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More on Don Rockwell's query about Godello.

"Among the most enjoyable wines from my tastings – usually tasted with food to see how the wines develop over the course of a meal and also tasted, sometimes multiple times, on visits to Valdeorras – were wines that express the best qualities of the Godello grape, which when made into wine with minimal intervention, expressed the terroir and climate of its vineyard and shows a true sense of place. A Coroa, a winery I have visited half a dozen times and followed its progress through several vintages, always ranks high in any tasting of Godellos, because of its balance, delicious fruit and mineral transmitting qualities.

Casal Novo from Adega O Casal near the village of Rubía and a mile or so from Guítián is also such a wine. The owners, whose consulting enologist is José Luís Murcía, who has more than 20 years experience making Godello in Valdeorras and consults to eight other wineries, somehow manage to capture the essence of their grapes and vineyard site and transmit that in the bottle like few others. In New York, earlier this year, it was a favorite of wine aficionados at a seminar sponsored by Wines From Spain. Quite by accident, last year, at Yayo Daporta, one of the top restaurants in Galicia, I was offered sommelier Esther Daporta’s last bottle of Casal Novo 2006. “Si no es bueno,” she said, “we will take it back with no problems.” The wine was exceptional, better in fact that when I had tasted it at the winery when it was released.

Santorum, one of the top wines in my tastings, is a new Godello making its first appearance this year. It is the product of a collaboration between importer Steve Miles (SMS Selections) and one of the partners in a winery that Steve Miles formerly imported, Viña Somoza, which in recent years has attempted to use lees stirring and wood as markers for its wines. Louro do Boulo, Rafael Palacios’s second wine, now that he has abandoned the plastic stopper he was using for some bottling, I found preferable to his more expensive, leesy, barrel fermented As Sortes, which in my experience I have found, like the 2008 I recently drank, to have deteriorated precipitously with bottle age.

There are numerous other Valdeorras Godellos in the market that don’t yet rate high enough to merit being included in our limited space, but I have included four wines from noteworthy wineries: two from Ribeira Sacra, the stunning Pena das Donas Almalarga and the ambitious Domino do Bibei; one from neighboring Bierzo, Mengoba from the talented palate of Gregory Pérez, who apprenticed under star winemaker, Mariano García: and from Monterrei, the emerging Galician D.O. just south of Valdeorras, Amizade, a new Godello made by Gerardo Méndez, the producer of the exceptional Do Ferreiro Albariños of Rías Baixas." - - Excert from Spain’s Godello: The Valley of Gold’s Answer to Expensive Chardonnay, Sommelier Journal, January 15 2012

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More on Godello

Excerpt: ". . .Some people have already made up their minds about godello. Gerry Dawes, who has been writing about Spanish wines for decades and who recently went into the importing business, has called godello “Spain’s emerging hope as an equivalent to the great white Burgundies.”

Both these are from The Spanish Artisan Wine Group - Gerry Dawes Selections. The reviews are not Asimov's. He didn't have these wines in the tasting.

Adegas D.Berna, Córgomo, Villamartín de Valdeorras (Ourense)

D. Berna Godello 2010 Valdeorras 13.0% 12/750ML $24.99

“The 2010 godello, a white from the small-production Bodegas D. Berna, in Valdeorras, was splendid. Pointillistic, lithe, long, delivering visceral and cerebral pleasures, it was reminiscent of white peaches. The property, Dawes wrote, is advised by “a great local, enologist, José Luís Murcía, who may know more about godello than anyone in Galicia.” Murcía, he went on, “advises nine wineries” but “does not mark the wines with a one-fits-all winemaking stamp.” - - Howard G. Goldberg, who writes for The New York Times, Decanter and other publications.

Adegas O Barreiro, Seadur (Ourense)

O Barreiro 'A Silveira' Godello 2010 12.5% 6/750ML $19.99 SRP

Retired electric power line builder 'Pepe' Rodríguez retired from his own company and now, with hired help from his 140-person village of Seadur, farms his vineyards in this isolated village, which is reachable only by a pair of serious cork-screw roads leading up from the Sil River valley.

Pretty, brilliant green-gold. Whiffs of white peach. Fine, racy, acidity with restrained white peach, stone fruit and bitter almond flavors. Its tartness is balanced by lovely fruit and moderate alcohol, which makes it an exceptional food wine. In the third glass, it's raciness is somewhat reminiscent of great Savennières and the quality, flavor and finish is as good as many white Burgundies.

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Now, I am a flaming radical progressive revolutionary and I don't own a gun anymore, which is probably a mistake since I think that every liberal ought to own two guns, so we can have sensible discussions with people like Ted Nugent.

...............

Damn, Don, what are you going to do if you break down out there on that highway and you haven't had even a tapa for hours on end?

I'd like to preface this by saying: I'm not a wine guy. Thanks to folks like Mark Slater, I've had some very good ones, but I tend to stay near to beer and liquor on my alcohol knowledge, mostly because there is just SO MUCH OUT THERE!

But I'll be damned if this conversation hasn't made me that much more eager (and I already was eager) to explore Spain. And the two lines I quoted...well, I had to stop reading at both of them because I was laughing so hard, and as a liberal with three guns (currently), I still feel like I need some more to catch up with the Nuge!

So, in short, I don't have a lot to add here, but I just want to say THANK YOU for participating here, and thanks to Don for setting this up. I've learned some, I've laughed some, and perhaps most importantly, now I'm more hungry and thirsty to explore.

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Gerry,

Thank you, this is extremely useful. As for day trips during our time in Seville, we were planning on one, although we had been thinking about Cordoba. Either Cadiz or Jerez sounds outstanding, however, so I've been looking into both of those this afternoon.

Don't miss Córdoba. If you are taking the AVE train to Sevilla, you can stop in Córdoba, check your luggage at the train station, go into the old quarter, explore (I will tell you what), have lunch and get back on the train for a 45-minute ride on to Sevilla. In Córdoba, go see the Mezquita and the Roman bridge and explore the old Jewish quarter (and Moorish quarter), then have lunch just outside the walls here and tell Juan Peña that I sent you.

A Modern Version of Cordoban Classic Tomato-based Salmorejo at the Legendary Taberna Mesón Juan Peña

IMG_2297%252520Salmorejo%252520Cordoba.jpg

At the legendary Taberna Juan Peña in Córdoba, the classic tomato-based salmorejo with Cordoban extra virgen olive oil, topped with hard-cooked egg and small bits of Spanish jamón Ibérico de bellota (from the D.O. Pedroches, Córdoba province), ham from free-range pata negra (black hoof breed) pigs fattened on acorns. Juan's wife, Mari Carmen, makes theses salmorejos. It was served with a sherry-like fino from Montilla-Moriles, a D.O. also from Córdoba province. Berenjenas fritas, olive oil fried eggplant strips are often served with salmorejo as a sauce into which the eggplant strips are dipped. Like the most exquisite French fries with the most exquisite ketchup you have ever eaten.

