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I recently wrote about having dinner with representatives from two wineries in Spain. What was all the more special about this dinner, aside from the delicious wines and exquisite food from Auburn Restaurant, was the company. I had the pleasure to dine with two women from two different regions who are both in positions of power at winery cooperatives. I shared their stories in the Napa Valley Register which you can read here. ************* I recently had dinner with representatives from two wineries in Spain. One winery is in Rias Baixes on the northwest corner and the other in Calatayud on the northeast corner. What both wineries have in common is that they are both cooperatives and both have women holding positions of power.
The wine world has long been dominated by men, and Spain, as much of the old world, has had a tradition of machismo. But women are making a name for themselves. Enrollment of women in Spain’s university winemaking programs has increased by more than 40 percent over the last 20 years. No longer stuck in the lab or in marketing, they are making the wine and running the wineries. And, I had the pleasure to sit down with two of these women and learn about them, their stories and taste their wines.
This past weekend was the Seventh Annual International Albariño Days. It is also summertime and hot outside, so it took little excuses to drink these crisp, refreshing wines. In my recent column in the Napa Valley Register, which you can read below, I shared three Albariños from Rías Baixas that I have been enjoying! The heat of the summer is here, and my palate is calling for crisp, refreshing white wines. One of the wines that is filling this request is Rías Baixas Albariño and right now it is perfect timing because it is also the seventh annual International Albariño Days, August 2-7.
Albariño is indigenous to northwestern Spain and northern Portugal. In Portugal, it is known as Alvarinho and it is the primary grape of Vinho Verde. In Spain, Albariño is the primary grape of Rías Baixas, representing 96 percent of all plantings in the region.
Rías Baixas is located in Spain’s northwest region of Galicia. An Atlantic-influenced climate, it is also known as “Green Spain” as it is an area that is characterized by moderate year-round temperatures, ocean mists and an average rainfall that can be three times the national average. Galicia also gets a lot of sunshine hours, which enables Albariño to fully ripen with good natural acidity.
This story originally appeared in the Napa Valley Register.
Count Dalmau Cebrián-Sagarriga, the owner of Marques de Murrieta, came to the U.S. recently to present his historical 1986 white Rioja from their estate Castillo Ygay. dalmau-cebrian-sagarriga-1
When I was invited to taste the wine, I was intrigued but little did I know what I was about to experience. This was not just the tasting of a 1986 white Rioja but rather a white Rioja that has been in barrel for 26 1/2 years. That is not a typo. It was aged in a barrel for 319 months before being bottled.
Castillo Ygay is one of the labels under Marques de Murrieta, a family-owned business that dates to 1511. Marques de Murrieta’s original property is in Rias Baixes in the northwest of Spain. A small property that totals 75 acres, they produce albariño under two labels: Pazo Barrantes and Le Comtesse.
Then, 40 years ago, Dalmau Cebrián-Sagarriga’s father purchased the property in Rioja. This property consists of 750 contiguous acres in the Alta Rioja. This is the largest estate in Rioja and they are the only winery not purchasing any grapes. In Rioja, there are four labels: Marques de Murrieta, Capellania, Dalmau and Castillo Ygay.