Tuesday, August 23, 2011

August 21, 2011

We spent all day Monday celebrating the Vendimia of Rivero-Gonzales.  The morning was to begin with a tour of Parras which I thought would be interesting.  After living here six years, I am quite sure there are still wonderful little hidden secrets of which we are still unaware. 

We showed up at the appointed hour, 11:00 AM  only to learn that the tour bus was late.  It was a good opportunity to do some intense people watching.  The gentleman above was a visitor from Jalisco.  He was part of a group that was to perform in the plaza later that afternoon.  I couldn't resist a picture.

An hour later, we learned that the bus was incapacitated and would not be coming.  So . . . instead of the narrated bus tour, we took a stroll around the plaza, did some grocery shopping, and came home.
 From left to right:  The information booth for Parras, Pueblo Magico; the clock tower (I draw your attention to the fact that it shows the correct time!); and a map to guide you around the historical landmarks.  Unfortunately, it is orientated with North to the bottom which makes it terribly confusing.
The central church in Parras, Santa Maria de las Parras, St. Mary of the Grapevines. The inside was lovingly decorated in her honor.

Tragically, the fountain adorned with all the grape motif has not worked a single day since we arrived.  The Plaza de Armas has a lovely bandstand, and peeking between the tall palms, you can see Santo Madero Chapel in the distance.

Back home, we took care of some mundane chores, took a nap, and were ready to party at 6:00. 
We did not attend the mass for the blessing of the vendimia.  Past experience has taught us that it can be very tedious, long, and somewhat boring.  We waited outside and listened to NPR on the XM Radio.  As mass ended, the matachines from Santo Madero performed in front of the church.
Their presentation was quite different than anything we had seen.

Jose Antonio Rivero (lower left) is the owner of Buena Fe, home of Rivero-Gonzales vineyards and winery.  We followed him from the church to the vineyard and he gave us a quick personal tour.  Buena Fe is a lovely, lovely place, but it wasn't always so lush.  He told us it was pure desert when he bought the land.  Isn't it remarkable what time, hard work, and money can accomplish?!?
A large tent was set up as a gathering place.  A bevy of waiters patrolled the area laden with trays of cocktails and beautiful finger foods.  I was enchanted with the decorations and the music.
As the crowd gathered, we were invited to walk to the garden for the Cata de Vinos or Wine Tasting.  Maria, one of the wine-makers, led us through the tasting of two premium wines from Rivero-Gonzales.  The first was a 2009 Scielo Tinto, a beautiful blend of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot.  The second was a 2007 100% Cabernet Sauvignon.  Both of them were excellent.
A stroll along rock paths through the vineyard took us to the bodega where dinner was served under the stars.  We had a great table with old friends like Ernesto (at the end of the table in the top picture), Ferdi, (seated by Stanley), Rafi (at the end of the table in the bottom photo), and new acquaintances in between.  Again, the decorations were lovely, this time large bowls of white dendrobium orchids. 

The menu consisted of warm nopales salad; braised lamb with a reduction sauce of chilies served with rice seasoned with camino and manchego cheese; and a dessert of three kinds of ice cream in a tulip shaped cup made primarily with crushed pecans.  This was all accompanied by three kinds of wine.  The taste was fabulous and the presentation was amazing.

After dinner, a group of Mariachis entertained us.  This wasn't our local group.  I don't know where they were from, but they were excellent.

As if we needed anything more, at midnight the fireworks exploded in the sky right over an almost full moon.  That's the moon near the bottom center of the picture.  It was quite a show! 

Our thanks to Sr. Rivero for the opportunity to celebrate the vendimia with him.  We wish him continued success for many, many years!

I spent most of the day Tuesday working on the blog posting of our own vendimia, and quite frankly, I needed a little rest!  All this party, party, party was beginning to tell on me.

Wednesday morning, we were back up bright and early to press the Sangiovese we had fermenting on the skins.  We got about 16 gallons of wine. 
The very last of the pressing.  Moments after I took this photo, the 'cake' was broken up and the clean-up started.  Everything had to be scrubbed down, but the press wasn't put away.  It had one more job to do.

News from Parras: 

A new friend and a great resource.  Chano Sosa built and repaired barrels for Casa Madero for 50 years.  When he retired, he opened his own shop and is happy making and repairing barrels for the public - in addition to great barrel art. 

For those who need a translation, the barrel on the right says that a barrel of wine makes more miracles than a church full of saints.  I think that pretty much reflects his attitude about all things grape/wine and especially all things barrel. 
On Saturday, Stanley stayed at home to take care of some manly stuff while I took the press to Estela's house to press her grapes.  She came out with about 26 gallons of wine.  Thankfully, her cousin came by and helped out.  Do I look grateful, or what?  Now, the press was ready to be scrubbed and put away!

On Saturday afternoon, we added some new friends to our list:  Gustavo and Ana are the parents of two of the cutest little boys on the planet.  Ana is Ferdi's daughter.  They came to Parras for a day and we were pleased to join them for an impromptu picnic.
I love these pictures of Ferdi with his grandsons. 
Now, this is something you don't see everyday!
The next day they came to Perote.  Things are a little bit rustic here.  That little guy had so much fun playing in the dirt.  Precious!

Sunday was incredibly busy!  We started the day with Birthday Breakfast for Nacho, our patron.  After breakfast Ferdi and his family came to visit the vineyard.  At the same time, Antonio came to get instructions about topping-up the barrels.  Lupita came to wish us safe journey.  Maggie came by later to talk cameras.  I'm ready to up-grade.  All this in addition to the long list of chores associated with being away from home for two months.

From the Insect World:
The Beauties, and
The Beasts

From the Bird World
The Orchard Oriole, our latest criminal grape thief.  Isn't he beautiful?  Not too smart though . . . there were only half dozen bunches of grapes left in the vineyard!
A new photo of our resident wren. 

Sad news from the vegetable garden:

A whole array of peppers and a new crop of eggplant were left on the plants for Ramon, Maggie, Clara, and Antonio.  In spite of my best efforts to get them ripe before we left, it just wasn't in the cards.  I demand reports regarding their level of deliciousness. 

From the Heavens:

Some lovely evening shots.
On Monday, we traveled by bus to McAllen, TX.  An uneventful trip - the best kind. 

That wraps up our summer in Parras de la Fuente.  It's been great.  The wine is all in barrels and tanks.  Our good friend Antonio has promised to top-up the barrels every couple weeks while we are gone. 

As always, it was a bit sad to leave Perote and Solo Vino and my new baby eggplant, to say nothing of the peppers that were just getting ripe.  On the other hand, we're ready for a new adventure. 

May we never get too old to appreciate the familiar or yearn for adventure!