Last thursday I participated in the festivities of the Real Maestranza, a wonderful institution that has just turned 437 years old. The Maestranza owns the famous Ronda bullring, plus some museums and a horse riding school, and has just set up a fantastic library and historical research center. Every year it awards prizes and scholarships for the best students in the area. This year the King, who is president of the all the five Maestranzas in Spain, was chairing the ceremony and everything went very well, including the great aperitif in a big tent inside the bullring. It was Thanksgiving day in the US and thanksgiving day in Ronda because the King had come to visit!

My monarchist fervour did not prevent me from checking out the wines served, all of them from the Ronda valley, all of them new – new things. Before jumping on the train to come back to Madrid I bought a bottle of Los Aguilares Pago el Espino 2005 (circa 18 euros), for close examination at home.

Today we tried in our weekly gathering at my parents and it was a big success. This is a beautiful red wine made near Ronda in a estate where traditionally thousands of pigs were raised at 700 meters of altitude. It comes from four different grapes (tempranillo, merlot, pinot noir and petit verdot) and it reminded me of summer breakfast in Majorca, thanks to its great black berry fruity flavour. It was great with homemade cheesecake and I recommend it for those of you who drink outside the box.