Yes, gimbaled funiculars.  Yes, bivalve players.  A sequential thought process here, maybe a pedantic love of funny sounding words, and of course a reference to Spain, where I will be in 2 ½ weeks.

Disclaimer:  my sister in law served a “signature drink” at our recent American Easter/Greek Easter/Passover gathering.  It was perfect for an afternoon sitting outside after a long winter – Prosecco with muddled strawberries.  Absolutely delightful!  The sun danced on our forearms, and the Prosecco flowed.

While the lamb spent a few hours in the oven, we caught up with each other outside, poked fun at each other, snap-chatted those not present.  Topics ranged from evolving forms of parental discipline, with a fair number present having lived through the era of corporal punishment, to the threats parents make to their children so the kids will behave. My favorite story was about how my husband, as a child, would slide down very low in the back seat of the car every time the family drove past the juvenile detention facility on the Thruway south of Coxsackie! “That’s where bad boys end up!”

It was once we moved inside for dinner that “funicular” was the cream that rose to the surface.  I don’t know how it came up, and no one I have asked can remember either. “Funicular” was flying around the table, the volume was rising, and then someone at the foot of the table added the modifier “gimbaled”. I was working on convincing one family member that “funicular” was a polite way of saying “f- you”.   I almost had her sold, but the “gimbaled” blew my cover.

Picos de Europa

The paradise that is Picos de Europa

I first learned the word “funicular” in Spain, while visiting the Picos de Europa, a mountain range in northern Spain. Our university group was snowed in (if you can believe it, in April!) an extra few days in this mountainous paradise. (Sounds like the northeastern United States…) I remember the trip very well. It wasn’t until our raucous America Easter/Greek Easter/Passover that I learned “funicular” was a word in English too!

The next evening, I poured myself a glass of Verdejo, and thought what a blessing to have family that laughs together. We have that on both sides of the family, Stephen and I. And then with the second or third sip of Verdejo, my thoughts shifted to co-blogger, Anna, happily posting lately, and Sauced in New York. Finally! A wine to write about!

I have been stuck in a Chardonnay-ish doldrum, but Verdejo! Verdejo! Anna, here is the perfect player for your bivalves! I had a Blanco Nieva 2012 (click here). The wine is a perfect in-between for a white lover like me – more depth than a Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio, but no wallowing in the oak of a Chardonnay. Its flavors are rich and layered, with citrus, flowers and fruit. This is a white wine that you will love and respect, not a limp-handshake Savvy Blanc/Pinot Grigio, and not a whiny, high-maintenance Chardonnay. Love! Love! Love!

Stephen and I hope to find ourselves at the Oyster Bar (click here) at Grand Central Station next week. Just when I thought I had the perfect wine to order, I came across the 2012 Castelo do Papa Godello (click here). Oh, dear Lord! Summer is looking brighter by the day!

I found the Blanco Nieva Verdejo and the Castelo do Papa Godello at Wine & Spirits of Slingerlands (click here). Both were priced around $12/bottle, a very fair price for excellent wines.

Of course, the follow up question would naturally be ‘are those fantastic white wines allowed on gimbaled funiculars’?

About Claire Ziamandanis

Claire Ziamandanis is Professor of Spanish at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY. Over her 20 years at the college, she has been a champion for study abroad, establishing the first affiliation for Spanish students, and then working with the Study Abroad office to open the doors to students from other majors. Claire loves travel, food, wine and Spanish but not necessarily in that order!


  1. The wine sounds amazing . . . funiculars slightly less so – they might put my fear of heights to an extreme test!

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