If you are going by train, go to Cadiz early one morning, explore, have some tapas, then catch the train or bus to Sanlucar, do the bodega visit, have lunch and train it back to Sevilla after lunch. If you are going by car, you probably don't want to drive into Cadiz. Drive to El Puerto de Santa Maria and leave the car in the parking lot alongside the river for the ferry and take el Vapor or the hydrofoil boat to Cadiz and back, then back to Sevilla. This can be one Hell of a great adventure. I will give you more info later today.

Best, G.

Don, you'd asked about our hotel in Madrid, we are currently booked at Hotel Preciados, which appears to be just south of Calle Gran Villa.

That is Gran Via, the main drag through downtown Madrid. I will give you places to go near your hotel.

Thanks,

Mark

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Does anyone know what to make of this post from Dr. Vino's blog yesterdayabout Robert Parker selectively reviewing the Spanish wines from just one importer, Jorge Ordoñez?

Reader mail: Parker’s selective Spanish reviews

Or, coincidentally, the same day this sharp Twitter exchange between Tinto Fino, a New York Spanish wine retail specialist, Victor de la Serna, a newspaperman, a major wine opinion force and the owner of Finca Sandoval winery in La Manchuela, and Daniel Posner, an outspoken fine wine retailer in Westchester, New York. Here are some excerpts:

Logo_normal.jpgTinto Fino@TintoFinoVino

The "Jorge" Brand, many here have a hard time overlooking what he represents. #execution RT @VictordelaSerna: @grapestwc What brand is that?

12 Nov VS_vineyard1_normal.jpgVictor de la Serna E@VictordelaSerna

@TintoFinoVino @grapestwc What does he represent? The Spanish Inquisition?

Details

12 Nov RyeRecordMarch2009_normal.jpgDaniel Posner@grapestwc

@VictordelaSerna @TintoFinoVino How are Finca Sandoval sales in the NY market over the past few years?

Details

12 Nov Victor de la Serna E@VictordelaSerna

@grapestwc @TintoFinoVino Stable, could be better #butweallsaythat Too much distributor upheaval - but need I mention a few others likewise?

Details

12 Nov Daniel Posner@grapestwc

@VictordelaSerna @TintoFinoVino Can you be a little more specific? Up 25%? Down 30%? Do you still make the main wine? No one sells it in NY

Details

12 Nov Victor de la Serna E@VictordelaSerna

@grapestwc @TintoFinoVino Three shops in NYC, three in the suburbs according to WineSearcher. Josh Raynolds likes it... http://www.wineacces...229367 …

Details

12 Nov Daniel Posner@grapestwc

@VictordelaSerna @TintoFinoVino No one questions the quality of the wines. You like to argue in circles. My initial post was about Parker...

Details

12 Nov Daniel Posner@grapestwc

@VictordelaSerna @TintoFinoVino covering a dying importer. You thought otherwise. Yet ur sales suk. Why? Wines r good. Hmmm...

Details

12 Nov Logo_normal.jpgTinto Fino@TintoFinoVino

@VictordelaSerna @grapestwc These days it's more like the fall of the Franco regime. Importers have changed and buyers are less brainwashed.

Details

12 Nov Adrian Nathan West@a_nathanwest

@TintoFinoVino @victordelaserna @grapestwc are you really comparing a vicious civil war with too much oak in your Monastrell?! For shame...

Details

12 Nov Victor de la Serna E@VictordelaSerna

@a_nathanwest @TintoFinoVino @grapestwc Yes, this is gettiing a bit wacky. If my wines are good, buy them. If they're not, don't. That's all

Details

24h Daniel Posner@grapestwc

@VictordelaSerna it is funny how you can just spin things out of control, avoid the topic, and call it whacky.

Details

16h VS_vineyard1_normal.jpgVictor de la Serna E@VictordelaSerna

@grapestwc Twitter is not a place to discuss commercial strategies, Daniel. You should know that.

Details

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Does anyone know what to make of this post from Dr. Vino's blog yesterdayabout Robert Parker selectively reviewing the Spanish wines from just one importer, Jorge Ordoñez?

Reader mail: Parker’s selective Spanish reviews

This is insider-y, even for me. It seems reasonable to review a single importer's portfolio - John Gilman just did this with your wines, no? I know there was some type of scandal involving the Wine Advocate and Spain, but I'm still not clear as to what exactly happened, or who was involved. Every time I'd start digging into the story, I'd quickly become overwhelmed with information that wasn't very easy to understand, and I'd stop.

I know that you haven't been a big fan of Robert Parker in the past, but other readers probably aren't aware of this - feel free to discuss as much or as little as you'd like.

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This is insider-y, even for me. It seems normal to review a single importer's portfolio - John Gilman just did this with your wines, no?

Gilman's report was from a tasting that was the first time the wines had been presented to a major wine reviewer anywhere. Subsequently, Gilman came to another luncheon (I don't send wines to reviewers) and re-tasted them all. He was so impressed that instead of holding the reviews for a later issue, he decided to review the portfolio as a stand alone article that focused on the concept behind my artisan wines. Other people, before and since, have now reviewed the wines very, very favorably, but John Gilman in View From The Cellar has been the most effusive. Gilman loved the taste and style of the wines I chose, so I guess he likes my palate. Maybe Parker loves the taste and style of Jorge Ordoñez's wines, most of which you would have to put a gun to my head to get me to drink, but that is why there are different strokes for different folks.

I know there was some type of scandal involving the Wine Advocate and Spain, but I'm still not clear as to what exactly happened.

I suppose you mean the Pancho Campo-Jay Miller-Robert Parker affair, which ended with Jay Miller's resignation, Pancho Campo resigning as Master of Wine title and TWA with egg on its face. There is plenty of the internet about that. Just Google the names and plenty will come up. I don't really need to beat this dead horse anymore. What is amazing to me is that Miller was allowed to publish reports, basically trashing or ignoring the classic wines of La Rioja and the very next year, Neal Martin, who is getting very good marks from people I have talked to in Spain and from fine wine aficionados in general, comes along and gives some of those same wines ratings as high as 97 pts. (in the case of Rioja Alta).

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Maybe Parker loves the taste and style of Jorge Ordoñez's wines, most of which you would have to put a gun to my head to get me to drink, but that is why there are different strokes for different folks.

Could you go another level deeper on this statement? Who exactly *is* Jorge Ordoñez, and why don't you like his wines? And who is this Victor de la Serna character? I've seen his name come up multiple times when I started to poke my head into the Jay Miller scandal, but I've never been able to link up the characters with their roles (except for Kaiser Soze, who had a Kaiser role).

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Hi Gerry:

Great to see your many years of experience in Spain put into a selection of wines for the US. Nobody I have met carries your passion for the combination of Spanish art, food, wine, and culture. What is it about Spain that grabbed you; more than the many other places you have travelled to in your career?

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Gilman's report was from a tasting that was the first time the wines had been presented to a major wine reviewer anywhere. Subsequently, Gilman came to another luncheon (I don't send wines to reviewers) and re-tasted them all. He was so impressed that instead of holding the reviews for a later issue, he decided to review the portfolio as a stand alone article that focused on the concept behind my artisan wines. Other people, before and since, have now reviewed the wines very, very favorably, but John Gilman in View From The Cellar has been the most effusive. Gilman loved the taste and style of the wines I chose, so I guess he likes my palate. Maybe Parker loves the taste and style of Jorge Ordoñez's wines, most of which you would have to put a gun to my head to get me to drink, but that is why there are different strokes for different folks.

