Well what can I say, Friday was my birthday so off to the mountains we go, hi-ho-hi-ho… to taste wine, por supuesto 🙂
The province of Almería has some lovely wines, incredibly underrated and understated; not even all the bars in Almería sell them! Mostly the wines are based on the Tempranillo grape often with other types added. Some of the wines that are made from only the Tempranillo grape bring to mind the finest single malt scotch whisky and the taste can only be described as “suave” with notes of blackcurrant, forest berries & chocolate. My favourite wine is called Tetas de la Sacristana and you can look up your own translation of this! The “vino tinto” is made from mostly Tempranillo but also Merlot & Cabernet Sauvignon grapes – the colour is a rich red, it is high in anti-oxidants (so it’s good for you… honest guv!) and the taste is divine… vanilla, chocolate, blackcurrant… oooh….
The main bodega is in a village in the Almerían Alpujarras called Fondón although the wine is actually made in the neighbouring smaller village of Fuente Victoría along with a number of other wines. Fondón and Fuente Victoría are both located close to the town of Laujar de Andarax, a wine making mecca.
Awaiting my next visit! As I am uploading this photograph, it occurred to me that I should’ve signed a barrel too… ah well, need to go back now!
As for the wine tasting, well it wasn’t so much “testing” the different wines as they only make three types, it was more like… “¿Quieres una otra copa?” The people were lovely and welcoming and provided some nice tapas to go with the wine – it was wine heaven. Although my resemblance to Peter Griffin from Family Guy ought to be a warning that maybe I should ease off the hearty fayre 🙂
So what of the town of Fondón? I hear you ask!
Fondón is a smallish pueblo in the Almerían Alpujarras heading towards the north-western border with the province of Granada (also known for some good wines). The pueblo is known for its wine and dulces which are almond & flour based rusks flavoured with various herbs and spices. They were originally made in convents by nuns in an effort to supplement their meagre income and are most popular throughout winter. In some parts of Andalucía, they are still made by nuns and I have had a wonderful experience buying them from a convent in the town of Granada. Anyways, back to Fondón.
The main Plaza has two fuentes (drinking water fountains), Fuente de la Chica and to my shame, I cannot remember the name of the other one.
There are a number of nice bars and places to eat where you can sample the local produce. In common with many areas of the Almería province, the areas surrounding Fondón are also known for growing oranges, olives, almonds, lemons, clementines, satsumas, pomegranates, apricots, figs and making many of associated products such as pan de higo, dulces y mantecados (mentioned above) and of course olive oil.
The plan was then to spend a night in the city of Almería but we stopped in several places along the way, including one of my favourite Alpujarran villages, Almócita for more photographic moments including this one… if ever there was a bird that looks awkward swimming, it is a duck!
One of the best places for fruit along this route is the pueblo of Ragól. Here I have had some of the best oranges and lemons ever and as long as you ask, no-one seems to mind you helping yourself, providing of course that you are not filling the boot of your car!
The busy city of Almería, once you get used to it, is one of the most welcoming cities to behold and seemingly getting excited about the forthcoming season! Most shops were decorated, there were street markets, stalls and all sorts selling a varied range of ahem, “goods”.