Recently we had the privilege of hosting a wine tasting dinner (see menu and wine pairings below) with Emma Sanchez and Bertrand Sourdais featuring the wines of their renowned Spanish estate in Ribera del Duero, Dominio de Atauta. Emma and Bertrand were in the City for the Guia Penin tasting, an event which features the best Spanish wines according to Jose Penin (the Robert Parker of Spanish wine). I attended the event and the Atauta wines showed the best among all the Blue Chips estates being shown–they have a real sense of place about them, which I admire.
For the dinner they kindly brought with them library selections of their regular Ribera del Duero as well as their top cuvees: Llanos del Almendro, Valdegatiles and the very rare, La Mala. Their goal was to show just how agreeable their wines are; they succeeded with the wines showing spectacularly along Chef’s Meeker perfectly prepared courses. Probably the most pleasant part of the evening was getting to know Emma and Bertrand—until dinner they had been simply well known wine personalities to me. Emma proudly spoke of the family’s beginning in the wine business. Her father was a well-known Madrid based wine merchant who set up his own distribution company. This inevitably led him to purchasing Dominio de Atauta. Meanwhile, Bertrand, well known for always being the center of attention, wooed the crowd with his affability and wealth of knowledge, telling stories of his work at Mouton-Rothschild and Leoville Las Cases. His resume is also quite impressive. Not only is he winemaker at Atauta, but also owns his estate in the Loire Valley where he is a top producer of Chinon.
Even after doing this for 14 years, meeting people like Bertrand and Emma over great food and wine never gets old. One of the greatest benefits of the wine business is that much of our business is done at the dinner table!
Quick side note: To finish the evening I opened a bottle of Billecart-Salmon 1996 Clos Ste Hilaire for Emma, Bertrand and Josh Raynolds (wine writer for Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar). For those of you who love great wine this is a must try, truly one of the best wines I have had in my life!!!
SMOKED DUCK BREAST
arugula & pedro ximenz vinaigrette
SERRANO WRAPPED PORK LOIN
fennel pollen, idiazábal gratin potatoes,
string beans, & sherry demi-glace
Atauta 06 Valdegatiles
Atauta 03 Valdegatiles
ASSORTED SPANISH CHEESES
Atauta 06 Llanos de Almendro
Atauta 01 Llanos de Almendro
TURRON & HAZELNUT MOUSSE CAKE