Spanish Wine Specialist™
Monday, April 11 from 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm EDT
Spanish Wine Specialist™ Certification
This qualification is available to all students who opt for certification via the National Wine School.
Wine Tastings. Each class features an extensive wine tasting in addition to the lecture. Students will be exposed to extraordinary Spanish wines.
Certification. This course includes elective Sommelier certification via the National Wine School in California. Those who opt for sommelier certification will also have access to online academic resources. This certificate can be applied to the Advanced Sommelier Certification.
The transformation of the Spanish wine trade over the last twenty years has been astonishing. From a state of decay, it has re-invented itself with amazing vigor. Four decades ago, Spain was resting on the laurels of its fortified wine and the occasional majestic Rioja. Other than that, Spanish wine was an ocean of mediocre table wines. Then everything changed. Now, Spanish wine is held in the same regard as the greatest of France and Italy.
This Advanced wine program is organized into sections dealing with the main provinces or geographical regions–Aragon, Catalunya, Andalucia and so on–then within those by the individual Denominacion de Origen (DO). Within each DO the leading or most interesting bodegas are profiled.
Spanish Wine Classes
Introduction to Spain
Rioja & Northern Spain
Picturesque Rioja, Spain’s most distinguished wine region, is a new world within a very old world. Viticulture here dates to Roman and medieval times. These days trendy wineries designed by Gehry, Calatrava, and other celebrity architects flourish within ancient villages. This class ranges over a diverse area from Rioja to Navarra, Bierzo, Galicia, and also the Basque country as we explore viticulture from the traditional to the avant-garde.
In Castile-La Mancha –the land of Don Quixote– wine plays a very important role both economically and culturally. The Meseta Central produces nearly half of the wine in all of Spain. It’s also home to over a dozen top wine Spanish bodegas, including numerous Vino de Pago, the highest tier of Spanish wine. The region is ancient, and its grapes (Bobal, Malvar) are unheard of anywhere else in the world. In this class, we will include the powerhouse wines of Valencia and Murcia, two of the rising stars in Spanish wine.
Southern Spanish Wine
Southern Spain is ancient and full of mysterious wines. One of the oldest wine regions in recorded history, Jerez is essential to any study of Spanish Wine. Of particular note are the ancient and distinguished Sherry houses in Andalucia, many of them of course founded in the 18th or 19th centuries by British or Irish merchants. There is also the Canary Islands. Yes, it is a Spanish wine, but geographically and geologically it is part of Africa. Here lie some of most extreme volcanic vineyards that produce some of the most striking wines experienced anywhere on earth.
Priorat & Catalonia
Priorat has a proud wine tradition that it traces back to the Carthusian monks of the 12th century, who founded the Scala Dei monastery and planted the first vineyard. This detailed class highlights the fruits of that tradition, which has turned Priorat into one of the top luxury wine regions in the world.
Along with Priorat, this class includes details on the Montsant, the new wine region boxed in by the eponymously named sharp, craggy mountain range. Here, countless lovely old vines (older even than those in neighboring Priorat) of Grenache, Carignan, and Tempranillo form the backbone of the wines in this crescent-shaped zone.
Other regions in Catalonia: Conca de Barberà, Costers del Segre, Empordà, Penedès, Pla de Bages, Tarragona, and Terra Alta
Castilla Y León
For students of wine, the region of Castilla y Leon is extremely promising. This region in Spain’s northwest is made up of open plains and rugged mountains, bisected by the winding Duero river making its way to Portugal. Castilla y Leon is Spain’s biggest wine-producing area – most famous for its pungent reds, the area also surprises with a large number of impressive whites. The most famous wine-producing name in Castilla y Leon is Ribero del Duero. This region has some of the best (and best-known) bottles in Spain, rivalling Rioja. This class also includes the wine regions Bierzo, Cigales, Rueda, and Toro.
Cava & Beyond
In the recent years, Cava has taken the stage as Spain’s star bubbly, not solely because of its outstanding quality to price ratio, but also because more and more sommeliers are recognizing its pedigree. This class offers an excellent summary of the Cava’s origins, its elaboration, and its variety of tastes. You’ll learn everything you need about the grapes, the traditional methods, and the up-and-coming luxury Cava producers. This class will also feature a tasting of the finest dessert wines produced in Spain and a primer on traditional Basque cidre.