Wine & Art - Sorolla with a glass of Bodega del Abad
Updated: Apr 5
With the current exhibition at the National Gallery in full swing, I thought it was about time I paired some wine with it. This is a new idea on the Heard in London blog, where I match a glass of wine with the piece of art or exhibition. I've already matched The Ambassadors by Hans Holbein the Younger, as well as the Boilly Exhibition which is also on at the National Gallery.
Sorolla, considered to be the Spanish master of light, brings a breathe of fresh air into the basement of the National Gallery. Head down those stairs and be prepared to be transported to the beaches of Valencia or peek in to see the preparations for a wedding. I particular love the The Siesta in which his family lay sprawling on the grass on a hot summers afternoon. Despite the exhibition starting off a little solemn, a little reflective, the rooms take you through a journey through the life of Sorolla, a name generally unknown to many of us here in the UK I presume. But in the late 19th and early 20th centuries he was one of the very few famous living artists in Europe.
For the wines I wanted something summery, something reminiscent of those hot summer afternoons. I also quite liked the idea of suggesting one white and one red like you would at a wedding or get together, as many of the paintings at the exhibition had such a theme, with scenes of parties, gatherings, and many women wearing floating white dresses caught in a breeze.
So because of this, I thought two wines which were fairly priced, the kind which you would actually consider to bring to a party, which everyone would like. I never intentionally thought Spanish wines, but that's where I ended up. I also ended up choosing the same producer for the red and the white, which I think works really well.
The producer I chose was Bodega del Abad, a winery in Bierzo, Northwest Spain, which a Mediterranean continental climate enjoys the cooling effect from the Atlantic, paired with steep slate hillside vineyard sites, results in the production of high-quality grapes. Bodega del Abad is a fairly new winery, only being founded in 2000, but it did mean that their was always a focus of quality rather than quantity of the Godello and Mencia grapes they grow there. The high altitude vineyard sites enable them to produce fantastic entry level wines, right up to oak aged, powerful complex, age worthy wines, yet maintaining an incredible value for money.
I decided to the entry level wines for this pairing, as I wanted a wine that tastes like something you would enjoy at a party, perhaps a little too much of, but a wine you would never get sick of. And I really think this really is that - Abad Dom Bueno Godello.
The Godello grape is native to Spain, and in this wine flavours of ripe peach, apricot alongside floral notes of blossom and a great citrus acidity. And a sip really makes me think I'm there stood infront of 'Sewing the Sail (Cosiendo la vela)'. It's lively, fresh and fruity and just what I would want on one of those hot Spanish summer afternoons.
Their red Abad Dom Bueno Mencia again shows fruitiness and floral characters. Another lively wine with juicy, aromatic wild berries with a fresh acidity alongside. The tannin area fairly low, making it an all to easy to finish the bottle without really noticing. It's not heavy, and could even be enjoyed slightly chilled which would work well if you were transported into one of Sorolla's paintings.
I bought both wines from Amathus and both were just over £10.
The exhibition at the National Gallery is on now, until the 7th of July.