Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Alicante Wines

Add to Google Reader or HomepageWe had planned to visit Granada but it was closed. Actually, we discovered that the Alhambra palace was sold out. One cannot get tickets at the last minute. Seeing the Moorish palace will have to wait for another trip. Instead, we decided to taste some of the local wines in the Alicante wine region. We visited Novelda, Monòver and El Pinós.

All three towns are part of the wine region where the main red-wine grape is Monastrell (Mourvedre). In El Pinós, we thought we would have lunch, but like Alhambra, it was sold out. (The reason was that that Sunday was the last day of a week-long gastronomic festival in El Pinós and the restaurants were all booked.) We headed back toward Alicante with the idea of eating in Monòver but found no restaurants open there. The same was true in Novelda. We ended up having a nice home-made lunch back at the apartment. It seems that few establishments are open on Sunday in villages far from the tourist towns. A waitress in El Pinós told us that we would have little success in finding wineries open on Sunday; everything was closed on Sunday. (Luckily, we proved her wrong and had fun tasting wines at a wine cooperative near Monòver . She was right in that none of the vineyards were open. As I think about it, the wineries that we passed did not seem to have tasting rooms as the wineries in France have…)

In Novelda, we visited the Gaudi-inspired church Ste. Maria Magdalena at the site of the castle de la Mola.

The church was designed by José Sala Sala and finished in 1946. Novelda is known for its stone quarries and the organ loft is built with local marble.

One other thing that I have noted on this trip is that one can buy a whole leg of air-cured pork.  In the wine coop they were selling a leg of pork for 7.95€ per kilo. (In Madrid, the lowest price I saw was 13 € per kilo.) I am sure that I never saw a leg of air-dried pork for sale in the states…

Which is the ham?