Spain’s Great Match New York 2022
Spain’s Great Match New York is my favorite annual tasting event as you can likely tell by my previous year’s posts.
The event brings 39 wineries from Spain serving over 300+ wines, sherries, vermouths, beers, and artisanal spirits.
I love sampling Sherry, Spanish wines and partaking in the culture that is Spain in the best place to do so in New York City at Mercado Little Spain.
This year I expanded my wine knowledge by attending three Spanish-wine education sessions.
Cava Education Session
This session provided an opportunity to learn more about cava and food pairing.
Cava is my go-to, traditional-method sparkling wine for every-day enjoyment without breaking the bank, so I really appreciated deepening my understanding of how to maximize my pairing success.
Though it is an open secret among somms that sparkling wine pairs well with most everything.
This education session was led by François Chartier who is a sommelier and consultant on aroma science.
Through a mix of food and cava pairings I learned why certain foods and wines work well together at a molecular level.
I sampled cava paired with goat-cheese cheesecake, razor clam, Spanish omelet and beef stew, and learned why certain pairings work and certain pairings don’t.
If you’re a somm or wine enthusiast seeking to optimize food and wine pairings at work or home, you can check out some of François’s books on the subject that go into much more detail than possible in a one-hour education session.
Jumilla Education Session
I’ve always enjoyed monastrell (i.e., mourvédre) from Jumilla in part because the wines tend to be fresh and fruity, and often go through carbonic fermentation like my beloved gamay in Beaujolais.
Prior to this educational session I’d always thought mourvédre was indigenous to France and then brought to Spain, but it’s actually the other way around.
Mourvédre is indigenous to Spain and was brought to France.
I learned this from Carolina Martínez Origone, General Secretary of PDO Jumilla and Master Sommelier Evan Goldstein who led this educational session.
Wine production in Jumilla is overwhelmingly focused on red-wine making which accounts for 90% of wine production.
In Jumilla which is spread out over 22,500 hectares, monastrell is grown on bush vines in mostly, non-irrigated vineyards.
Monastrell account for a whopping 75% of the vineyard area in Jumilla.
Of the 30 million bottles of wine produced in Jumilla every year, 70% of the production is exported with the United States, Germany, China, the UK and Canada making up the largest export markets.
In Jumilla the soil is mostly calcareous, and many of the vines thrive ungrafted thanks to the warm growing conditions which are inhospitable to phylloxera.
The more I get to know Jumilla, the more I love it.
I’m putting Jumilla on my wish list of wine regions to visit coupled with a visit to Alicante.
Sherry Education Session
If you’ve perused my Instagram or blog, you know I adore Sherry.
So, it was a pleasure for a second year in a row to join an education session led by César Saldaña, President of the Consejo Regulador De La DO Jerez Xeres Sherry.
I’m always curious what lens César will bring to further my understanding of Sherry, and he did not disappoint this year with a deep dive tasting of seven Manzanillas and one Amontillado.
Through the tasting I was able to garner a better appreciation of the subtleties of Manzanilla Sherry making in a tasting lineup the showed the breadth and depth of the style.
It’s worth picking up three bottles of Manzanilla from three different producers and experiencing variations in Manzanilla styles for yourself.
If you want to deep-dive further into Sherry, you can check out César’s just-released Vino de Jerez book which is currently only in Spanish-language but should be released in English shortly which I’m eagerly waiting to pick up.
If you like Spanish wine and culture, I highly recommend attending Spain’s Great Match which also includes a consumer evening tasting.
Tickets typically sell out to the event, so if you’re not wine media I would pounce on consumer tickets as soon as they are released.
And if you can’t join for the tasting, just visit Mercado Little Spain on any day of the week to immerse yourself in Spanish culture.
And oh yeah, try the anchovy filets as an appetizer while you’re there.