Oct 2008
The Wine Merchant in the United States of America
The Wine Merchant in the United States of America. (1)

Tuesday 21
st of October.
The sunshine is reflecting on the 13.3 inches screen of my brand new MacBook. I am flying to New York, using Dublin as a hub. My goodness !, Aerlingus is still my favourite flight company and My Guinness !, will be waiting for me at the entrance hall.
Why Aerlingus ? Because they still have manners. The staff is friendly and responsible, traditional yes but at least they are not running a bus with wings on like Ryan Air. And the price is no difference anymore. Cheap as well as expensive ticket days are over.

I was in Zurich and Basel last week presenting some of my favourite Catalan brews. The Swiss are keen on high quality expensive wines, sometimes more because they are expensive but I suppose it makes them feel good (read rich).
Francisco Villanueva received me in Zurich with all the honours a Spanish can give you. Joy, laughter and good food. Except from his garage operation (Parker would say) of wine sales (he sure can turn nothing in to something) he is running with his brother the famous restaurant ‘Costa Brava’. Francisco is a big fan of deep Grenache wines and Algramar (Terra Alta), Malondro (Montsant) and Lo Givot (Priorat) is giving him right what he is looking for: terroir wines with authentic expression of the Grenache grape blended with Syrah, Cabernet and Carignan to meet the palate of demanding Suiz taste. He seduced me with quality solomillo and chuleta veal after a braised squid ‘a la plancha’. Spanish hospitality goes along with a culture of food and wine, and I’m loving it !
In Basel I promoted another five astonishing wines: La Figuera (Costers del Segre), Abellars (Priorat), Eternel (Cotes du Rousillon Villages) and a Brut cava from 1+1=3 (Penedès) at the annual fall presentation of Musik & Wein. La Figuera is an honest, straight forward Merlot (with a touch of Cabernet and Tempranillo) from the Merlot Wizard Joan Mila. I love this guy, he sure knew what he was doing when he started to plant Merlot for the first time in Spanish wine history. His family production wine Petrea is probably the best Merlot of Spain. He understands this grape and the single estate vineyards of La Figuera are their natural habitat. I love to speak about wines in other terms than the book says and somebody told me something beautiful: Abellars is a poem. Ramon Alzamora produces from young vines a Priorat that stands up against the oldest vines classics, but with elegance and (excuse me Malena) feminity. I answered that if Abellars is a poem Eternel is a novelle. This deep red complex Rousillon wine is giving France a complete new story.
eternel bouteilleImagen164

The Wine Merchant in the United States of America. (2)

I just arrived at Miami Beach. Tomorrow the Miami Beach Convention Centre hosts the Wine Fair where ‘Wines from Catalonia’ will be presenting exciting stuff.
I’ve just been 3 days in New York with my dearest Paz Sintes ‘bisuteria blanda’ and Emilio Solla ‘music inventor’. It was AMAZING. I love New York, the vibe is running down the stairs, the hype is flying over the cloud scrapers and it’s hot (not so hot of course as Miami tropical Beach). Emilio and Paz gave me what only they can give: their particular view of the big apple, like Brooklyn south views on Downtown Wall street, Smalls and el ‘gato gordo’ in Village, strolling impressive Brooklyn bridge on a blue sky gorgeous day, The Lincoln Jazz Centre (where Emilio Solla will set in the first minutes of new year ‘09), Central squirrel Park and last but not at all least the most magnificent building in entire Manhattan ‘The Flatiron Building’ (on command of the Princes). There’s a steady lack of bar numbers (finding a bar takes you at least some many streets), food is fast everywhere and the scale is bigger than mankind. But it makes you feel alive (and kicking if you want).
Wednesday 22 de novembre
The 9
th annual wine tasting of DSWE at the Four Season. The first wine I taste is the Dido from Sara and Rene. Priorat is on my tails and the wine of the most admiring people of the new generation wine makers in the Priorat is present to introduce in my ‘Conquista d’America’. Venus was as universal as she ever was. The aperitive on my first day in New York was giving immediately the right track: enjoy. After jamon ibérico, smoked salmon, parmiggiano and more New York was ready to seduce me.

Thursday 23 de novembre
Gerry Dawes invited me on the Spanish Academy Taste at the Warwick Hotel. I thought it was rather a boring taste, too classic, playing sure with riojas and riberas, albariño white and Gramona cava, with two exceptions: Clos Mogador and Palo Cortado, which obviously were the assistant’s favourites. The comparison with ‘bourgogne’ was made with all the wines that were presented as high end. I hope MW’s stop to compare everything with Borurgogne or Bordeaux, there’s no sense in comparing two so different terroirs and climates as Spain and France. You can talk about wine styles but except from the Loire region it’s not so defined what’s the style of each denomination, and what about the personal style of every wine maker and bodega ?
I had dinner at ‘the Boqueria’ with Gerry. Gerry has a pronounced opinion on Spanish wines and styles and is not too chicken to tell, whether you like it or not. He thinks Spanish wine makers are over doing it still too much on the wood. Oak has to be used in the right measurement; too much oak tannin can break down the length of your wine. Gerry is quite entertaining over some catalan tapas and a taste of the Cingles Blaus wines. According Gerry Cingles has an enormous potential, a work in progress for very unique and personal wines. Octubre may be cut on the palate by too much wood, Mas de les Moreres shows very nice fruit and structure and the Sele·lecció needs may be some more time in the bottle to see how tannins develop.

Saturday 25
th of October
Miami Wine Fair is a small fair with this year’s notorious presence of Spanish wineries thanks to Iberwine. Importers have scheduled agendas with the bodegas and there’s interest from all over the states, curious for new spanish wines. At ‘Wines from Catalonia’ we present 14 wines: Eudald Cava, Eudald Cepell blanc and negre, Gandesa blanc and negre, Varvall, Cesar Martinell, Algramar Jove and Criança, Cingles Blaus Octubre and Mas de les Moreres, Heretat Navàs, La Figuera and Indret.
‘Silicon Beach’ changes at night into the city that never sleeps. If you just spent a considerable amount of dollars on your girl friends boobs Miami is the place to show them to the world. Sometimes disgusting, sometimes sexy but all the time over present. Of course it’s very hot and you better wear the minimum if you want to swing the night away. But be aware: you can look but you better not touch. Quality is far to be found in Miami: wrong drinks, wrong food and wrong music.
Wednesday 29th of October.
I’m celebrating my friend Emilio’s birthday. And what a better royal meal than fresh Main lobster! After a ‘bisque d’homard’ paired with Cava Can Festís we have a Jaume Giro I Giro Selecte Reserva Brut Nature with the lobster, lemon butter, fennel and sweet potato with cottage cheese. Lobster is sexy and delicious.