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Food Arts Silver Spoon Award to Gerry Dawes


 Premio Nacional de Gastronomía - - James Beard Foundation Nomination (Best Wine Writing)
Premio Periodistíco Cava

Gerry Dawes's Article Medieval Riches of El Cid's City (About Burgos, Spain)
Front Page, The New York Times Sunday Travel Section

 About Blog Author Gerry Dawes, Premio Nacional de Gastronomía (National Gastronomy Award)




11/28/2009

My Kitchen in Spain: A New Blog by Cookbook Author, Expert on Spanish Traditional Cuisine and Long-time American Ex-Patriota Janet Mendel



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Janet Mendel has lived in Spain for many years and has written a food column for Spain's English-language magazine, Lookout, for more than 35 years. During that time, she has collected hundreds of authentic recipes. Whenever I write articles on Spanish food, I almost always consult Mendel's book to verify facts, check how dishes are actually made Spain, quantities, style, etc.

Janet Mendel is the real thing and such a bona fide authority on Spanish cooking that top cookbook authors and Mediterranean food authorities such as Paula Wolfert often consult her. Until recently, here books were only available in Europe. How wonderful it is that they are now available in the US.  ¡Ole!

Janet Mendel with ajo blanco (white gazpacho) shooters on the terrace of her Mijas home.
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2006.
 
I have known Janet since 1973, when I lived in Mijas (Málaga), the village where she has lived for 40 years.   I highly recommend her books--she has written several--and I am delighted to see that she has a new blog,  MY KITCHEN IN SPAIN, which I is must-read for anyone interested in the traditional cuisines of Spain.


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About Gerry Dawes

Gerry Dawes's Spain: An Insider's Guide to Spanish Food, Wine, Culture and Travel

Gerry Dawes was awarded Spain's prestigious Premio Nacional de Gastronomía (National Gastronomy Award) in 2003. He writes and speaks frequently on Spanish wine and gastronomy and leads gastronomy, wine and cultural tours to Spain. He was a finalist for the 2001 James Beard Foundation's Journalism Award for Best Magazine Writing on Wine, won The Cava Institute's First Prize for Journalism for his article on cava in 2004, was awarded the CineGourLand “Cinéfilos y Gourmets” (Cinephiles & Gourmets) prize in 2009 in Getxo (Vizcaya) and received the 2009 Association of Food Journalists Second Prize for Best Food Feature in a Magazine for his Food Arts article, a retrospective piece about Catalan star chef, Ferran Adrià.

". . .That we were the first to introduce American readers to Ferran Adrià in 1997 and have ever since continued to bring you a blow-by-blow narrative of Spain's riveting ferment is chiefly due to our Spanish correspondent, Gerry "Mr. Spain" Dawes, the messianic wine and food journalist raised in Southern Illinois and possessor of a self-accumulated doctorate in the Spanish table. Gerry once again brings us up to the very minute. . ." - - Michael & Ariane Batterberry, Editor-in-Chief/Publisher and Founding Editor/Publisher, Food Arts, October 2009.

Mr. Dawes is currently working on a reality television
series on wine, gastronomy, culture and travel in Spain.

Experience Spain With Gerry Dawes: Culinary Trips to Spain & Travel Consulting on Spain

Gerry Dawes can be reached at gerrydawes@aol.com; Alternate e-mail (use only if your e-mail to AOL is rejected): gerrydawes@gmail.com


11/27/2009

Gerry's & Kay's First Typical "American" Thanksgiving Meal: A Slide Show to Share With Our Families & Spanish Friends


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Experience Spain With Gerry Dawes: Culinary Trips to Spain & Travel Consulting on Spain

Gerry Dawes can be reached at gerrydawes@aol.com; Alternate e-mail (use only if your e-mail to AOL is rejected): gerrydawes@gmail.com


11/25/2009

Wishing You A Happy Royal Turkey (Pavo Real) Day - Happy Thanksgiving! With Special Thanks to Los Pavos Reales in the Campo Grande in Valladolid



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(Double click on lower right corner of the screen for a full screen slide show; click lower left to stop captions.)


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About Gerry Dawes

Gerry Dawes's Spain: An Insider's Guide to Spanish Food, Wine, Culture and Travel

Gerry Dawes was awarded Spain's prestigious Premio Nacional de Gastronomía (National Gastronomy Award) in 2003. He writes and speaks frequently on Spanish wine and gastronomy and leads gastronomy, wine and cultural tours to Spain. He was a finalist for the 2001 James Beard Foundation's Journalism Award for Best Magazine Writing on Wine, won The Cava Institute's First Prize for Journalism for his article on cava in 2004, was awarded the CineGourLand “Cinéfilos y Gourmets” (Cinephiles & Gourmets) prize in 2009 in Getxo (Vizcaya) and received the 2009 Association of Food Journalists Second Prize for Best Food Feature in a Magazine for his Food Arts article, a retrospective piece about Catalan star chef, Ferran Adrià.

". . .That we were the first to introduce American readers to Ferran Adrià in 1997 and have ever since continued to bring you a blow-by-blow narrative of Spain's riveting ferment is chiefly due to our Spanish correspondent, Gerry "Mr. Spain" Dawes, the messianic wine and food journalist raised in Southern Illinois and possessor of a self-accumulated doctorate in the Spanish table. Gerry once again brings us up to the very minute. . ." - - Michael & Ariane Batterberry, Editor-in-Chief/Publisher and Founding Editor/Publisher, Food Arts, October 2009.



Mr. Dawes is currently working on a reality television
series on wine, gastronomy, culture and travel in Spain.

Experience Spain With Gerry Dawes: Culinary Trips to Spain & Travel Consulting on Spain

Gerry Dawes can be reached at gerrydawes@aol.com; Alternate e-mail (use only if your e-mail to AOL is rejected): gerrydawes@gmail.com


11/22/2009

World Wine Crisis Series (Nine): The Champagne Price Crash Will Benefit Consumers This Holiday Season & Beyond, Prices Down in UK and US; Cava Sales Up by 10% in USA



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It was a cliché that Champagne did well when times were bad,” said Robert Joseph, editor at large of Meininger’s Wine Business International magazine. “But this recession has an added element to it in which conspicuous spending — bling — is out of fashion.”--Eric Asimov, The Pour (New York Times), November 13, 2009


Champagne Prices Have Crashed!  
That may be good news for consumers, since some Champagne houses have cut their prices in half to unload some of the surplus, which may not be great news for Cava producers from Spain, who already sell some great sparkling wines at already very reasonable prices.  

There is also a huge surplus in Catalunya's Cava country, where 95% of Spanish sparking wines are made, so Cava prices most likely will also be dropping, but Cava sales are up in the American market, according to Eric Asimov of The New York Times.

