Wine&Culture: Candela

A cream wine is normally the mix of pedro ximenez and oloroso wines. I always said this mixes are a blaspheme, but recently I started to adore them. Canasta and Solera 1847 are some of the most famous creams wines, readily available the bars. But the last time I was in Los Claveles, a bar in Seville that can be considered my second home, the waiter recommended me “Candela” from Lustau winery. It was an amazing recommendation, thank you!

I always prefer very dry sherry wines, but in winter manzanilla and fino are not the perfect options for me as they have to be served very cold. Normally winter is the season for sweet wines like Pedro Ximenez and Moscatel, but they are over sweet for me. That is why I found in cream varieties a good equilibrium in taste. Candela is softer than Canasta and Solera, not so dark as them and less sweet. Candela, in particular, is also a little bit acid, and I love that. In its aroma, walnuts and raisins.

The name of the wine, Candela, literally means candle. But in Andalusia a candela is a fire shared with more people. For example, in religious pilgrimages some firewood and other materials are set on fire when the night is coming. People sit around the fire to maintain themselves warm while they eat and drink. Sometimes the dinner becomes a party and people start to sing and dance. It is something similar to the Zambombas in Jerez (a zambomba is a Christmas tradition and also a musical instrument to play Christmas songs). In both cases, the fire is in the middle of the group and the people is having a good time with their families, friends and neighbors. Here the fire gives heat, and symbolically it represents the need of community. In the summer a lot of coastal Andalusian towns celebrate San Juan’s Night. It is the shortest night in the year and fires are set on the beaches. In this case the fire has a powerful meaning of rebirth and the beginning of a new period. Anyway, for the fire in San Juan I would use the word “hoguera” more than “candela”.

So that is what the word candela recalls to me, the gathering around a fire in the countryside with my family and even the afternoons with my grandmother in her home, eating oranges in a table with a old coal brazer under it (something dangerous, but she still conserved it when I was a child). Candela just remembers me being by the warmth of my people.

Note: I write this post during a cold wave. Minimum temperatures of 3ºC (37F). In Seville that means freezing and please God save my soul.

Note2: The header picture is from

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