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Champagne, dorada and courgettes

I went to visit my friend Chimo in his allotment or ‘huerta’ on the outskirts of Valencia, close to where I live.  He has a plot of about 50m2 and everyday he goes there to attend his crops. Like many people I like the idea of having an allotment and grow my own vegetables but watching him it is clear that it is a time consuming and pretty hard work. Throughout the year we receive gifts of bags with a selection of fresh vegetables.  Depending on the time of year it could be Valencian tomatoes (the huge, sweet, salad tomatoes),  peppers, a variety of lettuces, pumpkins, apricots and oranges.   Yesterday, my carrier bag was heaving with freshly cut courgettes, aubergines, red oak leave lettuce and cucumbers.  Chimo likes a glass of wine so I always make sure he is well stocked with a nice selection.  It is a wonderful way of exchanging good quality produce.

When I got home I washed the soil from a large courgette, cut it in thickish slices, lightly covered it in olive oil seasoned it with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper then onto the barbecue. Meanwhile I washed and cut some lettuce leaves and tomatoes for a tasty salad. My girlfriend arrived home with two fresh Dorada, which went straight on the barbecue beside the courgettes. Nothing complicated just fresh, beautiful ingredients.

Dorada is a mediterranean fish that is quite meaty and flavoursome.  The literal translation is Gilthead fish but I think it is a member of the Bream family, maybe someone can correct me on this one.

In the fridge there was a chilled bottle of Champagne Lallier Grande Reserve Gran Cru Brut, a blend of Pinot Noir (65%), sourced from ‘Grand Cru’ vineyards in Ay – also home to Bollinger – and Chardonnay (35%) from the Gran Cru Avise. I rate this elegant Champagne very highly with its aromas of fresh bread, creamy mousse, hint of apricot and mineral component to follow.  This is a very well balanced Champagne to be enjoyed on its own or with food, on this occasion Dorada.

As the sun was going down and it was very pleasant drinking Champagne, watching the Dorada and courgettes sizzle and smoke on the barbecue while enjoying the view over Valencia.

All very simple but wonderful.

Written by

I am a Northern Irishman based in Valencia. My career in wine began more than three decades ago, in London. I am the founder of TheWinePlace.es, an online store, where wine enthusiasts can enjoy a selection of international wines and Verde Marte, a company dedicated to exporting Spanish wines. Also, Thewineplace.courses, an "approved program provider" of the courses of the prestigious WSET. I share my passion for wines through my media work writing weekly columns for the Spanish newspaper El Mundo and 5 Barricas, an online wine magazine.

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