"American consumers are clearly trading down. Sales of cheaper sparkling wines — typically produced in Spain or Italy — are up 10 percent this year, while sales of imported wines priced at more than $25 are down 21 percent, according to Danny Brager, the group client director for alcohol for Nielsen, which tracks sales in the United States."  -- Eric Asimov, The Pour (New York Times)


Cava for "breakfast" at Bar Pinotxo in La Bouquería, Barcelona. 
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2009.

Cava - once cheap, now chic (Wine News December/January 2005-06 Gerry Dawes©2006)
* * * * *
Bubbles at a Discount for Consumers Trading Down
by Eric Asimov, The Pour (New York Times) 
ÉPERNAY, France — "For generations of French Champagne makers, the threat of calamity has been a constant companion, whether it is winter freezes or spring frosts, phylloxera parasites or Nazi occupiers.

Now add to the list a drop in Champagne sales in all the top export markets, particularly the United States, Britain and Japan. All had seemed to have insatiable appetites for the extravagant, delicate bubbles in recent years — until popping housing bubbles sent the global economy into a downturn. The weak currencies in those export markets have also hurt."  Read the rest of the article.
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Gerry Dawes drinking rosé Champagne with Emiliano García at Casa Montaña.
Photo by Kathleen Balun©2009.

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"As the Champagne price war hots up, Tesco has asked suppliers to find it 300,000 bottles it can sell for £10 each, and Bollinger can be had for a song.

All the major brands are involved in the supermarkets' battle for customers. Next Monday Morrisons will offer Bollinger, Moët & Chandon, Lanson Black Label and Nicolas Feuillatte all at less than half price." -- Giles Fallowfield, Decanter magazine, November 19, 2009.



Champagne and wine botas in El Celler de la Boquería, Barcelona.
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2009.

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About Gerry Dawes

Gerry Dawes was awarded Spain's prestigious Premio Nacional de Gastronomía (National Gastronomy Award) in 2003. He writes and speaks frequently on Spanish wine and gastronomy and leads gastronomy, wine and cultural tours to Spain. He was a finalist for the 2001 James Beard Foundation's Journalism Award for Best Magazine Writing on Wine, won The Cava Institute's First Prize for Journalism for his article on cava in 2004, was awarded the CineGourLand “Cinéfilos y Gourmets” (Cinephiles & Gourmets) prize in 2009 in Getxo (Vizcaya) and received the 2009 Association of Food Journalists Second Prize for Best Food Feature in a Magazine for his Food Arts article, a retrospective piece about Catalan star chef, Ferran Adrià.

". . .That we were the first to introduce American readers to Ferran Adrià in 1997 and have ever since continued to bring you a blow-by-blow narrative of Spain's riveting ferment is chiefly due to our Spanish correspondent, Gerry "Mr. Spain" Dawes, the messianic wine and food journalist raised in Southern Illinois and possessor of a self-accumulated doctorate in the Spanish table. Gerry once again brings us up to the very minute. . ." - - Michael & Ariane Batterberry, Editor-in-Chief/Publisher and Founding Editor/Publisher, Food Arts, October 2009.




Mr. Dawes is currently working on a reality television
series on wine, gastronomy, culture and travel in Spain.


Experience Spain With Gerry Dawes: Culinary Trips to Spain & Travel Consulting on Spain

Gerry Dawes can be reached at gerrydawes@aol.com; Alternate e-mail (use only if your e-mail to AOL is rejected), send e-mail to gerrydawes@gmail.com




11/19/2009

Rioja Resident and Ex-Pat Americano Tom Perry on WineFuture-Rioja 2009 & Spanish Wine Crisis Observations (Nine)

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Tom Perry, American-born, long-time Rioja resident, wine industry veteran and expert on wine marketing.
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2009.

Don Geraldo,

Yes, I was able to attend, thanks to a complimentary invitation from Marqués de Riscal, whose finace director Fernando Salamero was my boss for 15 years while I was the director of the Rioja Exporters' Association.

I'd be glad to answer your questions, but first my views on the conference.

I especially enjoyed the presentations about social media (Ryan Opaz, Gary Vaynerchuck and Jeremy Benson), Miguel Torres' talk about climate change and what Torres is doing about it, Tim Hanni's presentation about taste perceptions and Nicola Jenkin's talk about packaging.

However, as I mentioned in a comment to Catavino, a lot was left unsaid.
I personally feel that an important issue for the future of wine is overcoming the major hurdles small and many medium-sized wineries have to overcome just to find a route to market.  We can talk about empowering consumers all day but if consumers can't buy certain products because of
  • the increasing concentration of distributors (USA)
  • the increased power of supermarkets and the demise of traditional retailers (UK)
  • the impossibility to sell wine through the internet between countries in the European Union
  • the difficulties small US wineries face to sell directly to consumers in different states (although this is improving)
these brands are handicapped.

In Europe, traditional wine producing countries face decreasing per capita consumption of wine and a lack of interest on the part of young consumers. There was a lot of talk about being able to connect with consumers but nothing was said about strategies to interest young consumers from Spain, France and Italy to wine.

I think there should have been more emphasis on these real issues facing our industry.

Parker tasting:

I attended it and also helped Alberto Gil with his interview with RP on the 13th.  There were 20 wines in the tasting (18 garnachas and two Riojas) as you know, and I was very pleasantly surprised by the 7 Châteauneuf-du-Papes.  All of them were really elegant, not overoaked and overripe and showed both the place they were from and the characteristics of the variety.(BTW, the châteauneufs in the RP tasting were all unoaked.)

The 1945 Riscal was superb.  I also liked the Clos Erasmus from Priorat (not at all inky and inscrutable), Espectacle from Montsant,the Clarendon Hills Old Vines and the Killakanoon from Australia.  I thought the Contador wasn't ready to drink yet and the Aquilón and Atteca Armas (both from Jorge Ordóñez) were too "fruit-bomby" for my taste.

In the interview (I'll try to send you a link from LA RIOJA), RP defended himself from his detractors by saying that he had an eclectic palate and that he was displeased with two of the wines in the tasting because they were overoaked!

He said that his strategy up to now was to invite the most representative importers of Spanish wines for lunch.  RP paid for the lunch and the importers did a tasting of their products.  He mentioned that Jay Miller would be visiting Spain frequently in the future.

He came across as a passionate, sincere guy.



Spanish Wine Crisis observations:

With regard to the wine crisis in Spain, most of the problem has to do with young people's lack of interest in wine.  I think the trade has made it too complicated for most people.  

We have to educate young people about wine in an easy, non-technical way; get them to appreciate it for its taste and accompaniment to a good meal with friends, and if they're interested in learning more, they can (once the trade makes it possible to learn about it - in Logroño there's only one serious tasting a month - and there's only room for 50 people!)

One of the great failings of the Spanish wine trade is allowing lambrusco to be the wine of choice of young people.  It's cheap, uncomplicated and women love it (it's an easy choice for a guy to make when he invites his girlfriend out to dinner).  Why haven't we come up with a Spanish product?  Kalimotxo and tinto de verano are fine, but hard to brand. It shows you what poor marketers we are!

