Despite travel issues cause by the “Snowmeggedon” storm system that whipped the through much of the East Coast last week, we were lucky enough to have many importers and distributors brave the chaos and attend the D.O. Ribeiro wine tasting last weekend at Jaleo. Celebrity chef José Andrés was on hand to taste many the wines and samples the fantastic tapas that his kitchen staff was shooting out of the kitchen at a surprising rate, as well as discuss why he feels these wines are some of the best wines from Spain. Polbo á feira, caldo gallego, queso tetilla with membrillo were just some of the wonderful creations on hand to that chef Andrés created to pair with the amazingly fresh wines present.
Located in the northwestern region of Spain, Galicia has seen a considerable amount of media and press attention due to the popularity of the Albariño variety being produced in the neighboring Rias Baixas region. Where as Albariño shines in Rias Baixas, D.O. Ribeiro has a higher elevation and is located more inland, providing prime growing conditions for the Treixadura variety, the star white grape of Ribeiro. The white wines are amazingly crisp, fresh and full of minerality and well balanced acidity that provide the perfect pairing for a variety of shellfish and seafood, as well as light meat dishes of pork and chicken.
Also occurring this past weekend, the Washington D.C. International Food & Wine Festival did in fact go on as planned, despite the continued travel issues cause by the severe winter storms. A surprising number of attendees were on hand, from importers and distributors to restaurateurs and the general public, and all arrived eager to try new and exiting wines from various countries and regions of the world. There were wineries present from the Spain, Italy, France and Alana-Tokaj from Hungary, as well as several US producers from Idaho, Pennsylvania, and the Washington DC area as well. While the event was sponsored by the Kingdon of Navarra, there was a never ending stream of people packing in and around the D.O. Ribeiro booth. While the majority of wines on hand were the incredible white wines from the region, there was quite a bit of interest in the red wine produced by Coto de Gomariz, the Cuve Caco. Produced from indigenous varieties, Caiño Longo, Sousón and Mencía, the Cuve Caco presented a completely different flavor profile from the various other Spanish red wines on hand. Very few people had heard of these varieties, and only about five people had ever tasted a red wine from Galicia, all of which were mono-varietal wines produced from Mencía from neighboring Ribeira Sacra.
With all the buzz around the Cuve Caco, I began to think if it was just a matter of the demographic at the event, or if the obscurity of the red wines from Galicia are just due to the fact that the white wines overshadow them due to their popularity and coverage in the press. So, my question to the readers, have you ever tried a red wine from Galicia? Where was it produced? What varieties were used?
Looking forward to hearing some responses!