If I can help people or make them happy, I’m always there…this got proven again last week when my dear friend William Wouters (Top sommelier and owner from Pazzo) asked me if I want to join him to taste wines from Quinola during a lunch at restaurant Les Eleveurs in company of a few friends (Jaime Suarez (owner/ oenologist Quinola , César Ramon (sommelier Comme chez soi), Andy De Brouwer (sommelier/ owner Les Eleveurs ), Aristide Spies (Finalist of the best sommelier of the world contest) to name a few). So again if I can make people happy… I obviously don’t do this for myself 😉 😉 (Strange they didn’t name a street after me yet 🙂 )
A few things you should know about the Quinola vineyard is first of all that it located in the North West of Spain on an altitude of ca. 800m (close to Portugal) and that they only make 1 type of wine from which they only produce around 5000 bottles a year. Making wine actually runs in the Suarez family as Jaime and his two brothers learned a lot from their dad as he was a very well known oenologist. Although if I understood it well it is mostly Jaime occupying himself in making the wine, and his two brothers more on the administration and the selling. They (Suarez Family) call their wine “garage” wine, but I can say for a fact it was more than only a “garage” wine 🙂 . I must say the result is even quit exceptional!
The Quinola wine is made 100% of the Tinta de Toro aka Tempranillo grapes from 90 years old vines. The most important or most surprising for me is the way they make their wine as I have never seen something like this before. After harvesting all the grapes they immediately put them in barrels?! Yes indeed so they don’t filter it or let it age in Inox tanks before putting it in wooden barrels. I really didn’t know wine got made this way… I could say that nature does all the work here, but they have to turn the barrels a few times a week (I even think 8 times a day if I remember it right…) so the manual labour can’t be ignored here. Jaime told me that it was in Bordeaux where he first saw this technique (and even there it is not used a lot) and where he learned more about… but it wasn’t until when he went to Australia that he started experimenting with this technique. (So you can see that making their wine this way didn’t go over one night’s ice).
I cannot think of a better way to taste the wine than with food 🙂 . What is great when you have lunch with top sommeliers is that they wouldn’t be top sommeliers if they didn’t bring other wines to put next to the Quinola wines. They brought other wines not per se to compare, but just to make this lunch an even more incredible one… In case you are wondering what kind of wines, i’ll just name a few: a 1999 Tetre Roteboeuf (Saint Emilion Grand Cru), a 2002 Tarlant Bland de Meuniers champagne, a 1994 Joseph Roty (Bourgogne), a 2009 Meusaul-Pierrieres 1er Cru, etc… I know for the people who don’t know that much about wine this doesn’t go their heart go faster, but for those who do I’m sure they wouldn’t have mind trying these ones ;-). What I must say it that even though we had some great wines, the Quinola didn’t vanish… I mean that it could perfectly stand in line with those wines I mentioned before as Quinola is rich of flavour and body (I must add it is slightly strong – 15%). We tried the 2008, 2009 and 2010. William and all the other top sommeliers said they preferred I think it was 2009, but for me they were all good 🙂 Taking the picture below wasn’t an easy task as every time I the picture, a few minutes later a new bottle would be added… so at some point I just stopped taking pictures 🙂
Feast your eyes on the menu chef Nico Corbesier served us:
Some mussels to open the taste buds
Atlantic cod (Skrei) sashimi, crispy skin, pear and avocado
Millefeuille of potato with beef shank and a soft yolk and persillade (I took the picture at the last moment when I just poked the egg yolk with my fork, so that why it is not round anymore 🙂 greedy me I guess)
Lamb Shoulder with chervil, parsley root with buttermilk and sprouts flower
Bavarois of white chocolate, pistachio and chartreuse
I think a little trip to Spain is presenting itself 🙂 … for those who didn’t read between the lines, I like the wine and you”ll be ready more about this wine in the future 🙂 as I really would like to see how they make this magical wine :-). I’m really happy I was part of this wonderful lunch with great wines and great people
Thanks to everybody!! Also to Jan De Laet for the musical intermezzo.