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IAN & SPAIN

WELCOME TO MY BLOG. HAVING LIVED IN SPAIN FOR OVER TWENTY YEARS I HAVE TRULY MANAGED TO IMMERSE MYSELF IN THE LOCAL CULTURE AND FEEL TOTALLY INTEGRATED. I WILL BE WRITING ABOUT MY PASSION FOR SPANISH FOOD AND DRINK AS WELL AS ITS CULTURE, PEOPLE AND PLACES OF SPECIAL INTEREST. PLEASE FEEL FREE TO LEAVE A COMMENT.

Best Supermarket Red Wines for Under €5
20 February 2020

What are the best red wines we can find in the supermarket for less than 5 euros? With some professional help from the increasingly well-known book ‘The  Superwines 2019: The Supermarket Wine Guide' by Joan C. Martín, I have selected the top 15. The writer and winemaker analyses 150 great wines in the latest edition of his guide, in which all kinds of wines appear: white, pink, champagne and, of course, the best reds. The author also has a curious way to rate the selected wines: from 2 to 5 ‘eyes’, avoiding more complex systems and scores and analyzing each wine in a simple way for the less expert consumer.

So, I have thoroughly explored the pages of the guide and chosen 15 of the best red wines for 2019 (with 4 qualifying eyes) that you can buy in the supermarket for less than 5 euros! A gift for your winery ... and your pocket. So in no particular order, here we go:

 

1. Alaja Cosecha, Bodegas Luzón – DO Jumilla

Score: 4 eyes

Price: 1,99 €

Where to buy? Masymas

Comments: "The best supermarket red - value for money of 2019" - "Its price is a gift" 

 


2. Torre Oria Crianza – DO Utiel-Requena

Score: 4 eyes

Price: 2 €

Where to buy? Mercadona

Comments: "light, easy to drink with a wonderful aftertaste" - "A gift for the price"

 

3. Castillo de Liria Bobal Shiraz, Vicente Gandía – DO Valencia

Score: 4 eyes

Price: 2,29 €

Where to buy? Mercadona, Carrefour, Consum, Alcampo, El Corte Inglés…

Comments: "A young fresh wine which is smooth and elegant" - "fruity and delicate"

 

4. Torre Oria Viñedo Antiguo Roble, Torre Oria – DO Utiel-Requena

Score: 4 eyes

Price: 2,90 €

Where to buy? Mercadona

Comments: "interesting quality red wine" - "brilliant ruby red from Bobal grapes" - "made from XIX century vines"

 

5. Casa de la Ermita Joven, Casa de la Ermita – DO Jumilla

Score: 4 eyes

Price: 2,95-2,99 €

Where to buy? Consum, El Corte Inglés

Comments: "Young wine made with Monstraell and Syrah grapes" - "Definitely a great red" 


6. Comportillo Crianza, Bodegas Ontañón – DO Rioja

Score: 4 eyes

Price: 2,95 €

Where to buy? Mercadona

Comments: "A great wine to buy now and enjoy but also buy some more bottles and put them away until around October when it will be even better" - " a grand red at a very attractive price" - "some tannins, full of flavour and velvety smooth"

 

7. Torre Oria Monastrell Joven, Torre Oria

Score: 4 eyes

Precio: 3,25 €

¿Dónde? Mercadona

Comments: "flavour echoes mature fruit, dates and figs" - "an absolute gift at this price" 


8. Solar Viejo Tempranillo, Bodegas Solar Viejo – DO Rioja

Score: 4 eyes

Price: 4,40 €

where to buy? El Corte Inglés

Comments: "delicate and quite frankly very good!" - "It makes you want to preserve it but also drink it"


9. Sabatacha Monastrell Joven, Bodegas San Isidro – DO Jumilla

Score: 4 eyes

Price: 2,95 €

Where to buy? Carrefour

Comments: "Goes really well with manchego cheese and Tetilla cheese" - "ideal for an aperitif" - "spices, red fruits and figs"


10. Estola Reserva, Bodegas Ayuso – DO La Mancha

Score: 4 eyes

Price: 3,70–4,35 €

Where to buy? El Corte Inglés, Carrefour, Alcampo, Mercadona, Eroski, Caprabo, Consum, E-Leclerc, Froiz, Gadis…

Comments: "a real classic on the supermarket shelves" - "A Reserva for €3,70! Exquisite"


11. Tesoro de Bullas Monastrell, Bodegas del Rosario – DO Bullas

Score: 4 eyes

Price: 4,45 €

Where to buy? Carrefour, Consum

Comments: "A fresh aroma, fruity, reminiscent of dates, spices and almond sponge" - "a brilliant red"


12. Clot d’encís, Sant Josep Vins – DO Tierra Alta

Score: 4 eyes

Price: 3,75-4,35 €

Where to buy?  VinoPremier, El Corte Inglés

Comments: "very aromatic and fruity, but delicate in the mouth" - "perhaps the best Spanish red for less than €4"

 

13. Hoya de Cadenas Reserva Tempranillo, Vicente Gandía – DO Utiel-Requena 

Score: 4 eyes

Price: 3,99 €

Where to buy? El Corte Inglés, Carrefour, Alcampo, Consum, Hipercor

Comments: "One of the most rounded wines in this guide" - "wonderfully accomplished - a fantastic red" - "it will make you happy!"


