The Mark Wine News Winter '18 Volume 8.1 - Page 12

Viva La España By Mark Gmur, CWE The Mark Wine Camp headed across the Atlantic to Spain this past September, in an action packed journey spanning from San Sebastian in the north, to Jerez in the south. The trip was hosted by our national partner, Europvin USA and National Sales Director Frithjof Knol. Joining Jeff Scott and myself, we had a dynamite group of campers with Brian Phillips from Darden, Dave Mattern from Truluck’s, Katherine Wojcik from Kimpton Hotels and Brian Bennett of Paul Martin’s American Grill. The group was absolutely wonderful, eff ortlessly gelling together upon arrival, ready to take Spain head on and the many miles ahead of us on the road over the next few days. Welcome to Spain: San Sebastian & Basque Country Our fi rst stop after arriving in Spain on Sunday really set the tone for the adventures to come. San Sebastian is a resort town on the Bay of Biscay in Spain’s mountainous Basque Country. It’s known for Playa de la Concha and Playa de Ondarreta, beaches framed by a picturesque bay front promenade, and world- renowned restaurants helmed by innovative chefs – and we were far from disappointed. After taking in the magnifi cent sights of the bay and it’s surroundings during the afternoon, we met for your dinner at Rekondo, which touts the “world’s largest wine list” – after thumbing through it, it was hard to challenge that 10 proclamation, it was like a telephone book, it was that thick. Over an unforgettable meal, Frithjof surprised our campers by selecting wines from their birth years (whatever was available). We had plenty of “dead soldiers” by the end of the dinner – which included a 1979 Vega Sicilia, a 1955 Imperial Gran Reserva and a 1973 Viña Real Gran Reserva. Incredible wines to taste and experience! Following dinner we were taken into the cellar below the restaurant to ponder over one of the best collections any of us had ever seen. That was stop number one. Wow! A Taste of Rioja On Monday morning it was time to get to work and tackle Rioja. During our adventures the group would be covering all three major sub-regions of Rioja – La Rioja Alta, La Rioja Alavesa and La Rioja Baja. The group set off for CVNE in Haro. CVNE – pronounced “CUNE” and stands for Compañía Vinícola del Norte de España, was founded in 1879 and is recognized as one of the most important wine producers in Spain. We were given the royal tour, along with tasting the complete lineup of wines and a righteous Spanish lunch, after visiting their incredible cellar dating all the way back to 1879. After lunch it was onto Viña Real and one of the most incredible gravity fl ow wineries anyone had ever seen. They embrace new technology and innovation in the James Bond inspired winery facility. The goal of Viña Real is to THE MARK WINE NEWS