May 17 2021

Blind Tasting Spanish Wine Competition 2021 in The Netherlands

With well over 1000 wines entered, tasting and selecting finalists for this year’s Perswijn Spanish Wine Competition was challenging. But also very interesting, great fun and a privilege. We got a very good overview of the Spanish wine market.


The general level of the wines was high, as we expected. And we think that in the end the guide will be a must-have for all Dutch lovers of Spanish wines. Here are some pictures of the tastings, with editor-in-chief Ronald de Groot (Perswijn), Frank Jacobs (Perswijn), well-known sommelier Noël Vanwittenbergh (Ciel Bleu**-Okura) and Lars Daniëls (Perswijn).

Ronald de Groot (editor-in-chief Perswijn): During his medical studies Ronald was fascinated by wine. After a career as a doctor, he became really active in wine in the eighties; not only as co-founder and editor-in-chief of Perswijn, but also as wine writer for De Telegraaf, Tom Stevenson Wine Report and The Oxford Wine Companion, among others. Ronald is a member of the Grand Jury Européen and was appointed an officer in the Ordre du Mérite Agricole in 2016. Of course he is also editor-in-chief of Grootspraak, the restaurant guide for wine lovers.

Blind tasting. Wines from Galicia in the Netherlands. Ronald de Groot (editor-in-chief Perswijn). Photo: ICEX

Frank Jacobs (editor Perswijn): In addition to a wine writer, Frank Jacobs is a wine speaker, wine teacher and wine appraiser with over 40 years of experience in the wine world. He has written several wine books and is a regular contributor to various magazines and newspapers, including Perswijn, to which he has been an editor for more than 25 years. From 2003 to 2016 he was also a teacher of analytical (blind) tasting at the Wine Academy and he took care of the technical tasting part of the coaching process to the highest Dutch wine diploma Magister Vini. For many years he was also a lecturer in vinology at the Hogere Hotelschool The Hague and is now a senior consultant at Winefield's wine auction house. Since 2018 he has been chairman of the board of the Wine Academy.

Blind tasting. Wines from Galicia in the Netherlands. Frank Jacobs (editor Perswijn). Photo: ICEX

Noël Vanwittenbergh (Ciel Bleu ** - Okura): "If the wine complements the dish well, something special happens: then you taste a third taste," is a winged statement by the vinologist Noël Vanwittenbergh, who switched from Café Roux in 2007 in The Grand to Ciel Bleu at the Okura Hotel. He was previously active in Restaurant Vermeer and De Goudsbloem. In Ciel Bleu he holds the position of sommelier & headwaiter. The restaurant on the twenty-third floor of the Okura can boast of three SVH Masters: In addition to SVH Wijnmeester Vanwittenbergh, SVH Master Chef Onno Kokmeijer and SVH Master Host Pasquinel Kolk work at the restaurant. Vanwittenbergh bridges the gap between the dish and the matching wine. "In the first place I look for harmony between wine and food. But of course a little tension makes it all the more attractive." GaultMillau chose Vanwittenbergh as Sommelier of the Year in 2014. In 2018 he was named D'Couvert 2018 and in 2019 Noël won the Michelin Award Sommelier Netherlands.

Blind tasting. Wines from Galicia in the Netherlands.Noël Vanwittenbergh (Ciel Bleu ** - Okura). Photo: ICEX

Lars Daniëls (editor Perswijn): Studied French language and literature, but could not resist the temptations of the hospitality industry. The love for wine developed quickly and in 2007 he passed the Magister Vini exam, the highest wine exam in the Dutch language. After years in the wine trade, he decided in 2012 to go all out for the transfer of wine knowledge. Lars has been an editorial member of Perswijn since 2011. He is also a member of the SDEN4 exam committee, teaches at the Wine Academy and is responsible for the Magister Vini guidance process. He also likes to give presentations.

Blind tasting. Wines from Galicia in the Netherlands. Lars Daniëls (editor Perswijn). Photo: ICEX
Rías Baixas vineyards. Photo: ICEX