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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)




12/12/2012

El Mercado de San Miguel, Madrid



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  El Mercado de San Miguel, Madrid.  
Photo by Gerry Dawes copyright 2012.



Cigalas (Dublin Bay prawns), El Mercado de San Miguel, Madrid. 
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2012; gerrydawes@aol.com


Coffee bar, El Mercado de San Miguel, Madrid. 
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2012; gerrydawes@aol.com



Slide show, Mercado de San Miguel.



Gerry Dawes can be reached at gerrydawes@aol.com

12/11/2012

Rafael Vidal's True Paellas Valencianas at Restaurante Levante outside of Valencia.


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One of Rafael Vidal's true paellas valencianas at Restaurante Levante outside of Valencia.  Real paella valenciana has no seafood, it has duck, chicken, pork and two kinds of bean, a flat type of bean called a vaina and a large local Valencian dried bean called a garrofó, which Rafael Vidal grows himself.  Photo by Gerry Dawes©2012. Contact gerrydawes@aol.com.

Rafael Vidal and his son, also Rafael, at Restaurante Levante in Benisanó, a town outside Valencia, with one of Rafael's true paellas Valencianas. Photo by Gerry Dawes©2007. Contact gerrydawes@aol.com.
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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. 

 In 2009, Dawes was awarded the Food Arts Silver Spoon Award in a profile written by José Andrés

". . .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.

12/05/2012

Huevos a la Flamenca, A Traditional Dish From Andalucía


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Huevos a la flamenca was one of the most ubiquitous dishes in southern Spain during my early years there in the late 1960s and early 1970s.  I had it a number of times, but seldom found that it was more than ordinary, partly because the dish was usually overcooked.  This week on Facebook I ran across a recipe for huevos a la flamenca, a dish I had never made, so I decided to try it.  The recipe, except for the fact that the left garlic out of the ingredients list, but including it the instructions on how to make the dish, was pretty good.   However, I found that the eggs on top got overcooked, so the next time I will poach them in olive oil and put them on top the dish after it come out of the oven.

Huevos a la flamenca, before going into the oven.  Made with an onion, tomato and garlic sofrito, Spanish olive oil blanched diced potatoes, strips of red pepper and peas, sprinkled with sea salt and topped with jamón serrano, chorizo and a fresh farm egg per person.

For two people:  First I made a sofrito with two medium slices of a large Vidalia onion diced, half a tomato diced, and a minced clove of garlic sauteed in Spanish extra virgen olive oil (Trader Joe's bargain brand).

I sliced half a red bell pepper into thin strips and sauteed them for five minutes in olive oil.

I had some boiled red bliss potatoes and diced one of them into small cubes, then briefly fried the potato in very hot olive oil. 

I had the oven heated to 350 degrees, but it should have been at 450 degrees or even 500 degrees (to enable this dish to finish in 10 minutes).

I added all these ingredients to a Spanish crockery casserole that had been heating in the oven and mixed them together.  

I added a cup of frozen peas and mixed them with the other ingredients, topped the dish with strips of jamón serrano (you can use prosciutto) and placed rounds of one sliced chorizo sausage in a circle on top of the other ingredients.  

I broke two fresh farm house eggs on top of the other ingredients and put the dish in the oven.  After ten minutes, the eggs were still not cooked, so I upped the temperature and checked periodically until the eggs were set. 

The dish come out quite good, except that the egg yolks were hard cooked.  That is the way the dish had always been served to me in restaurants, but I would much prefer the yolks to still be liquid, which would make an excellent sauce for this dish.  

I also plan to add mushrooms the next time I do this dish. 

Huevos a la flamenca, finished dish. 
_________________________________________________________________________  

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. 

 Dawes was awarded the Food Arts Silver Spoon Award in a profile written by José Andrés

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

12/03/2012

The Spanish Artisan Wine Group Arrives in US With a Plethora of Low Octane Beauties, View From The Cellar (July-August 2012) by John Gilman, Publisher



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The sun going down over the vineyards in Bierzo - time to fire up the grill and break out the tapas. 
 All photographs by Gerry Dawes©2011. Contact: gerrydawes@aol.com

Long-time Spanish wine expert and journalist, Gerry Dawes has finally tossed his hat back in the ring of the wine trade here in the United States, creating a new Spanish wine import company that is focused on searching out old school Spanish wines of great character that have resisted (or studiously ignored) the modern trend towards high alcohol and over-oaked wines that have plagued many of the most well-known properties on the Iberian peninsula during the last couple of decades.

Señor Dawes is probably the most vociferous opponent of excessive new oak to be found in the world of wine since the passing of Bartolo Mascarello, and he is no fan of the very heady and overripe style of winemaking that has been championed in many other journalistic circles behind the banner of Spain’s “Mediterranean Wine” fiction, which argues unpersuasively that Spain’s natural wine proclivity is to make overripe and alcoholic wines due to the limitations of its Mediterranean climate.  

Spain’s important native wine critic, Victor de la Serna of the publication, El Mundo, has long argued for this fantasy in the face of an historical legacy to the contrary, which helped provide the propaganda program behind which so many Spanish wineries sought to maximize profitability by fashioning wines solely for the over the top tastes of Robert Parker’s associate, Jay Miller, who has just retired from covering Spain for the Parker empire.

Gerry Dawes has long been a journalistic counterpoint to the “Mediterranean Wine” armada, and in the last several months has created an import company to search out traditionally-styled Spanish wines that steer clear of the alcoholic hubris that has marred so many new and formerly great wine-producing estates in Spain in the last fifteen or twenty years.

