Switzerland: a paradise among mountains

I recently visited Switzerland again with my unswerving travelling companion: FERRATUS

Switzerland is a country where I feel at home because of its hospitality and its tremendous similarity with northern Spain: its valleys, its endless green meadows and its white mountains, reminding me of Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria and the Basque Country.

My first stop was Bern. The six kilometres of arcades running round its old centre never cease to amaze me. I recommend going to La Passion du Vin (Schauplazgasse 27) which, as well as being a wine shop is a pleasant wine and tapas bar, where FERRATUS occupies a place of honour. I’m grateful to Thomas and Jürg for their clear commitment to our wines over many years.

For my next stop at Interlaken I was accompanied by: Ueli, a good example of the fact that there are nice people everywhere, and Julia, a Galician who has been living in Switzerland for 30 years. Such a strong woman! We had lunch at the Hotel Aspen (Grindelwald), belonging to Stefan Grossniklaus, a fairytale hotel and good customer for our FERRATUS Sensaciones.

On the third day we went to Aarau, a small town near Zurich which no-one should miss. Accompanied by Matthias Seifritz, de La Passion du Vin (Laurenzentorgasse 7) we went to some amazing restaurants in a town with barely 30,000 inhabitants. That’s Switzerland!

Our last city was Geneva. The little time we spent in this city has made me see that I’ve been missing a jewel, but I’m sure I’ll be back. Thank you Manuela, Antonio, Gloria, Fabien, Juan Carlos – “Spaniards in Switzerland” – for coming to the tasting organised by Ms. Ana María Menéndez Pérez, Spain’s Ambassador Permanent Representative to the Office of the United Nations and other international organisations based in Geneva.

See you again very soon, Switzerland!!!

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We are #SpiritofRibera

The Governing Council for the Ribera del Duero Denomination of Origin has presented its new corporate image, which is also ours, because at FERRATUS we are Ribera del Duero. We are #SpiritofRibera to the very roots.

“The new image of Ribera del Duero symbolises the growth, development and current situation of our Denomination of Origin through the new symbol in vertical format. It is a logo which, like the wines, emerges from the earth of Ribera del Duero with the different shades of its landscapes: types of soils and land, vibrant colours and types of wine,” the Governing Council explains.

FERRATUS is proud to bear the Ribera del Duero brand within and beyond our borders; a  brand which, through its revamped image, projects the #SpiritofRibera of all the wineries making up the denomination and the people who love this land of vineyards. A way of experiencing wine linked to a creative attitude, which, together with its wineries, the Governing Council has put into activities in the fields of fashion, culture, leisure and music.

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Forget the myths of pairing

It’s more than likely that over the next couple of weeks you will be the host at a lunch or dinner and it’s not a good idea to leave details to chance: wine is hardly the least important thing.

Which wine should you bring out for each meal? Here’s a tip to start with: forget the myths that limit white wine to shellfish and fish and red to meat. Add your own personal touch and dare to break the supposed rules: you’ll give people something to talk about and, if you do it well, you’ll set a trend.

What you really hope for from good pairing is finding the balance between the food and wine. But balance doesn’t necessarily have to be harmonious: contrasts are also allowed. Good pairing is achieved when the wine enhances the flavour of each dish with all the senses (sight, smell, taste and texture).

For example, white wines, whether or not they are aged in the barrel, go very well with shellfish or white fish; however, rosé will too, and even a young, fruity red can be ideal. It’s similar with poultry and white meat: the tendency is to pair them with a young red wine, but, in the same way as a suckling pig accepts a sweet and sour sauce or compote, you can also accompany it with a white or rosé wine. Remember: as long as contrast is balanced, it’s a very interesting option.

For other kinds of meat, such as a fantastic suckling lamb from Aranda de Duero, innovation is more difficult as you can’t really do better than a barrel-aged red wine with body, rounded off in the bottle from Ribera del Duero. But be generous and choose your favourite, which I’m sure will be the best: FERRATUS.

Whichever one you choose, the important thing isn’t how you pair a wine, it’s who you pair it with. Merry Christmas and good luck!!

