LifestylePersona February, 6th 2012 by

El Mundo En La Mesa - The World on the Table

by AJ Linn
(Originally published in Spanish in the Diario Sur on 21 Jan 12)

It all began one day when I was chatting to the owner of Marbella’s best-known vinacoteca, or wine store. Julio Carrasco mentioned he had installed a wine cellar in a villa in La Zagaleta urbanisation. Julio, apart from selling the stuff, was building wine cellars, and had delivered 15 to date. This gave me an idea: why not write a series of articles about people who had private wine cellars in their villas?
Once I started interviewing these wealthy wine buffs, mostly expats, I realised most of them enjoyed nothing more than going down to their cellar to select a suitable bottle or three for dinner. The exception was a sadly-missed Spanish friend, Dr Antonio Maiz, who  invited me to visit his cellar. As we descended the stairs with the photographer I started asking him about keeping wine. “Wine?” he shot back, “There’s no wine, only brandy”. Indeed, hundreds of bottles of different brandies from all over the world awaited us, presents from his patients and colleagues.
There is a difference in cultures as far as storing wine is concerned. In common with many northern European and US wine lovers I had a cellar in my house in England, and it was normal to select young wines, usually claret and burgundy, for laying down – and forget about them for ten or 20 years. French visitors especially used to enjoy drinking wine in England as they could experience older wines than in France (where they tend to drink them younger), and as time goes by the best vintages are always easier to find over the Channel, although increasingly in wine auctions rather than private houses.
With a few notable exceptions Spanish wines are bottled when they are ready to drink, and it is en error to store them in the belief they will improve. How many times have we opened a bottle of wine at home to find it is ‘ido’, gone, although if this happens in a restaurant at least the restaurant pays for the error of judgement. 

AJ Linn

Andrew Linn left England 40 years ago to relocate to Spain, having been involved in businesses such as wine shipping and publishing. He currently writes regularly and professionally on wine, food, flamenco, and the Spanish way of life for various publications, and has a regular column in a Spanish newspaper. Andrew is involved in charity work relating to abandoned and mistreated animals.

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