How Cariñena helps me pass the winter blues

Surviving Winter with Carinena wine (1)

I dread winter. If you ever have experienced a Canadian winter, then you would know what I am talking about.

For those readers that don’t know what is like: picture an outdoor temperature that resembles more your home freezer. Of course, some people will say, it is not always like this, but the last few weeks in Quebec has felt like like living in an ice block.

I am not the type of guy who does winter sports. Figurati, being born in Venezuela, soccer and baseball were the sports familiar to me. Years ago, I took a skating class in college. Unfortunately, it was not my first choice because all the other courses were taken. To make the story short, I ended up learning how to skate with a chair rather than the real thing.


What do I love to do in winter?. This is the season where I hibernate: Drink lots of red wine, cook using the slow cooker and read quite a bit of old magazines. This year, I am  also practicing my home baking skills since I decided to get a diploma in professional bread baking.

Winter is also the time of the year when I drink my fair share of Spanish reds. When I have a glass of Ribera del Duero, Rioja or Priorat, my heart warms up and I get a ray of sunshine to face the tough winter days ahead.

Being this month, the coldest of the season, I can’t stop thinking about the wines of Cariñena. I have known the wines of Aragon way back before I went to live in Spain in 2002. Cariñena is the kingdom of Garnacha but not any kind: old vine in high altitudes from 400 m to 800 m above sea level. These are rich and robust reds perfect for the hearty fare of winter.


Lucky for me, the wines of Cariñena were present in the late Wine Bloggers Conference. In a seminar led by veteran wine educator Lyn Farmer, I learn about a fair amount of new trivia that I did not know about of one my favorite wine regions of Spain.


Lyn Farmer

First, I learnt that Cariñena is the name of a Spanish town as well. Second, the wine region has a lot of goat herders which explains the excellent quality of their cheeses.  Other information in the seminar was a fresh review for me. You see, the wines of Carinena have a modest following in Quebec. For instance, the SAQ list more than 25 references in the catalog with incredible modest prices ( $9.95 to a maximum of $45)


Despite the excellent prices, for many lovers, Cariñena still remains much of out of their radar and it should not be like that at all. The region boast some of the oldest Grenache and Carignan plantings in Europe. The average age of the vines is 50 years old and sometimes pushing more than 100. Furthermore, the favorable climatic conditions such as the strong winds of the region keep the wines fresh and free of disease.


After the presentation, we tasted 6 wines from the region to demonstrate the variety of styles in the appellation. First came 3C Premium Selection  Carinena 2012.  From Grandes Vinos y Viñedos , this wine enterprise works with different winegrowers  in all 14 of the sub  areas of D.O.P. Cariñena.  This bottling is mono varietal Carignan relatively old (45 years old) from  the Sierra de Algairén at 700 m altitude. It had a penetrating bouquet of ripe red fruits accentuated by the floral notes of the variety. On the palate, spicy and not too oaky with silky tannins.

The second wine was Artigazo 2009. A blend of 40% Garnacha, 30% Syrah and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon of 40+ years agre. This bottle was denser and more complex than the first one featuring notes of roasted coffe, cedar, graphite and spice. This is a tried and tested example  of what old vines and power blends can achieve. Artigazo is made by Bodegas Paniza, a cooperative made of more than 400 growers. This is a nice little wine to have with a good old-fashioned roast beef.

The third wine presented was something quite different. From Bodegas San Valero, the Particular Garnacha Joven 2016. From younger Garnacha vines ( 15-25 years old) grown in a high altitude ( 800 m) and no oak aging. This was a bright and fresh wine with aromas reminiscent of red fruits and soft floral undertones. Bodegas San Valero has a track record in the region and works with a network of more than 700 growers.

Carrying on, we had El Circo Garnacha 2016. A young Garnacha bottling as well with no oak aging, This bottle had aromas of ripe strawberries and cherries with a delicate touch of spice. Smooth and racy with firm tannins and a long finish. A very accessible wine that coud be easily be my house wine.

The wine that followed was  Vinas Viejas 2012 from Bodegas Paniza as well, was no stranger to me. I had the chance  to review a few times in the past. An old vine Garnacha ( 100+ years old) grown at 800 m with a minimum of 6 month oak aging. The aromas were stunning featuring plenty of  blackberry fruit, cedar, and plum with a hint of spice. Fruity with a good balance and silky tannins. This was a well behaved big Garnacha.