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FERRATUS at The Wine Gang Winter Festival

On 28 November, Bodegas FERRATUS is going to Edinburgh to take part in the Wine Gang “Winter Wine Festival”. It is a festival where visitors attend a masterclass with the Wine Gang team and taste incomparable wines from different wine-growing areas of the world.

The flagship product of our winery, FERRATUS 2009 will be there: 100% Tempranillo, aged for 14 months in the barrel, with its lovely, strong colour, oozing power and character. Joanna Simon, Jane Parkinson, Anthony Rose, Tom Cannavan and David Williams, the five well-known journalists and lovers of good wine who make up the Wine Gang, give it 93 points in the Top 20 2015 tasting.

The wine gang staff

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FERRATUS AØ and FERRATUS 2008 fly to New York

On 25, 26 and 27 October, the tenth International Congress of Chefs, StarChefs is being held in Brooklyn (New York). This year, in a special commemoration of the 10th anniversary, the country chosen to host the event is Spain, so there will be special representation from the great chefs in this country.

FERRATUS AØ 2013 and FERRATUS 2008 have been chosen to represent the Ribera del Duero Denomination of Origin, together with other wines from the same denomination, taking part in different activities organized during these three busy days: Welcome dinner, Somm Slam, Somm Bar and Wine Seminar.

On Sunday 25th, a welcome dinner is being held for all the professionals attending and taking part in the Congress at which our wines will be served, as they will be in the Somm Bar during the three days of the Congress. On the 26th and 27th, the Somm Slam will take place: a competition where wine professionals can show their skills and abilities in a blind tasting. To conclude, on the 27th, there will be an exclusive wine seminar run by the prestigious sommelier Geoff Kruth, who will analyze the wines tasted and chosen in the Somm Slam.

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Every day does not bring a Harvest

Exactly a week ago, the last bunch of the 2015 campaign (our thirteenth) was brought in through the doors of our winery and I’ve hardly been able to breathe since then. Why? During preparation and harvest time, nothing else exists for me. Everything else is pushed into the background and my head and my heart are focused on achieving the best fruit for the unrepeatable wine that FERRATUS 2015 will be. I try to control every detail (except the weather which, finally, I’m starting to take as it comes) and involve my team, so that they experience it as I do. And then, when it’s all over, I have to come back and recharge my batteries before continuing with other professional and family matters. But it’s really worth it! I love these intense days of sun, cold, rain, mud, impossible tracks, private conversations in the four-wheel-drive, nervous laughter and shouting, backache and too many grapes…

And this year has been very, very special. What grapes! Healthy, ripe, harvested by expert hands, carefully transported and unloaded on the selection tables, aromatic and sweet. And what weather! Sunny, cold days with wind and almost frosty nights (I won’t forget how our fingers froze as we touched the bunches). And what a team! My people! Benigno, Eduardo, Jóse, Dioni, Ruben, Ismael and Ernatz and, of course, my brother Enrique and the rest of my family. A synchronized team who now don’t need to be told exactly what I expect of them because they already know, and who this year have had a terrific time.

For me it is impossible not to love my wine when I suffer and enjoy myself so much creating it. Someone told me years ago that I wouldn’t be able to stand up to the pace of this time of year, but not only can I, I want to, because I know that there is only one chance every year; that those grapes waiting in the fields are unrepeatable and that, fortunately for those who have to put up with me, every day does not bring a harvest.

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1 October, the 2015 grape harvest begins

1 October was a great day at Bodegas FERRATUS. The anxiously awaited grape harvest began at Pago de Santa Cruz, in the municipality of La Horra – our vineyard, the pampered child of the family – which gives us the Tempranillo for the future FERRATUS Sensaciones 2015.

I don’t mind saying, I hardly sleep on the first day of the grape harvest, and not much for the next few days. I’m overcome with nerves, as I have been every year for the past 13 autumns now. Responsibility for making everything perfect and pride in a job well done during the day are sensations I feel that are difficult to explain, releasing adrenalin in me.

On the first day, the dawn was stunning, and the following days have also been exceptional. A cloudless sky, temperature of more than twenty degrees and spectacular Tempranillo at its best. Not as much as the previous year, but healthy and with small grapes, suggesting top quality, plenty of colour and fantastic fruity aromas.

