Monday, July 13, 2020

The Genesis of The Spanish Artisan Wine & Spirits Group - Gerry Dawes Selections


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 by Gerry Dawes, Founder & President
 The Spanish Artisan Wine & Spirits Group

Our Spanish Artisan Wine & Spirits Group of artisan producers are a result of a long-term painstaking effort to find authentic and original wines that truly represent the unique places from which they come. Our producers are not making wines that "the market is asking for," nor wines that are made to please the palate of any critic in particular and certainly not the Parkerista-style overoaked, high alcohol palate. The wines of The Spanish Artisan Wine and Spirits Group – Gerry Dawes Selections are made by people trying to reflect the own terruño (the French call it terroir), a sense of place: the unique combination of native grape varieties, soil (minerals) and climate transmitted through the grapes and the prism of each winemaker's palate. Before wines began to be fabricated or fashioned to fit that supposed "what the market is asking for" profile, the wines of France and Italy, but also in some parts of Spain, were made primarily by artisan winemakers working with their own vines.  Obviously, in every region more commercial, negociant-style wines were made to hit a price point and fulfill a market need for cheaper Burgundy, Chianti, Rioja, Mosel, etc., but the reputation of the wines was made originally from the wines of quality artisan producers.

In the early days of the modern post-Prohibition wine importing era, Frank Schoonmaker set standards for selecting wines that would become the model for the next several decades.  
  
 Frank Schoomaker.

"It was obvious to Schoonmaker that prohibition would someday be repealed; the question was when.  First, he needed a network of suppliers. In France, by the late 1920s he had made a valuable ally in Raymond Baudoin, editor of La Revue du Vin de France in Paris.  Baudoin had shaped this scholarly publication into an influential review, which eventually played a major role in creating the appellation contrôlée laws of 1935-36. 

Schoonmaker traveled around France with Baudoin several times, and visited many winegrowers, particularly in Burgundy’s Côte d’Or. Baudoin introduced him to some of the best, and Schoonmaker soon followed Baudoin’s lead in selecting only certain lots, or casks, of a particular cru in a given vintage – writing everything down methodically in a little black notebook. 

In addition, Baudoin was emphatic in getting the growers to bottle their wine themselves and sell it under their own label, as opposed to the traditional method of selling it in cask to the shippers in Beaune for blending, under their label." -- Frank Schoonmaker, A Visionary Wine Man by Frank E. Johnson, Frank Johnson Selections.

Schoonmaker's style would prove to be the model followed by other French wine specialists such as Alexis Lichine (who began selling wine for Schoonmaker), Colonel Frederick Wildman, Robert Haas, Gerald Asher (an Englishman who began importing his wines into the U. S. and like Schoonmaker and Lichine became well-known as a wine writer) and Henry Cavalier (another transplanted Englishman, who was one of Asher's star disciples).  Asher's well-crafted and beautifully written Gourmet magazine articles were a benchmark for more than a decade for serious wine writers and for wine aficionados. 

Gerald Asher

"Inevitably I came to associate any wine I met with a specific place and a particular slant of history. I learned to perceive more than could be deduced from an analysis of the physical elements in the glass. For me, an important part of the pleasure of wine is its reflection of the total environment that produced it. If I find in a wine no hint of where it was grown, no mark of the summer when the fruit ripened, and no indication of the usages common among those who made it, I am frustrated and disappointed. Because that is what a good, honest wine should offer." - - Gerald Asher


The Spanish Artisan Wine Group - Gerry Dawes Selections was founded on the principles of the aforementioned pioneer wine importers.  I never knew Frank Schoonmaker, but I always admired the fact that he greatly appreciated the wines of Spain (he spent several years in Spain during WWII as an undercover O. S. S. officer; ironically decades later I would be assigned to Rota, Spain as a Russian linguist with a Top Secret security clearance [tracking the Russian fleet in the Mediterranean]).  

