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Spanish Wine News and Other Personal Notes

I moonlight. On Wednesday, I was offered a wonderful experience teaching an Introductory Spanish Wine Class to a group of tourists from Maui, Hawaii! For two hours, we weaved our way through the Spanish wine regions of Catalunya, Rias Biaxas, Bierzo, Montsant, Priorat and La Rioja. And fortunately for me, not only did we taste some incredible wines, but the group was of equal caliber. We spent several hours after the formal class drinking, chatting and debating as to which wine we liked best. In the end, we all agreed that the best wine was the wine that made it to the end of the night with a glass of wine still remaining inside.

Obviously I really enjoyed myself, realizing how much I miss teaching and human interaction. Sitting at the computer for the amount of time I do can lead to tunnel vision and a loss of passion for the wine at hand. Hence, I am going to go on a whim and offer my teaching services to anyone who is interested. If you’re in Spain, I’m for hire! Just let me know what you’re interested in and together, we can design the perfect tour and/or class for you. I can help plan your next trip or navigate your way through Spanish wine shops! I generally charge by the hour, but if I’m a translator to your wine shop experience, a few bottles of wine might fit the bill better! So take a mental note and remember that I am available for any wine lover in Spain!

In other news, the Annual IWC (International Wine Challenge) in Britain has come and gone. Once again controversy surrounds the judging and partisan politics play a role. And as we all know, the pool of wines to choose from is always unrepresented in certain sectors. So, what did they decide was great this year? Surprise, surprise, Spain and Portugal came out on top in many categories(especially the ones where the award had their name in it!). I’m not exactly sure if this because the Iberian wine producers enter more wines than other countries or if their wines really are that good. Personally, I think it’s some of both!

Here’s a quick rundown of the Portuguese wines and Spanish wines that won top awards:

Tawny Port Trophy
Dow’s 40 year old Tawny Port,
Symington Family Estates
– PortugalBeiras
D Fuas 2001, Cavipor – Portugal

White – James Rogers Trophy – Portuguese White Trophy
Guru 2004, Wine & Soul – Portugal

Red Trophy & Douro Trophy
Quinta do Vallado Douro Reserva
Red 2004
– Portugal

Trophy – Manzanilla Trophy
Great Value Fortified Wine AwardLa Gitana Manzanilla, Bodegas
Hidalgo La Gitana
– Spain

Champion Red – Spanish Red
 Ribera del Duero TrophyChafandín 2003, Viñas
del Jaro
– Spain

Lustau VOS 20 Year Dry
Amontillado, Emilio Lustau
– Spain

Fortified – Port Trophy – Vintage Port Trophy
Quinta do Portal Vintage Port
– Portugal

Cossart Gordon Verdelho Colheita
1995, Madeira Wine Company
– Portugal

Port Trophy
Taylor’s Vintage Port 1985,
Quinta & Vineyard Bottlers
– Portugal

White Trophy
Pazo de Señorans 2005 – Spain

Cabernet Sauvignon Trophy
Mas La Plana 2001, Miguel Torre – Spain

I really don’t have much to say about these results, other than the fact that they appear to be a random selection of good wines from the Peninsula that I love. They’re nice choices but not necessarily better or worse than many of the other wines available from here. Although I trust that you will be happy with any of the wines listed above, I would advise you to not only limit yourself by this list. There are several great wines out there and I suggest that you explore as many styles and regions as you can, instead of relying solely on a name!

In other news, my lovely wife Gabriella was recently interviewed over at ExpatInterviews.com, where she talks a bit about our experience living abroad! Check it out here. Plenty of other fun interviews are their too about Ex-pat experiences around the globe!

Till soon,

Ryan Opaz

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