The second problem, at least for Rioja, is the economic crisis in general, which is hurting restaurants, Rioja's main sales channel here.

Un abrazo,

Tom


About Gerry Dawes

Gerry Dawes was awarded Spain's prestigious Premio Nacional de Gastronomía (National Gastronomy Award) in 2003. He writes and speaks frequently on Spanish wine and gastronomy and leads gastronomy, wine and cultural tours to Spain. He was a finalist for the 2001 James Beard Foundation's Journalism Award for Best Magazine Writing on Wine, won The Cava Institute's First Prize for Journalism for his article on cava in 2004, was awarded the CineGourLand “Cinéfilos y Gourmets” (Cinephiles & Gourmets) prize in 2009 in Getxo (Vizcaya) and received the 2009 Association of Food Journalists Second Prize for Best Food Feature in a Magazine for his Food Arts article, a retrospective piece about Catalan star chef, Ferran Adrià.

". . .That we were the first to introduce American readers to Ferran Adrià in 1997 and have ever since continued to bring you a blow-by-blow narrative of Spain's riveting ferment is chiefly due to our Spanish correspondent, Gerry "Mr. Spain" Dawes, the messianic wine and food journalist raised in Southern Illinois and possessor of a self-accumulated doctorate in the Spanish table. Gerry once again brings us up to the very minute. . ." - - Michael & Ariane Batterberry, Editor-in-Chief/Publisher and Founding Editor/Publisher, Food Arts, October 2009.


Mr. Dawes is currently working on a reality television
series on wine, gastronomy, culture and travel in Spain.

Experience Spain With Gerry Dawes: Culinary Trips to Spain & Travel Consulting on Spain

Gerry Dawes can be reached at gerrydawes@aol.com; Alternate e-mail (use only if your e-mail to AOL is rejected): gerrydawes@hotmail.com


Make My Day: Charlie Olken, Editor/Publisher of Connoisseurs’ Guide: " Give me Gerry Dawes on Spanish wines."

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Charlie Olken, Editor/Publisher of Connoisseurs’ Guide

Today, Charlie Oken, the Editor/Publisher of Connoisseurs' Guide (to California Wines) made my day when I saw the comment he wrote on Steve Heimoff's blog post, Joe Roberts is right about bullsh*t unreliable wine judge studies:
"It seems to me that we have long ago identified these massive tastings as exercises in marketing and not in wine criticism. How does a Gold Medal, earned in a competition in which the best candidates typically do not enter anyhow because they have nothing to prove mean more than a description and score from a respected critic who has demonstrated over time to understand the topic being covered. Give me Schildknecht on Riesling. Give me Gerry Dawes on Spanish wines. Give me the Decanter panel on claret. Despite his too high points, give me Parker on Rhones."

I know, I know, it's not the Nobel Prize, but it is no faint praise from one of the most respected wine critics in the business, one who has been at it for over thirty years.  

The comment was especially welcome after an Anonymous poster sought to leave a scurrilous, hatchet-job message on one of my posts, basically telling me that I was no longer welcome in Spain.

Thank you, Charlie, thank you very much.

About Gerry Dawes

Gerry Dawes was awarded Spain's prestigious Premio Nacional de Gastronomía (National Gastronomy Award) in 2003. He writes and speaks frequently on Spanish wine and gastronomy and leads gastronomy, wine and cultural tours to Spain. He was a finalist for the 2001 James Beard Foundation's Journalism Award for Best Magazine Writing on Wine, won The Cava Institute's First Prize for Journalism for his article on cava in 2004, was awarded the CineGourLand “Cinéfilos y Gourmets” (Cinephiles & Gourmets) prize in 2009 in Getxo (Vizcaya) and received the 2009 Association of Food Journalists Second Prize for Best Food Feature in a Magazine for his Food Arts article, a retrospective piece about Catalan star chef, Ferran Adrià.

". . .That we were the first to introduce American readers to Ferran Adrià in 1997 and have ever since continued to bring you a blow-by-blow narrative of Spain's riveting ferment is chiefly due to our Spanish correspondent, Gerry "Mr. Spain" Dawes, the messianic wine and food journalist raised in Southern Illinois and possessor of a self-accumulated doctorate in the Spanish table. Gerry once again brings us up to the very minute. . ." - - Michael & Ariane Batterberry, Editor-in-Chief/Publisher and Founding Editor/Publisher, Food Arts, October 2009.



Mr. Dawes is currently working on a reality television
series on wine, gastronomy, culture and travel in Spain.

Experience Spain With Gerry Dawes: Culinary Trips to Spain & Travel Consulting on Spain

Gerry Dawes can be reached at gerrydawes@aol.com; Alternate e-mail (use only if your e-mail to AOL is rejected): gerrydawes@gmail.com

World Wine Crisis Report (Eight): From Wineaccess.com "Understanding the Crisis in Napa: Part 1"

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(Although this is a pitch by wineaccess.com, an internet wine marketing company, to sell some fledgling Napa estate wines, this article has some good, pertinent information on  the roots of the wine crisis in Napa Valley.)

(All side commentary, red-lining & photos copyright 2009 by Gerry Dawes.)

 


Understanding the Crisis in Napa: Part 1
 
It's impossible to deny the appeal of the Napa Valley. Close to six million wine drinkers work their way up Route 29 each year, hopping from one glittery tasting room to the next. That flow of traffic -- generating massive direct-sale opportunities -- coupled with a worldwide love affair with high-end, highly scored boutique brands, fueled unprecedented price escalation in Napa.

Few of the boutique Napa Valley wineries grow grapes. Most buy fruit. As bottle prices escalated, particularly in direct sales, margins exploded. Suddenly, grape growers of the most coveted vineyards could pick their customers. Grape prices soared, and growers were able to lock in their clients to long-term grape contracts. Those contracts are part of the root of the crisis.

But for the purposes of this portion of the story, we've chosen to focus on a different part of the market: the fairly new, estate-bottled wineries. These estates, many as small as 10 acres, spent lots on land, then spent much more ripping up the land and planting. Some began by simply growing and selling grapes before bottling wine on their own. Some went directly into bottling under their own brand. They built business models (most of which have turned out to be Excel Spreadsheet Fiction) based on what was going on up and down the Silverado Trail. They spent fortunes on French barrels (as the dollar dropped precipitously), hired consulting winemakers, and prepared for the gravy train. 



 Silverado Trail, Napa Valley. Photo by Gerry Dawes©2009.


To really taste the crisis, we've created a sampler made up of three of the most inspired releases from these new, small estates. There's Tim Milos's brilliantly rich and elegant Rubissow Cabernet Sauvignon from Mount Veeder, the Crane Brothers' "perfect blend" (the best of the best from this pristine vineyard) called Brodatious, and the delicious, opulent Maple Lane Cabernet from their vineyard between St. Helena and Calistoga. Two bottles each of these tiny-production Napa gems, sold for less than 50 cents on the dollar! Here's why.

