Spanish Wine: From Rioja to Sherry with Helena Vaello - Context Travel

Spanish Wine: From Rioja to Sherry with Helena Vaello


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Join an expert for an in-depth immersion into the world of Spanish wines as we go on a tasting tour of four top wine regions. We will explore stories and wines of "Denominaciones de Origen" to understand and appreciate the grapes, origins, and style of winemaking of Spain. Join a wine expert in a tasting series as we learn how to appreciate Spanish wines, the regional variation, and the specific techniques behind each variety.

We’ll start off in one of the most important and well-known wine regions in Spain: Rioja. Its wines are often relegated to the supermarket, but there is an authentic Rioja that produces tempranillo jewels. We’ll discuss its trademark style after years in oak barrels; a good structure, soft tannin and fruit, and tertiary aromas like licorice, tobacco, or mushrooms. We’ll learn how one of the least well-known wines from Rioja are its whites (only 6% of the total are white grapes). We’ll discuss their oak aging and the intense and complex fragrance where the fruit (peach, mango, passion fruit), citrus fruits, and aromatic herbs are colored with spicy notes and dressed in elegant wood tones. Together, we’ll taste this harmonious freshness.

Next up in our conversation is the fortified wines produced in Jerez - Sherry is unique. We’ll discuss how one single grape, the Palomino Fino produces a whole range of different wines; fino, amontillado, Oloroso, Palo cortado by means of two winemaking techniques: aging "bajo velo de flor", and "soleras and criaderas". Considered the driest wines in the world, they are perfect to pair with spicy, astringent (like artichokes), pickles, or fatty meats.

We’ll move on to discussing the plantings of Listán Negro which are concentrated in the unique volcanic terroir of the Canary Islands. We’ll learn how vines are planted in small pits that are dug out of the ash-based soils. These unique pits, which resemble the surface of the moon, capture moisture and also provide some shelter from strong, dry winds. Its fascinating story tells us about its arrival to Mexico and Peru, and how it became the grape "mission" in America.

Last up in our regional wine series is Bierzo, a wine region in the northwest of Castilla y Leon. Bierzo's proximity to the Atlantic Ocean has a profound effect on its overall climate, with average temperatures during the growing season much cooler than in Castilla y Leon's more inland areas, making it rather mild. We’ll discuss how in recent years, this region has attracted the attention of international critics for its lively, fruity, and often intense red wines made with a local variety of grapes, Mencía.

There will be plenty of time for questions at the end of this seminar. Led by an expert in Spanish gastronomy, Helena Vaello, this interactive conversation will provide a solid introduction to the world of Spanish wine. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of Spanish wine regions, varietals, and tools for analyzing the regional differences.

Suggested wine list:

  • Rioja white: Remírez de Ganuza 2018 (or before) // López de Heredia white // Martires // Gómez Cruzado // Abel Mendoza
  • Rioja red: (if you cannot find a white) any of the brands above, at least a Reserva (not a Crianza, or any wine without oak aging)
  • Jerez: Fino or amontillado (Gonzalez Byass tío Pepe, Inocente, La Ina, Navazos... ) any that comes with the oficial "Denominación de Origen" "Jerez-Xérès-Sherry"
  • Listán Negro: any wine from the Canary Islands made with that grape. (Suertes del Marqués, El Grifo, Los Bermejos, Atlante...)
  • Bierzo: any red made with Mencía grape from Denominación de Origen Bierzo (Álvaro Palacios, Losada vinos de finca, César Márquez, Álvarez de Toledo, Dominio de Anza, Bembibre, Valtouille, Raúl Pérez)

Helena Vaello's passion for food has determined her career. After finishing her Audiovisual Communication studies at the age of 23, she changed course and started a successful catering business that was in operation for 5 years. Then, whilst pursuing a postgraduate course on gastronomic journalism, she began working as a freelance restaurant consultant and cooking instructor. Helena has written about food for several media outlets, including the national food and tourism guide, Guía Repsol, covering a wide range of national events related to haute cuisine, food trips, conventions, and different presentation and specialized courses. Over the past several years, she has worked in the communications and PR team in one of the top producers of ibérico meats, Arturo Sánchez. At present, she leads that department in Remírez de Ganuza, an iconic winery located in Rioja Alavesa.

This conversation is not suitable for children under age 16

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

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Outstanding!

This was an excellent seminar - maybe one of the best ever and that's saying a lot given the high quality of all Context seminars. The presenter was knowledgeable and conveyed the information in depth yet in an understandable way. I'd highly recommend the seminar and the presenter if she does anything else with Context.

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Customer Reviews

Based on 3 reviews
100%
(3)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
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A
A.

Guest did not leave comment

K
K.
Outstanding!

This was an excellent seminar - maybe one of the best ever and that's saying a lot given the high quality of all Context seminars. The presenter was knowledgeable and conveyed the information in depth yet in an understandable way. I'd highly recommend the seminar and the presenter if she does anything else with Context.

d
d.

Guest did not leave comment