Los Chilines

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With the arrival of June and (hopefully!) a long hot summer, we can also look forward to this year’s Música entre Vinos in Jumilla, organised by La Ruta del Vino de Jumilla.

What exactly is Música entre Vinos?  Not surprisingly it involves both music and wine: most events will start with a tour of the bodega, followed by a concert – and you will of course have the opportunity to try the bodega’s best wines accompanied by a variety of local tapas. When I say tapas, I mean a lot of food, so do come with an empty stomach! I don’t eat meat, but I still manage to find plenty of food that I can enjoy. Tickets cost a reasonable 20€, the same as last year, and can be bought either direct from the bodega or from Los Chilines wine-shop at 69 Avenida Levante in Jumilla.

The organisers have made sure that there is something to suit everybody’s musical tastes with a wide variety of music from pop to flamenco, plus a bit of jazz.

Enjoying last year's event in Bodegas Viña Elena

The opening concert will be at 12.00 on Sunday June 2 in Bodegas Viña Elena, and has already sold out. The music will be provided by the “Banda de Música Asociación Musical Julián Santos”, one of Jumilla’s two local bands. Bodegas Viña Elena is a family-owned bodega, 17km from Jumilla, which was founded in 1948 by Elena’s grandfather.

The second event will start at 20.00 on Saturday June 8 in Bodegas Luzón, which is about 3km from Jumilla on the road to Calasparra. The legendary Jumillano group “Magic Bus” will be entertaining everyone with their pop-rock music. Although I don’t have any favourites, I have to say that last year’s event was one of the best organised –  and we particularly liked the welcoming drink and tapas before we even started on the tour! Unfortunately we will have to miss this year’s event as my niece is getting married in Sunderland on the same day: sometimes family has to come first!

On Saturday 15 June the concert will be hosted by Casa Canales delicatessen in the centre of Jumilla. As there won’t be a bodega tour the evening will start at 21.30, with the extraordinary duet “Alex & Cristobal” delighting us with their great versions of pop, rock and blues. This is another concert that we will be sorry to miss, as we don’t return from the UK until 17 June.

On Sunday 16 June at 12.00 “Cantos Jazz Fusión” will be in concert at Bodegas Casa de la Ermita, situated in El Carche 11.5 km from Jumilla. This talented trio will be interpreting the music of Frank Zappa, the Beatles and Miles Davis amongst others in what they describe as “Jazz Ambiental”. It will definitely be a great afternoon out for jazz fans!

We are looking forward to the event organised by Los Chilines wine shop at 21.30 on Friday 21 June, especially as we will have already missed three superb concerts. “Antuan Muñoz y Banda” will be playing Flamenco fusion music at Salones Pio XII, in an idyllic setting overlooking the town of Jumilla. Their musical style is best described as flamenco mixed with rumba, reggae, rock, pop, funky: a veritable cocktail of rhythms and styles.  Prepare to be amazed!

Bodegas Xenysel is another family-run bodega, which is based in the countryside between Jumilla and Yecla.  “Sazón Bolero”, a quintet formed of four Murciano musicians and a Jumillano singer, will be performing traditional boleros at the bodega at 20.00 on Saturday 22 June. We always get a warm welcome here, and we enjoy the concerts outside in the beautiful countryside, so we are hoping some kind person will offer us a lift there!


Concert in Bodegas Xenysel

The last event of the month will be held in Bodegas San Isidro (BSI) at 20.00 on Saturday 29 June. “Potato Head Jazz Band” will be playing “Hot Jazz”, also known as Dixieland. Their music will transport us to the New Orleans of the 20s and their show promises be a combination of music and good humour with audience participation – I can’t wait! The good news is that this bodega is close to where we live, so we can walk there easily and then stagger home afterwards.

If, unusually, you don’t enjoy good music and good wine, these aren’t the only events in Jumilla this month. The tourist office is offering free guided visits on Sundays throughout June.

On 2 and 9 June there will be guided walks to the Castle and the Old Town, starting at 10.00 from the tourist office. You are advised to book in advance as places are limited.

On 23 June the theme of the walk is religious art and again it will start from the tourist office at 10.00.

Finally on 30 June the walk will be along an urban route, leaving at 10.00 from Teatro Vico.

The walks will be conducted in Spanish, so if you think that may be too challenging for your linguistic abilities, why not book a free Walkers Tour of Jumilla in English? Send me a message via the Contact page if you would like further details.

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Wow!  That was the first word to come to mind when we entered the Jardín Botánico last night: José María of Los Chilines had surpassed even his high standards.

This was the third Gran Cata that we have attended since moving to Jumilla.  We thought the first one in Jardín de Los Caños was great – lots of good food and lots of good wine - even though we were sitting on stone seats.  We encouraged our friends Lesley and John to join us for last year’s Gran Cata, which proved to be even better, with live music from a local group, plus chairs had been provided for us all to sit on. 

We all reserved our tickets for this year’s Gran Cata as soon as details appeared, which was lucky as they sold out almost immediately, such is José María’s reputation for organising excellent wine tasting events.

La Gran Cata 2009

La Gran Cata mark III was held in the beautiful surroundings of the Jardín Botánico however the first thing we noticed on arrival was a red carpet!  We walked along the red carpet, stopped to have our photos taken by Fotocool and then headed for the lounge area.  I was wearing flat shoes, suspecting that we might have to stand up all evening as it was a far bigger event than before, so it was a pleasant surprise to see that tables and chairs had been set out.

We were soon joined by a group of young people, one of whom introduced herself and said she was keen to practise her English on us.  She was called Victoria, and we realised that she was the singer who would be providing the evening’s entertainment later on.

The whole evening was exceptionally well organised, especially considering there were two hundred and fifty people present.  Bar Paraiso were in charge of catering again, so we knew that the food would be very tasty.  The wine waiters timed things to perfection, so we all had the right wine to taste as the wine makers from the 10 participating bodegas introduced their individual wines. 

Waiting with Lesley and John for the food and wine to appear

I think the four British pensioners were the only people present to appreciate the irony of one wine being named Crápula, though we tried to explain it to the chicos and chicas at our table.  Our favourite wines were Divus, Gemina Cuvee, Calzas and Juan Gil 18 meses.  Wine tasting is all about individual taste though as, in spite of us not rating Crápula, the wine guru Robert Parker gave it 90 points!

While we were tasting the first five wines, plates of delicious food kept arriving.  Our Spanish companions were eagerly waiting for the jamón, which the champion Maestro Cortador de Jamón was carving, so I kindly helped them out with the seafood tapas and cheeses. 

Victoria disappeared with Paco her guitarist just after we had tasted the fourth wine (she was being abstemious though, only drinking water and coke) and she then appeared on stage to perform her first set.  Victoria had already told us that only three of her twenty five songs would be sung in Spanish, so not surprisingly we knew most of the words.

After tasting the final five wines we listened to Victoria’s second set, while more bottles of wine were being brought round, giving us a chance to taste our favourites again.  By now several people were up dancing and, once I had twisted John’s arm, we joined them for a couple of lively numbers.  After that Lesley and I discovered the Dulce Zone, where tiny desserts and chocolate truffles had been laid out, so we headed eagerly in that direction.  Yummy!

Listen to Victoria singing “Mrs Robinson”

We left at one o’clock, having had more than enough food and wine, however we noticed on the way out that Chaplin Bar was serving drinks to those with more stamina than us.

Many congratulations to José María and his team for organising such an amazing event – we are already looking forward to next year’s Gran Cata!

PS What do you think we had to pay for this great evening?  Please leave your guesses in the comments box below, and I will post the answer next week.

La Gran Cata 2011

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