By Paula Pereira for Flyingwinewriter.com
Travelling is an important part of a wine writer while assisting to great events is luxury, such experiences I have in many areas of my life one of them is of course professional wine events. This time I am proud to mention that I was part of a tasting organized by Master of Wine Frank Smulders in Eindhoven, I admire him because the level of energy used to do such sophisticated experience makes me reflect that even two hours of hard dancing would not compare with this kind of mental execution. I saw several components which I am glad to share with you, they are: a huge network, a speciality subject, great kitchen, efficiency.
In the wine sector before social media, was a little bit difficult to see who is in your network approaching them massively. In this case, we talk about a potential influence of the particular niche by being a teacher and having a title related to wine. I think it also helps having thrust in your connections. In The Netherlands the group of people inspired by the WSET are very fanatic, they are mostly going to the main cities for such wine events, in this case Eindhoven is completely new. Transportation was in my opinion relative simple by train and bus for the ones at home. The Spanish people stay comfortable at the hotel and travel by plain to Eindhoven Airport. I talk about a little event of no more than 70 people mostly educated in wine and spirits. By talking with them I spoke with sommeliers, teachers, small wine importers, journalist, winemakers, restaurant owners and wine marketers.
A speciality subject
The subject was Spanish Wines Forum. Forum means for this type of event: a place for discussion or a gathering for the purpose of discussion. We had periods of discussion after some of the workshops that particularly for me, needs to be treated long time ago in private, such as the positioning for Cava. They have an issue when selling it at higher prices, how to make it sustainable for small wineries and find the market for it? Other area of interest was Sherry, the process and spectacular taste makes of this subject a must in this context. Next to me was an experience lady from Alicante who enjoyed with me the honey and mineral palate, we got crazy, not only with the taste, the presentation she said was boring by explaining simple step-by-step of the process instead as she does with a video for her students in Spain. New varietals in the tasting makes the difference between a commercial wine tasting and a educational wine tasting, we tasted Morenillo a red wine from 2012 and 2013. The restaurant was also specialized in Spanish cuisine, the chef and the music was from Spain, definitely the ambiance mix the subject. Every break of the workshops had something Spanish, such as pata negra and a glass of Tempranillo or Garnacha.
The dinner was held the first day of the event at the subterranean of the restaurant, there were an open kitchen and a wine cellar down. We had four delicious dishes, the start fresh with fish and citric smell combined with Palomino. The second dish a little bit more texture with avocado, lentils and anchovies paired with Suertes del Marquès from Tenerife, very complex with walnut aromas. The thirst dish was sweetbreath with lentils, this paired with Amontillado Tradición both concentrated in the palate. The last dish was filet with endive and ´haringkuit` the eggs from Atlantic herring!. The wine is Bobal from 2012. Everything experienced here makes me think over a starts restaurant.
I think the event for two days had a good timing, the first day very intense with a top cuisine, new people to talk, good music, clean and proper facility. The second day relax, until 5 o’clock. Four details to improve: I found the chairs not suitable for the long run, I suffer pain after 4 hours. Up and down the stairs to reach the presentations room is not usual, the architecture of the restaurant is like being in a graphic art from Escher. When I remember it I start laughing, maybe it was the idea to make the event much more artistic, I do not know. I did not receive any letter asking me about my experience at the event, well I write it now spontaneously, so you see remains on my mind for one months as the curiosity of the winter. The screen for the power point presentations was very small and some of the presentations were not really at the level of the public and some technical information absent. I wanted the acidity, alcohol and sugar level on paper, just for fun and more discussion.
My palate achieved high fatigue the last day of the forum, the rest of my body too. I saw happy people around and Frank and Friends, introduced me to a world of hospitality and intense passion for Spanish wines. I felt the forum ambiance hoping to contribute in an educational manner for a better understanding of the cuisine, positioning and taste of Spanish wines.