Monday, August 19, 2013

Murcia: Lunch With Bodegas Castaño.

Once our initial introduction to the incredible wines of Murcia and the pleasures of the Monastrell grape had gotten off to an amazing start, before we knew it, lunch was upon us.  It was time to make our way to the family owned vineyard of Bodegas Castaño, located on the outskirts of Yecla in an idyllic country setting.

The farmstead fruit & vegetable grove.

"Bodegas Castaño is today one of the most respected wine producers in South-Eastern Spain in recognition for their tradition and achievements in the use of the indigenous grape varieties. With a clear innovating spirit, the Castaño family has incorporated avant-garde technologies and the latest vinification systems to keep alive the legacy of their ancestors, an inherited passion for the deeply rooted Monastrell, the king variety in Yecla.  There is no mystery. Our wines are born from over 500ha of vineyards planted along four big estates located in different areas of DO Yecla, where each variety finds its perfect habitat allowing for perfect cultivation."


Great guys- Daniel Gonzalez & Daniel Castaño.

Smiling face, fantastic shorts.

Upon our arrival, we were greeted by family member and Export Director, Daniel Castaño and U.S. Exporter Daniel Gonzalez, both smiling from cheek-to-cheek and happy to have us visit.  We were welcomed, and as they began to show us around this beautiful homestead, I realized something special- this was no ordinary vineyard, it was an agriturismo!  

The guy ruled the kitchen, all by himself.

Home amidst the vines.
Ahhh... The pool.
The calm before the storm.
The home belongs to the Castaño family, resembles a modest, rustic country inn, has a sparkling pool alongside a casual picnic area and, if you are feeling particularly posh, you can enlist the services of chef, friend and foodie extraordinaire, Antonio Lozano.  It was Antonio, and Antonio alone, preparing our lunch for the day (I believe around 20 of us), like a culinary ninja, moving in silence and smiling gently at our Ooooh's and Aaaaah's.  In a kitchen no bigger than a normal house's, Antonio worked his magic and presented our afternoon meal.  Incredible- just look at all of this beautiful food!

Jamon Iberico and locally produced Manchego cheese.

Salad, made with fruits and vegetables from their very own gardens with Marcona almonds in the background.

Brilliant grilled lamb, roasted potatoes, grilled zucchini and asparagus.

Fresh local watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, cherries (delicious!) and pineapple.  

Hand-pressed wafer cookies sandwiching gooey warm honey.

I was hooked.  I had also managed to consume a lot of wine by this point, so the dreamy Spanish sky was particularly intoxicating as we sat under the trees, light wind lifting the table skirts, tumbling leaves at our feet.  My weakness: the Castaño Monastrell Rosé.  Light and clean, with hints of red fruit, I found myself staring into the glass wishing I could stay in Spain forever.  And then, as if my thoughts had been heard, I looked up and snapped this photo, right as lunch was ending...

The combination of conifers, ornamental fruit trees, colors and sunlight was just too much for me to resist.

Our bellies were full and so much laughter was shared at this tasting.  Many thanks to the gentlemen of Bodegas Castaño for an ethereal afternoon.  I can't wait to return and spend more time at their lovely casita in the country.

Be well,


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