The last bottle was the Particular Centenarias 2012. An old vine Garnacha ( 100+ years old) with a long aging in barrel ( 12 months)  and bottle ( 18 months). This was an exceptional wine in the restrained rather than big style. Very elegant with fine cashmere tannins and flavours redolent of cassis and black cherry. My favorite wine tasting. As I am writing these lines, I wish that I could have a bottle to have a sip.

That’s it for now. All this writing has made thirsty and I am starting to feel cold. I am going to take a break and have a glass of Carinena myself.

Hasta Luego!!!



Social Media beyond Hashtags and Likes in wine writing

A lots of things has happened between the WBC 17 and today. School, wine writing and family has kept me busy, so is comforting to be able to take the time to write these lines about the conference. By doing so, I get to relive that special weekend in Santa Rosa.

This will be my third post on the WBC  and I would like to talk about the seminar of  Advanced Social Media Beyond Hashtags and Likes presented by Charlotte Chipperfield,  Founder & CEO of Chipperfield Media.

The topic of social media makes me feel quite uncomfortable. You see, my natural tendency is to focus only on content when I write about wine and I take for granted the importance of having an effective social media strategy. Recently I have been  complaining because of my lousy followers stats in Facebook and Instagram. One of my long-term goals is to be an important international influencer in the field of wine & food

My first course of action was to assist to this seminar. With a brave heart, I embraced the uneasiness and came back empowered with amazing tools. Basically, Miss Chipperfield learnt me the importance of having an effective social media strategy. These include having a good social media foundation and establish goals in social media.

A strong social media foundation includes branding, know your audience, get organized and set goals and objectives. Well, at the moment, I have none of these since I write about wine for pleasure. After a long reflection, I concluded that these tools could help me fueling my passion. But it is hard work for me, since I have to be pragmatic about what I write and enter into marketing mode rather than artist romantic

Miss Chipperfield stressed the importance of a brand. The brand is who you are and how you transmit this message to social media.  Charlotte discussed the importance of having a logo and presented some applications such as Canva ( a photo editor tool ) to help you with the task.

In the seminar, I really enjoyed the part on how we deliver the message to social media. Charlotte could not stress enough the importance of being social. Get involved in doing live Facebook, Instagram stories, live twitter chats. In the past, this is something that I considered doing but let it to sleep in my imaginary drawer of things to do. Well, starting in the first week of January, I will be doing my first live fb live.

Charlotte could not stress enough the importance of knowing your audience to craft an effective communication strategy. Some of the key points that she presented include:

  • Demographics
  • What devices your audience use?
  • What content are they interested in it?
  • What social media platforms do they use

I also got myself the viva video application to make and edit videos. I decided to go for the platinum version. It was just $16.99. I really want to invest myself in video production to increase my follower base in twitter and instagram.

In conclusion, what i got out from this seminar is to start really thinking about the box. Not only philosophizing but taking action about it. This week i did my first instagram post using Canva. My wife gave a bottle of Grappa and I did a humble post about the liqueur using the application.

My intention was to go beyond a tasting note and portrait the product as something comforting for a cold winter night. The picture of the bottle integrated into the ice flakes reflects what i wanted to communicate.

Three Cavas for New Years Eve:

Happy New Year 2018

This being a Spanish wine blog, here are two Cavas to celebrate the arrival of the new year 2018:

Freixenet Elyssia Cava Chardonnay Macabeo Parellada Pinot Noir. SAQ # 11912494, $18.60

Enticing aromas of buttered toast with dry fruits and nectarines. On the mouth, elegant and earthy with beautiful floral nuances. A pleasant saline and iode character in the finish will make a stellar match with oysters.

Segura Viudas Gran Cuvée. SAQ # 12696210, $19.85

Flint and silex on the nose as well as nuances of Meyers lemon. On the mouth, quite elegant with a racing acidity and more citric flavors. Perfect for seafood platters.


SEE YOU IN 2018!!!!




The perfect orange wine

My experience with orange wines has been quite limited in the few years. Frankly, I have only tried certain bottles from Friuli, the Rhone and southern France.

