Archive | November, 2013

Grandes Pagos de España USA Tour

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High Season is in full swing in South Florida! An obvious sign is that big, important wine seminars and events are back in town. After a busy summer of small, local wine events and tastings, the “real deal” is back… Yesterday, Miami was the gracious host of the wine event called Grandes Pagos de España. The event proceeds benefit Miami’s Camillus House which was very philanthropic. Cantinetta vintners was there in full swing covering this magnificent event which was held in the Design Districts’ beautiful Moore Building…

Grandes Pagos de España was moderated by renowned Sommelier Steven Olson of aka Wine Geek, and sponsored by Wines from Spain, Foods from Spain and the European Union. Steven’s vast wine knowlege and his energy were truly amazing and inspiring! Sitting at Steve’s table were 3 of Spains top Winery owners who were so eloquent in a very truly European sense…

I did not know, that a “Pago” in Spain is the equivalent to a single estate much like the concept in Bourdeaux and that it is a Roman term meaning vineyard plots (those Romans were everywhere). Also, Spanish wines are mainly created to pair excellently with their regional cuisine and not so much to achieve a Robert Parker score. There are also 600 indigenous grapes in Spain which is amazing! So, indeed, this event was a true learning experience.

The Press and Industry seminar lasted about an hour and a half, with a vertical tasting of 24 of Spains “Grandes Pagos”. These wines were so impressive that they are considered Spain’s Grand Crus. What a treat we were in for…. First off, Steve Olson compared this vertical flight to Speed dating. I considered it more like speed tasting. What a magnificent whirlwind of wine tasting we were in for. And if you guys don’t think tasting 24 wines so rapidly is a whirlwind, try it. I would have to say, this is the most intense wine tasting due to time constraints I have ever been in.

Spain is going through an experimental phase with modern and classic winemaking techniques which I find remarkable. And Its no crazy reason that Robert Parker gave 4 Spanish wines 100 points and called Spain the Wine country of the future… Most Spanish winemakers actually go to Bourdeaux and UC Davis to learn and bring back to spain these modern techniques. This proves to be the case with Spain’s powerful wines which none achieve more than 15% alcohol (this is technique)… Modern Winemakers in spain concentrate in bringing out a wines lush fruit and freshness rather than “mask” their wines with tons of oak which is something I respect. So these Wines definitely had “sense of place” meaning they were unmistakeably of Spanish terroir. And did you know that Spain’s noble Monastrell grape is actually Mourvedre in France?

The concept of Pagos de España was brought out in the year 2000, and the legislation was officially established in 2003… Thirteen Pagos are actually legislated by the Government of Spain due to their “Grand Cru” status.

The blockbuster wines of the seminar were the Chivite Coleccion Chard 2010, the Cava Recaredo 2003, Gran Calzadilla 2006, the Finca Valpiedra 2008 (whose addition of 3% Maturana gives lovely notes of red and green peppercorns), and the Pago Negralada 2010 whose main mission is taking care of and giving back to the land, which shows a more modern farming conscience.

After the vertical flight tasting and seminar, the attendees joined the crowds of non industry or press attendees for a more informal tasting of various Bodegas and some really tasty tapas which really complemented the wines magnificently and helped alleviate my dry, tannic mouth…

All in all, I have to give props to everyone who put on this magnificent event. It was truly spectacular and gave me a new inspiration for Iberian cuisine and Spanish wines. What an awesome cultural experience… Until next time, adios or goodbye…