This week has had a somewhat Spanish theme with Rioja Tapas Fantasticas taking place last weekend and my upcoming holiday to Lake Viñuela (wahey) this weekend, so while browsing Marks & Spencers earlier today I decided to go for a bottle of Toque Virtuoso Sauvignon Blanc 2011 from Valencia to enjoy with friends over lunch. Now I know you should never judge a book by its cover but you have to admit, this new addition to the M & S wine range does have a pretty cool label…
With tangy aromas of mango and gooseberry, this Sauvignon Blanc is pretty similar in flavour profile to some of New Zealand’s familiar offerings (Oyster Bay, for example), and at £6.99 it is much cheaper too. While some Sauvignon Blancs finish with a mouth puckering acidity, this white is perfectly rounded and smooth – a perfect match to Spanish tapas out in the garden (providing the rain buggers off), and the ideal beginning to my summer holiday.
Having battled my way through gusting winds and yet more torrential rain (forgive the exaggeration) on my way home from work, I decided to pass on my original plan to go for a run this evening and am currently curled up on the sofa with a hot cup of tea.
Like many right now, I’m counting down the days until my summer holiday (lying on a sunbed in Spain with a glass of something cold and my Kindle loaded with the latest trashy reads? Yes please). In the meantime though, I’m looking forward to a little bit of Spain on the Southbank this weekend at Rioja Tapas Fantasticas.
Now in its fifth year, this festival celebrates all that is great about Spanish food and wine. With over 40 wine and tapas stalls to work your way around, there will be plenty to tantalise your taste buds. If the sun shines, I’ll be sipping a chilled glass of Rioja rosé alongside some tasty gazpacho and if (when) it rains, you’ll find me huddled under a tree with a glass of warming Gran Reserva surgically attached to my hand!
Regardless of the weather, it’s always a lot of fun. With Spanish music pumping from the live bands and DJs onstage, cookery demonstrations from famed Spanish chef José Pizarro, and educational and entertaining wine walks and workshops with wine experts Olly Smith and Susy Atkins, you’d be mad to miss it.
Open from 12pm-8pm on Saturday and from 12pm-6pm on Sunday in Potters Fields Park (near London Bridge tube station), entry is free and you can buy a wine glass on the door with tokens which can be exchanged for samples of delicious Rioja wines. You can also purchase tapas dishes and glasses of wine from all exhibiting restaurants and wineries throughout the day.
So don those raincoats and wellies and I’ll see you there!
Until the 17th July, you can get a bottle of Tesco Finest Gavi 2011 for just £5.99 (down from £7.99). Made from Cortese grapes in Piemonte in Northern Italy, this dry white wine has enticing lemon citrus flavours, notes of pear, and a hint of fresh herbs.
It would be perfect alongside a light white fish dish or a plate of king prawns, simply prepared with lemon and a touch of garlic – an ideal summer wine (should summer choose to make an appearance any time soon).