So when i came to know that one of my favorite wine importers was carrying the orange wine of Ambiz, I jumped right away and bought me a case!!. Ambiz is imported by Glou and you can get his wines by the case of 6 for a price of less than $30.

Image result for fabio bartolomei

Photo: Vinos Ambiz

Fabio Bartolomei has been making wine since 2003 in the upcoming Sierra de Gredos in Spain. A passionate wine lover who discovered natural wines by accident, he makes barely 8000 liters from 3ha of vines. A true artisanal producer, whose wines are rapidly attaining cult status. He makes many micro-cuvées from his vineyard collection. Fabio can be described as natural wine producer: He grows organic grapes and uses little or no sulfites at all. He tends five vineyards that are located in villages close to Madrid and Sierra de Gredos. These are: Carabana, Villarejo, Chelva and Sotillo de la Adrada. To makes his wines, he rents a wine facility  in El Tiemplo who has a capacity of 1.5 million and was abandoned. He is giving it a very good use.

Fabio makes an amazing  orange wine from the indigenous Spanish grape Albillo Real.  According to Wine Grapes by Jancis Robinson, Albillo was mentioned as early as 1513 by the Spanish agronomist Gabriel Alonso de Herrera when he was describing the varieties of Castilla, Extremadura and Andalucia. Traditionally the variety has been used to make soft aromatic golden wines for current consumption. It was also been employed to add perfume to a blend. Albillo Real is grown in Madrid but also in Castilla-La Mancha, Extremadura, the Canary Islands and Galicia. The variety is not to be confused with Albillo Mayor or Albillo de Albacete which yields something totally different

Here is what Fabio has to say about Albillo Real from his website (

Albillo real is used by quite a few local producers. After Garnacha, it is in fact the insignia grape variety of Sierra de Gredos. Even so it is quite difficult to get hold of. Firstly it is also used as a table grape as it’s sweet and aromatic and very nice to eat. It’s an early ripening variety (early to mid August) so there’s even more incentive to sell it for eating as opposed to selling it for winemaking). And it’s the preferred variety that  birds like to eat! All this adds up to it being an expensive grape.

But it’s worth the effort and expense.

The resulting wines are generally interesting, complex and delicious.

Not to be confused with Albillo Mayor, which is a completely different grape and not nearly so interesting or aromatic (apologies to any Albillo Mayor producers, mais c’est la vie!).

Alba 2016 has a tiny production of 2000 bottles and the wines is born from the soft slopes of the Sierra de Gredos. Fabio press lighty with a short maceration and aging in Amphora.

Tasting notes:

Delicious nose. Complex earthy nuances, lemon jelly with orange marmalade, white flowers and spices such as saffron and white pepper. Bright and very round ( A polished tannic sensation in the wine) with lots of confit citric fruit character such as grapefruit peel. Pleasant and very clean aftertaste, bringing to mind lime, chalk and Ricola candy. Definitely a buy by the case wine.

What to eat with Ambiz Alba Orange wine?


I really enjoyed the Ambiz Alba with some chicken empanadas Venezuelan style. For me, the Ambiz complemented rather than dominated the flavour of the Empanada. This can be described as a seasoned chicken with cumin and cilantro with the taste of fried corn dough. But definitely, it could pair well with other dishes of Venezuelan gastronomy such as Pabellon Criollo for instance.

Spanish orange wines are a still a mistery to me and hope to continue my learning experience with them. Do you have any favorite orange wine producers in Spain?. I am waiting for your reccomendations.

Albarino and the nuances of Rias Baixas

What an amazing weekend I had. As I am writing these lines, I am coming back from the Wine Bloggers Conference, where I had the chance to meet some of the best, la crema de la crema from the wine blogging industry. Even though, I did not know anybody, I felt warmly welcomed in this wine fraternity.

Saturday was an amazing day. I had a chance to participate in a Rias Baixas seminar led by Lyn Farmer. Rias Baixas wines are not new to me. When I was living in Madrid, my roomate Pedro’s family had family living in Vigo, that how I first came to be in contact with the wines of Rias Baixas and got to know Albarino.  

Lyn Farmer is a wonderful, witty and with a terrific sense of huour guy. He is James Beard award winning wine and food writer, who do a lot of cool things including blogging and giving courses for the Wine & Spirit Education Trust ( WSET). He also directs tastings for VinItaly, the Italian Trade Commision and Sopexa. 

