miércoles, 18 de diciembre de 2013

INTERVIEW WITH JUAN MANUEL GONZALVO, OENOLOGIST @ expertoenvinos






CS

How long have you been in the wine world, how do you develop this profession?
JM

To finish my degree in Chemestry, in 1996, I developed a Final Year Project about wine “Analytical Chemistry of Wine”. Then, I started to work in a cellar in Somontano area, “Viñas del Vero” to finish the Final Year Project and since then I have not leave the wine sector. 17 years working on this sector in one way or another. I have been doing a bit od everything
CS

What led you to the development of wine?
JM

At first, I entered at the quality laboratory controlling processes in a cellar and I got very curious about the winery processes, the part of the development, the reception of the grapes, fermentation, all these things. Gradually, I became interested in all this matters, rather than by the laboratory itself. The chemical laboratory seemed unrealistic, and I wanted to know where the real part came from, why things went. I wanted to find the real reason of how wine is made and all this most tangible of the cellar and from there I jumped out of from a cellar to another and I have not stopped.
CS

What is your greatest debility with respect to wine?
JM

I like a certain type of wine, which contains a large amount of fruit, very fresh, very perfumed, with enough youth.  I do not like very old wines, rather young ones, I like the young Grenache, these ones with guts, and turns.
CS

That is very Aragonese!
JM

Yes, it is very Aragonese. And maybe the part that I like the most is to imagine ... at the stage when you taste the wine what people sets is the color, the aroma, the taste.   I am very focused for quite time to make wines that are pleasing to the touch. The sight, the smell and the taste are all right, but I think what you earn at the end of a wine is touch.   The feeling of softness, fresh feeling, the feeling of warmth ... those touch feelings, you have the wine in your mouth and gives you something different than other beverages. Other drinks do not touch you as much as the wine.
CS

Which are the bieggest deffects you can find in a wine?
JM

When a wine that is too hot, or too dry or too empty or ... I mean, I can accept a default in color, a wine color can be ugly or even may smell bad, but what I do not admit is any defect is in the mouth. In the mouth it has to be good. In the mouth the taste is important, but more important in the mouth is touch. The tactile sensation, the feeling of integration came with the mouth. When you have the wine in the mouth, if you feel comfortable, you want to drink more, wine has touch you. A wine can have a good color and a fragrant aroma but if it does not have a touch that allows you to be with the wine in your mouth and you're enjoying ...
CS

What is the greatest virtue you find a wine?
JM

The sense of balance. That feeling of having the wine in the mouth and be comfortable with it in your mouth, I'm enjoying it and I cannot wait for another swallow.
CS

What is the most boring job you have had to do?
JM

Analysis. What I found the most bored task was the analytical part. Perform routine analysis. So I was very bored. I came to the wine by this part, because I have a degree in Chemistry, doing my internship. I got in a laboratory because it was a new Chemist and I was there to do the analysis and I got very bored. I wanted to make wine.
CS

Do not come from a family winery?
JM

Not at all. My father is retired from a flower shop and my mother is a housewife. Neither has had possessions or vineyards. Nothing. I am the first of the family that is dedicated to this. I planted my first vineyards recently, but on a whim, because I am in this world and I think that here has to be my future. I was born in Zaragoza, I had not seen a vineyard, probably up to 19 or 20 years old.
CS

To date, what has been the most interesting wine you have ever tasted and how and with whom you've tasted? Or the one that you have paid more attention, you say "this wine really shaped me"
JM

Well ... I tried an Aquilón, from Campo de Borja, an old Grenache. I tried it on a professional tasting in Zaragoza, senior grenache, which promoted the Campo de Borja, and I found it an exceptional wine. As a personal experience, I like other simpler or perhaps cheaper wines and more accessible. For example there is a Bobal grape wine, from "Casa Don Angel" winery, called "Casa Don Angel Bobal" which seems to me one of wines most brutal and greater ability to get developed. And is made with 100% Bobal, from Utiel. I tried it on once with locals and since then I thought I had to do something with variety Bobal.
CS

In your last job related to wine, what do you think it was your greatest achievements?
JM

The last thing has been to make a wine with 80 investors, crowdfunding. To locate a wine with great aging potential, to make a wine of guard or half guard, to ask your immediate environment to support you to buy that wine and aged it and bottled it and get 80 people to support and trust you and take a wine that, by now, is very well accepted. As proffesional experience, not business, but as a model, and as things stand now, I think it is an experience to repeat. I was excited because there are people who bet on you and trust you. And now they are trying the wine and telling me they have returned the expectations placed on my work.
CS

