Wine is just as complex as traveling some very interesting lands. In this intimate interview with John Paul
Encarnacion we talk about Chernobyl, Eco Activism, and wines from Ecuador.
Contrary to popular belief, Ecuador is a wine producing country and we have a bottle of Paradoja from the winery Dos Hemisferios. This wine secretly reveals Ecuador’s exotic notes of spice and leather.
GRAPE VARIETY: CABERNET SAUVIGNON – MALBEC
MORRO – GUAYAS
AGINING: 18 months in Oak Barrel
and intense ruby red tones, with fruity aromas of vanilla, coffee, and coconut.
Round and balanced with a persistent memory in mouth.
There is a reason Rioja, Spain has dominated Spain’s love for wine. It’s the one religion that treats wine like water. In fact, it’s more expensive to order bottled water or Coke-a-Cola then a glass of red wine? Yes, believe it, if only this would apply in the US, I’d be one happier and wealthier gal.
Not all of Rioja is created equally. This region is split into three parts: Rioja Baja, Rioja Alta, and Rioja Alavesa. You don’t need to ask my twice, my favorite sub region in Rioja is Alavesa. This hidden gem is something I hope never becomes exploited as its micro-climates make the wines spectacular and out of character with what most understand or believe Rioja to be.
Today’s, spring visit to Rioja consisted of a visit to a very small intimate visit to a 6 generations wine makers in the middle of nowhere. We stopped in to enjoy several glasses of wine. From their newly planted white wine to their 60 year-old vine red wine, I’m lucky to have my own private showing of the vineyard and partake in the family rituals of breaking bread and drinking wine.
My favorite part of living and traveling through Spain’s wine regions, is the seeds that I plant with my wonderful Spanish people once we uncork a bottle of wine. Each bottle tells a story and I listen to what it has to say. I ask myself in each of my travels, how lucky am I to drink, socialize, and export wine for a living? The answer is simple, Very lucky!
Even after years of spending time in the wine country of northern Spain, I continue to visit Ribera del Duero and fall in love with it every time. This spring was a bit different as I took an unexpected road trip to Ribera del Duero with some very special wine experts. The wine universe put one of Spain’s top leading wine critics in my path: Mr. Andres Proesnsa. I consider him to be the Robert Parker of the Spanish wine world, and although some may argue this, he is no doubt an expert on Spanish wines.
My divine experience with Mr. Proesna was unforgettable… we broke bread together, enjoyed wine, and talked shop. Oh, did I mention the 50+ wines we tasted during an intense 2 hour period? I couldn’t have dreamt up anything better than this experience. Honestly speaking, I found it funny how, in the middle of our conversation, we both smiled at each other and saw nothing but purple…. You know life is good when you share purple lips and teeth.
Hands down, Layer Cake Shiraz from South Australia was the crowd pleaser!
The dark exotic creamy layers of chocolate notes made the wine stand out from the rest. The University of Chicago Grad students from OMSA and LGBTQ couldn’t get enough of this bottle. Cheers to my new wine newbie’s… Kenneth, Madsion, Jimmy, Kasey, Sasha, Rebecca, Fiyinfolu, Sham, Hussein, Emily, Thandiwe, and Marta.