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Food Arts Silver Spoon Award to Gerry Dawes


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

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



5/22/2015

Colman Andrews of The Daily Meal on Gerry Dawes, President-Jefe of The Spanish Artisan Wine & Spirits Group - Gerry Dawes Selections


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Gerry Dawes is a famous character in the Spanish food and wine scene, both on these shores and in Spain itself. A veteran of the wholesale wine business, he has been traveling around Spain for decades, discovering its best things to eat and drink, and promoting them — the wines above all — in the United States, through personal appearances, interlocking websites (click here for the main one www.gerrydawesspain.com), and guided tours. 

Gerry Dawes at Chef Paco Roncero's Estado Puro in Madrid with a glass of Godello. 
Photo by Harold Heckle©2014, Associated Press, Madrid.

He is a prolific writer and pretty much nonstop photographer (his images of Ferran Adrià, Mario Batali, and other important chefs have appeared on The Daily Meal).  He is highly opinionated — some would say cantankerous — and extremely knowledgeable. His passion for things Spanish (he knows the country's literature and history and its flamenco almost as well as he knows its gastronomy) is so strong as to seem proprietary; somebody once called him, not without a hint of sarcasm, "the man who invented Spain."

Well, call him what you will, but Dawes has recently gotten back into the wine business, as an importer of small lots made by small producers, mostly in northwestern Spain, and his initial offerings include some bottlings that are nothing less than a revelation.

Dawes is forthright about what he doesn't like in wine: He is an outspoken foe of high alcohol, too much oak, insufficient acidity, the over-extracted "fruit bomb" style, and maybe most of all the anonymous could-be-from-anywhere character that all too many winemakers in every corner of the world seem to be striving for these days. In other words, he hates international-style stuff based on big-name French varietals, usually grown in areas where they have no business being, and vinified in a style that makes one indistinguishable from the next. 

When he opens a bottle, he's looking for something with balance, flavor, and above all individuality — the expression of terruño, or terroir, through indigenous grapes and native yeasts and winemaking practices that may be up-to-date but that allow the region's personality to shine through. Oh, and he doesn't have much patience with excessive pricing, either, and all but one of the 30-plus selections in his portfolio (he is adding more) have a suggested retail price of less than $30 a bottle, and some are less than $20. (Even the exception, Viña Cazoga Don Diego Crianza from Ribera Sacra, an exotic, chocolate- and tobacco-flavored wine with some of the "wild" character the French call animal, retails for only $50.)

5/18/2015

Spanish Wines — A Seductive New Crop Godello, Mencia, and other less-than-famous Iberian grapes shine in a new selection from Spanish wine expert Gerry Dawes - - Colman Andrews, Managing Editor, The Daily Meal


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Gerry Dawes is a famous character in the Spanish food and wine scene, both on these shores and in Spain itself. A veteran of the wholesale wine business, he has been traveling around Spain for decades, discovering its best things to eat and drink, and promoting them — the wines above all — in the United States, through personal appearances, interlocking websites (click here for the main one www.gerrydawesspain.com), and guided tours. 

Gerry Dawes at Chef Paco Roncero's Estado Puro in Madrid with a glass of Godello. 
Photo by Harold Heckle©2014, Associated Press, Madrid.
He is a prolific writer and pretty much nonstop photographer (his images of Ferran Adrià, Mario Batali, and other important chefs have appeared on The Daily Meal).  He is highly opinionated — some would say cantankerous — and extremely knowledgeable. His passion for things Spanish (he knows the country's literature and history and its flamenco almost as well as he knows its gastronomy) is so strong as to seem proprietary; somebody once called him, not without a hint of sarcasm, "the man who invented Spain."

Well, call him what you will, but Dawes has recently gotten back into the wine business, as an importer of small lots made by small producers, mostly in northwestern Spain, and his initial offerings include some bottlings that are nothing less than a revelation.