Schoonmaker died in January 1976 at his home at 14 E. 69th St. in New York City, shortly after I arrived in New York City, after having lived in Spain for the previous eight years.  Another irony, a few months after Schoonmaker died, I went to work for another of the giants of wine importing in America, Frederick Wildman & Sons at 21 E. 69th St., just down the street from Schoonmaker’s home.  And at Wildman, I worked with Henry Cavalier, the exceptionally knowledgeable Gerald Asher disciple who soon became a friend and taught me a lot about fine wine. 

Colonel Frederick Wildman
Frederick Wildman & Sons

My employment at Frederick Wildman & Sons ended when I left to join the former President of that firm, Anthony J. Sargeant, and Paul Draper of Ridge Vineyards in launching Havelock Gordon.  That company was short-lived, so I moved on to Mosswood, whose president was Gerald Asher, then I did a decade long stint as a restaurant wine specialist at the then fledgling company, Winebow, one of whose partners was Vineyard Brands owner Robert Haas, who was originally a Frank Schoonmaker disciple himself.   While I was at Winebow, Haas made me a Vineyard Brands Vice President, his representative inside that company.

Robert Haas and his son Jason, GM at Tablas Creek Winery, Paso Robles, CA

I also worked with for more than 10 years with Leonardo LoCascio, who founded Winebow with Peter Matt and became one of the best-known names for quality Italian wines and established Winebow as a force in top New York restaurants.  I was Winebow's top restaurant sales consultant, selling $1,500,000 per year to sixty top restaurant accounts, at a time when wines sold for about 25% of their current prices. After Winebow, I spent a brief period with another New York distributor, I left to pursue my career as a writer on Spanish gastronomy, wine and travel. 

Leonardo LoCascio, Co-Founder, Winebow, Inc.

During my time at Winebow, in 1989, I founded The Chefs From Hell Acrobatic Unicyclists & Winetasters Club, whose members included Thomas Keller, Tom Colicchio, Michael Lomonaco, Rick Moonen, David Burke, Bobby Flay, Martha Stewart, Andy Pforzheimer, Mario Batali, Tom Valenti and a number of other talented and now well-known chefs.
 
Chefs Quint Smith, Mario Batali and Bobby Flay at a Chefs From Hell Luncheon at
Martha Stewart's home in Westport, CT.

Like Schoonmaker, Asher (and my friend Frank Johnson), I am a wine writer who specialized in Spanish wines.  During the course of traveling for material for articles, also discovered a lot of small wine producers who were not only not being imported into the U. S., they were not even known in MadridIn 2012, quite by chance, I found an interested party with an import license and I decided to bring some of these jewels to the United States.  I brought in two containers of selected wine to unprecedented critical acclaim.  Unfortunately, the partner proved unsuited to growing a fine wine company, so we parted ways, after a year.
The style as defined by Frank Schoonmaker, Frederick Wildman, Robert Haas, Gerald Asher and Henry Cavalier (and subsequently by importers such as Kermit Lynch and Neal Rosenthal) over decades was to go to a wine producing region, seek out the best producers available from that region, many of which were small production jewels, bring them to market in the United States and tell their customers why each wine producer and wine was special.  

Except for a few wines that they imported for volume sales (very dignified wines such as Robert Haas Vineyard Brands La Vielle Ferme Rhône Valley wines from the Perrin family of Château de Beaucastel fame and even then the interventionism was minimal), they did not encourage their producers to make the the hyper-commercial types of wines "that the market is asking for." 

Instead, they represented unique producers making the best wines that their grapes, their land, their wine cellars and their palates could produce and brought their wines and their stories to market.  Those ideals are what The Spanish Artisan Wine and Spirits Group - Gerry Dawes Selections hopes to carry forward with these exceptional artisan producer wines from Spain. 

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 Spirits & Licores

And, given the interest in all things Spanish in the culinary world these days, we are using the same sourcing principles for our unique artisan spirits collection, we are planning to introduce in September 2016.  I have been steadily developing a stellar lineup of suppliers of unique Spanish spirits for more than two years now.  

