Bodegas Alceño

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Johnny Pugh

The excitement is building up in Jumilla as people spot the posters advertising the first live performance of the Johnny Pugh Band in Bodegas Alceño.  Johnny and his wife Jane only moved here in January this year but already they have made many Spanish and British friends, who can’t wait to hear him sing and play the saxophone with his new line-up.

Johnny was the lead singer with the Climax Blues Band for five years, as well as playing the saxophone and harmonica with them.  He has an impressive CV, having also worked as a session musician with the likes of  Rose Royce, the Four Tops, Ben E. King, Martha Reeves and the Real Thing, to mention just a few.

Click on this link to hear Johnny and the Climax Blues Band at the Rock & Blues Festival 2011: youtube video.

Tickets for the concert cost 14€ including tapas and wine, with the chance to try the new Alceño Rosado 2012.  You can buy your tickets at the bodega at Calle Barrio Iglesias no 55 in Jumilla, or in Los Chilines wine shop at Avenida Levante no 69,  Jumilla.  Tickets are also on sale in Get I.T. Connected in Pinoso, tel: 966 192 953.  The date to put in your diary is Saturday 27 October at 21.00.

To listen to more music from Johnny, click on this link: this is from a gig a few years ago.

If you would like more information about the concert or about the Johnny Pugh Band, please contact Jane at:  jojanepugh@yahoo.com.

Finally, this is the poster to look out for.  I am proud of the fact that my talented friend José María decided to use one of my photos, though he is responsible for the brilliant design!

I can promise you a great night out – hope to see you at Johnny’s gig on 27 October!

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So what is your favourite kind of music? Some people find that question easy to answer.  My friend Wendy’s husband Con is a jazz fanatic, with too many albums for me to count them all: I’m not sure whether we are talking 100s here or even 1,000s!  My father loved classical music and would sit listening to his records in the dining room whenever my brothers and I had “Top of the Pops” on in the living room. 

Showing my age now (!) - I still love listening to music from the 60s, plus some light classical music, in memory of my Dad.  However, since moving to Spain, I have also got into flamenco in a big way.  I don’t think it is a case of which music I prefer, it’s more a matter of what mood I am in, and I am sure that many other people feel the same way.

I have pasted some links below to videos on youtube that were taken at the recent Música entre Vinos concerts, with music varying from flamenco to jazz via swing.  Needless to say, I enjoyed all these concerts even though the music was very different. 

I’d love you to tell me which is your favourite video - and why.  (Scroll to the end of this post for the comments box.)

Casa de la Ermita, where Orquesta Brass Ensemble played

  Click here to play video: Orquesta Brass Ensemble

With friends, waiting to hear Al Golpe at Bodegas JM Martínez Verdú

Click here to play video: Al Golpe 

Bodegas Alceño - Jumilla Black Band

 Click here to play video: Jumilla Black Band

John and I waiting for vino at Bodegas BSI

Bodegas Viña Elena

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If you fancy visiting a Bodega in or near Jumilla you are spoilt for choice, however if you are specifically looking for a tour in English that will limit your choice a bit, as Jumilla is inland and therefore many local people only speak Spanish.  This guide is intended therefore to point non-Spanish-speaking people in the right direction.

The bodegas situated within walking distance of the city centre are all very different, so this is also a resumé to help you decide which bodega is right for you.  You may of course want to visit several bodegas, however you will need a lot of stamina if you intend visiting them all on the same day!

1.  Bodegas Viña Campanero

This is the smallest  bodega in Jumilla and if you speak a bit of Spanish it is definitely not to be missed.  Pedro and his father are very welcoming: they enjoy showing people around and are very proud of their newest acquisition, a small bottling unit, which was only installed last year.    There are great views of Sierra Santa Ana from the salón, a tiny wine museum, and they also have a reasonably priced shop on their premises.  The bodega is behind BSI, so it would be good to combine a visit here with one at BSI.
 
http://www.vinacampanero.net/visitas.asp

Museum in Bodega Viña Campanero

 2.   Bodegas San Isidro (BSI)

The largest bodega in Jumilla is BSI, which is a co-operative.  Tours in English are available, but please make sure you book in advance.  They have some experimental vines on their site, however in the vendimia we see tractors queuing up with loads of grapes to deposit there, many of them from small vineyards, as well as trailers full of olives later in the year.  They also have their own wine museum and a shop on their premises.
 
http://www.bsi.es/
 
3.   Bodegas Silvano Garcia

They have two members of staff who speak good English, and they do several different tours, including a visit to their aroma room.  The visit to the aroma room costs a bit more but all our visitors have said it is worth doing, as it is not only educational but also fun. 

If you don’t normally like sweet wine (I didn’t), I recommend forgetting your prejudices and trying their award-winning dulce wines.  I am now a convert and particularly enjoy their Monastrell dulce, which is perfect with dessert at the end of a good meal.

http://www.silvanogarcia.es/es-bodegas-silvano-garcia-visitas-a-bodega.html.
 