What projects and ideas are you developing these days?
JM

The last thing I have started is a winery in Alicante, Marina Alta area, near by Calpe and Denia, which has half of the vinyeards muscat and the other half some other varieties: a bit of grenache, something of Tempranillo, Monastrell, Sirah, and some petit verdot. This project is starting, I just signed a contract with them for collaboration during the next two years to start the winery. It is a winery starting from scratch, we have made no trade mark, there is the vineyard, the winery has very good facilities, as stainless steel, cold part,there are barrels, it has everything and still not used. It has done nothing, it is all to do. Next week, I go there and I am very excited with this project, something new and different, that marks a trend in the Alicante area. The winery is called Joan de la Casa. A small winegrower of Benissa, 6 km far from the sea.
CS

Would you be willing to change your country for wine? If you would have to go would you do it?
JM

Surely not now. I would do an experiment, 3, 4 months, a vintage in another country and whether you might learn some language. I'm studying English, and yes I would go this well. But now I have a family and is more complicated.
CS

What do you think about young people today and what you expect of the wine market?
JM

Sometimes it excites me because I see young people coming up and asking about wine. But we must lower the level of discourse. When we speak about wine we have to talk about something easier. Young people sees in beer something much simpler and somewhat easier than wine. The wine. It seems that to drink wine you have to meet and know something, but what you really need to know is to enjoy drinking wine, and young people realizes that beer gives it a quick enjoyment, pleasure, without thinking anything.
CS

What do you think about BIO wines?
JM

Like everything else, a farmer, a producer, a wine producer who is conscious with his work, the enviroment and the countryside and believes that the best for their wine is working on an ecological system, respecting as much as possible his vineyard, I think it is Super. Whenever the wine obatained is correct, it is drinkable. In the end, if you procude natural or organic wine or any other, the wine has to be good. If the wine is not good, we start from a bad base to defend this technique. First, wine has to be good and if I can make it good respecting nature, it is fantastic. But first it must have a minimum to be good and I think there are still things that are difficult to achieve without ......
CS

Why do you think that any wine of 100 euros is never 10 times better than one of 10 euros?
JM

I said this a long time ago! Let’s see. The price of wine is not proportional. It is impossible to be proportional. A 6 euros wine can give you a full satisfaction, if you are a regular person who has consumed regular wines and you like the kind of wine you are getting at this momoent.  A wine which costs 6 euros can give you a full experience and meet your expectations. Without any problem. The problem from a bottle which costs 100 euros is the expectation you have on that bottle and it will be 10 times higher than the 10 euros value. It is very difficult to give you a feeling 10 times higher. I think there's a part of myth, marketing, brandname, named that influence the price and it is hardly justified.
CS

You know that there are people who open Romanee Conti bottles or anyother else for exorbitant prices !
JM

There are wines with exorbitant prices because there are people willing to pay them. It is that simply. Tehre were 20 euros wines because there were people (builders, politicians, ...) that wanted 20 euros wine from vineyards areas that did not have capacity to produce wines which costed 20 euros, I think. There was a time when if you did not ask for the most expensive wine on the menu in a restaurant, seemed you to do less to other people. Then, by this demand appeared wines which have now disappeared, priced between 20 and 30 euros and now those wines cost between 8 and 14 euros, and they are the same wines!
CS

Will climate change condition Spain production with respect to northern countries?
JM

I think it's a slowly matter, nature is smarter than us and it will be adapted. As in Jerez wine is made in conditions that you can hardly imagine, although climate change advance, the people who make wine in Jerez will adapt. We still have many parallels to get affected.
CS

Would you stop Chinese businessmen from purchasind some French wine, Australian and New Zealander?
JM

There is an artificial demand, because what they are buying is luxury, they are not buying wine. I do not think anyone who buys a bottle which costs 10,000 euros means that this persin has lots of money and buy this wine as an wine investment appreciates it, it does not matter if to be a Chinese who has been successful in business or not. I think it  seems to be a false market disruption. It is fantastic for the winery if someone pay what they ask for.
CS

What can you tell me about the wine shop Neyras Vins ? Do you keep it running?
JM