14. Primitivo Quiles Tinto Roble, Bodegas Primitivo Quiles – DO Alicante

Score: 4 eyes

Price: 4,56 €

Where to buy? Hipercor

Comments: "simple, great-tasting - six months in barrel" - "flavour reminds of spice, figs, dates and red fruit confiture, a long-lasting aftertaste but elegant at the same time"

 

15. Ramón Roqueta Cabernet Sauvignon Tina 25, Ramón Roqueta – DO Catalunya

Score: 4 eyes

Price: 4,75 €

Where to buy? Carrefour

Comments: " A great fruity red at a great price" - "really high quality"

 



Like 1        Published at 17:06   Comments (12)


El Mercado Central - Valencia
14 February 2020

 It’s not often I manage to get down to the “local market” but fate had it that today I was to pass right by its front door. What a market! If only all local markets were the same. I have to say that Valencia’s central market is really something special, not only from a culinary point of view but also from a tourist’s point of view. Every time I walk through its doors two wishes come into my head: 1. That I lived closer to it and 2. I could afford to buy there every day! It is not cheap by Spanish standards but then again the delicacies on sale here aren’t normally on your daily menú. When I say delicacies I mean a wonderful array of fresh seafood brought in direct from the Lonja auction and one of the most established stands is Pepa Puerto which offered some spectacular Scampi (cigalas), Caribineros (Scarlet Prawns) and Striped prawns from Denia, a delight for any rice dish or just on their own cooked over a griddle, you can even pick up some live eels which are very typical in this region for the famous dish All i Pebre. Unfortunately this time none came away with me. 

Local organic vegetable, fruits, hams, cheeses, chocolates, desserts, natural fruit juices, meat, local sausages, you name it, you’ll find it and all of the highest quality. This is what singles out Valencia’s market from others, its quality is outstanding and the choice on offer is unending. It is sheer heaven for any food lover and a must if you ever decide to visit Valencia. Surrounding the market building there are plenty of places to eat and enjoy some of the local food on offer from the market.

 

  

 

 

The Mercado Central itself is a spectacular piece of architecture and one of the most attractive and visited buildings in Valencia. Built between 1914 and 1928, Its architecture matches the aesthetics of the square and blends perfectly with two other important monuments: La Lonja de la Seda (the silk exchange) and the Church of Los Santos Juanes. It is undoubtedly the most representative building of early 20th century Valencia, a city which was advancing towards technological and commercial progress and felt proud of the agricultural potential of its farmland. The iron, glass and ceramic domes (the central one is 30 metres high) and the two weather vanes on top of them (in the shape of a parrot and a fish) blend into a typically Valencian skyline of towers and bell towers.

 

  

 

The market has always been renowned for the quality, variety and freshness of its products as well as the helpful, personalised service provided by traders that work there, all terribly proud of what they sell.
This impressive market is the largest and one of the oldest markets still running in Europe today and covers exactly 8,160 square metres divided into two areas or zones. The first one is an irregular shape with a surface area of nearly 7000 square metres and the other, which is octagonal and covers 1,400 square metres, houses the fish market. The basement, which has just under 8000 square metres, was previously a fish auction and is now used as a car park. The heritage behind this market goes back centuries as a market has been held here in the very same place since the early thirteenth century.

 

          

The market brings together almost 400 small traders and 1,500 people are involved in its daily activity. No other centre in Europe specialising in fresh products matches it in size. Additionally, it was the first market in the world to rise to the challenge of computerising sales and offering home delivery. Nowadays, the Mercado Central is an important economic focal point of Valencia, not only because of the traders but also because of the large number of tourists it receives, often it is the first port of call for all Cruise liner passengers when they reach Valencia. 

So if you ever happen to pass through Valencia, I highly recommend you pop in and savour the culinary wonders that Valencia has to offer.

 

 



Like 3        Published at 20:14   Comments (4)


This is one beach you need to visit...
06 February 2020

Playa de Gulpiyuri is one of the most amazing beaches in the world and also one of the most unusual and unique beaches you will find. This beach is certainly on my agenda for my next visit to Asturias. Recommended by a friend, this beach is a jewel and I thought I would share it with you all in case you plan to pass through Asturias one day.

It is located near the coastal town of Llanes, on the coast of Asturias, Gulpiyuri Beach is unlike anything I have ever seen, or even imagined existed outside of Dali painting or a fantasy film. Imagine walking through the country and stumbling over an idyllic beach right in the middle of a green meadow and 100m from a cliff face. However, while you may find other beaches completely hidden from the open sea, around the world, this one is actually fully tidal and even has waves bathing the small strip of golden sand.

So how on earth did this beach come about? It appears the salt waters of the Cantabrian Sea bored through the cliffs, creating a series of underground tunnels and caves that constantly feed water to Gulpiyuri Beach. The beach originally was a cave that collapsed, creating an inland exit for the seawater which also carried sand with it and over time this gem was created. The water from the nearby Bay of Biscay comes in through the underground tunnel network and washes upon Gulpiyuri in gentle waves adding to the charm of this magical beach. The crystal clear water of this beach is irresistible, but you may find it a little cold, because the water tends to remain underground for a while, before washing up on the Beach. Because it’s only 50 meters in length it isn't very big, but it's big enough to enjoy it and small enough to be secluded and hard to find. If you don't have a GPS you'll need help from the locals to get there.

 

 

 


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Like 2        Published at 16:21   Comments (4)


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