The phrase, Spain Is “Different” is a Franco era tourist slogan. To this day (with a slight shoulder shrug) it is often used to explain the way things do or don’t function. I imagine it doesn’t stray too far from what it meant back then–a polite way to talk about the relative time capsule quality of Spain in those years. Now, it points to the ways modern Spain does things differently and it is this difference which has allowed them to create some truly innovative wines.
Spain’s turbulent history left it relatively isolated from the rest of Europe. While there were certain historical touchstones that helped bring Spanish winemaking up to date, the older techniques, which may have gotten lost with sustained exposure to modern technologies, were preserved. Further, until the 1980s, 80% of the population lived in rural communities. As a result, in both winemaking and gastronomy, Spain maintains an almost unbroken connection to its glorious past. Spanish winemakers are able to carefully choose which new techniques and technologies they use to enhance their winemaking. And this my friends, is what makes Spanish wines so exciting: their ability to combine the best of the old and the new.
We will spend the next few weeks taking a closer look at Spanish wine, from label and classifications, to the winemaking techniques that make Spanish wine so unique.
Last week, in preparation for Valentine´s Day, we talked about mid-winter festivals and how they combat winter blues by providing an opportunity for us to get tipsy and let our hair down. We are clear about how wine lifts our mood but less clear about the chemical affects on the brain.
Talking about this is tricky. I come from a culture where pleasure is dubious at best. We Americans often have a hard time with things that make us feel good. When it comes to pleasurable substances, we have a talent for seeing them all as equally dangerous and exaggerating that danger while minimizing facts.
If you are lucky enough to be from the States and of a certain age you may remember this classic anti-drug ad campaign.
As the descendents of the puritanical, fire-and-brimstone Puritans, we are big on anti-drug campaigns. And even bigger on drama. Today all that is about to change.
Thanks to the good folks at WineFolly we have an opportunity to explore how wine and two other pleasurable substances affect our brains. Read that article here. Thankfully, no eggs were harmed in their study.
Remember, an informed drinker is a savvy drinker.
In vino veritas.
Getting drunk can not only get you into all kinds of trouble, but can be detrimental to your health. Getting tipsy is classy and fun and not health adverse. What’s not to love? You can’t possibly be more charming. You are relaxed, emboldened to act on impulses that might otherwise continue to lie buried deep within your psyche. Inhibitions are loosened but not completely abandoned, decorum is mostly saved. Blood pumps freely, loosening limbs, flushing cheeks and tongues. Singing and dancing ensues!
This weekend get tipsy at the mid-winter festival of Valentine´s Day as a way to rejuvenate and revitalize yourself and prepare for the longer days and warmer nights of the coming spring.
No plans? Come get your ya-yas out this Saturday at a spirited Valentine’s Day Wine and Chocolate Tasting. Savia Bruta Taller Floral, 19-20:30. Buy tickets here.
I´ve been feeling pretty dangerous these days. Chalk it up to the fact that it is still winter and my mind, body and soul are tired of being weighed down under layers of sweaters, coats and scarves. I long to break free and run through the streets unencumbered; I want to throw all those damn layers off and shout “Woohoo!” or something to that effect.
Perhaps this what the Romans had in mind when they celebrated Lupercalia, the ancient festival on which Valentine´s Day is based. That three-day event paid homage to love (in all its forms), health and fertility. Highlights included: a lover´s lottery, where couples were paired off by wolf priests who drew names out of a bowl; copious wine drinking; and being slapped with bloody goat hides. Bless those Romans! They just wanted to give folks a chance to let their hair down and go a little crazy.
It makes perfect sense, the Christmas holidays are a distant memory and the cold, hard reality of the new year sits heavily on our shoulders. Thank goodness we have this wonderful celebration to shake us out of our winter slump and prepare us for the coming spring.
If you want to add a little hip to your hop this Valentine´s Day, come join me on Friday, 10 February, 20:30-22:00 at Savia Bruta where we will celebrate the old fashioned way. 25€ for two wines and a cava each paired with a delicious aphrodisiac. Click here for tickets.