The other big differences in Gilman's reviewing the wines of The Spanish Artisan Wine Group separately as wines from a totally new line and concept and Parker reviewing, yet again, the Ordoñez line separately from other Spanish wines is 1) Gilman is the lone reviewer for his View From The Cellar (www.viewfromthecellar.com) and Parker, after the Jay Miller-Pancho Campo debacle, hired Neal Martin, a Brit with a dramatically different view of what good wine should be, to be his Spanish reviewer. IMHO, if Neal Martin had been allowed to review the over-wrought Parkerista palate-aimed wines of Jorge Ordoñez, the outcome for those wines might not have been good.

This from Ordoñez’s website: "Ordonez’s (sic, the name is spelled with a tilde over the 'n' in the beginning, but not throughout the document) modus operandi was to preserve the wines’ heritage and Spanish character while coaxing them into line with the late-20th-century palate. There was risk involved. Instead of pandering to internationalist trends, Ordoñez took the bold step of challenging the American palate by being the first to introduce exotic wines like Albarino, Txakoli and Godello to a market that knew little more than sangria. . .

Ordonez partnered with his most talented winemaking partners to create new wines where none existed, wines infused with Spanish spirit and terroir, yet firmly in line with modern taste sensibilities. And ultimately that has become the new perception of Spanish wine–authentic yet modern."

This, of course, all sounds great, but when you establish your own wineries with your own corporate winemaking team, which has included winemakers from New Zealand and Australia, whose communal palate tends to produce wines of very high alcohol, often marked by pronounced new oak, lower acid levels and the yeasty notes of battonage (and other winemaking manipulations) that overide, IMO, the "Spanish spirit and terroir," they may be firmly in line with what they perceive to be "modern taste sensibilities" (read Parkerista sensibilities here), but again in my opinion, they are anything but "authentic" and are "pandering" to someone's palate, but certainly not mine.

Apparently, from all I have been able to gather in trips to Spain and from reading blogs and reports from other parts of the world, this approach to "producing" wine is rapidly on the wane, at least amongst serious wine lovers, and that is beginning to be reflected in the preferences of the general public who seem to be turning against this higher alcohol, hit-the-wine-reviewer-between-the-eyes-with-the-first-sip style of wine.

It is perfectly understandable why Jorge Ordoñez’s would pressure his great friend, Robert Parker, into doing a stand alone review of his wines, given the fact that it is highly unlikely that Neal Martin's palate would lead him to give high marks for many of Ordoñez’s wines. But, especially after Parker caught heavy flak the first time he published a stand alone review several years ago of Jorge Ordoñez’s wines, independent of the reviews of his assigned Spanish wine reviewer, it is hard to understand why he would stick his neck out again. This time the excuse is that it is Jorge Ordoñez’s 25th anniversary as a wine importer. Since The Wine Advocate is Robert Parker's publication, he can do what he wants, but that does not keep people like Tyler Colman (Dr. Vino) and others from raising questions.

This appeared on Dr. Vino a couple of days ago:

Reader mail: Parker’s selective Spanish reviews

"A reader writes in:

'I have just seen that Robert Parker has tasted the wines for Jorge Ordoñez and given points instead of Neil Martin. What is going on? I thought after the
scandal they would be doing things by the book. Very disappointed as I was very happy how Neil Martin was doing things. I personal will cancel my web subscription. These points given can not have any creditability.'

This is not the first time that Parker has reviewed the import portfolio of Jorge Ordonez separately from the Spanish critic: When Pierre Rovani reviewed Spanish wine, Parker kept the Jorge Ordóñez wines back to review those
. This time, Parker uses the 25th anniversary of the importing business as a reason for singling them out. He also adds this line:

'Jorge Ordoñez can sometimes annoy people, and he seems to have no shortage of competitors who are clearly jealous of his great success.'

It’s an odd line, with more bitterness than a wine before microxidation; if he likes the wines, why not just leave it at that? To include this line in a short piece praising Ordonez seems spiteful and almost paranoid since nobody had said anything badly about Ordóñez, as far as I am aware. From my perspective, the Ordóñez wines appear less visible than they were a decade ago and there have been some notable wineries that have left his portfolio. Meanwhile, the rise of boutique importers of Spanish wines has been one of the more exciting stories out of the Iberian peninsula in the past decade. Given that Parker frequently mentions Ordóñez wines, and Miller had been the recipient of hospitality, I understand why the reader is irked."

This last is from Dr. Vino, not me. Reader can draw their own conclusions.

For those who may say that since I represent several Spanish artisan wineries in the U.S., my remarks are casting aspersions on the wines of an importer of Spanish wines to gain advantage for the wines of my truly "authentic" producers, I can see why you might think that. But anyone who knows my long history (see Don Rockwell's introductions) knows that I have been against the Ordoñez - Parkerista approach to wine most of my life and that I often published articles against it when I was a wine writer. And I have been highly complementary, not without reason, about the Spanish wines of importers such as Andre Tamers of De Maision Selections and Jose Pastor Selections.

The reason I decided to begin representing these small artisan producers is because I wanted to help offer another antidote to fine wine lovers to this over-wrought approach to wine and also because I was so damned tired of trying to drink (and failing) spoofulated wines, many of which were sent to me to review, that I myself needed the antidote.

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Hi Gerry:

Great to see your many years of experience in Spain put into a selection of wines for the US. Nobody I have met carries your passion for the combination of Spanish art, food, wine, and culture. What is it about Spain that grabbed you; more than the many other places you have travelled to in your career?

First off, Brad Haskel is a wine consultant who writes for the Huffington Post regularly and he is a good friend of mine. However, he has never asked me the question about what grabbed me about Spain.

On January 2, 1968, not long after daylight, our military plane banked near El Puerto de Santa María and I got my first glimpse of Spain: whitewashed buildings surrounded by palm trees in a sea of stubby vines surrounded by stark white soil, for the base at Rota lay near the Sherry vineyards between Jerez de la Frontera and Sanlúcar de Barrameda. As the plane circled before landing at the U.S. Navy base at Rota, I could not help noticing the circular enclosures which I would learn were bullrings, the big one at El Puerto de Santa María and smaller ones where I would one day find first hand that young fighting cows are tested for bravery. Spain was already beginning to fascinate me and I had not even touched the ground.

The plane landed, physically in Spain, but in an American enclave, where I would stay for the next week, chomping at the bit to discover my first foreign country. New arrivals were not allowed off the base until they had attended the don’t-drink-the-water, don’t-eat-the-food, don’t-get-in-fights-with-the-natives, don’t- molest-the-señoritas lecture, which was held once a week. For our group, the indoctrination lecture would not to be held for nearly a week. All I saw of Spain during my first week in Rota were the glimpses I got on the daily bus rides to my work assignment at a large white security building, surrounded by a huge antennae field.