This spirits and licores include a Vermouth from Burgos made from a 1912 recipe, a stellar gin made in Galicia and distilled from albariño grapes; from the same albariño grape distillations, some stellar aguardientes (grappa), a crema de café licor, chocolate with cherry licor and a superb cilantro-flavored liqueur; a cream licor from Catalunya that  could be the Spanish equivalent of Bailey’s Irish Cream; exceptional licor de naranja and a licor de limón, plus an orange cream licor from a producer in Valenciaa selection of high quality eau-de-vie type spirits from the top producer of cherries and other top quality fruit such as plums, raspberries, etc. in Extremadura; Patxarán (sloe-berry infused anís) de Navarra is one of the most famous and sought after spirits in Spain; aguardiente de manzana (apple grappa) and the Calvados-like Aguardiente Viejo de Sidra from Asturias; a Sherry Brandy de Jerez from Sanlúcar de Barrameda; and a line of artisan licores from one of the top chocolatiers and desserts chefs in Spain.

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Gerry Dawes is President-Jefe & Chairman of the Board of The Spanish Artisan Wine & Spirits Group - Gerry Dawes Selections

Gerry Dawes at The James Beard Foundation Awards 2014, New York City 




  Gerry Dawes with owner-producer Eugenio Merino on a cold January morning in the old vines Cigales vineyards that produce one of Spain's finest rosados, Viña Catajarros Elite Rosado.  Photo by John Sconzo.

Dawes was awarded Spain's prestigious Premio Nacional de Gastronomía (National Gastronomy Award) in 2003. He writes and speaks frequently on Spanish wine and gastronomy and leads gastronomy, wine and cultural tours to Spain. He was a finalist for the 2001 James Beard Foundation's Journalism Award for Best Magazine Writing on Wine, won The Cava Institute's First Prize for Journalism for his article on cava in 2004, was awarded the CineGourLand “Cinéfilos y Gourmets” (Cinephiles & Gourmets) prize in 2009 in Getxo (Vizcaya) and received the 2009 Association of Food Journalists Second Prize for Best Food Feature in a Magazine for his Food Arts article, a retrospective piece about Catalan star chef, Ferran Adrià.

In December, 2009, Dawes was awarded the Food Arts Silver Spoon Award in a profile written by José Andrés.

". . .That we were the first to introduce American readers to Ferran Adrià in 1997 and have ever since continued to bring you a blow-by-blow narrative of Spain's riveting ferment is chiefly due to our Spanish correspondent, Gerry "Mr. Spain" Dawes, the messianic wine and food journalist raised in Southern Illinois and possessor of a self-accumulated doctorate in the Spanish table. Gerry once again brings us up to the very minute. . ." - - Michael & Ariane Batterberry, Editor-in-Chief/Publisher and Founding Editor/Publisher, Food Arts, October 2009. 





Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Looking Back on the Galician Forest Fires of 2006 and Ribadavia in the Ribeiro Wine District


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Ribavia's old Jewish quarter.

All around the old Galician Ribeiro town of Ribavia, which has a charming old Jewish quarter, are picturesque wine-growing hamlets surrounded by rustic, trellised, small plot vineyards planted long ago on granite-butressed terraces. These vineyards are of another age and are among of the most picturesque in Spain. 



On this trip, when I was looking for the vineyards of Emilio Rojo in the hamlet of Arnoia, it was disconcerting to happen upon yet another suspicious Galician forest fire raging southeast of town and potentially threatening a particularly beautiful spread of old vineyards and the houses built among them. The scene became totally surreal when helicopters and fire planes began to fly overhead, racing back and forth over the vineyards to the Minho river and a nearby reservoir to collect water for bombing runs on the raging fire.