Almost uniformly, the wineries above, and dozens of others up and down the valley, were faced with a stark new reality. Just as the winegrowers were ready to launch their brands, the wholesalers clammed up. $50 bottles that had been flying out of wholesale warehouses backed up. Rather than taking on new suppliers, wholesalers were cajoling existing suppliers, explaining how the market was on its ear, why prices had to come down. For the new guys on the block, the wholesale market fell apart in just a few months at the tail end of 2008.


 
Less stretch limos in Napa Valley these days. Photo by Gerry Dawes©2009.


As to direct sales, traffic slowed on Route 29. Other wineries with more mature programs stepped up their direct-marketing budgets. These new wineries weren't positioned for the direct game; their mailing lists were small, their direct-marketing prowess immature. The phones that would have been ringing off the hook 18 months before were silent. Wine was backing up in the warehouse and grapes -- well, grapes just keep growing, year after year.

What will happen to these businesses? Some will close. But the family-owned and -operated businesses will scramble, figure out how to survive. The vineyards are excellent, the wine is already very good and as the vines mature, it too could be excellent. They tighten their belts, and they look for ways to get wine-sophisticated consumers to taste their wine. Many now are contacting WineAccess.
--wineaccess.com



Dr. Wilkinson's Hot Springs Mud Baths, Calistoga, Napa Valley.


(A lot of wineries around the world may have to open wine spas, because somebody is going to take a bath in all the unsold.  I have an idea; they should rachet up the alcohol even further, so they can offer hot springs wine baths.  We know there is a worldwide wine crisis, but does anyone see a connection between dropping consumer demand and high prices, wine made with a load of high-priced French oak as a flavoring agent and alcohol levels so high that the wines can be used to flambeé a dish and are practically guaranteed to turn off women and people with a sensible palate?  Text & photo by Gerry Dawes©2009.)

About Gerry Dawes

Gerry Dawes was awarded Spain's prestigious Premio Nacional de Gastronomía (National Gastronomy Award) in 2003. He writes and speaks frequently on Spanish wine and gastronomy and leads gastronomy, wine and cultural tours to Spain. He was a finalist for the 2001 James Beard Foundation's Journalism Award for Best Magazine Writing on Wine, won The Cava Institute's First Prize for Journalism for his article on cava in 2004, was awarded the CineGourLand “Cinéfilos y Gourmets” (Cinephiles & Gourmets) prize in 2009 in Getxo (Vizcaya) and received the 2009 Association of Food Journalists Second Prize for Best Food Feature in a Magazine for his Food Arts article, a retrospective piece about Catalan star chef, Ferran Adrià.

". . .That we were the first to introduce American readers to Ferran Adrià in 1997 and have ever since continued to bring you a blow-by-blow narrative of Spain's riveting ferment is chiefly due to our Spanish correspondent, Gerry "Mr. Spain" Dawes, the messianic wine and food journalist raised in Southern Illinois and possessor of a self-accumulated doctorate in the Spanish table. Gerry once again brings us up to the very minute. . ." - - Michael & Ariane Batterberry, Editor-in-Chief/Publisher and Founding Editor/Publisher, Food Arts, October 2009.


Mr. Dawes is currently working on a reality television
series on wine, gastronomy, culture and travel in Spain.


Gerry Dawes can be reached at gerrydawes@aol.com; Alternate e-mail (use only if your e-mail to AOL is rejected): gerrydawes@gmail.com


Modernized Traditional Food: Spain’s Innovative Vangaurdia Cuisine vs. Traditional Down-Home Cooking

 

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Culinary Institute of America
Worlds of Flavor Spain Website

(Click for full article.) 



CIA Student Chef finishing a Paco Roncero's sensational "Nido de Huevo Carbonara" 
(Nest of Egg Carbonara) dish with liquid nitrogen at the Worlds of Flavor marketplace.  
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2009.

Excerpt (article by Gerry Dawes)

"As to those who thought modern Spanish cuisine would destroy traditional cooking, perhaps they should consider this. 

When Americans landed on the moon, it was an ultra modern outer space adventure at the time and culmination of years of brilliant forward-vision thinking, experimentation, innovation, evolution of techniques and modern technical skills. 

That “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind" did not mean that we all suddenly began to experience space flight, plan vacation homes on the moon, nor eat a steady diet of Astronaut tube food, though all the innovation associated with space missions did impact our lives. 

The same goes for the Spanish cocina de vangaurdia movement and Ferran Adrià’s rocket ride into culinary space. They may have taken us to a moon-walking style of gastronomy, but they didn’t destroy traditional Spanish cooking, rather Adrià and his fellow gastronauts provided the inspiration that enriched and enabled Spain’s cocina tradicional to evolve to its current stage, which is the best it has ever been in its history. 


Patatas al ali oli con huevas de arenque (Potatoes ali-oli with herring roe) at 
Paco Roncero's Estado Puro "Gastrobar" in Madrid.  Photo by Gerry Dawes©2009.

In my forty years of traveling in Spain, I have never tasted better tradition-based food than I am eating in Spain these days."

About Gerry Dawes

Gerry Dawes was awarded Spain's prestigious Premio Nacional de Gastronomía (National Gastronomy Award) in 2003. He writes and speaks frequently on Spanish wine and gastronomy and leads gastronomy, wine and cultural tours to Spain. He was a finalist for the 2001 James Beard Foundation's Journalism Award for Best Magazine Writing on Wine, won The Cava Institute's First Prize for Journalism for his article on cava in 2004, was awarded the CineGourLand “Cinéfilos y Gourmets” (Cinephiles & Gourmets) prize in 2009 in Getxo (Vizcaya) and received the 2009 Association of Food Journalists Second Prize for Best Food Feature in a Magazine for his Food Arts article, a retrospective piece about Catalan star chef, Ferran Adrià.

". . .That we were the first to introduce American readers to Ferran Adrià in 1997 and have ever since continued to bring you a blow-by-blow narrative of Spain's riveting ferment is chiefly due to our Spanish correspondent, Gerry "Mr. Spain" Dawes, the messianic wine and food journalist raised in Southern Illinois and possessor of a self-accumulated doctorate in the Spanish table. Gerry once again brings us up to the very minute. . ." - - Michael & Ariane Batterberry, Editor-in-Chief/Publisher and Founding Editor/Publisher, Food Arts, October 2009.


 Mr. Dawes is currently working on a reality television
series on wine, gastronomy, culture and travel in Spain.