Through a tasting of 10 wines, I got to learn the styles of Albarino in Rias Baixas. There are 5 subzones in Rias Baixas: Ribeira do Ulla, Val do Salnes, Soutomaior, Condado do Tea and O Rosal. Galicia, the green Spain is the home of these subzones. Here the climate is very similar to the Loire Valley and New Zealand. It is heavily influenced by the Atlantic Ocean. This is a fairly cool area that gets heavy rain through the year. However, what saves them is the 2,200 hours of sunlight that is received during the ripening season of Albarino.  The soils are heavily granite based with a combination of clay, silt and gravel that is on the top soil.

Here are some of the key interesting things that i learnt from the presentation.

  • 99% of all wine produced in Rias Baixas is white-90% is made from Albarino
  • More than half of the winemakers in Rias Baixas are women which explains the delicate nuances of Rias Baixas wines
  • Galicia is famous for its seafood, including percebes and Oysters. No wonder Albarino has an affinity with seafood. Like Lyn said, what grows together go well as well. 
  • Albarino wines have a diverse palette of aromas. These include honeysuckle, citrus fruit, melon, peach and lots of flowers!!!
  • The Pergola system in Albarino or in Spanish Parra allows the breeze to flow to permit circulation and prevent mildew
  • Rias Baixas is Galician for ” Lower Rias” and refers to the four estuaries-Ria de Muros y Noia, the Ria de Arousa, the Ria de Pontevedra and the Ria de Vigo
  • The DO is fairly recent going back to the mid 1980’s but winemaking has been ocurring since the 13th century.

Winemaking Trends & Techniques.

Some of the most important winemaking trends ocurring in Rias Baixas, include:

  • Pre-Fermentation maceration.
  • Wild Yeast
  • Barrel fermentation and ageing
  • Malolactic fermentation
  • Extented contact with the lees.

The Barrel technique is gaining momentum in Galicia and adds more structure and complexity. However, is a bit of an adquired taste that needs time to be appreciated. Barrel ageing is only used in special vintages where the fruit is very ripe.

Lees contact is also on vogue in Rias Baixas. The lees is what gives the creamy aspect to the Albarinos and also contribute for flavor development as well.

 The wines 

DO Rias Baixas allows the production of seven styles of wines:

Rias Baixas Albarino– 100% Albarino made from any region

Rias Baixas Salnes– 100% Salnes

Rias Baixas Condado– 100% Condado

Rias Baixas Rosal– 100% Rosal

Rias Baixas Barrica-wines aged in oak, either red or white.

Rias Baixas Tinto. -red wine that counts for less than 1% of the production.

Rias Baixas.

The wines presented at the Seminar:

We started off tasting the Martin Codax Albarino 2016.  This is a cooperative that was founded in 1986 and count with 50 local grapegrowers.  The wines of Codax are sold in over 40 countries in the world including Canada.  

This Albarino for 3 weeks was fermented in stainless steel and 15% of the wine saw malolactic fermentation. A lovely nose that brings to mind melon, granny smith apple with notes of dry thyme and pencil lead. Crisp and medium body, it had a good amplitude and nice creaminess sensation in the palate.

Next was the Valminor Albarino. This is the brainchild proyect of Carlos Gomez who established the winery. One of the cutting edge bodegas in the region. This wine a shorter alcoholic fermentation than the Codax and a cold maceration for 6-8 hours.  A very different wine with notes of white peach and yellow apple character. Less creamy with a marked saline and floral character. 

The next wine was from Bodegas As Laxas. This is the winery of Simon Ferro, who was one of the founding fathers of the Regulation Council of 1986. The Albarino fruit is very old ( 30+ ) and the vineyards are planted on south facing terraces between 500 and 650 feet. This wine was displaying a more floral side of Albarino. It was rich, almost with an oily texture. It had also a very long complex finale.

Further on with the Condes de Albarei. From the Salnes Valley, this is a wine made by a small group of vinegrowers. Albarei was the first wine to have won a gold medal at the Challenge International du Vin in Bordeaux. Today, they are a benchmark in the appellation.

This wine was fermented with wild yeasts for a short but sweet 10 days alcoholic fermentation at controlled temperatures. The use of indigenous yeast gives this a very nice core of spices such as mustard seed with intruiguing floral notes ( acacia and jazmin comes to mind). It also has a delicious saltiness that envelops your mouth. One of my favorites at the seminar.