I have now had a handful of opportunities to taste through the wines in Gerry’s new import portfolio, which he has dubbed The Spanish Artisan Wine Group. Not surprisingly, given Gerry’s long history of visiting in Spain and knowing the wine regions of the country inside out, his roster of small and very serious winegrowers is as fine a group of classic Spanish wines as one is likely to find under one umbrella. I had intended to feature these wines as part of a larger piece on Traditionally-styled Spanish wines in a coming issue, but thought the breadth and depth of selections in the Dawes’ portfolio was sufficiently exciting to warrant a feature on their own particularly since many of these wines are made in very, very small quantities, and if I sat on the notes for a few months and included them in the upcoming feature, it is quite likely that many of these superb wines would already be sold out of the market.

So, I have decided to get these notes published as quickly as possible to ensure that readers who are so inclined might have the opportunity to track down some of these truly exceptional wines prior to their disappearing from the market.

The heart and soul of the Spanish Artisan Wine Group’s lineup are superb bottlings of Mencía on the red side of the ledger, and a great set of producers making stunning Albariño on one hand, and another group working their magic with Godello on the white wine side of the ledger. This is not to say that there are not some equally superb wines to be found here amongst Señor Dawes’ selections that are not made from one of these three grapes (in fact, there is a simply stunning, old vine Garnaxta from Camino del Villar Viña Aliaga that Gerry is not particularly fond of- given its riper style in comparison to most of the wines found in his portfolio- but which should absolutely not be missed!), so one would be foolish to focus exclusively on the small growers producing Mencía, Godello and Albariño in the roster of tinyestates represented here. But, that said, there is no denying that the Spanish Artisan Wine Group’s lineup of producers of Mencía, Godello and Albariño are all absolutely exceptional andevery bit as fine as anything I have ever tasted from these three grape varieties. In particular, his roster of Albariño producers are spectacular, with each estate emphatically showing just how great the wines from this grape can be when produced from low yields and old vines.

Along with Albariño producers represented here in the US by José Pastor, such as Pedralonga, Raul Pérez and Do Ferreiro, the likes of Spanish Artisan Wine & Spirits Group producers such as Lagar de Broullón, O'Forollo, Avó Roxo, Cabaleiro do Val and Rozas are redefining just what Albariño can and should be and are amongst some of the most exciting new (at least to me) dry white wines that I have tasted in several years. In fact, Gerry’s roster of Albariño producers is so superb that he generally saves them for the end of tastings, starting with reds and Rosado bottlings and letting the Albariño producers finish off the festivities at the two events I attended!

I first tasted several of these wines at the start of March of this year, as the wines were just scheduling to depart from Spain (and I for a month-long swing through France and Germany), and then followed up with a second tasting in late May when the wines had fully arrived here in New York. Both tastings emphasized that Señor Dawes’ lineup is chock full of outstanding producers new to the export markets and who are fashioning absolutely stellar, old school wines that are long on terroir, purity of fruit, tangy acids and great personality that are derived from their traditional places of origin, rather than from a tony French tonnelier or trendy international winemaking consultant.

While I have not yet had the pleasure to visit and taste in the cellars with these producers, it is now at the top of my list for future tasting trips and it will not be long until I have the pleasure to meet these vignerons in person and get a better feel for their philosophies and vineyard landscapes. For, these are really superb wines and some of the most exciting new producers to cross my path in several years. For subscribers not located here in the states, I am sure that these small artisan producers would be delighted to be contacted directly about the availability of their wines, as there is little doubt that they are currently swimming upstream from the more “typical” Spanish wine market at home (still seemingly enamored of alcoholic clout and tons of new wood) and would be amenable to sharing a few of their great bottles with sympathetic private clients from around the continent.

 
Slide show on The Spanish Artisan Wine Group - Gerry Dawes Selections
(Double click to enlarge.)


Vinos Blancos

2011 Finca Teira Blanco - Bodegas Manuel Formigo (Ribeiro)
The 2011 Finca Teira Blanco from Bodegas Manuel Formigo is a blend of sixty-five percent Treixadura, twenty percent Godello and fifteen percent Torrontés, making it a slightly
different mix than the 2010 reviewed below. The wine tips the scales at 12.7 percent alcohol and offers up a fine bouquet of white peach, lemon, a beautiful base of white soil tones, a touch of candied lemon peel (think mature Raveneau Chablis), pretty spice tones and a beautifully musky floral topnote redolent of honeysuckle. On the palate the wine is fullish, complex and beautifully balanced, with lovely, ripe acids, fine focus and grip and a very long, classy finish that really does its best work at the table. A really lovely bottle of Ribeiro white wine. Fine juice that is still fairly young and will clearly develop secondary layers of complexity with further bottle age. 2012-2018. 91+.

2010 Finca Teira Blanco - Bodegas Manuel Formigo (Ribeiro)

The 2010 Finca Teira is a blend of seventy percent Treixadura, twenty percent Godello and ten percent Alvilla. It weighs in at a cool 12.5 percent alcohol and is a lovely middleweight, offering up a complex nose of lemon, grapefruit, salty soil tones, citrus peel and a touch of beeswax in the upper register. On the palate the wine is medium-full, bright and very wellbalanced, with perfectly respectable depth in the mid-palate, good focus and fine length and grip on the finish. This is not exactly snappy today, but it remains fresh and vibrant for near-term drinking. 2012-2015. 89.

