberation couldn’t have come at a more opportune moment.
A welcome whiff of 187ml of Bodega Barbadillo’s Castillo de San Diego, and a sip to savour. It tasted just as it did there. I am no wine buff, and this is no fine wine, but to me it smelled faintly of the sea and was gently delicious. I was right back in our favourite tapas bar, Casa Balbino, eating shrimp fritters (tortillita de camarones), fresh king prawns, and local cheeses and meats.
Returning to the sea …
And wandering the streets and plazas of this most northerly point of the famous sherry triangle, Sanlúcar de Barrameda (the other two points being Jerez de la Frontera and El Puerto de Santa Maria).
Sometimes swimming through the salty sherry air as we passed by a Bodega.
My smuggled Barbadillo tasted just as good as it did in Spain, perhaps even better. But then this isn’t just a ridiculously cheap, keenly purchased holiday wine that could never match up to our rose-tinted memory. Produced from the Palomino grape, Barbadillo’s Castillo de San Diego white is said to be one of Andalucía’s best table wines (and actually it’s still pretty cheap).
More reliable tasting notes suggest a fruity, floral freshness, but I’m sticking to my hint of the sea.
Bodega Barbadillo is famous for its sherries, and is the biggest producer of Manzanilla (a dry fino unique to Sanlúcar de Barrameda). Its museum is small, with an old-fashioned feel, and informs us well.
Without forgetting to invite us to sample some very special wines.
Following up with a delicate nudge in the direction of the shop next door.
Which is how No. 4 came by his little bottle of white wine. He bought a red wine too (handy for tonight). But next time, I might draw his eye upwards to the slightly bigger bottles.
For more on aromatic Manzanilla, and why its little sister wine swept me back to a seascape, click here.
And for more of an idea of exactly where Sanlúcar de Barrameda is – it lies just beyond the southern tip of the green patch (which is Doñana National Park).