Most readers here know that I come from a Cuban family. What most don’t know is that for obvious reasons (think Christopher Columbus) we’ve also got strong lineage in Spain, on both my mother and father’s sides. So when I heard that The Wine Academy of Spain (now holding courses across the US) was offering a scholarship (in conjunction with Catavino) to bloggers, so they could take their intensive 3-day Spanish Wine Course, I nearly peed my pants…nearly. Problem was, I was smack dab in the middle of Key West, preparing for my baby brother’s big wedding day, and nowhere near a computer (not that I had the time to type 2 words during the constant running around). But I’m not one to take adversity lying down, so rather than throw in the towel, I casually asked if I might be granted an extension until I returned to Jersey. OK, maybe it involved a little begging and pleading…and cyber crying…but I think I held on to my dignity.
Why, they asked, did I wanna learn more about Spanish wine? I could wax eloquent about my Spanish heritage, or go on and on about how Iberian wine is penetrating the US like an enological dagger, but the truth of the matter is that the first wine I ever had that actually brought me to near tears was a Rioja: R. Lopez de Heredia. I bought it on a recommendation from the store owner and eventually came back to personally thank her for having shifted my world. That rioja moved me. It slapped me across the face and said “Pay attention, wench, because it gets no better than this.” THAT is why I long to learn about the country that is capable of producing such a wine.
And beyond that, if we are truly as passionate about wine as we all claim to be, then an opportunity to learn anything more is imperative. The day I stop learning is the day I stop growing. And if I am not growing, I am most assuredly dying. The thought that anyone out there would hand me the opportunity to learn about the topic I love most is amazing—it’s a gift that can’t possibly be repaid.