Pedras d’el Rei village, just north of Barril beach, was buzzing with holidaymakers enjoying the first really warm days of summer when the Algarve Wine Society visited on Thursday, June 15 for their last get-together before the autumn.
The evening kicked off with drinks on the lawn, a crisp and aromatic Botas de Barro Rueda and a more gastronomic Finca Villalobillos Airén, the first two of a collection of Spanish wine brought specially for the evening by Nicola Thornton of Spanish Palate.
Nicola explained to members that she’s from Rotherham in the UK but came to Spain to take a temporary job after university, and never left. She became increasingly aware that small producers in Spain were producing wines of high quality but finding it difficult to find a market for them: in 2016, she founded Spanish Palate to fill this gap, and now her team looks after over 100 wines from 20 regions and exports them to 40 countries around the globe.
Moving to the restaurant, but still very much open to the cooler night air, the starter of sea bream fillet was accompanied by Remolón Rosé, a clever blend of red and white grapes – an adept solution to the problem of producing a fashionably pale rosé in a region where traditional methods can produce only a much more intensely coloured wine. Chef Nara’s pork medallion followed, together with a red from the Toro region of north-west Spain, 8 Rosas Negras, featuring Tinta de Toro grapes from a vineyard over 100 years old.
The AWS will join up with Spanish Palate again in October, when a group of members will cross the border to explore the wines of the Ribera del Duero region.
By ALISON WEST