Tio Pepe – Fine sherry

November 22, 2009

Palomino Fino

We had a sherry, but not any sherry: I bought a bottle of Tio Pepe, in my local supermarket, one of the best and most popular sherries. I was a true find. The Palomino Fino is made from the Palomino grape variety, one of the most important for the production of sherry. Fino is the driest of the traditional sherries and also the palest in colour, as you can see from the photo below.

Tio Pepe

Sherry is one of the underrated wines of today. When we visited Madrid two summers ago, we ended up in the sherry bar of town, “La Venencia”, an icon and heaven for the sherry lover. This somehow has triggered our re-discovery of sherry and ever since sitting on the rustic table in this bar, I just love this type of fortified wine. Tio Pepe’s Palomino Fino is wonderful with food. We had it with antipasti, olives and bruschette. What a joy. It’s not cheap in Thailand (we paid about Thai Bath 1,600 which is 32 EURO!) but I could not resist.

The next big thing: Sherry

August 18, 2008

One of the hottest tips if you want to enjoy Sherry, the fortified wine originating from Jerez, Spain in Madrid is “La Venencia” in Calle Echegaray 7, Madrid. Sherry (and water) is the only drink on offer.

In the bar “La Venencia” in Madrid

The bar man writes your order with chalk down at the wooden counter and later calculates your bill there as well. The Sherry is taken from big wooden vats, filled into bottles and served in Sherry glasses. Green olives and other snacks are complimentary.

The place has a great atmosphere with all the patina (on the wall paper and all other furnishings) we expect from a place of character and great character “La Venencia” has. Sherry is not an old ladies drink! The bar was full of people from all walks of life and all ages, mostly male I might add.

We tasted the whole repertoire. Needless to say, all the sherries offered were delicious. One can forget completely that other wines could be enjoyable drinks. I had the feeling that only Sherry would matter to me in the future.

Beautiful Sherry

You will find all colors, from the Fino – pale, fruity, the Manzanilla – blue straw, grass taste, the Amontillado – dark caramel coloured, with a toffee aroma, the Oloroso -darkest colour, light brown, smelling like pralines.

“La Venencia” is such a great place. We did not want to leave but we finally succumbed to our stomachs and left to find a place for dinner.

Heaven must be a place where they serve Sherry, that’s for sure. My resolution included to drink more Sherry in the future.

If you visit Madrid, a visit to the La Venentia is a must, otherwise you have not been there.

La Venencia
Calle Echegaray 7
28014 Centro Modarid
Tel.: 914297313
Opening hours daily 19:30 -1:30 h

Restaurant Review: La Vaca Veronica – fine dining in Madrid

November 2, 2008

Madrid is a wonderful place to visit. We were very lucky and had a great time in the capital city of Spain. We used the four days we had to the utmost to explore the amazing town. Foremost, we wanted to visit the museums such as the Prado and the Reina Sofia (we did not make it to the Thyssen museum). But it’s not just art and culture. The people of Madrid are amazingly friendly. It just blows you away. It started with the guy picking us up from the airport. He did not speak a word of English, and he also did not know where to bring us to. Alas, the modern world has mobile phones on hand (what did we do before we had them?). He made a call to the apartment renting agency and the rest was smooth driving. We communicated with hands and gestures, also the Spanish phrasebook helped somehow. It was a marvellous start of our four nights in Madrid.

Needless to say, we also explored the restaurant scene. First we checked out some of the many (many many many) tapas bars. On our last evening, however, we decided to have a different type of dinner. On our endless walks we had passed La Vaca Veronica before. After some appetisers in a famous Sherry bar, we leisurely strolled towards the narrow lane where La Vaca Veronica is located.

The restaurant opened only at 21h which we did not know. We were surrounded by other, patiently waiting, guests outside. My daughters passed the time by jumping from the roadside pillars barring cars from parking on the side walk. But luck was on our side. We got a table without a reservation. The restaurant owner was around and helped us along.

The dining room

What did we order? Well, mainly Italian type cuisine as you can see from the pictures below. We somehow all lounged for a pasta. The food was delicious. The colourful interior contributes to a very friendly atmosphere. We enjoyed it thoroughly and had a jolly good time. After all, it was our last evening after some very busy and eventful days.

If I am not mistaken, we ordered the house wine. I lost my tasting notes, sorry folks. But there is so much good wine in Spain that you cannot go wrong.

The landlady behind her desk.

Here is our recommendation: 5 stars out of five.

The decisions was democratically derived at. We go with the principle: one person, one vote. If you can, visit Madrid, and if you are hungry go to La Vaca Veronica for a meal, it’s worth it.

La Vaca Veronica
Abrimos los Domingos
Moratin, 38
28014 Madrid
Te.: 914297827

Sucellus – Wine aperitif from Kinheim, Mosel

November 28, 2007

When doing my research on the internet for my entry on Sucellus and Nantosuelta, I came across a webpage which advertised a very different kind of ‘Sucellus’. On www.sucellus.de Dr. Willi Rieth from Kinheim, Mosel produces a ‘Mosel Sherry’ called Sucellus. Dr. Rieth is by profession a food analyst. In his spare time he is hobby vintner. Because the name ‘sherry’ is protected by law, the drink has to be called a wine aperitif. Kinheim is the location where a statue of Sucellus dating back to the 3rd century AD was found in 1976 during land consolidation works. Dr. Rieth decided to call his wine aperitif Sucellus after the Celtic god of vintners and coopers.


Dr. Willi Rieth and a statue of ‘Sucellus’, the Celtic god of vintners and coopers, in Kinheim, Mosel

Some claim that sherry production is one of the most complex of all winemaking methods. In the South of Spain where Sherry originates from three main grape varieties are used ofr Sherry production: Palomino, Pedro Jimenex and Moscatel. Along the Mosel, its of course Riesling grapes on which the ‘wine aperitif’ is based. The mature Riesling grapes are hand-harvested and carefully pressed. The must is fermented in large oak barrels (barrique). After the wine is made and the conditions are right, a specific yeast, called the flor, forms on top of the wine and mellows the flavour. After that the wine is fortified usually with clear wine alcohol which preserves and protects the sherry against microbiological influences. The aging and blending of Sherry is quite a complex procedure where various systems are employed (for instance the Solera system).


The wine aperitif ‘Sucellus’ from Kinheim

The above bottle has travelled the world and made more than 800,000 km in the air (about 18 times around the aquator) which brought an entry into the Guinness Book of Records. Even Indonesia was on the list of the countries, where the bottle touched down some 10 years ago.

PS: Both photos were made available by Dr. Rieth