2010 Teira X- Bodegas Manuel Formigo (Ribeiro)

Young Manuel Formigo de la Fuente is the winegrower now in charge of his family’s vineyards in Ribeiro, tucked in a corner of Galicia just above the Portuguese border in northwestern Spain. The estate’s “Teira X” bottling hails from some of their oldest vines in their top vineyard site, Finca Miño Teira, and is a blend of sixty percent Treixadura, fifteen percent each Albariño and Alvilla and ten percent Loureira. Only a few hundred cases are produced each vintage. This is a more structured and slightly riper (thirteen versus 12.5 percent) wine than the estate’s Finca Teira Blanco, with more mid-palate depth and a superior backbone of acidity. The 2010 is an absolutely superb wine, jumping from the glass in a vibrant mélange of lemon, fresh bay leaf, stony white soil tones, orange peel and a dollop of petrol. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, complex and beautifully soil-driven, with sound acids, lovely focus and simply exceptional length and grip on the finish. A superb bottle. 2012-2018. 92.

2010 Sabatelius Godello-Treixadura Blanco (Ribeira Sacra)

The 2010 Sabatelius Blanco is a blend of sixty percent Godello and forty percent Treixadura and is a terrific bottle. The stylish and complex nose wafts from the glass in a blend of pink grapefruit, beeswax, tart melon, lemon peel, salty soil tones, a touch of green olive and a top note of resinous herbs. On the palate the wine is vibrant, medium-full and complex, with a fine core of fruit, bright acids, excellent focus and grip and a long, pure and transparent finish.  Fine juice. 2012-2018. 92.

Godello

2010 D. Berna Godello, Adegas D. Berna (Valdeorras)

Adegas D. Berna is owned by the young husband and wife team of Berna Guitián and Elena Blanco, who together with their talented consulting enologist, José Luis Murcia, produce an absolutely lovely bottle of Godello. The deep, complex and very pretty nose wafts from the
glass in a mix of lime, tart orange, salty soil tones, a hint of white peach, olives, white flowers
and a bit of citrus peel in the upper register. On the palate the wine is deep, medium-full and
vibrant, with lovely intensity of flavor, a fine core, crisp acids and lovely length and grip on the beautifully focused finish. This is a really lovely bottle. 2012-2018. 91+.

 
Spanish Artisan Wine Group founder Gerry Dawes (right), enjoying a glass of Cabaleiro do Val Albariño with winegrower Paco Dovalo López.

Albariño

Albariño has long been considered one of Spain’s finest white wine grapes, but much of its history has been marked by unfulfilled potential, as the low prices that most of these wines sold for on the international market simply dictated that the grape had to be cropped high in order for wine- growers to survive economically and make a living sufficient to keep their families fed and sheltered. Happily, one is beginning to see more examples of Albariño these days that are clearly focused on maximizing the potential quality of the varietal by keeping yields much lower and searching out blocks of old vines, with the resulting wines showing a dramatically different profile of complexity and depth of flavor than was the case when the only way for a winegrower to survive with this variety was to over-crop and try to get by on volume.

Much the same phenomenon can be seen in a French appellation such as Sancerre, where there continues to be oceans of rather dilute, simple and easy-drinking wine produced from very high crop yields, but where the greatest producers of the region- people such as Edmond and Anne Vatan, the Cotat cousins, Gérard Boulay and others have shown just how profound a wine can be produced from sauvignon blanc in the best terroirs of Sancerre when yields are kept down and the wines are crafted to maximize quality and complexity, rather than simply aiming to make a profit through volume. A similar push upwards in quality can be seen in the region of Rías Biaxas with Albariño, and the last couple of years have seen some absolutely brilliant examples cross my path from some of the top producers in the region. Prior to tasting these wines, I never imagined that Albariño could produce such profoundly complex, intensely flavored and ageworthy wines, and this new trend may well be one of the most exciting today in all of Spain.

Two decades ago, a group of fourteen growers who specialize in Rías Biaxas Albariño decided
to form a quality-oriented growers’ association, which they dubbed the “Asociación de Bodegas Artesanas”, and six of these estates are now part of Señor Dawes’ portfolio. One of the chief tenets of the producers in this association, besides low yields and old vines is the use solely of indigenous yeasts for the fermentation of their wines. These top estates also differ from much of the more commercially-oriented Albariño out there in choosing to bottle their wines significantly later than is customary in the more quantity-oriented houses, allowing the wines to nurture on their fine lees typically until mid-summer of the following year after the harvest. The growers reported on below from The Spanish Artisan Wine Group are certainly amongst the very finest of this new genre of “quality over quantity” Albariño producers, and there are very few other vignerons working with this grape with whom I have experience that can match the stunning quality of these wines.

2010 Albariño - Avó Roxo (Rías Biaxas)

Adega Avó Roxo is currently run by Antonio Gondar Moldes, who took over the management of the family estate only in 2007. His grandfather, Serafin Gondar began production here in the 1930s and this was at one time one of the most famous wineries in the region, winning several awards as late as the 1970s. The family vineyard is one and a half hectares in size and planted entirely to Albariño and Antonio Gondar Moldes is dedicated to taking the quality here to the highest level, and Avó Roxo is one of the most recent inductees into the growers’ association in the region. His 2010 Albariño is a stunning wine, soaring from the glass in a blaze of tart orange, lime, stony, salty minerality, a touch of green olive, ocean breeze and a smoky topnote. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and very transparent, with a great core of fruit, crisp acids, outstanding focus and balance and superb grip on the very, very long finish. This is a stunning example of Albariño! 2012-2020. 95.

2010 Albariño - Cabaleiro do Val (Rías Biaxas)

The Adega of Cabaleiro do Val is owned by Francisco “Paco” Dovalo López, who founded and is the current president of the Growers’ Association here. While the winery was only officially incorporated in 1989, the family winegrowing traditions here go back centuries and Señor Dovalo López has some extremely old vines in his vineyard. He has taken selection massale cuttings from some of his one hundred and fifty year-old vines to use for replanting purposes, thus retaining the unique character of his outstanding Albariños. The 2010 offering from Cabaleiro do Val is absolutely outstanding, jumping from the glass in a deep, complex and gently leesy mélange of grapefruit, orange peel, stony minerality, lemongrass and a smoky topnote. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, complex and rock solid at the core, with snappy acids, laser-like focus and simply exquisite length and grip on the perfectly balanced and soil-driven finish. This is a brilliant Albariño! 2012-2020+.  94+.