Experience Spain With Gerry Dawes: Culinary Trips to Spain & Travel Consulting on Spain

Gerry Dawes can be reached at gerrydawes@aol.com; Alternate e-mail (use only if your e-mail to AOL is rejected): gerrydawes@gmail.com

11/18/2009

Wine Crisis Report (Seven): Consumer Demand Blunts Crisis, A Bright Spot According to Robert Whitley of Winereviewonline.com

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Consumer Demand Blunts Crisis
By Robert Whitley
 Nov 4, 2009


Seems hardly a day goes by that I don’t encounter another tale of misery and financial pain in the wine industry. The pain is real, and I suspect it will get worse before it gets better.
Vineyard values, winery values, grape prices, even the price of an ordinary bottle of Cabernet rode the dotcom bubble and housing bubble to unsustainable levels. There is a reluctance to accept the new reality: Few wine-related assets are worth now what they were a year ago. The pain I observe most is the anguish of falling prices set against the hopeless struggle to maintain unrealistic price points.



Robert Whitley, http://winereviewonline.com in the Douro, Portugal.  
Photo by Gerry Dawes, copyright 2007.

I’m so over it. Time to move on. While it’s true the ground shifted underneath the wine industry, the world didn’t come to an end. Everyday people continue to drink wine, and some recent numbers point to a robust recovery. Winebusiness.com reports, for example, that domestic wine sales rose seven percent in October, the second consecutive month they’ve seen an increase. And the October sales figures were four percent greater than those from the same period one year ago.


The sky is not falling. Americans who’ve taken their lumps in the financial and real estate markets haven’t abandoned their love affair with wine. They are merely being careful and buying smarter.


So as we barrel toward Thanksgiving, I thought it would be appropriate to take a step back and consider the positives rather than dwell on the negatives.

Read the rest of the article, Consumer Demand Blunts Crisis, here.  

From winereviewonline.com.

About Gerry Dawes

Gerry Dawes was awarded Spain's prestigious Premio Nacional de Gastronomía (National Gastronomy Award) in 2003. He writes and speaks frequently on Spanish wine and gastronomy and leads gastronomy, wine and cultural tours to Spain. He was a finalist for the 2001 James Beard Foundation's Journalism Award for Best Magazine Writing on Wine, won The Cava Institute's First Prize for Journalism for his article on cava in 2004, was awarded the CineGourLand “Cinéfilos y Gourmets” (Cinephiles & Gourmets) prize in 2009 in Getxo (Vizcaya) and received the 2009 Association of Food Journalists Second Prize for Best Food Feature in a Magazine for his Food Arts article, a retrospective piece about Catalan star chef, Ferran Adrià.

". . .That we were the first to introduce American readers to Ferran Adrià in 1997 and have ever since continued to bring you a blow-by-blow narrative of Spain's riveting ferment is chiefly due to our Spanish correspondent, Gerry "Mr. Spain" Dawes, the messianic wine and food journalist raised in Southern Illinois and possessor of a self-accumulated doctorate in the Spanish table. Gerry once again brings us up to the very minute. . ." - - Michael & Ariane Batterberry, Editor-in-Chief/Publisher and Founding Editor/Publisher, Food Arts, October 2009.



Mr. Dawes is currently working on a reality television
series on wine, gastronomy, culture and travel in Spain.


Experience Spain With Gerry Dawes: Culinary Trips to Spain & Travel Consulting on Spain

Gerry Dawes can be reached at gerrydawes@aol.com; Alternate e-mail (use only if your e-mail to AOL is rejected): gerrydawes@gmail.com



World Wine Crisis Report (Six): Australia's Wine Glut--Austraila has a surplus on 100 million cases of wine

* * * * *
Australia's wine glut

From a post on The Curious Capitalist

Posted by Justin Fox Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 9:54 pm

The Wine Economist reports that Australia's overproduction of wine has reached a crisis point:


Australia has an accumulated surplus of 100 million cases of wine that will double in the next two years if current trends continue, according to the report. The annual surplus is huge – equal to all UK export sales and there is no clear prospect of finding additional demand, either domestic or foreign, to fill this gap. ...


In fact, wine exports have fallen by 8 million cases or more than 20 percent in the last two years, according to the statement, with the largest declines in the high value wines that Aussie winemakers hoped would be their future.


Inexpensive and bulk wine sales have grown, but at prices that are unsustainably low.

About Gerry Dawes

Gerry Dawes was awarded Spain's prestigious Premio Nacional de Gastronomía (National Gastronomy Award) in 2003. He writes and speaks frequently on Spanish wine and gastronomy and leads gastronomy, wine and cultural tours to Spain. He was a finalist for the 2001 James Beard Foundation's Journalism Award for Best Magazine Writing on Wine, won The Cava Institute's First Prize for Journalism for his article on cava in 2004, was awarded the CineGourLand “Cinéfilos y Gourmets” (Cinephiles & Gourmets) prize in 2009 in Getxo (Vizcaya) and received the 2009 Association of Food Journalists Second Prize for Best Food Feature in a Magazine for his Food Arts article, a retrospective piece about Catalan star chef, Ferran Adrià.

". . .That we were the first to introduce American readers to Ferran Adrià in 1997 and have ever since continued to bring you a blow-by-blow narrative of Spain's riveting ferment is chiefly due to our Spanish correspondent, Gerry "Mr. Spain" Dawes, the messianic wine and food journalist raised in Southern Illinois and possessor of a self-accumulated doctorate in the Spanish table. Gerry once again brings us up to the very minute. . ." - - Michael & Ariane Batterberry, Editor-in-Chief/Publisher and Founding Editor/Publisher, Food Arts, October 2009.


Mr. Dawes is currently working on a reality television
series on wine, gastronomy, culture and travel in Spain.

Experience Spain With Gerry Dawes: Culinary Trips to Spain & Travel Consulting on Spain
Gerry Dawes can be reached at gerrydawes@aol.com; Alternate e-mail (use only if your e-mail to AOL is rejected): gerrydawes@gmail.com


11/17/2009

Vinogallego.com: Article on my Ribeira Sacra - Donde Godello y Mencía encuentran la gloria piece

* * * * *

 

About Gerry Dawes


Gerry Dawes was awarded Spain's prestigious Premio Nacional de Gastronomía (National Gastronomy Award) in 2003. He writes and speaks frequently on Spanish wine and gastronomy and leads gastronomy, wine and cultural tours to Spain. He was a finalist for the 2001 James Beard Foundation's Journalism Award for Best Magazine Writing on Wine, won The Cava Institute's First Prize for Journalism for his article on cava in 2004, was awarded the CineGourLand “Cinéfilos y Gourmets” (Cinephiles & Gourmets) prize in 2009 in Getxo (Vizcaya) and received the 2009 Association of Food Journalists Second Prize for Best Food Feature in a Magazine for his Food Arts article, a retrospective piece about Catalan star chef, Ferran Adrià.

". . .That we were the first to introduce American readers to Ferran Adrià in 1997 and have ever since continued to bring you a blow-by-blow narrative of Spain's riveting ferment is chiefly due to our Spanish correspondent, Gerry "Mr. Spain" Dawes, the messianic wine and food journalist raised in Southern Illinois and possessor of a self-accumulated doctorate in the Spanish table. Gerry once again brings us up to the very minute. . ." - - Michael & Ariane Batterberry, Editor-in-Chief/Publisher and Founding Editor/Publisher, Food Arts, October 2009.




