Our return to Montilla on the 4th September 2016 was with mixed emotions. We love returning there but this time it had added anticipation, unknown expectations and a little trepidation.
During our visit earlier this year in May when we visited the Consejo Regulador and met with Director Enrique Garrido Giménez and Technical Auditor Miguel Villa, they encouraged us to attend their accreditation course – “Technical Specialists in the Generous Wines and Vinegars of the Montilla-Moriles DO” being held during our September visit.
So of course we agreed, even knowing then that it would be a challenge due to our limited Spanish language skills but the help of Alberto we applied and were accepted onto the course.
This time we would not only be meeting old friends but discovering new ones while enjoying the wines and learning intensively. The experience being topped off with a theoretical and tasting test at the end of the course.
Day 1 – Monday 5th September
We first got to meet with the other 23 students, 1 from Germany and the remainder from all over Spain at Envidarte, where the Consejo Regulador and Wine Route of Montilla-Moriles are based, for the start of the course.
- Session 1: Introduction to the D.O.P. Montilla-Moriles with Enrique Garrido.
- Session 2: Introduction to Wine Tasting and Sensory Analysis of the D.O.P Montilla Moriles Wines with Miguel Villa.
- Session 4: Introduction to Montilla Moriles Vinegars with Isabel Lopez Infante.
This was followed by dinner at the Fiesta de la Vendimia (Harvest Festival) and of course good wines.
Day 2 – Tuesday 6th September
On the second day we started with a traditional workers breakfast of bread, olives and olive oil at Bodegas del Pino in Montalbán de Córdoba. We were then honoured to take a tour of one of the world’s largest Pedro Ximenez pasera which was followed by seeing the 1st and 2nd pressings of the grapes producing the 1st and 2nd musts.
Then it was back to Envidarte in Montilla for our next technical session.
Session 3: Viticulture, Vinification and Ageing with Miguel Cruz Marqués
Next on the agenda was a tour of Bodegas Pérez Barquero S.A. in Montilla followed by lunch with wines matched to the food .
Then we visited a bodega that we are very familiar with, Bodegas Robles in Montilla. Here we had a presentation and tasting of their stunning organic wines hosted by Fransisco Robles (who will feature in a later blog).
Our final bodega visit on day 2 was to Bodegas Alvear in Montilla with a 2 tastings, one in the Fino C.B. Bodega and the other in the Bodega containing their best Pedro Ximenez soleras.
Our next treat was a walking tour of Montilla with Inma Luque from Bacus Travel, taking in the history and essence of the town. We then had dinner at the House of the Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, which we had visited in May, to finish off a very full on day.
Day 3 – Wednesday 7th September
A quick breakfast stop and then we were off to visit Bodegas Toro Albalá. Again very familiar territory for us where we toured the bodega and then were treated to a tasting of 4 vintage Pedro Ximenez wines.
Session 5: Wine Conservation and Service with D. Jose Ignacio Santiago Hurtado
Then we are at the moment of truth….. the theoretical exam and taste tasting. At this point we hope that the knowledge we have gained, not only on this trip but the previous three, will stand us in good stead!
Of course it did. We passed and are delighted now to be qualified as Technical Specialists in the Generous Wines and Vinegars of D.O. Montilla Moriles, the first 2 people from the United Kingdom to achieve this qualification.
The finale (and an emotional one at that) was the presentation of our certification. We are so proud and honored to be part of the Montilla Moriles wines and vinegars family.
Finally we must pass on out heartfelt thanks to everyone who has been part of this incredible journey so far.