From the perimeter road, across the strands of barbed wire that encircled the base, I saw men plodding along on burros past scrappy-looking farms with cottages, that, in those days, still had thatched roofs and in whose sparse environs grew cactus and palm trees. I saw little of the of the greenery and trees that I knew from my native Midwest; this was more like parts of California, perhaps even more barren. Still, those few glimpses were tantalizing and exotic.

Finally, along with other new arrivals, we were given the indoctrination lecture and allowed off the base.

Because of our work schedule--two evening shifts, two day shifts, following by two midnight to 8 a.m shifts--we had a nearly four-day break during every ten day cycle, so on my breaks I would go to Sevilla and live like a civilian. I would get off the midnight shift at 8 a.m., catch the train from Rota to El Puerto de Santa María, one of the three great Sherry towns, have breakfast in a café on the palm-tree lined esplanade along the Guadalete River, and then catch the connecting train to Sevilla.

In Sevilla, I lived in the Pensión Santa Cruz in the Barrio de Santa Cruz, the old Jewish quarter of Sevilla, which was a truly magical place. The family who owned the Pensión Santa Cruz became by Spanish “family.” I even called Juan and Maria, “Mama” and “Papa,” and their son, Juan became such a close friend that he was my best man in my wedding (outside Detroit years later). When I got out of the Navy with $500, I stayed in Spain and after traveling for a couple of months, I met my future (now ex) wife, and rented an apartment in the Barrio de Santa Cruz, just a couple of old quarter blocks from the Pensión Santa Cruz and lived there for nearly four years.

I got hooked on Spain in Sevilla, but soon expanded my horizons to include the whole country and I have been crisscrossing it like a wild man for more than four decades. I will not go into the fact that I have lived in Spain in at least five other lifetimes and that Rota is on the same parellel as my hometown of Alto Pass, Illinois, because I don’t want to scare the Hell out of Don Rockwell’s faithful readers.

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Gerry,

Thank you for all of your responses, you have been incredibly helpful. One more quick question for you for right now:

1. Do you have any must-visit recommendations for food in Sevilla? And at least one of the three nights we are there we would like to just bounce from place to place to really get a feel for the town. Is there a particular neighborhood/combination of spots that we should definitely hit up?

Thanks,

Mark

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Okay, moderating this chat correctly is going to be a fair amount of work, but it's interesting and hopefully will be rewarding and fruitful for the patient reader. Let me see if I can parse this [ETA - I spent about an hour reading through this, separating it, and thinking about meaningful responses one paragraph at a time. I'm now putting some links in that will hopefully lend a "pictorial" aspect to the reader - it's much easier to get something complex when you can see it.]:

The other big differences in Gilman's reviewing the wines of The Spanish Artisan Wine Group separately as wines from a totally new line and concept and Parker reviewing, yet again, the Ordoñez line separately from other Spanish wines is 1) Gilman is the lone reviewer for his View From The Cellar (www.viewfromthecellar.com) and Parker, after the Jay Miller-Pancho Campo debacle, hired Neal Martin, a Brit with a dramatically different view of what good wine should be, to be his Spanish reviewer. IMHO, if Neal Martin had been allowed to review the over-wrought Parkerista palate-aimed wines of Jorge Ordoñez, the outcome for those wines might not have been good.

The obvious question that this presents: "Is Martin the expert, or the underling?" If Martin is more of a Spanish wine expert than Parker, than why did Parker push him aside? To frame it in a more comfortable background for me, would it be equivalent to Parker reviewing Robert Kacher's Burgundy portfolio instead of David Schildknecht? If so, that seems "odd," but Parker and Kacher are known to be friends, so maybe that would be no different than me doing a "retrospective of Eric Ziebold." I have access to him, he trusts me, and I trust him. An ethics problem, or not? Well, I guess one obvious difference is that Eric really *is* the real deal (see for yourself).

This from Ordoñez’s website: "Ordonez’s (sic, the name is spelled with a tilde over the 'n' in the beginning, but not throughout the document) modus operandi was to preserve the wines’ heritage and Spanish character while coaxing them into line with the late-20th-century palate. There was risk involved. Instead of pandering to internationalist trends, Ordoñez took the bold step of challenging the American palate by being the first to introduce exotic wines like Albarino, Txakoli and Godello to a market that knew little more than sangria. . .

Okay, so it sounds like Ordoñez was first-to-market with the acidic whites of northern and western Spain. Nothing wrong with that, and good for him.

Ordonez partnered with his most talented winemaking partners to create new wines where none existed, wines infused with Spanish spirit and terroir, yet firmly in line with modern taste sensibilities. And ultimately that has become the new perception of Spanish wine–authentic yet modern."

Now that is in direct conflict with the preceding paragraph. Albariño, Txakoli, and Godello are as traditional as it gets, so I'm not sure what this paragraph even means, unless he was planning on manipulating them.

This, of course, all sounds great, but when you establish your own wineries with your own corporate winemaking team, which has included winemakers from New Zealand and Australia, whose communal palate tends to produce wines of very high alcohol, often marked by pronounced new oak, lower acid levels and the yeasty notes of battonage (and other winemaking manipulations) that overide, IMO, the "Spanish spirit and terroir," they may be firmly in line with what they perceive to be "modern taste sensibilities" (read Parkerista sensibilities here), but again in my opinion, they are anything but "authentic" and are "pandering" to someone's palate, but certainly not mine.

Meh, it didn't sound great to me even without knowing about the New Zealand and Australian "corporate winemaking team." So are you saying that Ordoñez's portfolio produces wines that are in tune with Parker's palate? (Robert Parker is known to latch on to big, rich, high alcohol, jammy, dense wines; these three whites Gerry listed would all fall into the zippy, malic, low-alcohol category, at least the good ones do. So right away we have a stylistic bias between the judge and the wines, or at least we should. Do you think that Martin would have rated Ordoñez's wines with lower scores? Is Parker friends with Ordoñez?

Apparently, from all I have been able to gather in trips to Spain and from reading blogs and reports from other parts of the world, this approach to "producing" wine is rapidly on the wane, at least amongst serious wine lovers, and that is beginning to be reflected in the preferences of the general public who seem to be turning against this higher alcohol, hit-the-wine-reviewer-between-the-eyes-with-the-first-sip style of wine.

That's good! (But it's sort of unrelated to the above paragraphs, no?)

It is perfectly understandable why Jorge Ordoñez’s would pressure his great friend, Robert Parker, into doing a stand alone review of his wines, given the fact that it is highly unlikely that Neal Martin's palate would lead him to give high marks for many of Ordoñez’s wines. But, especially after Parker caught heavy flak the first time he published a stand alone review several years ago of Jorge Ordoñez’s wines, independent of the reviews of his assigned Spanish wine reviewer, it is hard to understand why he would stick his neck out again. This time the excuse is that it is Jorge Ordoñez’s 25th anniversary as a wine importer. Since The Wine Advocate is Robert Parker's publication, he can do what he wants, but that does not keep people like Tyler Colman (Dr. Vino) and others from raising questions.