Mr. Dawes is currently working on a reality television

series on wine, gastronomy, culture and travel in Spain.



Experience Spain With Gerry Dawes: Culinary Trips to Spain & Travel Consulting on Spain

Gerry Dawes can be reached at gerrydawes@aol.com; Alternate e-mail (use only if your e-mail to AOL is rejected): gerrydawes@hotmail.com

11/16/2009

Chicago's Star Food Writer Dennis Wheaton on Spain's Cocina de Vanguardia, Grant Achatz, Thomas Keller

* * * * * 

Dear Gerry,

"I’ve just had the pleasure of reading your article "Spain’s Chemical Reaction" in the latest Food Arts. Clearly, a lot of good work went into it. Your thesis of the "significant waning of Spain’s vaunted cocina de vanguardia and a corresponding rise in interest in traditional cooking, now modernized, better than ever, and usually less expensive for chefs to produce and diners to enjoy" seems spot-on compared to my experience in Chicago.

 


 
Grant Achatz at Madrid Fusión 2009.
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2009.


That’s not to say that chefs like Grant Achatz have gotten off the experimental bandwagon. Susan and I had dinner at Alinea recently and were still awed by all the manipulations on the plate, bacon hanging on a wire like a circus act, foams, emulsions, gels, freeze-dried foods, granular tricks, etc, as well as his use of aromas to enhance the experience, such as burning dried fall oak leaves on a branch holding pheasant, apple puree, and roasted shallot somehow skewered on the branch, or putting young tomato vines in a central bowl of boiling water to add aroma to a plate of heirloom tomatoes done a zillion different ways with olive oil snow, fig gel, pumpernickel grains, and more manipulations. What struck me was how damn good Achatz’s food still tastes after all the folderol, but how difficult it was to grasp all that was on the plate. Even the waiters’ careful descriptions failed to cover all that was there or was going on. After about 16 courses–culminating in a bizarre course in which a chef came out and literally spread a complex dessert of blueberry syrup, maplewood consomme in shimmering balls to break (extracted from maple branches, not maple syrup), maple sugar shortbread crumbs, tobacco-infused cream, and much more, all spread directly on a silicon mat laid on the table so the whole thing looked like a big tabletop fingerpainting–we were not only awed and how it looked and how good it tasted, but exhausted.

This is clearly not don’t-give-it-a-thought comfort dining for hard times [See CIA-Worlds of Flavor Conference 2009: Frontiers of Flavor, World Street Food, World Comfort Food]. But what I’m also seeing is touches of vanguard cuisine showing up in more accessible restaurants, sometimes deftly, sometimes awkwardly–like all the bad borrowings from Japanese cuisine so prevalent a few years ago in Western restaurants. As far as I’m concerned, foam should be retired from the stage for a long while, if not permanently(See Chicago Tribune's Ten Worst Dining Trends of the Decade.-GD)

What has clearly come to the "vanguard" in Chicago as well as New York and other places, is the headlong rush to localism and naturally raised foods–house made charcuterie and many other uses of everything from the pig butchered on premises but the squeal as well as great local market seasonal vegetables simply and minimally treated in the kitchen–that harks back to Alice Waters more than Ferran Adria. In that vein, I was really impressed by your discussion of the Spanish controversy over the use of industrial additives in making avant guarde cuisine. It does fly in the face of the return to naturalism and purity in foods." -- Dennis R. Wheaton, Food Writer (Chicago Magazine, The New York Times and other publications.)

 
Ferran Adrià at Madrid Fusión 2009. 
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2009.


Once upon a time, an unknown young chef toiled away in the most renowned kitchen in the country. Is it a classic story of the student surpassing the master?




Thomas Keller at Madrid Fusión 2009. 
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2009.


Of course, this passage caught my eye:

"Another fine dish, jamón ibérico with soft cubes of griddled acorn flan, made me smile: Hard acorns are what Spanish pigs eat to give jamón ibérico its unparalleled nutty flavor. This is just the kind of playful deconstruction that Achatz has patented at Alinea. Of course, at The French Laundry, it's an in-joke that few diners will get; at Alinea, they would explain it to you." 


Jamón Ibérico, the real thing, with a glass of rosado in Spain.
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2009.

Dennis Wheaton is the Dining Critic for Chicago Magazine and has contributed many articles to other publications, including The New York Times.

About Gerry Dawes

Gerry Dawes was awarded Spain's prestigious Premio Nacional de Gastronomía (National Gastronomy Award) in 2003. He writes and speaks frequently on Spanish wine and gastronomy and leads gastronomy, wine and cultural tours to Spain. He was a finalist for the 2001 James Beard Foundation's Journalism Award for Best Magazine Writing on Wine, won The Cava Institute's First Prize for Journalism for his article on cava in 2004, was awarded the CineGourLand “Cinéfilos y Gourmets” (Cinephiles & Gourmets) prize in 2009 in Getxo (Vizcaya) and received the 2009 Association of Food Journalists Second Prize for Best Food Feature in a Magazine for his Food Arts article, a retrospective piece about Catalan star chef, Ferran Adrià.

". . .That we were the first to introduce American readers to Ferran Adrià in 1997 and have ever since continued to bring you a blow-by-blow narrative of Spain's riveting ferment is chiefly due to our Spanish correspondent, Gerry "Mr. Spain" Dawes, the messianic wine and food journalist raised in Southern Illinois and possessor of a self-accumulated doctorate in the Spanish table. Gerry once again brings us up to the very minute. . ." - - Michael & Ariane Batterberry, Editor-in-Chief/Publisher and Founding Editor/Publisher, Food Arts, October 2009.


Mr. Dawes is currently working on a reality television
series on wine, gastronomy, culture and travel in Spain.


Experience Spain With Gerry Dawes: Culinary Trips to Spain & Travel Consulting on Spain

Gerry Dawes can be reached at gerrydawes@aol.com; Alternate e-mail (use only if your e-mail to AOL is rejected): mailto:gerrydawes@gmail.com


11/15/2009

On Betrayal of Confidence and Threats to Journalists: An Open Letter to Kevin Zraly, Technical Director of the Recently Concluded WineFuture-Rioja 2009

* * * * *

Kevin Zraly, Technical Director
WineFuture-Rioja 2009


* * * * *
Background to my open letter to Kevin Zraly:

The following are my notes on the telephone conversation on August 31, 2009 with Kevin Zraly about what has become known as Campogate, the Pancho Campo WineFuture-Rioja 2009 Affair:
  
(I assumed that the telephone conversation I had with Zraly was in strictest confidence, but apparently it was not, and I gave him ample opportunities via e-mail and telephone messages (see below) to convince me that I am mistaken, so I no longer feel bound by such confidence, therefore I am reproducing the gist of our telephone conversation from some very careful notes that I took.)