4.  Bodegas Pedro Luis Martínez

More commonly known as Bodegas Alceño, we think that this bodega is so good because the chief winemaker is very particular about things such as the correct temperature, which is reflected in the quality of their wines.  It is the oldest bodega in Jumilla, being founded in 1870.  Some English is spoken, but remember to book in advance if you want a tour in English.  Don’t forget to buy some wine before you go!
 
http://www.alceno.com/ 

5Bodegas Bleda

We were lucky enough to be guinea pigs for their first tour of the bodega in English several months ago.  Antonio Bleda  had only been learning English for two months at the time, and we were very impressed by how good he was: by now he probably speaks perfect English!

It is worth visiting this bodega for its location alone: situated about 2 kilometres outside Jumilla on the road to Ontur, and surrounded by vineyards.  Not only that, but they have many award-winning wines, though my personal recommendation is their Castillo de Jumilla Blanco, which everybody who has tasted it rates highly – even the committed red wine drinkers! It is also very reasonably priced, so you can afford to buy several bottles to take home.

vinos@bodegasbleda.com

6.  Bodegas Carchelo

Slightly off the beaten track, but recommended for a visit because of its location in the Valley of El Carche and because at least one member of staff (Poñi) speaks good English.  My daughter Kate was impressed by their branding, and said that she would immediately spot their wines in any wine-shop because of the distinctive black and white hoops around the neck of the bottle.

export@carchelo.com

7.  Bodegas Viña Elena

Another family business, which was originally called Bodegas Pacheco after the grandfather of the current generation.  It is now named Bodegas Viña Elena after Paco’s youngest daughter Elena, who is being groomed to take over from him.  You can see the original bodega as well as the smart new installations, and don’t miss the lovely garden at the back.  The bodega is at km 52 on the N344, the main road between Jumilla and Murcia.  Tours are available in English by contacting them in advance.

visitas@vinaelena.com

The local bodegas charge from 5€ per person for a tour, including wine tasting and nibbles, though you can negotiate a reduction for a large group.  As mentioned above, it is advisable to book in advance, especially if you want a tour in English.  All of them sell wine on the premises, so even if you haven’t booked a tour of the bodega you can pop in to buy a few bottles of your favourite wine.

Other bodegas well worth a visit are Bodegas Luzón, Bodegas JM Martínez Verdú, Hacienda del Carche, Casa de la Ermita and Bodegas Finca Omblancas.  They are all out of town, which means you can see the vineyards as well as visiting the bodegas.  More details can be found on the Ruta del Vino website - you need to scroll down their page to find links to all the bodegas.

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Why part 2½ you may ask?  Well my post about last Saturday’s Música entre vinos should have been part 2, but I got carried away and named it Saturday Night Fever instead.  I couldn’t decide between calling this post Música entre Vinos part 2 or part 3 so I decided to compromise.  I am British after all, and we like to find a diplomatic solution where possible.

So how did last night’s event in Bodegas Alceño go?  How did it compare with the seven events in total that we had already attended this year?  John rated it no 3, however I decided it was equal second: being diplomatic again.

We expected the organisation to be good, which it was.  We knew that we would enjoy the wines, which we did.  Juan Miguel is meticulous about how his wines are stored and served so that you can enjoy them at their best, and he always delivers.  As soon as we spotted the familiar figure of the boss of Casa Canales with his efficient staff, we were reassured that the food would be good too.

 We have enjoyed listening to the music of Jumilla Black Band in previous years, so we knew they wouldn’t disappoint.  My only criticism is that I would have preferred them not to wear their trade-mark black clothes, as they don’t show up very well in my photos!

Our friends John and Lesley have visitors so they decided to give this event a miss, making us the only “ingleses” there last night.  Fortunately we didn’t need them to chauffeur us this time as Bodegas Alceño is within walking distance of our apartment.  Officially the bodega’s name is Bodegas Pedro Lúis Martínez, however they are better known as Alceño, which is a far snappier title.

Bodegas Alceño's back yard

The evening started well, as Casa Canales had already set out plates of savoury pastries and almonds, and soon we were enjoying a glass of vino blanco to wash them down with.  We were outside, and it was a very warm evening, so we both appreciated the perfectly chilled wine. 

We were joined by some friendly Jumillanos, who soon took us under their wing.  One of them hunted down a bottle of chilled rosado, which they told us was “fresco” and perfect for such a balmy night.  A plate of jamón appeared, which they offered to me, however I declined and explained that I didn’t eat any type of meat.  Seconds later one of the señoras caught the attention of a waitress who had a plate of cheese and purloined it for me.

We were also joined by a friendly black and white dog, who bore a startling resemblance to our own dog Lisa.  So much so that I almost said to John “You did lock the door behind you, didn’t you?”

Once again there was a great atmosphere, helped by the swing music that we were listening to, with everybody tapping their feet or swaying in time to the music.  The food kept coming with hardly a break, and in spite of our best efforts we were having to pass plates on to the next table where a group of young people were willing to help us out.

As the temperature dropped, most people decided to taste the vino tinto, which was being served natural.  For the benefit of readers living in the UK I would like to point out that, even though it was now after 11pm, cardigans and jackets were still superfluous.  Instead of being hot, it was now pleasantly warm.

Juan Miguel had a quick word when passing by, advising us that the Tinto Dulce 2010 was muy bien.  It arrived just in time to accompany the desserts and chocolate - and he was right: it was indeed very good.  As, of course, was the whole evening.

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