Okay, I see. I've been reading and replying to this one paragraph at a time, and this ties it all together. You think there's cronyism going on here that is ... having what effect, exactly?

This appeared on Dr. Vino a couple of days ago:
Reader mail: Parker’s selective Spanish reviews

"A reader writes in:

'I have just seen that Robert Parker has tasted the wines for Jorge Ordoñez and given points instead of Neil Martin. What is going on? I thought after the No Pay No Jay scandal they would be doing things by the book. Very disappointed as I was very happy how Neil Martin was doing things.

I personal will cancel my web subscription. These points given can not have any creditability.'This is not the first time that Parker has reviewed the import portfolio of Jorge Ordonez separately from the Spanish critic: When Pierre Rovani reviewed Spanish wine, Parker kept the Jorge Ordóñez wines back to review those personally.

This time, Parker uses the 25th anniversary of the importing business as a reason for singling them out. He also adds this line:

Jorge Ordoñez can sometimes annoy people, and he seems to have no shortage of competitors who are clearly jealous of his great success.

Powerful people and their accolytes (Robert Parker / Mark Squires, Guy Fieri, / Rebecca Brooks, I could on-and-on) love having the word "jealousy" in their arsenal to throw out at what I'll call "expert amateurs," people like me, for example, who have criticized the work of many people whose substance does not live to their fame. I could name names, but I won't. Suffice it to say, I'm not jealous; I'm just calling things as I see them, and all too often I see an inferior product, whether it's a Burgundy review or a piece of sushi. Critics should absolutely not be above criticism.

It’s an odd line, with more bitterness than a wine before microxidation;

It's not an "odd" line; it's a well-calculated line, intended to dismiss his critics. It doesn't work, at least not with me. Nice try, though.

if he likes the wines, why not just leave it at that? To include this line in a short piece praising Ordonez seems spiteful and almost paranoid since nobody had said anything badly about Ordóñez, as far as I am aware. From my perspective, the Ordóñez wines appear less visible than they were a decade ago and there have been some notable wineries that have left his portfolio. Meanwhile, the rise of boutique importers of Spanish wines has been one of the more exciting stories out of the Iberian peninsula in the past decade. Given that Parker frequently mentions Ordóñez wines, and Miller had been the recipient of hospitality, I understand why the reader is irked.

Is there a relationship between Ordoñez and Miller?

This last is from Dr. Vino, not me. Reader can draw their own conclusions.

For those who may say that since I represent several Spanish artisan wineries in the U.S., my remarks are casting aspersions on the wines of an importer of Spanish wines to gain advantage for the wines of my truly "authentic" producers, I can see why you might think that.

Before I read further, I'd believe you if you said that you disliked Ordoñez's portfolio long before you became his competitor. In fact, it might be *why* you became his competitor - you said to yourself, "I can build a better mousetrap." I'm getting hit too, by Facebook, Yelp, etc., so I know very well what competition feels like. It's hard to deal with, but you know what? It makes the world a better place.

But anyone who knows my long history (see Don Rockwell's introductions) knows that I have been against the Ordoñez - Parkerista approach to wine most of my life and that I often published articles against it when I was a wine writer. And I have been highly complementary, not without reason, about the Spanish wines of importers such as Andre Tamers of De Maision Selections and Jose Pastor Selections.

The reason I decided to begin representing these small artisan producers is because I wanted to help offer another antidote to fine wine lovers to this over-wrought approach to wine and also because I was so damned tired of trying to drink (and failing) spoofulated wines, many of which were sent to me to review, that I myself needed the antidote.

Right, you wanted to build a better mousetrap.

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Gerry,

Thank you for all of your responses, you have been incredibly helpful. One more quick question for you for right now:

1. Do you have any must-visit recommendations for food in Sevilla? And at least one of the three nights we are there we would like to just bounce from place to place to really get a feel for the town. Is there a particular neighborhood/combination of spots that we should definitely hit up?

For tapas, go to the Barrio de Santa Cruz and have tapas at the bar at Hosteria del Laurel, jamon Iberico next door at Casa Roman then go to the end of the Jardines de Murillo and have the rest of you lunch or dinner at Bar Modesto at a table in the bar. See what they have behind the bar, but try a Tio Diego (mushrooms, shrimp and bell peppers served in a cazuela bubbling with olive oil and sherry; grilled codoriz (quail; and they also have hard cooked quail's eggs served in a vinaigrette) and a carbinero (fat scarlet prawn; very expensive in restaurants, less so in bars) apiece. Drink manzanilla sherry, draft beer or the house sangria.

Modesto

Calle Cano y Cueto, 5, 41004 Seville

Barbiana, just off Calle Sierpes, is great for Andalucian pescadito frito fried fish and(have the tortillita de camarones, a fritter with tiny whole shrimp) and calamar relleno (stuffed squid served cold with a vinaigrette), along with manzanilla sherry.

Barbiana. Calle Albareda, 11, 41001 Seville, Spain. +34 954211239

Tapas at the bar at Becerrita, also a top Sevilla restaurant.

Becerrita, Calle de Recaredo, 9 41003 Seville, Spain 954 41 20 57

Also great tapas at

Bodeguita Casablanca, Adolfo Rodriguez Jurado, 12, 41001 Seville, Spain

Bodeguita Romero, Calle Harinas, 10

41001 Sevilla

Neighborhood: El Arenal

Try a 'pringá', literally a "pregnant" bun filled with slow-roasted pork and one of the most famous tapas in Sevilla. Some people go to Bodeguita Romero, just for that, and carpaccio of Icelandic bacalao.

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Gerry, let me ask you a 3x3 - 3 questions, 3 answers for each. This is designed to provoke discussion among our members (a lot of what you're saying is wonderful for people to read, but it just goes so beyond what people can grasp that it can be difficult, so let me get the audience involved:

1. What are 3 wines - of any type - that you'd like our members here to become familiar with, and why? Be as specific as you'd like in terms of varietal, vintage, region, color, producer, etc., or, don't be specific at all and just be general. I suspect Sherry will come into play here - the first I ever learned of you was when you did a Sherry review for Steve Tanzer of The International Wine Cellar - that was my seminal Sherry moment. (Bonus question: is Sherry the greatest white wine value in the world? I'm on record as saying so, and I hope (for my reputation) that you might agree.

2. If you could ask our members (many of whom are gourmets and oenophiles, few of whom have a specific knowledge of Spanish wines) 3 questions that *you* want to know (price points at retail, prices points by the glass in restaurants, stylistic preferences, etc.) in order to break into the DC market, what would they be? Absent these questions (or perhaps related to them), what do you plan to do in order to break into the DC area where you have DC, MD, and VA to contend with?

3. What are 3 stories that have happened on tours that you've given that stand out? Can you arrange tours for people that aren't accompanied by you? I suspect the expense involved, and the time restrictions (as well as the indirect flights) make it tough for people to do the full-blown, Dawes-led whirlwind tours. Could you ever arrange tours for seniors? If so, I could try and help you. I really want to start helping seniors enjoy their lives, and what better place to start than with something like this?