Beyond Albarino the other grapes used in the appellation include Loureiro, Treixadura, Godello and Caino Blanco. We saw an example of assemblage in the Santiago Ruiz 2016. 

The estate is based on the municipality of Tomino in a charming 17th century building. The wine spent 21 days in alcoholic fermentation and went through a soft maceration during pressing. A very different wine bringing to mind white cranberries and ground cherries. Crisp and refreshing with plenty of floral flavors and a nice bitterness at the end. Also a favorite of mine

Next in line was the Fillaboa Albarino. Low temperature fermentation and lees aging. A very distinctive nose bringing to mind chamomile, gunflint and ripe Ontario peaches. Linear and chalky with notes of wild fennel.

To continue, we tasted the Terras Gauda O Rosal 2016. Terras Guada is part of a boutique winery group founded in 1989. They are specialists in working the indigenous varieties of Albarino. In a lavor of love, they rescued the ancient variety Caino Blanco.

The Rosal is a blend of 70% albarino, 18% Caino Blanco and 12% Loureiro. The wines do a cold maceration in tank and spent 3 months on its lees. A very special wine with lots of depth. Honeysuckle, dry oregano and japanese pear comes to my mind. Creamy and very fresh. 

From Pablo Padin, i enjoyed tasting the Segrel Ambar 2015. A careful selection of Albarino from the Salnes Valley. A very floral wine bringing to mind wild white roses, anis and wild fennel. Exhuberant and very aromatic bringing to mind a Riesling. 

Pazo de Senorans was next. This is a wine that is quite available on the Canadian market.  A family business that specializes in Albarino. The winemaking is simple. Alcoholic fermentation at controlled temperatures with short pellicular maceration before pressing, 5 months aging on lees. An amazing wine displaying vervena, wild green mint and a great minetality. Linear with a lot of poise. 

Lagar da Condesa was the latest wine of the seminar and if you can guess, the one with the barrel aging. The winery is located in Arcos da Condesa and is built on granite with a very modern technology. Rich and opulent with notes of wax, honey, dry apricots and brown butter. Concentrated but very elegant.

So, what to eat with Albarino. These are wines that demand seafood for sure. The creamier wines will go well with fish. I am thinking salmon since i live in Quebec but also some salads with goat cheese for instance.

The information for this post came from the Rias Baixas consejo regulador and the presentation by Lyn Farmer for the wine bloggers conference 2017. Rias Baixas was one of the sponsors of the WBC 2017

Wine Bloggers Conference 2017


On thursday I will be heading down to Santa Rosa, California to participate in the wine bloggers conference. The conference takes place from November 9th to the 12th I am very excited to participate in this event. As I am writing these lines, I am getting shivers in my body. On its 9th edition, The Wine Bloggers’ Conference is going strong and is  one of the leading voices for the Wine bloggers Industry.

The wine bloggers was founded in 2008. It is an international conference where basically worldwide bloggers gather to discuss the nuts and bolts of wine blogging. Along with some other 350 participants, I will  wrapped up in diverse exciting wine education sessions and also to celebrate the joy of being a wine lover and writer. I have been granted a Ethnifacts Diversity Grant for the scholarship. More important, my act of presence will serve to cheer up Sonoma wine region. The region has been recently ravaged by fires and some fake news have been saying that their wine industry. I don’t think so. It’s just bad rumours.

The agenda this year  looks very interesting. I am looking forward to the Professional Wine Writing Tips session on friday. As you all know, drinking wine is so much fun but writing could be challenging even though you are very passionate.  The other session on saturday ” How to help Wineries and Get Paid doing it  ” interest me as well. It has a been a dream of mine to make a living through wine blogging. Hopefully after the conference, I will be on the right track.

The wine discovery sessions look awesome. I will be assisting to the DOP Carinena and Rias Baixas. Carinena is a treasure chest of old vines Garnacha.  Located in Zaragoza province, the appellation is one of the oldest in Spain. Founded in 1933, the appellation has some 15,500 ha of vineyards and some 45 estates in high altitudes ( 400 to 800 m). The appellation is the birthplace of Garnacha but also other white varieties play an important role such as Garnacha Blanca, Macabeo, Moscatel de Alejandria and Parellada. The wines from this region are also known in Spanish as the ” vinos de las piedras ” which translate into stone wines. I am looking forward for the presentation on this subject by key speaker by Lyn Farmer!!.