Ribavia is dotted with charming, old wine-growing villages hemmed by rustic, trellised small plot vineyards planted long ago on granite-buttressed terraces. These viñedos are of another age and are among of the most picturesque in Spain. While looking for the vineyards of Emilio Rojo in the hamlet of Arnoia, it was disconcerting to happen upon a forest fire, thought to be set by an arsonist, raging southeast of town and potentially threatening a particularly beautiful spread of old vines and the quaint stone houses that stood among them. 

The scene became totally surreal when helicopters and fire-fighting planes swooped in, flying back and forth to the Minho river and a nearby reservoir to collect water for "bombing runs." Unfortunately, this was not be the last time I came upon such a scene during this August trip. (If one tastes a smoky quality in some 2006 Galician whites, in all seriousness, it will not be from a toasted barrel.)

 The Genesis of The Spanish Artisan Wine & Spirits Group - Gerry Dawes Selections



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About Gerry Dawes


Writing, Photography, & Specialized Tours of Spain & Tour Advice
For custom-designed tours of Spain, organized and lead by Gerry Dawes, and custom-planned Spanish wine, food, cultural and photographic itineraries, send inquiries to gerrydawes@aol.com.  


I have planned and led tours for such culinary stars as Chefs Thomas Keller, Mark Miller, Mark Kiffin, Michael Lomonaco and Michael Chiarello and such personalities as baseball great Keith Hernandez and led on shorter excursions and have given detailed travel advice to many other well-known chefs and personalities such as Drew Nieporent, Norman Van Aken, Karen Page and Andrew Dornenberg, Christopher Gross, Rick Moonen, James Campbell Caruso and many others.

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“The American writer and town crier for all good Spanish things Gerry Dawes . . . the American connoisseur of all things Spanish . . .” Michael Paterniti, The Telling Room: A Tale of Love, Betrayal, Revenge and The World’s Greatest Piece of Cheese

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"Gerry Dawes, I can't thank you enough for opening up Spain to me." -- Michael Chiarello on Twitter. 

"Chiarello embarked on a crash course by traveling to Spain for 10 days in 2011 with Food Arts
contributing authority Gerry Dawes, a noted expert on Spanish food and wine.  Coqueta's (Chiarello's new restaurant at Pier Five, San Francisco) chef de cuisine, Ryan McIlwraith, later joined Dawes for his own two week excursion, as well. Sampling both old and new, they visited wineries and marketplaces, as well as some of Spain's most revered dining establishments, including the Michelin three-star Arzak, Etxebarri, the temple to live fire-grilling; Tickets, the playful Barcelona tapas bar run by Ferran Adrià and his brother, Albert; and ABaC, where Catalan cooking goes avant-garde." - - Carolyn Jung, Food Arts, May 2013.


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"In his nearly thirty years of wandering the back roads of Spain," Gerry Dawes has built up a much stronger bank of experiences than I had to rely on when I started writing Iberia...His adventures far exceeded mine in both width and depth..." -- James A. Michener, author of Iberia: Spanish Travels and Reflections
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Gerry Dawes was awarded Spain's prestigious Premio Nacional de Gastronomía (National Gastronomy Award) in 2003. He writes and speaks frequently on Spanish wine and gastronomy and leads gastronomy, wine and cultural tours to Spain. He was a finalist for the 2001 James Beard Foundation's Journalism Award for Best Magazine Writing on Wine, won The Cava Institute's First Prize for Journalism for his article on cava in 2004, was awarded the CineGourLand “Cinéfilos y Gourmets” (Cinephiles & Gourmets) prize in 2009 in Getxo (Vizcaya) and received the 2009 Association of Food Journalists Second Prize for Best Food Feature in a Magazine for his Food Arts article, a retrospective piece about Catalan star chef, Ferran Adrià.