2010 Albariño - Lagar de Broullón (Rías Biaxas)

Lagar de Broullón is owned by José Pintos, who farms this two and a half hectare vineyard in the village of Meaño, which is one of the very finest for Albariño in the Val de Salnés section of Rías Biaxas. The vineyard is situated with a south by southwest exposition, allowing the grapes to reach fine ripeness each year and still maintain a great base of minerality.  The 2010 from Señor Pintos is a beautiful wine, offering up a deep and vibrant nose of fresh lime, green apple, salty oceanic tones, citrus peel, a bit of lemongrass and a great base of stony minerality. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, complex and classy, with a superb core of fruit, crisp acids and lovely length and grip on the perfectly focused finish. High class juice! 2012-2020.  93.

2010 Albariño - Lagar de Candes (Rías Biaxas)

Eulogio Gondar is the owner and winegrower at Lagar de Candes, and he represents the fourth generation of his family to head this small estate, which is also located in the village of Meaño, in the Val de Salnés section of Rías Biaxas. The soils here are granitic in nature, producing beautifully mineral expressions of Albariño. The 2010 from Lagar de Candes is a lovely wine, wafting from the glass in a complex mix of tangerine, elegant leesy tones, pulverized stone, lime zest and a saline topnote of the ocean. On the palate the wine is pure, medium-full and zesty, with lovely complexity, very good mid-palate depth, sound framing acids and lovely length and grip on the focused and classy finish. This does not quite possess quite the same “electricity” on the backend as the very best Albariños in this lineup, but it is a superb bottle of wine. 2012-2016. 90+.

2010 Albariño “O’Forrollo” - Bodega Meis Otero (Rías Biaxas)

Bodega Meis Otero is owned and operated by the Fernando Meis Otero, who is one of the very youngest members of the Asociación de Bodegas Artesanas. He took over the reins of the family bodega in 2001. Like many of his fellow members of the growers’ association, his vineyards are located in the Val de Salnés. The family’s one and a half hectares of vines used to be planted to a mix of regional grapes, but Fernand Meis Otero’s father took the step to plant exclusively Albariño here in the early 1980s. Thus, the vineyards are just now coming into their prime as they close in on thirty years of age. The 2010 O’Forrollo Albariño is an outstanding wine, delivering a deep and very complex nose of sweet grapefruit, pulverized stone, orange peel, briny oceanic overtones, lemongrass and a touch of acacia blossom in the upper register.  On the palate the wine is deep, fullish, complex and very classy, with a superb core of fruit, laser-like focus, outstanding intensity of flavor and superb length and grip on the beautifullybalanced finish that closes with a distinct note of orange peel. Lovely juice. 2012-2020. 93.

2010 Albariño - Rozas (Rías Biaxas)

Adega Rozas is located in the village of Meaño in the Val de Salnés and is run by winegrower Manolo Dovalo. This family estate goes back several generations, and its 6.3 hectares of vineyards are loaded with old vines- many dating back more than two generations!  Señor Dovalo insists that it is the very high percentage of old vines in this very favored section of the Val de Salnés that allows him to make such outstanding Albariños. The 2010 Rozas is simply stunning, soaring from the glass in a complex blaze of lime zest, tart orange, kaleidoscopic minerality, lemongrass, gentle leesy tones and a smoky topnote. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and very racy, with a rock solid core of fruit, brisk acids, laser-like focus and simply stunning length and grip on the very minerally and magically complex finish. This is as magical a glass of Albariño as I have ever had the pleasure to taste! 2012-2020+. 96+.

Rosados

2011 Lágrima de Garnacha Rosado - Bodegas Camino del Villar Aliaga (Navarra)

The 2011 Rosado from Aliaga is a beautiful bottle of dry Rosé that is drinking superbly out of the blocks, but shows every indication of improving with a year or two of bottle age. Made from one hundred percent Garnacha, with its color arrived at by a bit of skin contact, the 2011 offers up a deep and stunning nose of blood orange, cherries, rose petals, lovely, chalky soil tones and a bit of orange peel in the upper register. On the palate the wine is deep, fullbodied and beautifully balanced, with a lovey core of fruit, bright acids and excellent focus and grip on the long and classy finish. Just a beautiful bottle of Rosado, with great purity and no “candied” aspects on either the nose or palate. 2012-2016. 92.

2011 Viña Catajarros “Elite” Rosado - Bodegas Hermanos Merino (Cigales)

The Viña Catajarros Rosado from Bodegas Hermanos Merino is made up of a blend of eighty percent tempranillo, five percent Garnacha, and fifteen percent of two white wine grapes, Verdejo (ten percent) and alvillo (five percent). This winery is run by two brothers, Eugenio and his brother Merino, and the estate is a Rosado specialist, with the vast majority of their production comprised of dry rosé (augmented by a bit of red wine). The 2011 Viña Catajarros Rosado offers up a superb and vibrant nose of cherries, orange peel, salty soil tones and a topnote of dried roses. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and tangy, with a superb base of soil, excellent focus and bounce and a very long, complex and classy finish. I would give this superb wine another year of bottle age to really let it blossom, as the 2010 shows that there is more yet to come as this wine develops with a bit of cellaring. High class Rosado here! 2013-2018. 93.

