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Last week the editors of Iberians on wine had a long dinner with two aspiring politicians, young and eager to change the world. We were wondering what to drink with the surprise menu that was being prepared by chef Diego Guerrero of Club Allard in Madrid. Finally, we decided to trust the sommelier since he could make a more educated guess about the food that was going to be served.

He offered us first a glass of a wondrous white, Val de Sil, from Valdeorras, made with Godello grapes, that had the most perfect gold colour I have seen in ages. Then he opened a bottle of Cesar Príncipe, a super red from Cigales, that seduced us like a good statesman would. It was written in the stars, to drink a wine called both “Caesar” and “Prince” while dining like kings and discussing the pro and cons of public service with our idealistic friends.

One of the things I really liked about my new house was the wine cave in the basement, underneath the stairs, a fantastic cozy space to collect and store wine… until heavy rain came to Madrid. My basement was flooded and the wine bottles I kept there got too much humidity -nothing I could do to save them. So much for years of collecting special wine bottles! Tragedy? I am triying to look at the bright side and I am enjoying the thrill of starting over. Here are the three wines I have chosen to re-start, just in case you need ideas to do so:

My friend and benefactor Juan Jimenez Laiglesia, the best Antitrust lawyer in Spain, came to the rescue actually withouth knowing I had lost it all. Some weeks ago he offered me a case of Contino Selección Especial 2004. This is a wine that sings, a top Rioja well looked after by a few families that stands out for its delicacy and smoothness.

The second addition to my born again wine cave -now in a very different location- comes from Portugal. I had the chance to teach in Lisbon for a few days and I bought some bottles of “Cortes de Cima Shyrah 2003”, from Vidigueira, Alentejo. Shyrah is one of my favorite grapes. This Southern Portugal wine is full of sunshine. I am just enjoying it until my friend Miguel Alvaro de Campos, co editor of Iberians on wine, who introduced me to the Cortes de Cima wines some time ago enlightens us with his comments.

Last but not least I have added to my new-new wine cave some bottles from Guitian, Godello, a miracle Galician white wine from Valdeorras. This has been a suggestion of another friend, the historian and policy wonk Charles Powell, who raves about it. I drank it for the first time yesterday with my father -he of course knew about this wine since its inception in 1992, it is very hard to surprise him. Guitian was the perfect wine to taste in the garden before lunch, in a beautiful autumn day. Guitian has the same yellowish colour of some fallen leaves and yet is lively and its wit never dies, like a good after dinner conversation.