Dawes is forthright about what he doesn't like in wine: He is an outspoken foe of high alcohol, too much oak, insufficient acidity, the over-extracted "fruit bomb" style, and maybe most of all the anonymous could-be-from-anywhere character that all too many winemakers in every corner of the world seem to be striving for these days. In other words, he hates international-style stuff based on big-name French varietals, usually grown in areas where they have no business being, and vinified in a style that makes one indistinguishable from the next. 

When he opens a bottle, he's looking for something with balance, flavor, and above all individuality — the expression of terruño, or terroir, through indigenous grapes and native yeasts and winemaking practices that may be up-to-date but that allow the region's personality to shine through. Oh, and he doesn't have much patience with excessive pricing, either, and all but one of the 30-plus selections in his portfolio (he is adding more) have a suggested retail price of less than $30 a bottle, and some are less than $20. (Even the exception, Viña Cazoga Don Diego Crianza from Ribera Sacra, an exotic, chocolate- and tobacco-flavored wine with some of the "wild" character the French call animal, retails for only $50.)



Godello grapes, Bierzo.  Photo by Gerry Dawes.


Early in June, Dawes poured 21 of his wines for a small group of wine retailers and consultants, sommeliers, and writers over lunch in midtown Manhattan (at Le Cirque). The grapes involved were mostly Spanish: albariño, a primarily Galician white variety ever more popular in the U.S.; godello (pictured above), another white grape found mostly in Galicia and capable of producing truly fine wines, especially in the Valdeorras region; mencia, never thought of as an important red grape until recent years but now yielding wines of some distinction in Galicia and its neighbor in Léon, bierzo; and garnacha, which is grenache, a red grape (though it actually comes in white and "gray" forms, too), that is widely grown in southern France and increasingly important in California and Australia, but is probably from Aragón originally.

There wasn't one of these wines that I wouldn't have sipped happily, but these were the ones that particularly impressed me.

White:

Adegas D. Berna Godello 2010 ($25). If I were a producer of white burgundy, a wine like this, from Valdeorras in Galicia, would make me nervous. It's big, authoritative, lush, and full of fruit (peaches come to mind), but beautifully structured, with plenty of acidity and a trace of flint — just delicious.

Godello, Bodegas D. Berna, Valdeorras.
Photo by Gerry Dawes copyright 2013.
Lagar de Broullón Albariño 2010 ($24). An albariño to banish all memory of those banal examples of the wine that now flood U.S. wine shop shelves — bright and well-rounded, with juicy fruit and a long, complex finish.

Rozas Albariño 2010 ($26).  If I'd tasted this blind, I might have thought it was a particularly lean and stylish viognier. It has a wonderful, intense aroma and real complexity of flavor, with plenty of acidity and a beguiling finish that is part mineral, part floral.  I don't think I've had a better albariño.
  



Bodegas Manuel Formigo Finca Teira Blanco 2011 ($20). This is a blend of grapes found mostly in Ribeiro in northwestern Spain: treixadura (65 percent), godello (20 percent), and torrontés (15 percent; this is not, incidentally, the same grape that goes by this name in Argentina). It is wonderfully fragrant — think of honeysuckle and jasmine — but pleasantly sharp and well-defined on the palate.

Rosé:

Aliaga Lágrima de Garnacha Rosado 2011 ($14). An almost dusty-dry Navarra sangrado ("bled") rosé — meaning that it's made from free-run juice, no pressing — with a light, luminous pink color and an intense strawberry fruit both on the nose and on the palate.


Red:

Bodegas Adrià Viña Barroca Mencía 2010 ($15). A dark, juicy, lively mencía from Bierzo. The wine is unoaked, which lets the intense fruit shine through very nicely.

Viña Cazoga Tinto Mencía 2010 ($27). Another Ribeira Sacra mencia, surprisingly soft, with a generous bouquet, a blackberry-and-black-pepper tang on the palate, and a long, satisfying finish. (Pictured below, Jorge Carnero, proprietor of Viña Cazoga, courtesy of Gerry Dawes)


For more information on these wines, see www.spanishartisanwine.com.