2010 Viña Catajarros “Elite” Rosado- Bodegas Hermanos Merino (Cigales)

The 2010 Viña Catajarros Rosado from Bodegas Hermanos Merino is made up the same blend as the 2011, and the additional year of bottle age has really let this wine come into its own.  The 2010 version is a superb bottle of rosé, jumping from the glass in a complex and classy nose of cherries, melon, pomegranate, a touch of spiced meats, orange peel, complex, soil tones and a nice touch of smokiness in the upper register. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and beautifully balanced, with a lovely core of fruit, with gentle framing acids, superb soil signature and excellent length and grip on the complex finish. High class and serious Rosado that shows every indication of continuing to drink well for several more years. 2012-2016+? 93+.

Assorted Vinos Tintos

2010 Tempranillo - Camino del Villar Viña Aliaga (Navarra)

Carlos Aliaga’s tempranillo never sees any oak and is raised entirely in stainless steel tanks. It hails from the family’s limestone-based vineyards located in the center of Navarra and is a superb value. The 2010 tips the scales at a very civilized 13.5 percent alcohol and delivers a lot of aromatic and flavor complexity for its very modest price tag. The bouquet is a blend of black cherries, new leather, a touch of chocolate, lovely spice tones, a bit of meatiness and a topnote of violets. On the palate the wine is medium-full, complex and has a bit of ripe tannins on the backend, with a sappy core of fruit, good focus and fine length and grip. This will be even better with a year’s bottle age, but it is already an awful lot of wine for a bargain price! 2012-2020. 87+.

2007 Garnacha Vieja - Camino del Villar Viña Aliaga (Navarra)

The Aliaga family’s old vine Garnacha bottling, which hails from forty to fifty year-old vines is outstanding. Not particularly ripe by contemporary grenache standards, the 2007 weighs in at 13.9 percent alcohol and is raised in a blend of French and American oak- a small percentage of which is new - for six months. Gerry Dawes is quite funny in commenting that he really does not like this wine, but his customers keep asking for it!  It is really an exceptional bottle of Garnacha, offering up a deep, impressively complex and sappy nose of crushed raspberries, a touch of meatiness, gentle notes of chocolate, garrigue, bonfires and a lovely base of chalky soil tones. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and complex, with melting tannins, a fine core of fruit, superb focus and balance and lovely length and grip. This is a high class bottle of grenache that never strays over the line into jammy obsequiousness and is another dynamite value from this superb producer. 2012-2020+. 92.

2007 Colección Privada Tinto - Camino del Villar Viña Aliaga (Navarra)

The 2007 Colección Privada Tinto from Camino del Villar Viña Aliaga is a blend of eighty percent tempranillo and twenty percent cabernet sauvignon and is aged again in a blend of French and American oak, this time for twelve months duration, and with the percentage of new wood slightly higher than for the Garnacha Vieja. The nose on the 2007 is deep and complex, with a nice, old school feel to its mélange of black cherries, grilled meats, coffee grounds, cigar some and a lovely base of dark soil tones. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and “nobly rustic”, with a superb core of fruit, modest tannins and excellent length and grip on the backend. This is not quite as complex as the Garnacha 2007, but it too is a very good bottle of wine. 2012-2020. 89.

Ribeira Sacra (and other Mencía-based Reds)
2011 Décima Amandi Mencía - José Manuel Rodríguez (Ribeira Sacra)

José Manuel Rodríguez is the head of the growers’ association and regulatory agency of Ribeira Sacra, and makes one of the finest examples of Mencía I have ever had the pleasure to taste. Like the Don Bernardino Mencía, these two lovely vintages of Décima hail from very steep vineyards overlooking the Sil River in the village of Amandi. The 2011 Décima weighs in at a very classic octane of 12.5 percent and roars from the glass in a sophisticated and utterly classic nose of pomegranate, lead pencil, slate, a nice touch of gamebird, coffee bean and a gentle medicinal topnote that is vaguely reminiscent of Hermitage. On the palate the wine is fullish, complex and very intensely flavored, with laser-like focus, fine mid-palate depth, tangy acids and great length and grip on the very softly tannic finish. Utterly classic Mencía! 2012-2020+.  94.

2011 Toalde Mencía - Roberto Regal (Ribeira Sacra)

Roberto Regal’s production is miniscule, as he owns only about one hectare of Mencía vines here in a very steep vineyard overlooking the Miño River. There are just a handful of older indigenous varieties also in the vineyard here, so Señor Regal makes a field blend of these with his Mencía to produce this superb wine. The 2011 Toalde is outstanding, offering up a deep and complex bouquet of black cherries, pomegranate, a touch of nutskin, a lovely base of slate and granitic minerality, smoke and a gentle topnote of fresh herbs. On the palate the wine is deep, fullish, long and very sappy in the mid-palate, with fine focus and balance and a long, suave and bouncy finish. This is a lovely wine. 2012-2018. 91+.

2010 Viña Barroca Mencía - Bodegas Adriá (Bierzo)

The Viña Barroca Mencía bottling from Bodegas Adriá hails from thirty to sixty year-old vines grown on hillside vineyards that range from 450 to a 1000 meters above sea level. The soils here in Bierzo are not the pure slate one finds in Ribeira Sacra, but rather a mix of quartz, clay and slate. The 2010 Viña Barroca Mencía was aged entirely in stainless steel and given four months additional bottle age prior to release and weighs in at a ripe 13.5 percent alcohol. The nose is deep and classy, offering up a youthful mélange of dark berries, medicinal black cherries, a touch of tree bark, graphite, garrigue and a fine base of soil that seems to show a slightly ferrous complexity. On the palate the wine is deep, fullish and intensely flavored, with lovely transparency, a solid core, fine focus and excellent length and grip on the complex and classy finish. I should note that I tasted this wine twice, with the wine once popped and poured and on the other occasion given one hour in decanter prior to serving. The additional aeration made a world of difference in allowing this young wine to blossom fully and decanting is very much recommended for this fine wine. This is a stunning value! 2012-2020. 92.

