Spain’s Great Match: New York and Los Angeles Raise Their Glasses to Spanish Gastronomy
Spain’s Great Match is actually an annual celebration of this fact, come to life as the biggest Spanish food and wine event in the United States. Now in its 25th edition, this event unfolded on October 4th in New York City and on November 8th in Los Angeles.
With so many world-class athletes and sport’s teams in the country, say the words “Spain’s Great Match” and the first thing that comes to mind might be tennis or soccer. There is however another kind of “matching” that goes on in Spain, and one that I would argue trumps all others, as it is practiced on a daily basis in Spanish homes and restaurants all over the country, and even the globe. Yes, you guessed it, the matching or pairing of any of the huge selection of fine wines produced in this world-famous wine-producing country with excellent Spanish gastronomy.
In this vein, Spain’s Great Match is actually an annual celebration of this fact, come to life as the biggest Spanish food and wine event in the United States. Now in its 25th edition, this event unfolded on October 4th in New York City and on November 8th in Los Angeles. Organized by Foods from Spain, Wines from Spain, and the Spanish Trade Commission in New York, Spain’s Great Match provides both food and wine professionals and consumers with the opportunity to taste an impressive number of Spanish wines from all over the country, as well as to attend a series of fascinating seminars and talks on a range of topics.
NYC Loves Spanish Wines
The first big event, held for the 25th consecutive year in New York on October 4th, was a multitudinal celebration of Spanish culture that attracted more than 1,000 people. It featured more than 300 wines made by leading Spanish wineries from all over the country – on hand to present their best and new products, as well as their latest vintages – in addition to representation from five Spanish wine regions: Navarre, Rías Baixas (Galicia), La Rioja, the Canary Islands and Castile-León.
The attendees, who were primarily wine industry professionals and media, also got a first-hand look (taste!) of both popular and lesser-known Spanish grape varieties and regions through a range of seminars on topics that included: “A Tribute of 25 Years of Spain’s Great Match,” “Wines of Navarra: Spain’s Undiscovered Gems,” “Wine-ing Down the Duero River: A Look at Castilla y León,” and “The Volcanic Terroirs of the Canary Islands.” Led by important figures from the wine world – such as the Editor-in-Chief of Wine & Spirits, Joshua Greene –the seminars were free of charge for trade professionals.
Of course amateur Spanish wine lovers were also able to visit the tasting area of Spain’s Great Match and experience the diversity of Spanish wines, as well as feast on tapas created by the city’s top Spanish restaurants (AMano, Barraca, Casa Mono, Lamano, Tía Pol and Toro) and special guest chefs straight from Spain including Manolo Alonso of Casa Manolo, David García of el Corral de la Morería and Spanish culinary icon Toño Pérez of Atrio restaurant in Cáceres (Extremadura). The following six important Spanish agri-food companies also presented a selection of their products for visitors to savor: Corcuera, Montesinos, Espuña, Goya, Palacios and Sant Aniol.
Held at the Frank Gehry-designed IAC HQ Building, attendees were also treated to examples of Spain’s award-winning interior design, presented in conjunction with the “Wine & Design” event put on by Interior Design magazine. Additionally, a portion of ticket sales benefitted the Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP), a prestigious national, non-profit program that trains youths in the culinary arts, and that for the past two years has sent a group of American chefs to Madrid to study Spanish gastronomy alongside some of the region’s most lauded chefs.
Back by popular demand in L.A.
One month after the hugely successful New York event, Spain’s Great Match traveled to Los Angeles, California on November 8th, where it replicated the professional and amateur events held in NYC on a slightly smaller scale. This was held at The Bazaar by José Andrés restaurant (designed by Phillippe Stark) at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills.
Those in attendance enjoyed tasting more than 150 wines from fourteen wineries and importers; while the same five Spanish wine regions from the New York event presented a selection of their wines at separate tables. Visitors could also sample the products from five Spanish food companies: Corcuera, Fermín Ibérico, Goya, Montesinos and Palacios; all of which form part of the Plan Integrado de Alimentos Estados Unidos 2018 promotional plan, directed by Foods from Spain.
Guests also enjoyed a wonderful selection of Spanish tapas served up by the team at The Bazaar, and expert-led talks and guided wine tastings for some fifty professionals on the following topics: “One Grape, One Region, Many Styles. Albariño’s Evolution in Rias Baixas” by Michael Meagher, MS Chairman Emeritus, Boston Sommelier Society, "Royal Reservas and Gran Reservas of Rioja." Likewise, celebrated wine expert Leslie Sbrocco gave a repeat performance of her New York talk, "Wine-ing Down the Duero River: A Look at Castilla y León."
More than 240 journalists and wine industry professionals, and 260 consumers attended this event.
As with the earlier, New York edition of Spain’s Great Match, a portion of ticket sales to non-industry professionals benefitted the Careers through Culinary Arts Program.
Spanish wines on tour
Those Spanish wine lovers that couldn’t make it to either of these events need not despair. Not only is it getting easier everyday to find a huge and growing selection of Spanish foods and wines all over the United States, but they can also try to catch one of the other Spain’s Great Match events that take place occasionally around the country (varying from year to year). This past July, for example, the city of San Antonio, Texas, hosted Spain’s Great Match within the framework of the city’s Olé, San Antonio, a three-month celebration of the relationship between this city and Spain. For it, Wines from Spain organized an evening event featuring a selection of Spanish wines representing the country’s main wine regions and grape varieties, served up alongside Spanish tapas. According to a representative of the Trade Commission of Spain in New York prior to the event, “We are excited to celebrate San Antonio’s tri-centennial with Spain’s Great Match, which showcases some of the best of Spanish wine, food and culture".
Text: Adrienne Smith / @ICEX
Photos: @ICEX, @IStock