After having a fun filled adventurous weekend of walking along the Mediterranean shore, hiking our local mountain, La Mola, in 65 degree temperatures, and finally, given a private tour through the famous Barcelona Cemetery created in 1883, I thought it might be time to catch you up on last week’s events.
II INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON CLIMATE CHANGE & WINE
On the 15th and 16th of February, Paco Campo will be hosting the second annual International Conference on Climate Change and Wine. The conference will address and analyze climate change and its impact on the wine industry with the help of Al Gore as the keynote speaker. Located at the Hesperia Hotel in downtown Barcelona, the conference hopes to gain a greater spotlight in the eyes of winemakers and consumers alike by highlighting major issues such as:
- “Why climate is changing and its Impact on agriculture” -Prof. Bernard Seguin – INRA (France)
- “Global Warming and its impact on vines and viticulture” -Dr. David Smart – UC Davis (USA)
- “In Pursuit of Global Conservation” -Tony Sharley, Environmental Scientist and Manager of Banrock Station in Australia
- “Impacts of climate change on the industry and the consumer” -Pancho Campo – The Wine Academy (Spain)
- “Observations, predictions, and implications of climate change on global wine production” -Dr. Greg Jones (USA), Professor of Climatology, University of Southern Oregon and Peter Hayes (Australia) President of the International Organization for the Vine and Wines.
- “The Wines of Climate Change: Guided Tasting” -Michel Rolland (France) Considered as one of the leading oenologists in the world and Jaques Lurton (France)
One of the respected “flying winemakers”
Personally, I would love nothing more than to attend this event, but at 390 Euros a pop, not including the dinner valued at 490 Euros, I’d have to start auctioning wine bottles just to have the opportunity of peering through the windows. However, for those of you with means to attend, I would highly suggest doing so. Last year alone, they attracted over 140 wine professionals, winemakers, sommeliers and oenologists, who raved over the quality and depth of the conference. Hence, I would expect that this year will only surpass last year’s efforts.
14,000 GALLONS OF SACRAMENTAL WINE IS STOLEN
Growing up as a Catholic, I distinctly remember hushed conversations with friends, huddled in the very back row of the Saints Faith, Hope and Charity, debating whether our red-nosed Father O’Malley hid a stash of the sacramental wine in the cellar of the church. Masking our faces in each other’s shoulders, holding in gales of laughter, we were convinced that there existed a gang of priests who raided bars in restaurants in search of their favorite “holy” wine. What we didn’t consider is that the sacramental wine may actually have value. Last week, El Pais reported that 100,000 Euros of wine was taken from De Muller winery in Reus, Catalunya. Founded in 1851, De Muller has been a supplier of sacramental and consumer wine for almost two centuries, and never, has anyone tried to run off their holy wine. In fact, according to the Secretary General of the Spanish Wine Federation (FEV), Pau Roca, as far as he’s aware, this was first robbery ever reported of sacramental wine!
AMERICAN AIRLINES AND DELTA NOW SERVE SPANISH WINE
Now, not only has Spanish wine been an enormous hit on Iberian Airlines, its success has infected competing airlines to feature wines from La Mancha and Rias Baixes. In a blind tasting of over 200 wines, Delta has signed a contract with Finca Antigua, a Riojan winery belonging to the Martínez Bujanda family, while American Airlines will be serving Bodegas As Laxas “Val do Sosego’. But here’s the clincher. Unless you’re in First Class or Business Elite, there’s no delicious Spanish wine for you. God knows I’d be a happier and more content passenger if I was served some great wine in Coach. I’d probably go so far to forget such inconveniences like, hmmm, inconsistent security practices, if I knew a glass of Albarino was awaiting me.
SANGRIA IN VIRGINIA = JAIL
Let me give you a moment to even fathom how sangria could possibly lead you cuffed in a black and white stripped suit singing the blues. According to a recent report published by the website AFP, sangria may be banned in Virgina.
“We have a code in Virginia that says no distilled spirit may be added to wine or beer prior to a customer’s order,” Kristy Marshall, a spokeswoman for the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control agency, told AFP.
“A lot of restaurants like to pre-mix a drink in the morning and have one big batch to serve throughout the day. It’s the pre-mixing that makes it illegal,” Marshall said.
According to a law dating back to 1934, a year after Prohibition ceased to exist, states that adding distilled spirit to wine or beer prior to a customer’s order is a class one misdemeanor, punishable by a 2,500 dollar fine and/or 12 months in jail. As if this isn’t ridiculous enough, there is a second rule which states that a restaurant or bar may only keep liquor in a bottle with a stamp tax on it. Therefore, you can kiss any homemade premixed drinks to the wayside unless you want to find your ass in jail. Early last Thursday, state lawmakers were in hot debate as to whether they should “legalize” sangria in Virginia.
“Hey dude, how did you get behind bars?”
“I robbed half a million pounds from the bank.”
“And you? Yeah, you in the corner. Why are you in here?”
“I, ah, mixed brandy with wine and put it in a jar without a sales tax stamp on it.”
MOVE OVER SAKE, SHERRY’S COMING TO TOWN
That’s right, sherry is taking center stage in the rice wine capital of the world, Japan. Forget Daigingo, Ginjo or Jumi sake, perfect in their simple bouquets and silky textures. Instead, the Japanese have become avid connoisseurs of Fino, Amontillado and Oloroso sherries made from the legendary Palomino Fino grape. What makes this marriage of cultures so inherently beautiful is that sherry is a fantastic pairing with Japanese cuisine. Fino is a bone dry fermented wine with clean, apple-like flavors, nutty character and long, lingering finish, making it the perfect combination with a slightly sweet and juicy piece of nigiri (raw fish on a small finger shaped ball of rice).
In light of Japan’s excitement for sherry, the Exporters’ Association, Fedejerez and the Regulating Council recently put together the “1st Sherry Cocktail Competition’, highlighting the latest trend among Japanese cocktail professionals to use sherry wine as their main ingredient. If you haven’t had a sake coctail, check out Richard’s post on one of my favorite drinks, the Saketini. Coinciding with this event, was the 5th annual “Official Sherry Wine Pourers Competition’. Winners of the competition were awarded the title of “Official Sherry Wine Pourer’, and the twelve best among them were chosen to form part of the latest body of “Sherry Ambassadors’ in Japan.