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

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