". . .That we were the first to introduce American readers to Ferran Adrià in 1997 and have ever since continued to bring you a blow-by-blow narrative of Spain's riveting ferment is chiefly due to our Spanish correspondent, Gerry "Mr. Spain" Dawes, the messianic wine and food journalist raised in Southern Illinois and possessor of a self-accumulated doctorate in the Spanish table. Gerry once again brings us up to the very minute. . ." - - Michael & Ariane Batterberry, Editor-in-Chief/Publisher and Founding Editor/Publisher, Food Arts, October 2009. 

video
 Pilot for a reality television series with Gerry Dawes  
on wine, gastronomy, culture and travel in Spain.

Experience Spain With Gerry Dawes: Customized Culinary, Wine & Cultural Trips to Spain & Travel Consulting on Spain

Gerry Dawes can be reached at gerrydawes@aol.com

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Rozas Albariño. "Maybe the greatest Albariño I have ever tasted - - kaleidoscopic minerality, blazing purity." - - John B. Gilman, View From the Cellar


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Bodegas Rozas, Meaño (Pontevedra)
Bodeguero Artesano Manolo Dovalo
 Rozas Albariño 2013 13.5% 12/750ML $25.99


The 2013 Albariño from Adegas Rozas has blossomed beautifully since I last crossed paths with a bottle during my visit to the region in October of 2014. Manolo Dovalo farms the family’s 6.3 hectares of very old vines in Meaño and his 2013 is drinking beautifully today. The bouquet is still a touch youthfully tight when first poured, but blossoms nicely in the glass to offer up scents of grapefruit, lemon, gentle leesiness, salty minerality, lemongrass and a nice top-note of citrus peel. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, complex and zesty, with a fine core, a lovely girdle of acidity and fine length and grip on the minerally finish. A lovely bottle with years and years of life still in it. 2016-2025+.
92+. – John Gilman, View From The Cellar

Adegas Rozas Albariño 2013 Rías Biaxas $27.99 12.5% (Sold out.)

Adega Rozas is located in the village of Meaño in the Val de Salnés and is run by winegrower Manolo Dovalo. This family estate goes back several generations, and its 2.5 hectares (6+ acres) of vineyards are loaded with old vines - many dating back more than two generations! Señor Dovalo insists that it is the very high percentage of old vines in this very favored section of the Val de Salnés that allows him to make such outstanding Albariños. The 2010 Rozas is simply stunning, soaring from the glass in a complex blaze of lime zest, tart orange, kaleidoscopic minerality, lemongrass, gentle leesy tones and a smoky topnote. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and very racy, with a rock solid core of fruit, brisk acids, laser-like focus and simply stunning length and grip on the very minerally and magically complex finish. This is as magical a glass of Albariño as I have ever had the pleasure to taste! 2012-2020+.  96+. - - John Gilman, View From the Cellar

@JohnBGilman of View From the Cellar on Twitter: "Rozas Albariño.  Maybe the greatest Albariño I have ever tasted - - kaleidoscopic minerality, blazing purity."

“Gerry’s  albariños, from Rías Baixas, were notable, especially Manolo Doval’s Rozas: a great floral aroma, feather-light, grace, a swirl of subtleties.” - - Howard G. Goldberg

"Rozas Albariño ($26).  If I'd tasted this blind, I might have thought it was a particularly lean and stylish viognier. It has a wonderful, intense aroma and real complexity of flavor, with plenty of acidity and a beguiling finish that is part mineral, part floral. I don't think I've had a better albariño."  - - Colman Andrews, The Daily Meal.  Read more: Spanish Wines — A Seductive New Crop:  Godello, Mencía, and other less-than-famous Iberian grapes shine in a new selection from Spanish wine expert Gerry Dawes

Manolo Doval, Producer of Rozas, Asociación de Bodegas Artesanas.
 All Photos by Gerry Dawes©2016.

Manolo Dovalo farms just over 6.3 acres of well-drained vineyards that get ample sunlight enabling him to produce one of the greatest Albariños of Rías Baixas.  Dovalo says the secret of the quality of his wines is that the majority of the vines are very old.  Some of these vines have been producing grapes for generations. 