2010 Mencía D. Berna - Adegas D. Berna (Valdeorras)

Adegas D. Berna is a specialist in Godello, but their 2010 Mencía d’Berna is also a splendid wine and not to be overlooked with all the white wine fireworks being crafted in the cellars and vine- yards here by the estate’s (regionally) well-known and very talented consultant, José Luis Murcia. This is an absolutely classic example of Mencía, offering up a superb aromatic mélange of dark berries, pomegranate, a touch of tree bark, spice tones redolent of cumin, a bit of bitter chocolate and a lovely base of complex, stony soil tones. On the palate the wine is deep, fullish and very intensely flavored, with a sappy core of fruit, tangy acids, excellent focus and grip and a very long, complex finish that stays light on its feet all the way to the conclusion.  There is just a faint touch of volatile acidity to this beauty when it is first opened, so a short stint in decanter is quite beneficial. Fine, fine juice. 2012-2017. 92+.

2010 Décima Amandi Mencía - José Manuel Rodríguez (Ribeira Sacra)

2010 Décima Mencía from José Manuel Rodríguez is another absolute classic in the making. The deep and utterly refined nose soars from the glass in a mélange of black cherries, pomegranate, a touch of road tar, bonfires, fresh herb tones, cracked pepper and a gloriously pure and complex base of slate. On the palate the wine is deep, fullish and very intensely flavored, with a sappy core, tangy acids, exquisite balance and a very, very long, focused and refined finish. The 2010 Décima Mencía is a beautifully crafted, complex and refined wine that is very pure and precise on both the nose and palate. It is still a young wine that will continue to blossom with further bottle age, but there is nothing structurally forbidding about the wine today and it will be a very difficult task keeping this wine in the cellar and not drinking it right away. Great juice. 2012-2025. 94.

2010 Sabatelius Mencía - Primitivo Lareu (Ribeira Sacra)

Primitivo Lareu is a superb winemaker on the far western end of Ribeira Sacra, located in the sub-region of Chantada, which happens to be the coolest vineyard area in all of Ribeira Sacra. In addition to his winegrowing responsibilities, Señor Lareu is also a sculptor and painter, but first and foremost these days, he is a serious viticulturist bent on extracting as much terroir from his vineyards and producing as transparent a glass of wine as possible. His 2010 Mencía is outstanding, offering up a stunning and sappy nose of pomegranate, black cherries, woodsmoke, beautifully complex herbal tones, espresso and a superb base of stony, slate soil. On the palate the wine is deep, medium-full and dancing on the palate, with superb lightness of step coupled to excellent intensity. The wine is impressively complex and focused, with bright acids, little tannin and outstanding length and grip on the bouncy finish. Superb juice. 2012-2020+. 93+.

2010 Toalde Mencía - Roberto Regal (Ribeira Sacra)

The 2010 Toalde from Roberto Regal is excellent, wafting from the glass in a smoky mélange of dark berries, black cherries, espresso, tree bark, stony soil tones, fresh herbs and woodsmoke. On the palate the wine is deep, fullish and intensely flavored, with lovely transparency, very good mid-palate depth and superb length and grip on the focused and complex finish. This wine is very light on its feet and yet packs plenty of intensity. I suspect it will prove to be a touch longer-lived than the equally fine 2011 Toalde bottling. Classic Ribeira Sacra. 2012-2020+. 92.

2010 Viña Cazoga Mencía - Jorge Carnero (Ribeira Sacra)

Viña Cazoga has a long history of fine wine production in the Ribeira Sacra and was once one of the largest and most important estates in the area, but during the nadir of the region’s fortunes- which really started at the dawn of the twentieth century, when so many of these steep vineyard sites were abandoned and young people emigrated en masse in search of more profitable work- Jorge Carnero’s family’s vineyard holdings in the village of Amandi dwindled down to almost nothing. Jorge’s grandfather, Raimundo Vidal, was instrumental in starting to resurrect the Ribeira Sacra region in the 1970s and today the family owns a single, 3.9 hectare parcel of vines right above the Sil River that was long recognized as the finest vineyard in Ribeira Sacra. Almost the entire vineyard is planted with vines in excess of one hundred years of age, with ninety-five percent planted to Mencía and the balance made up of a mix of Tempranillo and Merenzao. The 2010 Viña Cazoga Mencía is a beautiful wine, offering up a deep, very intense and complex nose of black cherries, pomegranate, black pepper, a touch of spiced meats, slate soil tones, espresso and a topnote of cigar smoke. On the palate the wine is deep, fullbodied and very sappy at the core, with great focus and grip, excellent balance, bright acids, virtually no tannins and outstanding length and grip on the dancing and palate-staining finish.  Great Ribeira Sacra! 2012-2020. 94.

2008 Viña Cazoga “Don Diego” Mencía - Jorge Carnero (Ribeira Sacra)

The Don Diego bottling from Jorge Carnero spends six to twelve months of its elevage in four year-old, five hundred liter French oak barrels prior to bottling and is released after further bottle age. Even using four year-old barrels, the Mencía grape still shows a fair bit of wood influence in this wine, which does make for a markedly different impression than the stainless steel-aged regular bottling. The 2008 offers up a very deep and classy nose of black cherries, bitter chocolate, woodsmoke, lovely soil tones and a nice, generous touch of vanillin oak. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, complex and quite suave on the attack, with a bit less overtly terroir-derived soil tones in evidence. The finish is very long and moderately tannic, and though the wine is focused nicely, there is not quite the same purity and blazing transparency here as is found in the 2010 regular bottling. This is still a very well-made wine, but it seems that the oak takes away a bit more than it adds to the final blend. 2012-2025. 90.

