Anyone looking for recommendations for a wine to go with your Big Mac or a MacMuffin will be disappointed! I’m talking about fast food in Spain, the glorious tapas that MAY have been invented by King Alfonso X of Castille, or by his later 19th century namesake King Alfonso XIII in Cadiz. Or there again, it might have been at a farmers bar in Seville, but who cares, to my mind tapas is an institution, a brilliant food concept, a celebration of local produce served fast and furious by sweating chefs to a crowd of people, friendly groups, inside or outside a Spanish Tapas Bar. I have many fond memories of such occasions in Madrid, Cadiz, Barcelona, Estepona, Malaga, Almeria, Carthagena ….. but for some time I was baffled as to what wine best suited such an “assault” of flavours and textures from eggs, jamon, prawns, octopus, potatoes, peppers, olives, tomatoes …… hot or cold, plain or in sauces.
I had tried red Tempranillo, white Albariño and the ubiquitous Manzinalla, but you need them all as different dishes were served …… until I realised the ideal solution ….. a fast, flighty fizz for fast foods …. Spanish Cava. Made to the same method as Champagne, the principal grape is Macabeu with other grapes to vary the style, colour and flavour, white and pink, brut and semi-sec, so lots of choice to refill your glass as each tapas arrives. It’s cheaper than Champagne too, and rounds off the whole experience of the place, the people, the atmosphere and the food. Fast as you like chef!
My series of posts entitled WineArt have been inspired by two of my blogging friends, Marion at Candiacomesclean , and Danell at Vinthropology. Danell is a Sommelier educated in Art & Dance who is now running a Wine & Culture Association in Italy. Marion is quite different, an artist who paints and photographs for pleasure and commercially. She lives just a few hundred yards away from us in our Cotswolds village. Their writing and photography especially have provided the inspiration to look wider and deeper beyond the glass. Wine is often surrounded by or part of aesthetic beauty, landscapes such as a vineyard on the slopes of Burgundy or on the South Downs of England, the architecture of medieval wine villages across Alsace or the chateau of Loire, the exterior of modern day winery buildings, the interiors with sleek stainless steel tanks lined up like something from a science fiction movie, the ancient barrels in a wine cellar, the decor in a brasserie and wine bar. It only takes a little mindfulness to “see” them all.