The bodega was founded by Dovalo’s ancestors, who made wine for the family’s own consumption.  Over the years, the winemaking gradually evolved into the modern era, where Dovalo says that his family has succeeded in integrating tradition with modern elements such as stainless steel and including the latest techniques for thermic stablization. 

The winery has limited production, which allows Dovalo to carefully monitor his vineyards during the growing season.   The albariño grapes are picked at what Dovalo assesses as the optimum point of ripeness–never overripe–for making a great white wine.  

“The first time I tasted the Rozas I was stunned.  This is serious Albariño - chocked full of minerals, not too fruity, dense but not in a spoofy way.  Just pure with insane length.  This shows similar old vine intensity to a top Do Ferreiro or Pazo de Señorans Albariño.  Highly recommended!” - - Chris Barnes, Chambers Street Wines, New York City.


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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Blind Tasting: Fool’s Teflon by W.R. Tish

Blind Tasting: Fool’s Teflon

Posted on  | April 6, 2012   Bookmark and Share
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As wine judgement goes, this technique is overrated and unrealistic.
Read the other day that a wine critic was going to taste at Screaming Eagle and Harlan Estate in Napa, but that he would be scoring either “since they chose not to let me blind taste.” Huh? I was not sure whether to laugh or cry.Since when is not knowing what’s in the glass a prerequisite for officially assessing quality? For now, let’s focus just on the notion that putting on a wine-tasting blindfold is the equivalent of, if not Superman’s cape, at least a shield of Teflon.

In my experience, blind tasting is inescapably circumstantial. Its value should be couched in the context in which the wine was sampled, especially when presented in a “flight.” I was reminded of this recently when Casa Lapostolle staged a blind tasting of “luxury” Cabernets. My favorite (and the media group’s) was the Lapostolle 2008 Cuvée Alexandre (SRP $25).

But I am hesitant to believe that one such tasting is definitive. It is what it was. Indeed it raised my assessment of Casa Lapostolle, but I am not going to write it off as vintage-schizophrenic, nor am I dumping Chateau Montelena (one of my lesser favorites) off my list of Napa classics. Most of all, it served to reinforce the fact that any wine is so much more than its impression in one glass on one day in one situation. Wine is a package deal: its origin, production details, price and, yes, its packaging all matter.

Tool for Discovery

My take is that blind tasting is most valuable when it is conducted extremely casually—as in a mystery bottle amid a sampling of known wines, yielding a fun “aha!” moment, shared by a group of people—or when it is conducted extremely rigorously. I witnessed the effectiveness of the latter context recently as a spectator during the Ultimate Spirits Challenge (see page 58). Quite simply, the combination of expert judges, airtight secrecy and a multi-panel, multiround format that ensures checks-andbalances yields results that stand reliably above single-critic reviews.

The basic flaw inherent in most wine critics’ blind tastings is the fact that people + wine is a recipe for imprecision, no matter how experienced the taster. Even Robert Parker, who at least has the courage to occasionally taste blind in public, has demonstrated that he cannot reproduce his impressions with statistical reliability. Plus, wine itself does not stand pat; it changes, both in the bottle over the long term and in the glass for the short term. And, oh, there’s that little thing called food, which is ultimately part of almost every wine’s final destination (at the table).

Sure, there is a place in the world for blind tasting. It is a tool for discovery. But making it a requirement for judgment is unrealistic, and deeming its results sacrosanct is just foolish. So why does the wine industry vest so much clout in blind-rated reviews conducted by middle-aged men sampling 20+ wines at a pop without a crumb to eat? The only logical answer is that the “blindness” built into their evaluation process theoretically yields objectivity, whereas knowing what’s in the glass unleashes bias.

Me? I’ll trust the judgment of an eyes-open taster any day of the week.

