Música entre Vinos was a brilliantly conceived idea from the Ruta del Vino Jumilla and is now in its fourth season. Put simply, during the summer months a series of concerts are held in local Bodegas, where you can also taste wines from the Bodega accompanied by local dishes. We had already enjoyed five of the first six events (we applied too late for the sixth one!) and were looking forward to the other four that we have booked.
We popped into Los Chilines wine shop for a word with José María on Friday. He told us that tickets were still available for the Música entre Vinos events at Bodegas Viña Campanero next weekend and Bodegas Pedro Luis Martinez the following weekend, however only a couple are left for the closing event at Bodegas Bleda on 30th July. This year’s events have proved extremely popular and most have sold out well in advance.
Even more astonishing was the news that La Gran Cata, which is being held on 29th July, has already sold out. Apparently there were 400 applications for the 250 tickets – luckily we had reserved tickets last week for ourselves and our friends Lesley and John!
On Saturday night we headed to Bodegas JM Martínez Verdú, hoping that the event would be as good as the one we attended there last year. It was rather worrying when we drove through a downpour, as we suspected that the concert was going to be held outside. We arrived to find our friend Fina looking anxiously at the sky. She reassured us that our four reserved tickets were there, while muttering to us that she was nervous about the weather.
Fortunately the weather was on our side and we enjoyed a wonderful evening. I have to say that the whole event exceeded our expectations: it was very well organised; the wine flowed; the food was absolutely delicious; the music was from the superb Flamenco group Al Golpe and we enjoyed watching Flamenco dancers too – and finally there was a wonderful atmosphere with so many people having a good time.
The evening started with a tour of the bodega for those people who hadn’t visited it before. The rest of us showed our tickets to get a wine glass and shortly afterwards the efficient, smiling staff wandered around with bottles of chilled white and rosado wines to top up our glasses. That was a good start to the evening and it got even better when plates of food appeared. The catering was provided by one of our favourite bars in Jumilla, Bar Paraiso. (When visitors want to taste authentic Spanish food in a typical Spanish bar, that’s where we take them, for the excellent value 8€ menú del día!)
We enjoyed some tiny empanadas (savoury pasties), what appeared to be mini sausage rolls (though I gave them a miss as I don’t eat meat) and the most delicious seafood vol au vents I have ever tasted. I don’t know how many of the tiny vol au vents I ate, but every time they offered me another one I willingly accepted. Yummy!
We then moved into the garden further down the road for the actual concert by Al Golpe. Three coach-loads of British residents from Torrevieja on the coast had ventured inland for this event. They had been persuaded to come along by their Spanish teacher Begonia, who coincidentally is teaching Spanish to Lesley’s son Nick, who has just moved to Los Alcazares.
Once the concert started, the evening became very lively. Al Golpe are a talented group of three young musicians from Jumilla. I will give a link to a video that I took at the concert, but believe me they sound even better live, with an appreciative Spanish (and English!) audience. To add to the experience there were a couple of lovely Flamenco dancers who, or so we were told, were the daughters of José María, the owner of the Bodega.
While we were enjoying the concert, some good red wine was served (look out for Xenys, Xenysel or Calzás on the label, if you want to try their wines) and even more delicious food. We had to smile when we overheard an English woman saying “they are bringing round bread and jam!” Excuse me, Madam, it is a local delicacy of fried goat’s cheese topped with jam made from Monastrell grapes – and absolutely delicious.
Plate after plate of jámon, cold meats, cheese and tapas were brought round and, just when we thought we were full, they produced desserts! Tiny dishes of lemon sorbet to refresh our palates were followed by arroz con leche, tarta moka and fresh fruit kebabs.
We all agreed that this was the best event so far, but we are going to three more this month so I will be reporting back on them over the next couple of weeks.