Conservative to the core

From time to time it is liberating to know that no Spanish readers will pick up on this column because it has never appeared in their language. This is one of those few occasions, as there are certain themes that yours truly cannot always take on board for fear of upsetting his Spanish colleagues.

For example, when you read these lines we will be three days away from the biggest wine event ever held in Malaga. A two-day marathon, sponsored by this same media group, it has no rival in Andalucía, and although organised primarily for professionals, the interpretation of the term is wide; (SurWines 25-26 March, El Portico de Velázquez. Ask for an invitation on the website).

There are several ways of going about a massive wine-tasting like this. The amateur way is to treat it as a freebie session, and glug down whatever comes to hand. Better to head straight to the stands where there is not a familiar bottle in sight. The majority of our Spanish friends visiting this class of exhibition will be more interested in checking to see if their old Rioja and Ribera del Duero favourites are still the same as they were the week previously, which can be translated as meaning they have almost zero interest in anything innovative or unfamiliar.

It has always been said that drinkers in non-wine producing countries are more adventurous, as they have fewer prejudices and preconceived ideas, an opinion I subscribe to wholeheartedly. To describe your average Spanish wine-lover as conservative would be over-egging it. One bibulous acquaintance told me that after a lifetime of being faithful to the Muga bodega, he has recently changed his allegiance to another great Rioja producer, Remirez de Ganuza. For him, as he described it, it had been one of the most important emotional decisions of his life - and the truth is that it probably was. Give me the Anglo-Saxon or north European aficionado any time, prejudice-free and ready to try anything.