IMG-20151002-WA0019As always, we pick the grapes, selecting them on the vine and putting them in small boxes, so that the bunches rest intact until they reach the winery, in the same conditions as they were on the vine. This year we have let them sleep in the open. The nights have been cool and there was no risk of rain.

IMG-20151002-WA0009Finally, in the early morning, the Tempranillo came into the winery, cold as the morning, where it will continue on its way to forming part of just 6,000 bottles of FERRATUS Sensaciones 2015, in 2018 at the earliest.

 

 

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FERRATUS 2008 receives 92 points

FERRATUS 2008 receives 92 points in the Ultimate Beverage Challenge. The main aim of this well-known American competition is to ensure an honourable, trustworthy result, recognising the highest levels of quality in the wines presented.

Integrity is the cornerstone of Ultimate Beverage and the jury that carries out the tastings, as well as the innovative, demanding methodology that confirms the credibility of its results.

Ferratus 2008 is a 100% Tempranillo aged in barrels, with a beautiful, intense colour of the kind described as opaque. When served in a glass, long glycerine “legs” fall slowly, revealing the high quality of the wine.

In the nose, we find red and black berry aromas and the smell of violet flavoured sweets, recalling childhood. The always subtle wood offers notes of tobacco and chocolate and gives the wine great complexity. In the mouth it arouses a very pleasant overall sensation because of its velvety tannins, while its character and potential are clear.

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Picture from Fast Forward Event Productions publicada en Flickr with Creative Commons Licence.

7 basic ideas for tasting a wine

Imagine the scene: dinner among friends in a good restaurant, and it’s time to choose the wine.  If there is a sommelier, he or she should be the one to recommend the ideal wine for the dishes chosen. But if not, there’s always someone who knows what to chose, or that’s what it seems like, and the rest of the group go along with him.

The bottle arrives and it’s time to taste and approve the wine: “Will it be good in the nose?” “Will the temperature be right?”… All eyes normally turn to the person who has chosen the wine, and he gives his verdict. Perhaps one day you would like it to be you who takes the glass, tastes the wine and says: “it’s good”. For that to happen, take note of a few simple tips you can put into practice until you feel confident.

  1. Before tasting, it is advisable not to have smoked or to be wearing strong perfume, as these things distort the senses of taste and smell.
  2. Serve just the right quantity so you can move the wine in the cup with circular movements without the risk of spilling it. A little secret: practice at home with water…
  3. The right way of picking up the glass is by the base or foot between the index finger and thumb, or by the stem. Never take it by the balloon or bowl because, as well as heating up the wine, you will dirty the glass.
  4. Tilt the glass slightly and put it between the light and a white background (the tablecloth, for example). You can appreciate the opacity (or robe) and whether the wine is clean, as well as its colour, which says a lot about it. For example, the colour of reds gives us clues about whether it is young or aged.
  5. After looking, smell the wine, first at rest, in a still glass, and then after making gentle circular movements: aromas will come off that will give you new information about what you’re holding.
  6. When you stop moving the glass, drips or legs of glycerine will slide down the sides. New clue: the bigger the legs and the more slowly they fall, the more body the wine you are going to drink will have.
  7. Finally, raise the glass to your lips and take a sip of wine, letting it surround your mouth for a few seconds before swallowing to appreciate its length and flavour.

The practice will mean you take less than a minute to give your friends your opinion, without forgetting the most important thing: wine is to be enjoyed. Cheers!!

 

Picture from Fast Forward Event Productions publicada en Flickr with Creative Commons Licence.

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Maria Luisa’s trip to China

More than a month has passed since my trip to China and it’s flown by. But I’ll never forget my experiences there and I remember them as if it was yesterday.

They were very busy days, when I discovered new customs, new landscapes, new food and, most importantly and fortunately for me, amazing people with a real desire to learn about wine in general and my FERRATUS in particular. Above all, though, they welcomed me and treated me with exquisite courtesy and friendliness.

There are a lot of stories I could tell, but today I’ll stick with the fond memory of everyone who gave me the precious gift of their time and their smiles: thanks, all of you.

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