Thank you VERY much for all you've done so far. I hope you don't have anyplace to go because I'm not letting you leave yet! There has been a remarkable amount of content for people to digest, and I think it will be a few days into next week until people really get a chance to fully embrace just how much you know and just how important you are. Hopefully, when that happens, more questions - even simple questions (hint, hint!) will come in. I'm a little disappointed in our members not taking advantage of your incredible knowledge more than they have, and there's no obvious reason for it - the substance is there, the eagerness is there, and it's right at their fingertips. Members, step it up! :)

I think I've been astute in selecting chatters right before their careers took off, and I think we're really lucky to have nabbed Gerry right before his takes off. Let's get after him and hold him hostage! (Gerry, many of our "chatters" were unknowns relative to what they are now - hope you will be the same case - it is my goal to introduce you to the DC market, and you can stay here as long as you want. We like you here! Thanks again for doing this, and I look forward to a great week!)

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I'll weigh in with two inquiries here. Have been following the thread closely since it began.

First, big thanks to Don for organizing this and even bigger thanks to Gerry for being incredibly generous with his time and knowledge. Some years back, I had opportunity to live in Barcelona for just under a year and positively LOVED the country. To this day, I routinely tell anyone who asks that Spain ties for my favorite country visited in all the world with New Zealand. I learned just a bit about Spanish wines while there; most of which I've forgotten though I still have the biggest of soft spots for anything Spanish (people, culture, art, food!, wine, sport) and do really enjoy wine so thrilled to learn about you, Gerry, what you've done and what you're doing. What an amazing background!

I'll actually ask two questions, one shamefully basic and one maybe a bit more interesting.

1. How best to buy Gerry Dawes wines for DC area denizens? I think I understand that you're not yet distributing here in the DC area but may be soon? Would NYC be the closest place to pick some up? Philadelphia? With apologies for being clueless about the part of your website (which I have visited) where this information undoubtedly already resides.

2. Mallorca. What can you tell us? When I lived in Barcelona, I had opportunity to visit Palma and Soller once and remember learning about a wine producing region (maybe the only one?) on the island. The name of the town (maybe started with a "b" or with "lissa" or something like that in the name) escapes me but the big question is what, if anything you're recommend from Mallorca along with any thoughts/experience you have about the island more generally.

Thanks again!!

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Okay, moderating this chat correctly is going to be a fair amount of work, but it's interesting and hopefully will be rewarding and fruitful for the patient reader. Let me see if I can parse this [ETA - I spent about an hour reading through this, separating it, and thinking about meaningful responses one paragraph at a time. I'm now putting some links in that will hopefully lend a "pictorial" aspect to the reader - it's much easier to get something complex when you can see it.]:

The obvious question that this presents: "Is Martin the expert, or the underling?" If Martin is more of a Spanish wine expert than Parker, than why did Parker push him aside? To frame it in a more comfortable background for me, would it be equivalent to Parker reviewing Robert Kacher's Burgundy portfolio instead of David Schildknecht? If so, that seems "odd," but Parker and Kacher are known to be friends, so maybe that would be no different than me doing a "retrospective of Eric Ziebold." I have access to him, he trusts me, and I trust him. An ethics problem, or not? Well, I guess one obvious difference is that Eric really *is* the real deal (see for yourself).

Until Neal Martin actually took the job of reviewing Spanish wines for The Wine Advocate, Martin knew very little about Spanish wines and even was quoted as expressing disdain for them. Let's just say that such selective reviews raise questions.

Okay, so it sounds like Ordoñez was first-to-market with the acidic whites of northern and western Spain. Nothing wrong with that, and good for him.

That is not an accurate characterization. Ordoñez had several wines from Galicia, including Albariños and Ribeiros from Galicia, Txakoli from Getaria in the Basque Country, Godeval (Godello) from Valdeorras (Galicia), but he also had a lot of red wines from other areas, including La Rioja, Ribeira del Duero and Catalunya.

Now that is in direct conflict with the preceding paragraph. Albariño, Txakoli, and Godello are as traditional as it gets, so I'm not sure what this paragraph even means, unless he was planning on manipulating them.

Albariño is only as "traditional as it gets" if the wines are not overly manipulated at the winery, Txakoli is a traditional bar pour in the Basque Country but bottled branded Txakoli only goes back about 20 years or so and is made by completely modern methods in most cases, and Godello was almost extinct until Godeval, the wine that Ordoñez imported earlier on, was revived from the remaining ten acres of vines (in the entire Valdeorras region).

Meh, it didn't sound great to me even without knowing about the New Zealand and Australian "corporate winemaking team." So are you saying that Ordoñez's portfolio produces wines that are in tune with Parker's palate? (Robert Parker is known to latch on to big, rich, high alcohol, jammy, dense wines; these three whites Gerry listed would all fall into the zippy, malic, low-alcohol category, at least the good ones do.

Most, but not all of Ordoñez's portfolio, appears to be in lock step with what many call the Parkerista palate. And, since his wines seem "designed" to fit that palate profile, I think you can draw your own conclusions.

So right away we have a stylistic bias between the judge and the wines, or at least we should. Do you think that Martin would have rated Ordoñez's wines with lower scores? Is Parker friends with Ordoñez?

Do you mean a bias for or against the wines? Yes, IMO, I think it is highly likely that Neal Martin and his palate would have rated Ordoñez's wines lower than Jay Miller did. Apparently, from all I have been able to gather, one would have to say that the two are friends.

That's good! (But it's sort of unrelated to the above paragraphs, no?)

Okay, I see. I've been reading and replying to this one paragraph at a time, and this ties it all together. You think there's cronyism going on here that is ... having what effect, exactly?

Many closer to the Parker scene than I, have long speculated on what they say are way too cozy relationships between Mr. Parker and a number of key players in the wine world.

Powerful people and their accolytes (Robert Parker / Mark Squires, Guy Fieri, / Rebecca Brooks, I could on-and-on) love having the word "jealousy" in their arsenal to throw out at what I'll call "expert amateurs," people like me, for example, who have criticized the work of many people whose substance does not live to their fame. I could name names, but I won't. Suffice it to say, I'm not jealous; I'm just calling things as I see them, and all too often I see an inferior product, whether it's a Burgundy review or a piece of sushi. Critics should absolutely not be above criticism.

"Critics should absolutely not be above criticism." I agree and when a critics are themselves criticized or claiming that critics of wines like those praised by Parker are just acting out of jealousy speaks for itself and relfects very badly on the one leveling such a claim.

It's not an "odd" line; it's a well-calculated line, intended to dismiss his critics. It doesn't work, at least not with me. Nice try, though.

It did not work with Dr. Vino either.

Is there a relationship between Ordoñez and Miller?

There obviously was, according to many press and eyewitness reports, but my guess is that it is probably a pretty thin relationship at this point.

Before I read further, I'd believe you if you said that you disliked Ordoñez's portfolio long before you became his competitor. In fact, it might be *why* you became his competitor - you said to yourself, "I can build a better mousetrap." I'm getting hit too, by Facebook, Yelp, etc., so I know very well what competition feels like. It's hard to deal with, but you know what? It makes the world a better place.