Gerry Dawes can be reached at gerrydawes@aol.com


11/26/2012

Food Vignettes: From Asturias, Three Emblematic Dishes


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 From Don Rockwell's Dining Blog (Washington, D.C.)

"Neighboring Asturias is another sleeper.  It has only a miniscule amount of wine, but great cider and a multitude of some of the best cheeses in the world and bean dishes like verdinas con mariscos (green flageolot-type beans cooked with crab, shrimp and/or clams) and fabada asturiana, along with arroz con leche (rice pudding) with a creme brulee-like caramelized crust.  

Then you add some of the most awesomely beautiful high mountain scenery and seashore in Spain, bucolic mountain villages saved by cheese making and colorful fishing ports and Asturias is a paradise, a place to get away from it all."

I have made this verdinas dish twice since I returned from Asturias.


Posted Image
Asturian verdinas con mariscos (beans cooked with shellfish), a dish made with beans
brought back from my recent trip to Asturias, crab legs, clams and shrimp. 11-11-2012.
Dish and photo by Gerry Dawes, 2012.

Posted Image
La Maquina restaurant's famous fabada asturiana, fabada bean stew with chorizo and morcilla.
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2011 / gerrydawes@aol.com.

Posted Image
La Maquina restaurant's arroz con leche, rice pudding with a caramelized crust.
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2011 / gerrydawes@aol.com.

Gerry Dawes can be reached at gerrydawes@aol.com

11/20/2012

Morcilla (Spanish black pudding or blood sausage) with Pimientos


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Montatidos/pinchos de morcilla con pimientos, bar in the Casco Viejo, San Sebastían.  
Photo by Gerry Dawes/2008 .

Morcilla con arroz a la plancha con pimientos, (grilled blood sausage with rice, topped with roasted red peppers (a typical preparation in Burgos), Rincon de Espana, Burgos, Spain.  
Photo by Gerry Dawes/2005.

 
More Morcilla (Slide show, double click right to enlarge.) _______________________________________________________________________

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. 

Dawes was awarded the Food Arts Silver Spoon Award in a profile written by José Andrés

". . .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.
 

11/19/2012

Foro Internacional de Turismo de Benidorm 2012 - Entrevista a Gerry Dawes (in Spanish)


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Gerry Dawes would like to host a reality television series on wine, gastronomy, culture and travel in Spain that features a different star American chef in each episode.
Serious inquiries welcome.

Gerry Dawes can be reached at gerrydawes@aol.com.
 

11/16/2012

La Castela: One of the best tapas bars in Madrid

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Zamburiñas (small scallops), La Castela, Madrid. Photos by Gerry Dawes©2012  

One of the best tapas bars in Madrid, with a wonderful modernized traditional cuisine tablecloth restaurant in back, which is frequented by some of the city's top food lovers.

(Slide Show)  

La Castela
Doctor Castelo, 22 
(Just a block or so from the northeast corner of El Parque de Buen Retiro-Retiro Park). 
Teléfono: 91 573 55 90.

Gerry Dawes can be reached at gerrydawes@aol.com

New Sherry Book by Peter Liem & Jesus Barquin Endorsement Quote by Gerry Dawes



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The classic family of Sherry-style wines, which includes Manzanilla and Montilla, is incredibly multi-faceted. Chilled dry, finos, manzanillas and amontillados are exceptional companions to shellfish, tapas and sushi; amontillados and olorosos can be a stunning accompaniment to cheeses and dishes with mushrooms or red peppers and the dessert sherries pair splendidly with everything from foie gras to fruit tarts to espresso or cappuccino. Likewise, this versatility and rainbow of flavors is indispensable in cooking; a splash of sherry can make a dish taste unique. The range of more than half a dozen different basic styles, the spectrum of hues, aromas and flavors in these wines, their utility with food and the fact that many of these marvelous wine jewels are downright inexpensive should make Sherry a popular wine indeed.  


However, there has often been a dearth of reliable information about these wonderful wines, so I am delighted to say that wine writer Peter Liem and Spanish Sherry expert Jesús Barquín have teamed up to create Sherry, Manzanilla & Montilla:  A Guide to the Traditional Wines of Andalucía, a well researched book that should be an indispensable addition to the library of any wine aficionado, wine professional, chef or restaurateur.  – Gerry Dawes, Spanish National Gastronomy Prize and Founder of The Spanish Artisan Wine Group

Gerry Dawes can be reached at gerrydawes@aol.com

11/11/2012

Andalucian Journal: Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Home of Manzanilla Sherry: Adventures with Javier Hidalgo, Producer of La Gitana Manzanilla, in Las Marismas, Lunch in a Very Secret Place


* * * * *
All photos and text by Gerry Dawes©2012.
Contact gerrydawes@aol.com for publication rights.


Langostinos de Sanlúcar with La Gitana manzanilla, in evening light,
Bajo de Guía beach on the Guadalquívir River, Sanlúcar de Barrameda.


In early April, after stays during Holy Week in Sevilla and Ronda, I took my spousal equivalent, Kay Killian Balun, with me to Sanlúcar de Barrameda (See Sanlúcar Sunset in a Manzanilla Glass) to spend a couple of days with a long-time friend Javier Hidalgo, producer of Bodegas Hidalgo La Gitana Manzanilla de Sanlúcar, and his wife, Paula de la Infiesta, at their finca, the charming, bucolic farm where they live between Sanlúcar and Chipiona.



Javier Hidalgo drinking his Bodegas Hidalgo Napoleon Amontillado \

as an aperitif before our riacheros lunch.

