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Iberian Links Around the Web – Kosher Wines, Slow Wine and Discount Rioja

linksIt’s been a busy week in the world of Spanish and Portuguese wines, and with any luck, we don’t anticipate this rush of excitement to end anytime soon. From new wine fairs to online tastings, Iberia has been a hotbed of excitement.

El Bulli Continues it’s Undefeated Fame: Ferran Adriá has been awarded the best restaurant in the world for the 4th year running in the S. Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards. Organized by the fine dining magazine, ‘Restaurant, the awards are considered the creme de la creme  of the gastronomic world.  Other Spanish winners included, Mugaritz, El Celler de Can Roca and Asador Etxebarri. What’s interesting to me is how Spain has such an incredible reputation for whipping up some absolutely mouthwatering concoctions, but can’t seem to find its way out of paper box when it comes to overall customer service. Is this improving? There have been “threats”  to actively improve customer service, especially along coastal towns, but as I rarely find myself in the touristy areas, I can’t honestly tell you if anything has changed.

Discount on Rioja Wine in NYC: This week, participating restaurants will be offering special menus or a discount on Rioja wine during the Rioja Restaurant Week. From April 26th through May 2nd, you can find an accommodating restaurant here and check out their menu. For example, Veritas, located on the lower east side, is featuring 10% off a bottle Rioja, along with special menu items such as Pimientos Del Piquillos (stuffed with calamari, chorizo, pied de cochon, squid ink sauce) and California Abalone (fresh almond white gazpacho, muscat grapes).

Spain Gains Traction as the Second Largest Wine Exporter by Volume: Wines of Spain has reported that the OIV (International Organisation of Vine and Wine) has declared Spain as a major competitor in global wine exports, exceeded only by Italy. It is estimated that Spain exported 16.5 million hectolitres of wine in 2008, equivalent to 19% of total volume, while Italy is currently exporting 17.2 million hectolitres. Could Spain’s success be in part related to the global economic crisis? Absolutely!

“It’s evident that the global financial crisis has played an important role in the fall of worldwide demand. However, the best results have also been registered on the world wine market, whose volume continues to grow on a yearly basis. International trade represented 37 percent of world consumption in 2008 compared to 18 percent at the beginning of the 80s and 35 percent in 2006. This means that close to 37 percent of all world wine is consumed outside of its country of origin”, stated Federico Castellucci, Managing Director for the OIV

Slow Wine Event in Barcelona: On May 10 – 11, wine and earth lovers join together at the Convent de Sant Agusti to taste biodynamic wines, natural wines and wines made from native grapes from over 50 wineries from around the world. Unfortunately, we won’t be here to enjoy this event, as we’ll be at the London International Wine Fair. However, the Slow Wine event is in its third year running, and with any luck, we’ll find someone to go in our place, so that we can get the skinny on its success.

Sunday is reserved for the general public at 8 euros a ticket, while trade can come on both days, with the addition of workshops on Monday. For more information, click here and/or contact the organizers directly at + 93 11 20 262 – slowfood.bcn@gmail.com

Kosher Wine in Spain: Are you aware that Catholics aren’t the only ones savoring Spanish wine during mass? Recently, Verema organized a tasting with the intent to answer the question, “what is kosher wine?” Tasting four distinct kosher wines from D.O. Montsant, D.O. Priorat, D.O. Utiel-Requena and D.O. Ribera del Jucar, I’m not entirely clear if they came to any heady conclusions, but it appeared to be a fun experiment all the same. What is interesting to note, is where you can look for kosher wines here in Spain. Although we haven’t tried wines from either of these producers, Elviwines and Celler Capçanes are considered the premier kosher wine producers in Spain. For more information on Kosher wines, check out this article.

Hooray for Functional D.O. Websites!! If you saw the D.O. Rias Baixes website prior to the revamp, you’d consider this a vast improvement! Relatively easy to maneuver with an ample amount of information at your disposal and accurate contact info, I’m a fan! I might suggest offering the info in more than one language, and dumping the small amount of flash that they do have on the site, but otherwise, I’d suggest checking it out!

Portuguese Wine Tasting in Claustros do Convento dos Capuchos: In case you have no plans on May 2, and you just so happen to find yourself in Vila Viçosa, Portugal, why not attend a wine tasting from 3 to 10pm?! Altas Quintas, Quinta do Zambujeiro, Herdade das Servas, Gravato, Herdade do Portocarro, S.A. Vale de Joana, Granacer and Casal Figueira, just to name a few, will be pouring their wines in an absolutely stunning location. Tickets cost 30 euros. For more information, go here or contact Joao Pedro directly at copo_de_3@hotmail.com

A few other notes. Keep your eyes peeled on our Iberian Wine Calendar as summer roles around, because we’ll be trying our best to pack it full of events that you may be interested in attending. And if there are Spanish or Portuguese wine events that we should be aware of, please don’t hesitate to send them our way!! This refers to a tasting in a local restaurant, a major wine fair, or a food and wine pairing. Send them all our way.

Don’t forget our FAQ section!! If you have a question on Spanish or Portuguese wine, food or culture, go to our FAQ section and send them in!


Gabriella Opaz

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