Ordoñez used to be a friend of mine and I used to taste at least portions of his portfolio with him every year until he gained serious attention from Parker and the drift in that direction began. In some articles, I have been critical of his wines, but not all of them. Depends on the wines. For instance, from Valdeorras I like Godeval, but loathe his overwrought Avanthia. I haven't been invited to a tasting of his for at least a decade. One thing that a critic who did not go along with the bigger, inkier, more alcoholic, low acid oaked-up approach then in vogue, found out quickly is that he or she would be cut off from samples. For the most part, I solved that by visiting many of the suppliers in Spain.

Right, you wanted to build a better mousetrap.

No, I did not want to build anything like a mousetrap, I just wanted to bring the antidote to monster wines and introduce unknown small artisan producers whose wines I like to the American market. They are simply an alternative to most of what is out there.

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Gerry, let me ask you a 3x3 - 3 questions, 3 answers for each. This is designed to provoke discussion among our members (a lot of what you're saying is wonderful for people to read, but it just goes so beyond what people can grasp that it can be difficult, so let me get the audience involved:1. What are 3 wines - of any type - that you'd like our members here to become familiar with, and why? Be as specific as you'd like in terms of varietal, vintage, region, color, producer, etc., or, don't be specific at all and just be general.

Varieties: Godello and Mencia from Galicia; great dry Spanish rosados, from Navarra, southern Rioja and places like Cigales. Vintage: The vintage means little to me, it is the producer who counts. Great producers will produce a stunning wine in great vintages, but will pull out all the stops to make a good wine in mediocre or bad vintages, because they can't afford to have bad wines going out with their names on them. Mediocre and mass producers will take advantage of the press reports of a great vintage to make as much wine as possible that year to take advantage of the vintage's favorable reports. Many reporters swallow the "vintage" as gospel, just like they used to report that wines should be served at "room temperature." What room temperature would that be Sparky, the temperature of a stone farmhouse or chateau room without central heating in France or a radiator-heated apartment in a northern American city?

Region: Ribeira Sacra, which may eventually make some of the greatest red wines in the world, and that includes Burgundy, IMO. Color: Whites and rosados, but also unoaked reds under 13.5%. I love great Godello, Ribeiro and artisan Albariño white wines; pale ojo de gallo rosados from southern Navarra, Navarra Lagrima de Garnacha (free-run juice) rosados; Catajarros rosado from Cigales and some rosados from unknown places like Ribera de Arlanza.

I suspect Sherry will come into play here - the first I ever learned of you was when you did a Sherry review for Steve Tanzer of The International Wine Cellar - that was my seminal Sherry moment. (Bonus question: is Sherry the greatest white wine value in the world? I'm on record as saying so, and I hope (for my reputation) that you might agree.

I am particularly fond of manzanillas, palo cortados and fine old amontillados and olorosos and I love to cook with sherries. I use amontillados and olorosos in pepper dishes and mushrooms dishes, especially, manzanilla in seafood dishes, etc. My predilection is for the Bodegas Hidalgo-La Gitana sherries from Sanlucar de Barremeda. To me, wine for wine, they are practically the benchmark in every type of classic sherry.

2. If you could ask our members (many of whom are gourmets and oenophiles, few of whom have a specific knowledge of Spanish wines) 3 questions that *you* want to know (price points at retail, prices points by the glass in restaurants, stylistic preferences, etc.) in order to break into the DC market, what would they be? Absent these questions (or perhaps related to them), what do you plan to do in order to break into the DC area where you have DC, MD, and VA to contend with?

It is somewhat complicated because the D.C. area is essentially three different entities, but New York is also New Jersey and Connecticut. Price points (almost all my wines are quite reasonable) and stylistic preferences are not what concern me. Those who like the wines of the artisan producers I represent tend to really, really like them, those who don't will buy wines from a differenct profile orientation. My producers don't make a lot of wine, so I am not concerned, nor do I want to be with more mass palate preferences.

3. What are 3 stories that have happened on tours that you've given that stand out?

I am sure that your readers do not have time for all the memorable adventures that we have had on my trips, nor do I have time today to relate them. One quick one that comes to mind was when I was leading Chef Mark Miller around Spain and we in the middle of a fabulous lunch, when news of the attacks on the World Trade Center reached us. We saw the rest unfold in real time on television. Because all flights were grounded, we were basically trapped in Spain, a good place to be trapped, so we continued our trip to the end. I will come back with more experiences, not so traumatic as this example!, with chef Thomas Keller, chef Terrance Brennan, chef Michael Lomonaco, chef Michael Chiarello and others I have taken to Spain, as well as experiences with The World Trade Center Club and The Commonwealth Club of California.

Can you arrange tours for people that aren't accompanied by you (for a fee)?

Yes - the fee is because it takes considerable planning and because I have serious contacts in Spain that can make a trip really special.

I suspect the expense involved, and the time restrictions (as well as the indirect flights) make it tough for people to do the full-blown, Dawes-led whirlwind tours. Could you ever arrange tours for seniors? If so, I could try and help you. I really want to start helping seniors enjoy their lives, and what better place to start than with something like this?

Many of the people of the Mythical 61st Tactical Fighter Squadron are seniors--some of them were in the first graduating class of the Air Force Academy--have gone to Spain with me twice!

Thank you VERY much for all you've done so far. I hope you don't have anyplace to go because I'm not letting you leave yet! There has been a remarkable amount of content for people to digest, and I think it will be a few days into next week until people really get a chance to fully embrace just how much you know and just how important you are. Hopefully, when that happens, more questions - even simple questions (hint, hint!) will come in. I'm a little disappointed in our members not taking advantage of your incredible knowledge more than they have, and there's no obvious reason for it - the substance is there, the eagerness is there, and it's right at their fingertips. Members, step it up! :)I think I've been astute in selecting chatters right before their careers took off, and I think we're really lucky to have nabbed Gerry right before his takes off. Let's get after him and hold him hostage! (Gerry, many of our "chatters" were unknowns relative to what they are now - hope you will be the same case - it is my goal to introduce you to the DC market, and you can stay here as long as you want. We like you here! Thanks again for doing this, and I look forward to a great week!)

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I'll weigh in with two inquiries here. Have been following the thread closely since it began.

First, big thanks to Don for organizing this and even bigger thanks to Gerry for being incredibly generous with his time and knowledge. Some years back, I had opportunity to live in Barcelona for just under a year and positively LOVED the country. To this day, I routinely tell anyone who asks that Spain ties for my favorite country visited in all the world with New Zealand. I learned just a bit about Spanish wines while there; most of which I've forgotten though I still have the biggest of soft spots for anything Spanish (people, culture, art, food!, wine, sport) and do really enjoy wine so thrilled to learn about you, Gerry, what you've done and what you're doing. What an amazing background!

Many thanks for your very kind comments. Much appreciated. I lived in Barcelona for about six weeks and loved it. I also lived eight years in Andalucia and regard it as "home."

I'll actually ask two questions, one shamefully basic and one maybe a bit more interesting.

