Wine – A taste of Spain


Food and wine has the ability to make you travel without leaving the comfort of your home. This is why I became a wine writer and food enthusiast. It is all about living the passion and reliving past fond memories

I lived in Spain for two years and became madly in love with their food and wine. After more than 15 years of leaving the country, I still get palpitations when I have a Spanish wine with a piece of tortilla Espanola, tomato with bread, jamon or octopus

Great food and a glass of wine

Every day that nostalgia that permeates my heart is relieved with great food and a glass of wine. Scientists suggest that when we associate food with happy memories, the effects are profound, impacting how good we think foods taste as well as how good those foods make us feel.

It was a spiritual homecoming my recent wine press trip to Spain and France. Besides an enriching wine learning experience about Garnacha/Grenache, I was lucky to quickly reconnect with  Spanish gastronomy.

First Taste of a Spanish Summer: Garnacha rose and Salmorejo

Spain is the second largest rose producer in the world after Italy and consumes roughly about 10% of their domestic production. The Spanish consumption is highly seasonal and occurs predominantly during the summer season.

In my mind, the idea of an Spanish summer is represented by copious quantities of rose wine and tomato based dishes.

The arid lands of Spain’s historic Kingdom of Aragon  are currently producing some of the world ́s best rose wines. The protagonist grape is Grenache noir, which traditionally has been the variety used to make these wines. Garnacha rose  from Aragon has a deeper shade of red than its Provence counterpart but with spicier and more savoury red berry flavours

The rosados ( roses) from Aragon

The rosados ( roses) from Aragon taste great with the repertoire of tomato based dishes of southern Spain.  In general when pairing wine with tomato based dishes, think crisp, summer  wines such as rose. For instance, something very Spanish  is to pair a Garnacha rosado from Aragon  with pan con tomate ( bread with tomato). Pan Con Tomate is the Spanish  version of bruschetta and an excellent way  to enjoy summer tomatoes!. Crisp and chewy bread topped with grated tomatoes, drizzled with olive oil and salt. In fact it is so good and versatile with rosado wine  that in almost every winery stop in Aragon, it was served alongside savoury slices of Jamon Iberico

What is Salmorejo

This lead me to the dish in question, Salmorejo. This is a classic soup made primarily with tomatoes and bread. It is similar to Gazpacho but richer and more savoury because it is topped with hard boiled eggs and jamon iberico. Originating  from the South of Spain, this cold  tomato soup  is ideal for warm summer evening suppers and quite versatile for entertaining as well

My first activity of the Garnacha press trip was a cooking workshop in La Zarola school in Zaragoza, Aragon’s capital city.  It was a great opportunity to revisit and relearn  a small repertoire of classical Spanish dishes  combined with a tasting of some of the finest wines from Bodegas San Valero group in the historical appellation of Carinena. San Valero is the cooperative of Carinena associated with Gran Ducay in the appellation of Cava. The coop  boasts more than 700 members covering some 3500 ha of vineyard land. In Quebec, they are imported  by Robert Peides.

Old Garnacha/Grenache vines in Carinena

Cariñena is situated on the high plains of the ancient Kingdom of Aragon in northern Spain. The soil is poor, with little organic matter, made up of red limestone and lots of stones. The climate is continental, with hot summers and very cold winters; low rainfall is the norm. Cariñena is the  Ali Baba cave version of some of the oldest Garnacha vineyards in Spain. Although the appellation is famous for its red wines, the roses are worthy of attention as well. The rosados from Carinena have their own unique personalities with beautiful brightmatice cherry colours, deep fruity aromas and savoury spicy- earthy nuances.

La Zarola cooking school

At La Zarola cooking school, I experienced one of the best wine pairings ever in my modest wine career. A rich and velvety Salmorejo soup was just stunning with the Garnacha Particular Rosado 2018 from Bodegas San Valero. The freshness of the wine was a welcoming sensation to balance  the soulful and luscious texture of the soup in the palate. Particular was also a great handler with the umami flavours of the soup. The sweet cherry and high toned floral notes of the wine merged exquisitely well with the pungent meaty vegetable tones of the Salmorejo. Definitely, this is a culinary experience that I am looking forward to recreate in my home during the summer

If you are looking to experience this culinary experience at home, please take a look at the recipe from the famous Spanish chef Jose Andres:

( This recipe is almost identical to the version of La Zarola with the exception that Jose adds a splash of Sherry Vinegar.

Although the particular rosado is not available in the Quebec market for the moment, a good alternative is the Coto de Hayas from nearby Campo de Borja appellation as well. In a later column, I will discuss this appellation wines. Tasting notes below:

Bodegas Aragonesas Coto de Hayas 2017 ( SAQ# 12699701 $10.80)

Fruit and floral with delicate nuances of bitter orange peel, lavender and cherry-plum sorbet. Delicate and quite refreshing on the palate with a round texture and long finale. Great quality for such a modest price.

Feature image: Plaza Nuestra Señora del Pilar

Marco Giovanetti
Marco Giovanetti – [email protected]

Related articles:

Wines to have with your BBQ

Six amazing Provence roses wines to try

Great wines for the patio


Is it possible to get an A for a 5-paragraph essay assignment in 1 hour? We can safely say yes, a student can get an A+ mark if he turns to EduJungles


The ultimate guide to planning a long family staycation in Canada

To guarantee that everyone has an amazing time, careful planning is necessary when organizing a lengthy staycation. Here’s the ultimate guide to planning your family staycation in Canada. Canada, with its vast landscapes, diverse cities, and rich cultural heritage, offers endless possibilities for a memorable family staycation. Whether you’re exploring the stunning natural beauty of

Meal kits

Cost vs. Convenience: Analyzing meal kits and traditional cooking

In this modern world and modern times, convenience often takes priority over cost, especially when it comes to food. Meal kits and traditional cooking represent two different approaches to home dining, and each of them has advantages and disadvantages. Analyzing these methods through the lens of cost and convenience provides insight into why individuals might

Condo renovations

Condo renovations Dos and Don’ts: Expert Tips for a Successful Project

Embarking on a condo renovations journey can be both exhilarating and daunting. Imagine transforming your living space into a stylish haven that reflects your personality and meets your needs. While exciting, the process can be full of challenges and unforeseen hiccups. That’s why we’ve gathered some condo renovation dos and don’ts from the experts to

Terrific Hair

Terrific Hair Means Tamanu – Earth to Body

Curly, straight, thick, thin, kinky or silky, tamanu loves and makes terrific Hair.  And scalps. Nutritionally dense yet gentle, tamanu is an effective and versatile nut oil. It stimulates, helps promote growth. prevents hair loss, reduces scalp itch and irritations and adds a natural sheen! Make tamanu a part of your hair and scalp care

Understanding the 4 legal process after a DUI Crash

A single mistake can have serious consequences, especially when driving under the influence. The aftermath of a DUI crash extends beyond physical harm and property damage. It involves a complex legal process that may feel overwhelming. As a responsible citizen, it’s vital to grasp the legal system and your rights in such situations. This blog

personal injury lawyer

Pedestrian accident: How a personal injury lawyer can help you

Accidents involving pedestrians can be life-altering. You could be walking down the street or crossing a street. A vehicle’s sudden impact can change everything right away. If you’ve found yourself in such a situation, you might be wondering how to move forward. This is where a personal injury lawyer steps in, offering crucial help and

Mtltimes Subscription

The latest on what’s moving Montreal and the world – delivered straight to your inbox