It takes relatively little effort to plow through a blind flight of wine. It takes a lot more conviction to be a real-world judge—selecting wines, labels and all—and then standing behind them to re-sell at specific prices. Retailers and restaurant wine pros make the tough decisions, paring down a universe of options to a finite set of wines, and for that they deserve more credit than any wine critic hiding behind the Teflon of a tasting blindfold.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Bierzo: A Region's Rapid Climb From Obscurity to Recognition / Viña Barroca Bierzo Mencía 2009, Bodegas Adrià (Vilafranca del Bierzo, Léon)

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Click on the title to read:
Wines From Spain News, Winter 2007


(Slide Show: Double click on the image to go to Picasa to see an enlarged version, 
then click on F11 for a full screen version; click ESC to leave slide show.)


Viña Barroca Bierzo Mencía 2009 (far right) from Bodegas Adrià (Vilafranca del Bierzo, Léon) which also makes Vega Montán. 
All photographs by Gerry Dawes©2011. Contact: gerrydawes@aol.com

Along this wine did not exist when this article was written, the vines did and budding star winemaker, Diego Losada, has created something special in this young Mencía red wine, so we  are proud to offer in October our Bierzo selection, Viña Barroca 2009 from Bodegas Adria.

Bodegas Adrià has had as their consultant one of the top young winemakers in the region, Diego Losada, who apprenticed under such winemaking stars as Gregory Pérez of Bodegas y Viñedos Mengoba, Alejandro Luna at Bodegas y Viñedos Luna Beberide and maestro Mariano and son Eduardo García in their Paixar project. 


Damián Canepa, Export Manager of Bodegas Adria, Bierzo. Canepa worked at Bodegas Peique in Bierzo for six years, helping to build that winery's name. 
All photographs by Gerry Dawes©2011. Contact: gerrydawes@aol.com

Tasting note:


Viña Barroca Bierzo Mencía 2014 (13.5%) $14.99 SRP.
100% Mencía  Diego Losada, winemaker

Deep pomegranate juice colored red.  POM fruit with whiffs of minerals.  

Utterly delicious, juicy, lovely sweet red fruit (currants, pomegranate) with a touch of volatility that makes it so good with food.  Solid mineral underpining in the finish with iron-like notes from the arcilloso soil on which the grapes are grown.

- - Gerry Dawes

Monday, August 31, 2015

Chef Dan Barber & Winemaker Randall Grahm on the "Roots" of Terroir in Wine



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“It turns out that the mechanism [mycorrhizal fungi] is a pre-requisite for great wine.  I learned this from Randall Grahm, the iconoclastic winemaker of Bonny Doon Vineyard, in Santa Cruz California.  “Mycorrhizae are microbial demiurges—they bring minerals into the plants,” he told me.  “What does that taste like? Persistence.  The best wines are powerfully persistent.  You breathe out your nose and taste the wine over again, or you leave the bottle open for a week and the wine still tastes alive.  Persistence doesn’t fade, and it doesn’t oxidize.  That’s from the minerals.” - -  Dan Barber, The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food; Chef-partner, Blue Hill at Stone Barns and Blue Hill NYC

Chef Dan Barber and Gerry Dawes in the kitchens of Blue Hill at Stone Barns,
Pocantico Hills, New York, June 2015.

What my staff and I been finding out to our amazement with our terroir-driven artisanal wines from The Spanish Artisan Wine & Spirits Group – Gerry Dawes Selections, especially the ones with minimal intervention in the winery, that wines leftover after tastings that I merely put in a small refrigerator with just a cork in them and no Vacuvin stoppers, are still drinking beautifully a week later, often even better than when we opened them. Last night, August 30, 2015, I was reading Dan Barber’s book and came across this amazing quote from Randall Grahm, a winemaker from California, ironically where commercial producers have been trying to deny the existence of mineral terroir for decades.

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Gerry Dawes
Presidente-Jefe & Chairman of the Boar
370 Cushman Road
Patterson, NY 12563

Cell phone: 914-414-6982
Teléfono movíl (en España): (011 34) 670 67 39 34
and Gerry Dawes on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
Spanish National Gastronomy Award 2003