1. How best to buy Gerry Dawes wines for DC area denizens? I think I understand that you're not yet distributing here in the DC area but may be soon? Would NYC be the closest place to pick some up? Philadelphia? With apologies for being clueless about the part of your website (which I have visited) where this information undoubtedly already resides.

Right now, you cannot get them in the D.C. area. Soon, you may be able to get them from tienda.com in Williamsburg, VA. La Tienda is a great Spanish food and wine internet store with a bricks and mortar store in Williamsburg.

2. Mallorca. What can you tell us? When I lived in Barcelona, I had opportunity to visit Palma and Soller once and remember learning about a wine producing region (maybe the only one?) on the island. The name of the town (maybe started with a "b" or with "lissa" or something like that in the name) escapes me but the big question is what, if anything you're recommend from Mallorca along with any thoughts/experience you have about the island more generally.

I have visited Mallorca only once in all these years and I am very keen on going back to the Balearics to visit Menorca, because of Mahon cheese, caldereta de langosta (a seafood stew with a whole lobster) and Xoriguer gin. However, I have little experience with the wines and the styles that I have tasted have not encouraged me to make a big detour to find out more. Binnisalem is the wine D.O. you are thinking of. I find the Anima Negra wine from there not to be my style.

Many thanks for your questions.

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Thanks Gerry. On the distribution question, I'll push my luck just a bit if okay and ask about Philadelphia, NJ and NY? Or, please just push me to a link if your current distribution points are somewhere online and I've just carelessly missed them (wouldn't be the first time I've done that ;) ). My sense is that I may really enjoy the style of winemaking you prefer and, since I'm regularly up and around the Northeast, figured I should buy a few bottles when I'm close to a distribution point.

On the Mallorca question, your view is what I expected. Without knowing a thing about Balearic wines, my guess was they're akin to the wine-growing areas here in the US beyond California, Oregon and Washington state. All the other states have their followers but nothing close to the west.

With you on Mahon btw! It's a lovely cheese for wine pairing and on its own. And, for reasons not totally clear to me, it's been readily available here in the US (including the DC area) for at least 7 or 8 years. Even beyond specialty cheese purveyors, Whole Foods carries it in most locations. Reminds me of the late 90s, when I came off the red line of the T one day in Cambridge, MA and saw the venerable Cardullos Italian Grocer in Harvard Square with the following announcement on its sidewalk chalkboard:

"First time in the US!!! Spanish Jamon Serrano!!!"

I went right in, learned the FDA had finally approved import and only Cardullo's and Balducci's in NYC were outlets initially. I bought several pounds to mail to Spanish friends around the US who'd appreciate the moment as much I did.

Thanks again, Gerry!

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Thanks Gerry. On the distribution question, I'll push my luck just a bit if okay and ask about Philadelphia, NJ and NY? Or, please just push me to a link if your current distribution points are somewhere online and I've just carelessly missed them (wouldn't be the first time I've done that ;) ). My sense is that I may really enjoy the style of winemaking you prefer and, since I'm regularly up and around the Northeast, figured I should buy a few bottles when I'm close to a distribution point.On the Mallorca question, your view is what I expected. Without knowing a thing about Balearic wines, my guess was they're akin to the wine-growing areas here in the US beyond California, Oregon and Washington state. All the other states have their followers but nothing close to the west.With you on Mahon btw! It's a lovely cheese for wine pairing and on its own. And, for reasons not totally clear to me, it's been readily available here in the US (including the DC area) for at least 7 or 8 years. Even beyond specialty cheese purveyors, Whole Foods carries it in most locations. Reminds me of the late 90s, when I came off the red line of the T one day in Cambridge, MA and saw the venerable Cardullos Italian Grocer in Harvard Square with the following announcement on its sidewalk chalkboard:"First time in the US!!! Spanish Jamon Serrano!!!"I went right in, learned the FDA had finally approved import and only Cardullo's and Balducci's in NYC were outlets initially. I bought several pounds to mail to Spanish friends around the US who'd appreciate the moment as much I did.Thanks again, Gerry!

Check with Chambers Street and see what they have in stock, also Nancy's on Columbus Ave. at 74th Street in NYC.You may find this piece on Spanish cheese, including Mahon, interesting. Spanish Artisan Cheeses & Spanish Wines That Complement Them

Mahon+IMG_2947+Balearics+Tasting+Madrid+-+Mahon.JPG

Mahón (Minorca, Islas Baleares)

Mahón is the capital and port of Minorca, the most northerly of the Mediterranean Balearic Islands. This rocky island has a mild climate with plenty of rainfall. The high humidity from sea breezes, which help irrigate the pastures, aids in giving the milk good acidity and imparts hints of saltiness to the cheese. Mahón, the origin of the word mayonnaise, one of the world’s great sauces, also gives its name to cow's milk cheeses produced on the island. Originally made from the milk of cow’s exported from England during the British occupation of Minorca, there are many varieties of this cheese, ranging from semi-cured to well aged (Mahón cheeses were made to withstand long-term storage and transportation by sea). The rind is either rubbed with oil or paprika and the cheese pasta is compact and crumbly. Aged versions can be reminiscent of cheddar. Mahón is Spain’s second most popular cheese after Manchego.

Note: I did this article a few years ago. I don't know if I would stick with all the same wine recommendations now.

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Gerry,

Thanks for joining us here. There is a lot of great information that you have provided, and I am only about half-way through the current posts.

With Thanksgiving 2 days away, what wines would you recommend serving? The Thanksgiving that we are going to is the more traditional kind (basic turkey, usual sides).

Cheers!

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Gerry,

Stepping back a bit -- for the first-timer in Spain, how would you recommend spending a week to ten days? Presupposing a strong interest in food and wine, with a modicum of knowledge of Spanish wines, but no real specialization.

All best,

Simon

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Gerry,

Thanks for joining us here. There is a lot of great information that you have provided, and I am only about half-way through the current posts.

With Thanksgiving 2 days away, what wines would you recommend serving? The Thanksgiving that we are going to is the more traditional kind (basic turkey, usual sides).

Cheers!

Hi, thanks for your question. Spanish wines for Turkey Day. Look for a good unoaked Godello such as A Coroa, Valdesil Montenovo, Casal Novo, Amizade, Pena Das Donas Almalarga, etc.

A good dry Garnacha rosado from Navarra such as Chivite, Las Campanas, especially Señorio de Sarria Viñedo #5 (if you can find it), perhaps Ochoa, and such easily obtainable Rioja rosados from Cune and Marques de Caceres. If you run across a David Moreno rosado from southern Rioja, which is a very pale, lovely rosado, grab it.

For reds, I would go for unoaked, lower alcohol Ribeira Sacra reds, especially from D. Ventura. Serve them cool.

With all these wines, give your guests a little primer about drinking them with Thanksgiving Day fare. Tell them not to take a sip of wine after 1) sweet potatoes with marshmallows; 2) cranberry sauce; or 3) asparagus. If they take sips of wine after bites of turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes with gravy and giblets, etc., they will avoid the clashes that so many people experience when trying to pair wines with traditional Thanksgiving Day meals.

Enjoy!!! :)

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