5/07/2015

Valdeorras: Spain's Great White Hope in The Valley of Golden Ore


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"Adegas D. Berna Godello. If I were a producer of white burgundy, a wine like this, from Valdeorras in Galicia, would make me nervous. It's big, authoritative, lush, and full of fruit (peaches come to mind), but beautifully structured, with plenty of acidity and a trace of flint — just delicious."  - - Colman Andrews, The Daily Meal.  Read more: Spanish Wines — A Seductive New Crop: Godello, mencia, and other less-than-famous Iberian grapes shine in a new selection from Spanish wine expert Gerry Dawes

Glass of Godello at sunset at Adegas D. Berna, Valdeorras.
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2011 / gerrydawes@aol.com
(None of the photos here were a part of The New York Times article.)


Excerpt: ". . .Some people have already made up their minds about godello.  Gerry Dawes, who has been writing about Spanish wines for decades and who recently went into the importing business, has called godello “Spain’s emerging hope as an equivalent to the great white Burgundies.”

 Godello grapes, Valdeorras.
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2011 / gerrydawes@aol.com.

The consulting enologist for both D. Berna and O Barreiro is José Luís Murcía, who has more than 20 years experience making Godello in Valdeorras and consults to eight other wineries, including the stellar Casal Novo, and somehow manages to capture the essence of their grapes and vineyard sites and transmits that in the bottle like few others. 


 Gerry Dawes at Chef Paco Roncero's Estado Puro in Madrid with a glass of Godello. 
Photo by Harold Heckle©2009, Associated Press, Madrid.

Adegas D.Berna, Córgomo, Villamartín de Valdeorras (Ourense) 
D. Berna Godello 2010 Valdeorras 13.0% 12/750ML

"Adegas D. Berna Godello 2010 ($25). If I were a producer of white burgundy, a wine like this, from Valdeorras in Galicia, would make me nervous. It's big, authoritative, lush, and full of fruit (peaches come to mind), but beautifully structured, with plenty of acidity and a trace of flint — just delicious."  - - Colman Andrews, The Daily Meal.  Read more: Spanish Wines — A Seductive New Crop: Godello, mencia, and other less-than-famous Iberian grapes shine in a new selection from Spanish wine expert Gerry Dawes
 
“The 2010 godello, a white from the small-production Bodegas D. Berna, in Valdeorras, was splendid.  Pointillistic, lithe, long, delivering visceral and cerebral pleasures, it was reminiscent of white peaches.  The property, Dawes wrote, is advised by “a great local, enologist, José Luís Murcía, who may know more about godello than anyone in Galicia.”  Murcía, he went on, “advises nine wineries” but “does not mark the wines with a one-fits-all winemaking stamp.” - - Howard G. Goldberg, who writes for The New York Times, Decanter and other publications.


 Berna Guitián and Elena Blanco, Adegas D. Berna, Valdeorras.
Photo: Gerry Dawes©2011 / gerrydawes@aol.com.

This is the first vintage of this wine by the young couple, Berna Guitián and Elena Blanco, to reach the U.S. market.  The consulting enologist is the great José Luís Murcia, who probably knows more about Godello than anyone in Valdeorras.  

Brilliant white gold.  Intriguing nose of white peach and racy minerals. A gorgeous mouthful of silky sweet white peach fruit with a long mineral finish laced with attractive hints of peach pit and almond.  No oak.  Excellent value.


Consulting enologist at Casal Novo, D. Berna, O Barreiro and a number of other wineries in Valdeorras 
is José Luís Murcía, who, somehow manages to capture the essence of their grapes and vineyard site 
and transmit that in the bottle like few others. Photo: Gerry Dawes©2011 / gerrydawes@aol.com.

Adegas D.Berna Mencía Tinto 2011 13.0% 12/750ML $19.99

A lovely easy-drinking Mencía with smooth pomegranate fruit-laced with minerals.  

Reminiscent in style of a village Burgundy, but somewhat more akin in taste to a good Loire valley Bourgueil. 
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About Gerry Dawes  

Gerry Dawes is the Founder, President & Chairman of the Board of The Spanish Artisan Wine &
Spirits Group - Gerry Dawes Selections

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. 
 
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  A reality television series pilot on wine, gastronomy, culture and travel in Spain.
 
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