Rias Baixas, as well is on the cutting edge of making some of the finest white wines on Spain. This is the kingdom of Albarino, making some seriously heady white wines reminiscent of melon, peach and tropical fruits. Dry and very saline on the mouth, they remind of the Atlantic Ocean. One of my favorite regions in Spain, I will be very nostalgic when I will hear the presentation of Lyn Farmer. Lyn says that the best thing to have with Albarino is another bottle. However, I might add as well, 3 dozens of oysters. For your general interest. Here are the details of the full agenda.

A toro wine to wrap up during the fall weather

I usually dont drink on a regular basis the wines of Toro. Highly extracted and very powerful, I usually keep them for the cold months. By the way, this is not a negative critic, this is the style of the wine region as Toro bakes in the sun during the summer and is very cold during the winter. These wines could be quite powerful and rude enough I remember when I visited  the region back in 2003. It was 45 C in the shade, so you can get the idea how supercharged Tempranillo or Tinta de Toro as it known over there.

A few weeks ago, I passed by my local SAQ store to pick wines, and I saw that they offering to taste The Aponte Reserva 2009.  Frontaura has been making wine since 1574 and is one of the leading wineries in the appellation.  Made from old vines Tempranillo with long aging in french oak, it is a perfect wine for a cold night fall weather.

Frontaura Aponte Reserva Toro 2009. SAQ # 12259407. $23.40


Dark and intriguing nose of leather, smoke and dry meat ( jerky beef). Spicy and redolent of balsamic notes, cocoa and black raspberry. On the mouth, powerful with a refined palate and ripe but fine tannins bringing to mind coffee, black tobacco and black cherry. Long with a luxurious finale.


L’Espagne dans votre verre

Ana Gallegos


Dernièrement, l’Espagne à fait les manchettes lors du processus de référendum de la Catalogne. Quelles seraient les conséquences d’une déclaration d’indépendance de cette dernière, dans le monde viticole?

La Catalogne n’est pas la plus grande zone en termes de production viticole, cependant, il y aurait plusieurs problèmes immédiats. l’Espagne pourrait revendiquer des droits sur le nom de Cava, car il s’agit d’un «processus» plutôt que d’une région, même si 95% des vins de Cava sont fabriqués à Penedes.

Le producteur de Cava Codorníu a publié lundi une déclaration annonçant que son conseil d’administration avait accepté de transférer l’adresse du fabricant de Cava à Haro, dans la Rioja. Dans le même ordre d’idée, son rival Freixenet a suggéré qu’il pourrait déplacer, lui aussi, son siège social si le gouvernement de la Catalogne déclare son indépendance vis-à-vis de l’Espagne.

Heureusement, l’Espagne est très grande et riche, sans aucun doute un des principaux pays producteurs de vin et l’un des plus connus dans le monde. La gamme de vins espagnols a évolué de manière remarquable au cours des 25 dernières années. De plus, la nouvelle génération de vignerons a su concilier tradition et qualité avec innovation. Ils ont même fait des tentatives pour récupérer des cépages depuis de nombreuses années oubliées et/ou presque disparus.

La variété des climats espagnols et le relief permettent d’avoir une grande variété de vins pour tous les goûts. La Dénomination d’Origine (DO) La Rioja est internationalement la plus célèbre, mais il y a beaucoup d’autres appellations de grande qualité. On répertorie 70 DO et 41 appellations de vin de pays appelées Vinos de Tierra (VT). Parmi ces dernières, nous retrouvons des régions viticoles bien établies et respectées ainsi que d’autres en pleine effervescence.

L’Espagne a la plus grande superficie au monde consacré à la culture des raisins, plus de 15% du total mondial, ce qui se traduit par 1,2 million d’hectares de vignes. Bien qu’il existe plus de 600 variétés de raisins différents en Espagne, 80% de la production de vin se développe habituellement avec seulement 20 variétés, et parmi celles-ci, les plus importantes sont: Tempranillo, Albariño, Garnacha, Palomino, Macabeo et Carignan.

