If I were a wine snob I’d try to impress you that “I know people.”  But since I’m not — and I think wine is something you should enjoy because you like it, and because it goes great with food, instead I’ll tell you the truth:

(with your best teenage voiceOhmahgawd!  Guess what I got to do?

JoaquinMy friend Sali introduced me to her friend Joaquin (in Jerez de la Frontera) while we were there for Vendimia just a few weeks ago. Welllll…. turns out that not only is Joaquin a budding wine entrepreneur — a very knowledgeable one — but he also has friends.  In restaurants.  Now those are MY kinda people!

So Joaquin invites us to an evening of wine tasting and food pairing at Gula restaurant in Jerez.  Miguel, the chef and owner was warm and friendly and served up some amazing food.  This is the part where I admit that I was so caught up in the experience that I started making a few notes about the food and then ignored my notebook completely.  But here’s what I can tell you.  We started with a paté — and Spaniards love their paté so it´s always worth trying.  Miguel´s was exceptional — made with piquillo peppers, eggplant, and that incredible Spanish tuna.  You can bet I’ll be trying to figure that one out for my own parties!  With that we had Duo — an Albariño from Galicia.  That you can´t buy in the U.S.  dammit.

Syc Mitarte 2004 with Gula's BeefThen we laughed and talked and sipped our way through several more courses of amazing tapas and wine.  And finally the main course — beef cooked perfectly and paired with Syc Mitarte — high on the list of the best wines I’ve ever tasted.  Another one you can’t buy in the U.S.

I could go on and on and bore you with all the details — which include chocolate and cava.  But instead, I’ll just say if you happen to be in Jerez de la Frontera and you want a really great food and wine experience, contact Joaquin and tell him Denise from Tipsy Toro sent you.  And to save some Syc for me!