After telling Kevin Zraly that I was calling because a distinguished mutual writer friend had told me that the information (See Expanded Background to the Pancho Campo-Kevin Zraly-Robert Parker Wine Futures Rioja Affair 2009)  that had come to me about the Pancho Campo affair was something that he should know, I said:

“I was sitting here thinking  'I know Kevin and I think he would be interested in knowing this stuff."  

(I was hoping that I might get some more information about the Campo affair, which I was investigating as a journalist, but Zraly said he knew nothing about it, so I forwarded a third-party e-mail to him with information about the Interpol warrant seeking Campo's arrest while we were having the phone conversation.)

Kevin Zraly (after reading the e-mail while we were still on the phone): “Absolutely, this is big shit, you know. I don’t hang around with the criminal type.”

Kevin Zraly: “For me, I can take it (WineFuture Rioja 2009) or leave it. I can just go with the flow, but it is important that you sent this (info about the Campo affair). I appreciate it.”

Kevin Zraly (later in the conversation):  "Again, I do appreciate it (your letting me know the information about Pancho Campo)."

(After talking about going around the world with Robin Kelley O’Conner [another speaker at WineFutures-Rioja 2009] to wine regions in "25 countries" [other reports say 15] to update the 25th Anniversary version of his Windows on the World Complete Wine Course book [a book for which I received acknowledgement for my help in updating the Spanish chapter in an earlier edition], Zraly complained about the alcohol and overwrought style of the wines in Chile, Argentina, Australia, and South Africa. [Dare I say "Parkerista" style?-GD]) 

Then Zraly said, “It is not just Spain, not just California.”
(Note:  These statements seem to be in direct contrast with the interview with Zraly published on The Wine Academy's WineFuture-Rioja 2009 pages; see question #11. )

Kevin Zraly: “To be honest with you, Gerry, I am disillusioned with the whole (wine) thing. I am disillusioned with everything, everything. I'm glad I did everything (in wine) when I did, but moving on, I am not inspired.”
(There was more conversation about wine, but most of it does not really relate to the point.  However,  during the conversation, he told me that his wife, Ana Fabiano, had signed a contract with the Consejo Regulador of La Rioja to promote Rioja wines in the United States.  I subsequently found out only recently that Ana Fabiano appears on a Pancho Campo Wine Academy videotape endorsing his wine courses in the United States.)

Kevin Zraly: “If you hear of anything else that is going down, please, please, please let me know. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your thinking about me.”
* * * * *
On October 1, after the information about an Interpol warrant for the arrest of Pancho Campo had come to light in the Jim Budd/Adam Lechmere Decanter.com article and had caused a brouhaha for the month of September in Spain, Pancho Campo, under heavy pressure from within La Rioja, resigned as "Director" of WineFuture Rioja 2009. 

Campo also issued a statement saying he had "resigned" as President of The Wine Academy of Spain, a private company founded by him and members of his family. Campo named his brother-in-law, Rony Bacqué, as President of The Wine Academy of Spain. Campo's wife, Melissa, an American, is also active in the Wine Academy.

In early October, Kevin Zraly was named "Technical Director" of WineFuture Rioja 2009 to succeed Pancho Campo in running that event, even though Campo's Wine Academy of Spain was still in charge of the event and still stood to profit from it.  It is clearly stated on The Wine Academy website that the WineFuture Rioja 2009 is the propiedad (property) of The Wine Academy and the event is thus a private enterprise, from which the Wine Academy stood to gain a substantial amount of money. The event was supported in part by private sponsors, but with a substantial commitment of public funds and facilities from the government of La Rioja and full support and some funding from the Consejo Regulador (Regulatory Council) of La Rioja.

Many, including journalists, winemakers and political figures in La Rioja, believe that Kevin Zraly, who lives two hours northwest of New York City and does not speak Spanish, was a "straw man," a figurehead who allowed Pancho Campo and his Wine Academy to continue to direct the conference behind the scenes.

As noted earlier, Kevin Zraly's wife, Ana Fabiano, early in 2009 signed a contract with the Rioja Regulatory Council--composed of a coalition of grape growers and wineries--to promote the wines of La Rioja in the United States.

The interview excerpt below was posted on the Wine Academy of Spain's website, on October 14, 2009, after Zraly's being named to direct WineFuture-Rioja 2009 and after additional information on the Campo case had been published did nothing to dissuade the Zraly as "straw man" belief among skeptics.


(*Interview dated Oct. 14, 2009.) 

Wine Academy Question 14. Which [sic] is the outcome you expect from Winefuture-Rioja?
Kevin Zraly:  "That there will be more WineFutures! Pancho Campo has done a tremendous job in bringing all segments of the market together to discuss how we can all move forward in the distribution of wines throughout the world. The logistics of putting a first time event like this together were enormous and I congratulate Pancho and his team for having the foresight and energy to organize this event."

* * * * *Open Letter to Kevin Zraly From Gerry Dawes  

Preface to the letter:

Kevin Zraly, you are a man I have known for more than thirty years and have had a cordial relationship with over that period.  You are the man for whom I quit my first job in the wine business because my company refused to keep my word of honor to you when you were Wine Director and Sommelier at Windows on the World. 

At your request several years ago I also revised pro bono the chapter on Spanish wines for your book, The Windows on the World Wine Course Book--see the frontespiece for my signature, the "payment" you give as acknowledgment for each expert's contributions to the book.

On October 9, 2009, I sent a version of the following letter to your e-mail address and received no answer, so I re-sent it on October 12, Columbus Day. You had a Windows On The World Wine School class scheduled for the evening of October 12, so I waited another day, hoping that you would have a chance to respond to my queries.

On October 14, I made two phone calls, one to your cell phone, where I left a message, another to your office, where I left another message with Michelle, the woman who answered the phone. 

To date, I have received no answer to any of these attempts to reach you for comment.  Therefore, I decided, as a last resort to write on open letter to you in hopes of getting some answers to questions that have been on my mind for more than two months. 

What follows is a letter that includes my account of what transpired between you and me in relation to the Pancho Campo - WineFuture-Rioja 2009 affair, including the notes of my August 31, 2009 telephone conversation with you (see above).

Dear Kevin,

First off, no one doubts your credentials, nor do I.  You are a giant in the wine industry and in the wine education field. You have helped organize some of the top wine events in the United States, including The Wine Spectator's Wine Experience and you have partnered with Robert M. Parker, Jr. to found a wine education program.

But, I have some serious questions--as a journalist, and personally because recent events that relate directly to me--about your actions in light of the information that has come out over the past two months  or so about what is being called "CampoGate" or the "Pancho Campo Affair" surrounding the WineFutures-Rioja 2009 Affair held on November 12 & 13 in la Rioja.

The following was published on Decanter magazine writer Jim Budd's blog.  It is part of a time line on the Pancho Campo case."Following publication (of the first Decanter article on Sept. 4 about the Pancho Campo affair), PC [Pancho Campo] phones me and tells me that his lawyers have warned an unnamed American journalist who has been investigating this story."
 