In just two days, we managed a number of wonderful adventures, including a foray into Las Marismas, the famous wetlands and bird sanctuary north of Sanlúcar (and west across the Río Guadalquíver), where Javier and Paula took us to have lunch at a riacheros (river fishermen) bar-restaurant located in a place in Las Marismas, so isolated and secret that I am not going to tell you the name! 

In deference to Kay, Javier spoke to us in his fluent, British-nuanced English. "My father spoke French and English, so I began to learn English at home. but I was taught French at school," he explained. "But by the time I went to university, I realised that English was going to be useful, so I started to study it. My parents' home was very international with many foreign visitors related to the wine and bird worlds, so I had many chances to practice English. During my military service at Rota Naval Station, I worked as an interpreter and then I further refined my English on frequent visits and hunting trips to the UK which is our best market outside Spain." (I coincidentally first came to Spain to do the last two years of my military service at Rota, a major American Navy base, which is how I first came to know and love Sanlúcar de Barrameda.)

We couldn't have been with a better guide for Kay's first introduction to Las Marismas.  Javier grew up going on repeated birding and hunting excursions into what he refers to as La Marisma.  When I told him that I had always heard these wetlands called 'Las Marismas,' Javier, who published his memoirs of the area, "Recuerdos de La Marisma" (Ediciones Geribel, 2005), clarified the term for me.  "Both ways are correct. There are many marismas in the world but for me this is the most important one, that is why I refer to it as “La Marisma.”  You can use either.

Javier Hidalgo (with co-author Christopher Fielden) also wrote
La Manzanilla: El vino de Sanlúcar (Almuzara, 2009),  for which, at Javier's request, I wrote the foreword.

As we bounced over a track that had been filled with stones that were bone-jarring, even in Javier's four-by-four, he told us, "The restaurant we are going to is nothing fancy.  In fact, the place is bit raffish, but the food is quite good."

"Sounds like my kind of place," I replied, (If you do find out where this place is, you should rent a half-track or a tank to get there; the road is that rough.)
 
This part of La Marismas wetlands is not quite the same as the bayous of Louisiana. La Marisma and Coto Doñana, the legendary bird sanctuary and major eco-system on the west bank of Río Guadalquíver has some similarities.

,
Riachero fishing boats in the Las Marismas wetlands near Sanlúcar de Barrameda. 

At the restaurant, Javier started me off with a copita of the finely nuanced, beautifully made Hidalgo Napoleon, one of the very best Amontillados made, while Paula poured Kay a copita of La Gitana Manzanilla, a delicious, dry, crisp, lovely sherry that is a great accompaniment to seafood.  All of us would continue drinking La Gitana throughout the meal.

Paula de la Infiesta pouring La Gitana Manzanilla at the riacheros restaurant in Las Marismas.



Sanlúcar and Las Marismas slide show.
(Double click on image, go to Picasa web albums, click on slideshow and the F11 for full screen view.)


Juan Manuel, the owner of this hidden riacheros bar, served us a lunch of that began with a loaf of freshly baked country bread, then a platter of same-day camarones (tiny shrimp), which can be eaten whole (and are used to make one of the great folk dishes of Andalucía, tortillitas de camarones, a tiny shrimp-filled fritter that we would have the following day at Bar Barbiana on the Plaza del Cabildo in Sanlúcar).


Camarones, small Las Marismas shrimp, at the bar-restaurant that caters
to the riacheros, the men who fish the waters of Las Marismas.


Next Juan Manuel brought out a large, beautifully browned, whole calamar (squid), which Paula cut up in to smaller piece, then we had a fish dish, a whole grilled albor (grey mullet) that Javier advised us should only be ordered here, because it is good when fished from plankton- and camarones-rich brackish salt waters of Las Marismas, but is not a good fish when caught in the ocean.  All of this was accompanied with La Gitana Manzanilla, which we kept cold in a table side ice bucket.
 
 
Camarones, tiny shrimp caught in Las Marismas shrimp and La Gitana Manzanilla sherry  
at the bar-restaurant  that caters to the riacheros, the men who fish the waters of Las Marismas.

Besides the rugged, bouncy trip in a four-by-four over one of the roughest roads I have been on in years in Andalucía to get to the restaurant, Javier Hidaldo, a well-known bird expert as well as a bodeguero, brought us back on a rough dirt track through marshes where we saw large flocks of flamingos, slender-billed gaviotas (sea gulls), ducks, geese and other water birds; passed through herds of grazing cattle and saw Marismas cowboys on horseback herding cattle; and saw the amazing Marisma's cattle that graze on aqua-plants up to their bellies in salt water. 



Flamingos, Las Marismas.

 

Cattle grazing on aqua-plants in the water in Las Marismas.
 



The bird show continued back at Javier’s and Paula’s finca south of Sanlúcar, where Javier keeps ducks, geese, turkeys, Guinea hens, chickens including fiesty bantam roosters and a peacock that likes to fly up to the highest point of the homestead and shriek, often in the middle of the night, as peacocks are wont to do (see my article onValladolid with photos of the semi-wild peacocks of the Campo Grande park in the center of town).




Ducks and ducklings at the Hidalgo finca outside Sanlúcar de Barrameda.

Javier Hidalgo loves animals and also keep three horses, which he exercises on local beaches and, during the spectacular annual thoroughbred races on Bajo de Guía beach each August in Sanlúcar, Javier, who maintains, still in his fifties, jockey weight, races his thoroughbred against much younger competition and has won a number of races.


Slide show of the horse races on the beach at Sanlúcar.
 (Double click on image, go to Picasa web albums, click on slideshow and the F11 for full screen view.)
______________________________________________________________________________________________  
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. 

In December, 2009, Dawes was awarded the Food Arts Silver Spoon Award in a profile written by José Andrés

". . .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.
 
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