Cette année l’événement « l’Espagne dans votre verre » est né pour être un point de rencontre entre les producteurs et les fans qui aiment ce monde fascinant. L’événement a rassemblé une large et variée représentation des zones de plantation. En plus, le publique a eu l’occasion de rencontrer directement 59 propriétaires et vignerons de Bodegas ainsi que de profiter de la dégustation de 400 vins différents sous un même toit. Sans aucun doute une expérience exceptionnelle pour la richesse et la diversité des produits. Le rendez-vous a été le 17 Octobre dernier au coeur de Montréal et dans un cadre idyllique qui combine la beauté et l’histoire de la ville, La Gare Winsor.

C’est difficile de dire si un vin est meilleur qu’un autre, mais je vous partage ici les produits qui ont attiré le plus mon attention:


Juvé & Camps, Cinta Púrpura Brut Reserva

Vinification traditionnelle avec élevage d’environ 24 mois sur lies. Elaboré à partir des trois cépages traditionnels cultivés à Espiells, La Cuscona et Mediona. Couleur jaune paille avec des reflets verdâtres. Au nez il évoque des fruits blancs, des notes florales et de pain grillé. En bouche, l’effervescence de ce Cava ainsi que son acidité bien equilibré lui confère une belle onctuosité.


Bodegas Xaló, Bahía de Dénia

100% Moscatel de Alejandría

Intensité aromatique très élevée, avec des arômes primaires de fruits blancs et pêche, de fleurs blanches, comme le jasmin, la fleur d’oranger et aussi de légères notes des pétales de rose. En bouche il est sec et fruité, avec une légère amertume en arrière-goût. Vin délicat, soyeux et très bien structuré, ce qui le rend idéal pour accompagner toutes sortes de riz, poissons et fruits de mer.


Altolandon, Rosalía

100 % Garnacha Centenaria

Vins biologiques avec beaucoup de personnalité. Situés à Landete, province de Cuenca à 1100 mètres d’altitude, avec un climat froid et des sols pauvres. Rosalía est produit avec des grenaches de plus de 100 ans provenant d’un seul vignoble, il a été elevé pendant 8 mois, 50% en barrique française et 50% en jarres de terre cuit.

Couleur cerise profonde, au nez, on retrouve des arômes de confiture de prunes, de fruits rouges très mûrs, de poivre blanc, de bois et de réminiscences minérales. En bouche il est sec, frais et gourmand, avec des notes boisés et fruités. C’est un vin élégant et charnu, seulement 3700 bouteilles par année sont produits.


Grandes Vinos, Anayón 2013

100% Cariñena

Vieilles vignes de Carignan de 63 ans. Vieillissement de 10 mois en fûts de chêne français. Couleur rubis avec des arômes intenses de cerise, de confiture de framboise et de chocolat. C’est un vin plein de fruits mûrs avec des saveur de cerise mûr, de réglisse et de pommes rouges. La finale est longue et complexe. Un bon vin pour accompagner le steak au poivre ou la pappardelle aux poivrons rouges rôtis. Production limitée à 6 987 bouteilles.


Alejandro Fernandez-Grupo Pesquera, Alenza Gran Reserva 2006

100% Tempranillo

Fabriqué seulement dans les meilleurs millésimes, l’Alenza Gran Reserva est un hommage à la femme d’Alejandro, et son nom est la fusion des leurs: Alejandro et Esperanza. Le millésime 2006 est mi-corsé, bien équilibré et soyeux, avec une pureté et un équilibre exemplaires. Les notes de cerise noire sont accentuées par des notes de vanille, d’épices douces, de boîte à cigares et chocolat noir. Vieillissement de 30 mois en fûts de chêne américain neutres de 300 litres avec un toast léger à moyen. À la fin du vieillissement en fût, l’Alenza Gran Reserva est laissé un minimum de 30 mois en bouteille avant qu’il ne soit libéré sur le marché. Tous les vins produits par Alejandro Fernández ne sont ni filtrés, ni collés avant l’embouteillage


Bodegas Riojanas, Vermouth Artisanal Pascali

100 % Viura

Production artisanale, suivant la formule transmise de père en fils, élaborée à partir du vin blanc produit par Bodegas Riojanas. Mélangé et macéré dans une sélection minutieuse des plantes, des fleurs, des fruits et des racines. Il presente un couleur rouge caramel, avec un parfait équilibre des saveurs doux et amer, avec des nuances fraîches et fruitées et des notes florales. Très aromatique et très persistant.