After my more than 30 minute phone conversation with you on August 31, two days later (on Sept. 2), before the publication of the Decanter article on Sept. 4, I was threatened with various actions from someone claiming to be Pancho Campo's lawyer in a phone call from Spain, plus he said he was coming to New York the following week and wanted to meet with me to arrive at "an amicable compromise." He also sent an e-mail to the third party address from whence came the e-mail that I forwarded to you from that same e-mail address during the course of our telephone conversation.

 
The e-mail I sent to you contained a translation of the information about Pancho Campo and the Interpol arrest warrant internet link that I had received from several reliable sources, including journalists, in Europe.


I forwarded only four similar e-mails about the Campo affair from that e-mail address, three to trusted people who were either investigating the affair as journalists or who had contributed information, the fourth to you.

As you may know by now and can certainly check on
Jim Budd's site (see above), almost every detail in the e-mail you received, except a couple of more precise dates since confirmed, have proved to be correct and have proved to not be "falsedades" as claimed by Alfonso Martínez, Campo's lawyer, when he called to threaten me on September 2, 2009 at 6:35 p.m. (00:35 Spanish time, a strange hour for a lawyer to be working). 

During that phone call, Martínez told me in Spanish that Pancho Campo was "muy, muy, muy enfadado con usted, "very, very, very angry with you."  He also said, "We have e-mails with your name on them (he probably did not) that contain many "falsedades" (as I said, most of those claimed to be "false" have been proved true)."


Martínez also warned me, "We don't want to have to go the American Embassy or to the Spanish Embassy with this, nor do we want to get into litigation, but we want you to stop sending those e-mails.  I will be in New York next week and I would like to sit down with you and see if we can come to an acuerdo amistoso, (an amicable compromise)."
 
Indeed, I have it from good sources that Campo, Martínez and others had  done something similar to  journalists in Spain during the period the Interpol information was emerging.  According to these well-regarded sources, threats, veiled attempts at "enducements" and other methods such as pressure from highly placed people were used to try to suppress this story before several publications and blogs published it.


In addition to the "warning" issued to me by Pancho Campo's lawyer, Campo also offered a speaking engagement at another event to an English journalist (Jim Budd) who has reported on the case and he also put out a veiled suggestion of a payment of a preposterous amount to a Spanish journalist.

Now many of the facts are out about the Campo case and most of them are not really disputable. In fact, Campo himself has confirmed to various sources events and dates that have validated most of the material  that I had prior to August 31 and those have even been published in multiple publications and on websites throughout the world, although Campo himself has given conflicting information about the dates on which a couple of events occurred and the circumstances, they have not been denied.

I think you can see how the journalists involved in these threats and coercion attempts found them particularly reprehensible. It reminded me of Watergate, where the crimes were less serious than the attempted cover-up by the Nixon White House.

 
The reason I am writing to you is to inform you that, using input from my own investigations and those of the four other journalists, two Spanish and two English, working on this story, along with blogger Manuel Camblor of laotrabotella.com, I am have been writing some reports of my own,  including this report/open letter about the Campo affair, my dealings with you on the phone, the third party e-mail and the subsequent warnings to "an unnamed American journalist who has been investigating the story."


My questions to you are:

1) Did you or your wife, Ana Fabiano, who is doing promotions for Rioja wines in the U.S., provide the third party e-mail I sent you directly to Pancho Campo and, if not, did either of you provide that e-mail to anyone in the CRDO Rioja? 

 
Or did either of you, provide the e-mail, again almost all of whose information has been proved correct--to anyone else who caused the e-mail to reach Pancho Campo and his lawyer, thus causing me, "an American journalist," to be "warned," which I see as being threatened and an attempted intimidation to supress a valid ongoing investigation?


2) Were you, as the Technical Director of WineFutures Rioja 2009, a (former?) partner of Robert Parker in a wine education program, husband of the person recently signed on to promote Rioja wines by the CRDO Rioja, a "straw man," a figurehead standing in for Pancho Campo, as some in La Rioja and elsewhere are strongly suggesting?  Was Pancho Campo still pulling the strings for the event behind the scenes? (Since he actually was allowed to appear at WineFuture-Rioja 2009 after being forced to resign as director of the event, it certainly appears that he was still heavily involved in the event despite his "resignations.")


3) And lastly, as an author and sometime wine writer yourself, how do you feel about journalists being threatened by lawyers for passing private e-mails  (in strictest confidence) and the reports of journalists being offered "enducements," however veiled, by Pancho Campo and/or members of his retinue? 


Given the circumstances surrounding the Pancho Campo story and the political elements and intrigues going on in Spain, I feel that I must ask as a journalist and I think it is only fair that you be given a chance to respond. Your responses will be fairly incorporated into any of my future reports on this situation.

If I may paraphrase my very precise notes on your comments during our telephone conversation (below), Kevin, this whole episode has also made me “pretty disillusioned with the whole (wine) thing,” however, I am “inspired,” because at least a few journalists and quite a few bloggers have chosen to step forward to write about this incredible saga and have refused to be denied our freedom of speech, nor our ability to function as journalists.

Now, after sitting on this information concerning our telephone conversation for more than more than two months, it is my turn to write about it.

Regards, Gerry Dawes


About Gerry Dawes
Gerry Dawes was awarded Spain's prestigious Premio Nacional de Gastronomía (National Gastronomy Award) in 2003. He writes and speaks frequently on Spanish wine and gastronomy and leads gastronomy, wine and cultural tours to Spain. He was a finalist for the 2001 James Beard Foundation's Journalism Award for Best Magazine Writing on Wine, won The Cava Institute's First Prize for Journalism for his article on cava in 2004, was awarded the CineGourLand “Cinéfilos y Gourmets” (Cinephiles & Gourmets) prize in 2009 in Getxo (Vizcaya) and received the 2009 Association of Food Journalists Second Prize for Best Food Feature in a Magazine for his Food Arts article, a retrospective piece about Catalan star chef, Ferran Adrià.

". . .That we were the first to introduce American readers to Ferran Adrià in 1997 and have ever since continued to bring you a blow-by-blow narrative of Spain's riveting ferment is chiefly due to our Spanish correspondent, Gerry "Mr. Spain" Dawes, the messianic wine and food journalist raised in Southern Illinois and possessor of a self-accumulated doctorate in the Spanish table.  Gerry once again brings us up to the very minute. . ." - - Michael & Ariane Batterberry, Editor-in-Chief/Publisher and Founding Editor/Publisher, Food Arts, October 2009.

Mr. Dawes is currently working on a reality television series on wine, gastronomy, culture and travel in Spain.
  
Experience Spain With Gerry Dawes: Culinary Trips to Spain & Travel Consulting on Spain

Gerry Dawes can be reached at
gerrydawes@aol.com; Alternate e-mail (use only if your e-mail to AOL is rejected): mailto:gerrydawes@gmail.com

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