I’m jealous of my friend Kent Benson. Not just because he’s an accomplished wine educator at Swirl wine school in St. Cloud, but because he got to take in a talk last night by one of Spain’s greatest winemakers, Telmo Rodriguez (at left).
Kent was kind enough to pass along some of the highlights from the evening:
• On the importance of vineyard sites: “[Why is it that] when we talk about Rioja, we talk about process ““ Crianza, Reserva, Gran Reserva. When we talk about Burgundy, we talk about vineyards.” … “Grapes are like loud speakers, to talk about places.” … “My wines are not signed by a winemaker, they are signed by a place.
• On sources of Rioja wines, “Rioja Alta or Alevesa is not enough ““ you need to know the vineyards.
• On time in oak: “We ask the wine, “˜How much time do you want to spend in the cask?’ “ … “A wine that is a maceration of oak is a shame.
• On caring for the vineyard: “In the ’60s we thought growing grapes was as simple as: plant, spray, harvest. That’s like saying raising children is as simple as: doctor, university, marriage. It’s a lot more complicated than that. … “It’s not a matter of biodynamic or not biodynamic. A vine is something to take care of. It’s not a machine. … “It doesn’t make sense to be a pig in your vineyard.
• On natural wines and the use of sulfur: “What is a natural wine? Maybe a natural wine is vinegar.
• On the wine market: “Wine is made by the consumer, not the producer. If you keep drinking bad Spanish wine, I’m dead.