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To quote from Dickens, we have finally left behind the winter of despair and we begin to enjoy the spring of hope. In this transition -we had everything before us, we had nothing before us-, I have been able to try some very good wines. I found two of them in Angelita, a restaurant next to the Gran Vía in Madrid, where the owners offer over half-glasses from 100 open bottles to pair with excellent food. The advice provided by the waiters is usually very sharp and that is how I encountered Casas de Enriba and Vive la Vida.

Casas de Enriba 2016 (35 euros) is a rare Valdeorras wine created by Laura Lorenzo in almost vertical small parcels next to the Bibei river, in the Ribeira Sacra. This holy wine is made with mencia and godello grapes. Serious and rustic, it has a perfect combination of mineral and flower overtones. Vert hard to find, a very limited production, do not miss it.

Vive la vida 2015 (19 euros), from Bodegas Vidas, is also an artisan wine from Cangas, at the heart of Asturias, made with local grapes (albarín negro, mencía…), and 12.5% alcohol content. An avant garde Atlantic wine, superb and charming, light and fruity.

Last but not least, during a great weekend in La Vera, the Southern mountainside of Gredos, I rediscovered an old friend from Toro. San Román (19 euros) is probably one of the best and most elegant red wines in Spain today. It is sophisticaded and refined, deep and self-contained. After a long walk in the Vera hills, we tried it in a Magnum 2014 format, which makes it even better. Spring was barely announced in the still cold countryside. San Román was one of the few telling signs.

Yesterday we spent the day in the Sil region, South East of Galicia. We went on a boat trip in the cannon-like river and admired the vineyards planted almost vertically on the sides. Growing wine in the Sil river is a revered tradition that dates from Roman times and was continued by XIIth century monks. This passion to grow in impossible places, blessed by a micro-climate, is well alive today. Many of the incredibly steep vineyards we saw are family owned and wine is made only for family consumption. Owners get to their properties by boat. In the old days, the wine was actually made next to the water in tiny wineries. We learnt all of these on board, while tasting a Mencia grape wine made by the family of our skipper, very good. It got us ready to visit Algueira, one of the best wineries of the Ribeira Sacra region, We had lunch surrounded by oak and chesnut trees and tried two reds.

The first one was Madialeva, alive and talkative, a successful experiment with Grenache grapes. Then we drank Carravel, a fresh and profound wine, made with the local Mencia grape. This wine connected us with the green sea of beauty we had just sailed by. We talked after lunch with the founder of Algueira, Fernando, proud of his 17 years of hard work and passionate endeavour, now internationally recognized. After listening to him, I made a mental note to try soon his new whites.