No, but I'll tell you.  
It iss a very cool project. Five years ago, the owner of a restaurant suggested me to do a wine shop in an empty restaurant next to, parallel to the restaurant and I had a certain complicity with the restaurant as the wine would be purchased in the store could taken in the restaurant doing a king of shopping center joint between the restaurant and the shop. I started working for him. At first, I was there almost daily, then, gradually, I create a kind of wine shop with a large variety of Spanish wine, above all, not well known wineries, or so small wineries. We tried to defend this model for a while and it was quite good. The key was that the people who came to NEIRAS could taste the wine. We always had 10 or 12 references that could be tested. And there was two sommeliers with a speech about the wine, giving the chance to try wines that customers did not know. You tried a glass of wine, you are in the city center, you are adjacent to the cathedral, it is not a neighborhood store, relaxing, you can give a little bit more. They got oysters service, then they put some snack items and with that combination they tried people to lose fear to try different wines and meet those who were not used to.
CS

Tell me a little why you always score from 70 to 100
JM

Below 70 I think ... Someone just for make wine, producing, bottling and such, for me a mark of 60 is just for have done the effort. If the wine produced is correct without an obvious defect, a drinkable wine, they scored 60r for me. A person who has made the effort to make a wine that you can drink , he cannot be scored 40 because I think that to make a wine is complicated, it is difficult. I start talking about wines with from 70, if a wine does not scored above 70, I do not like to talk about them. I like to talk about wines from 80 on.
CS

 Do you think that sometimes there is an abus in the descriptions of the wines?
JM

For me it seems that we are driving out the people who come to the wine. We are driving them out with slaps. I think we should be easier to understand and more natural and you have to make things easy for people to learn to like wine, to find it pleasant, even though not be able to explain it. "I love it, I like it". That's it. Do not ask them to describe the aromas or the tears. The simpler the better. There are simple wines to explain and wines that are more complicated, but maybe someone who comes firstly to wines stars with the simplest ones and then goes to the most complicated. At the end, we all live for this, but what cannot be is that we are a country producer of wine and we are consuming 4 times less than France.
CS

For you what is the most important difference between Spain and other wine producers worldwide?
JM

Spain has some sunshine conditions, climatic austerity that make the vineyards grew pretty well,  like lack of rain. We also have a great of soil types. I think it may be a unique place. A large variety of wines, types of wines. There is also a tradition of producing wines. We do different wines, wines that people can even recognize and with a large internal variability. There is something in common: they are wines of a sunny and warm area and with a lot of history.
CS

Carlos Schölderle - Juan Manuel Gonzalvo
How have you been exporting?
JM

Well, that's one thing I've been trying for four years. I have a partner, companion, friend, who is the soul of the project, because he speaks English, he knows the negotiations with importers, he is the one fighting. We are now starting to get results. After some time and learn by setbacks, mistakes and blunders. We believe that we have reached a point where we ask and we introduce ourselves to importers in different countries as people who are experts in the Spanish wine market. Someone from Canada or Norway or Hong Kong, can tell me: "I'm looking for a Spanish wine with such features" and I think that I can, I am able to find it for him. And that's my role. We collect the offer, and I look for the wine of this offer. That can only be done after having tried many, many different Spanish wines. I think that any Spanish wine you comment me or talk to me you would like to sell in England, in Germany or whatever, I think I can find who will supply you.
CS

Have you had more obstacles or facilities to export?, do you have paved the way?
JM

NO. First, winemakers themselves are often hard. You say "I'm going to export your wines and I charge you a commission" because I have to live on something! and creates a distrust, a difficulty, they do not see which is your rol. "If they want to buy, they can come here and buy directly to me" But I'm doing the work, I'm going there, I'm knocking on the door of the buyer and I managed to have an interest and they want to try your wine to buy it, and, of course I want a commission on that transaction. And the winemaker says no! If they want my wine, they can come and buy it. But they are not coming, that’s why I come to your house ... the end is a loop that breaks when you find a winemaker that values ​​your work, appreciates your interest and recognizes you are doing a good thing for him.
CS

Juan Manuel what do you do in your free time?
JM

Now, changing diapers. I have a 4 months baby. I am dedicated full time, as long as I can to take care of him.
I used to do sports, cycling, basketball ... but now ... I have virtually no time at all.
CS


Thanks Grill La Forja (Zaragoza Spain)
                                               In vino veritas, longae vitae!
(Traslated by Lola Torres)


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