Alvear, PX Solera 1927

100% Pedro Ximénez

L’impressionnant Pedro Ximenez Solera de 1927, issu d’une Solera commencée il y a près de 80 ans, affiche une couleur ambrée foncée ainsi qu’un nez extraordinaire de crème brûlée, de noix, de confiture et de sirop d’érable. Riche et visqueux, mais pas trop doux, ni lourd, beaucoup de travail pour produit cet PX à un prix incroyablement bas. Il est destiné à être bu seul à la fin d’un repas.


Vicente Gandia, Sandara chardonnay saké

Fusion unique du vin mousseux, de saké japonais et de chardonnay. De couleur jaune clair agrémenté de fines bulle. Des notes de bananes, de pommes et d’ananas dominent le nez. Le goût est délicat avec une acidité agréable en finale. La saveur du chardonnay se mêle agréablement au saké, on peut aller jusqu’à la saveur de gâteau de riz

Et puisqu’il n’y a pas d’expérience complète sans goûter les plats typiques de la région, la délégation commerciale de l’Espagne, nous a délecté avec des Jambon Serrano et Ibérico, du fromage Manchego, des olives et des fameuses tapas.


Cavas to try for the coming December holiday season


Every holidays need its fair dose of fizz, and if you are a Spanish wine lover, definitely, you are going to have at least a bottle or two of Cava in december.

If you don’t know, Cava is a sparkling  wine from Catalonia ( which is on the news these days a lot) and therefore, it should always be served between 5 – 8 degrees. Generally younger the wine is, the cooler it should be tasted. Moreover, a good glass such as a  flute shape is the best option to drink cava, and that’s because this shape will retain the aromas longer and will enhance the overall experience. When possible, the glass should never be filled more than 2/3 in order to keep it cool.

So, how can you pair Cava in your holidays menu ? I have a few suggestions. For those who are serving appetizers, a Brut Nature would be idea; Is seafood on your mind? That is a fantastic choice for Christmas Day or New Year’s Eve and that would be nicely paired with a cava Brut or Brut Reserva. Making  a traditional roast or filled meat instead? You might be considering a Brut Nature Gran Reserva. Do you still have space for a dessert such as nougat? Do not forget to open a bottle of cava Semisec or Sweet to go with it.

And last but not least, to avoid any familiar holiday argument with your wife or husband do remember to drink in moderation!

The following Cavas that I tasted were among a selection of more than 60 sparkling wines from the AQAVBS press tasting in Montreal, Quebec. Last time I checked the SAQ has listed close to 43 choices in the sparkling wine category from Spain and my picks represent some of the best that you can find in the Quebec market. In the Ontario market, please consult your LCBO listing and for the rest of the world, wine searcher


Villa Conchi Cava Brut Selección. SAQ # 12956456 $14.95

An unbeatable Cava for the price, it has an honest hose displaying lime and white orchard fruit. Medium body, elegant and structured with a good acidity and poise. 85/100


Parés Baltà Pink Cava. SAQ # 12888043. $17.60

The rose Cava from Pares Balta has been a favorite of mine for quite a long time. On the nose, aromas of cherry, raspberry chocolate and pink peppercorns. Fresh and bright with round texture and elegant finish. 87/100


Juvé y Camps Reserva de la Familia 2013. SAQ # 10654948 $21.85

A fine layer of minerals and beer yeast with a  white flower and meyer lemon dimension, complemented by macadamia nuts. Dry and structured and racy in the palate. A buttery herbal finish complement this quality driven Cava. 88/100


Segura Viuda Heredad Reserva Cava. SAQ # 12883461. $30.25

An enticing nose bringing to mind coconut flakes and cocktail pear aromas. Sweet tasting and elegant bringing to mind brioche and mushrooms flavors alike with a touch of brine in the finale. 88/100


Parés Baltà Blanca Cusiné Penedès 2010. SAQ # 12591021. $35.25

A complex cava bringing to mind roasted almonds with notes of honey, wood and green tea. On the palate it is fresh and round, showing notes of ripe and candied fruit together with flavours of cashews that last through the full length of the finish. 90/100