This week’s “Cogill Wine & Film, A Perfect Pairing” Podcast on reVolver Podcasts toasts “The Trip To Spain,’ part 3 in the culinary journeys of actor Steve Coogan and his British comedy buddy Rob Brydon as they joke and eat their way around the Spanish countryside. To pair, wines from 40+ year old Beronia from the rocky, dusty, extraordinary region of Rioja, Spain. To listen to the show, follow the link here, and click “Episode 58.” Or listen through iTunes, Google Play Music, Spotify or IHeartRadio. More on the wine and film below from the two of us. And, our hearts and
Our hearts and prayers are with the people of Spain. Barcelona is one of the most magical cities in the world, and the gracious hospitality found in the lifestyle, temperment and manner of the Spanish people have made the country one of my favorites. I am blessed that I have had a chance to visit the country as much as I have, and raise my glass to their strength and courage during the tragic events of the week, and always.
The Film: “The Trip To Spain”
What began as a culinary comedy tour around England in 2010, evolved into an even better 2014 “Trip To Italy,”and now Steve Coogan and his happily married comedy buddy Rob Brydon have landed not as safely in, “The Trip To Spain.”
Comedy is arbitrary so the giggles will either come rapid fire or with lengthy stretches of silence in between. I find Coogan and Brydon selfishly witty because everything passes through their common filter of film trivia coupled with an insecure actors paranoia. I speak their language.
As a film, it’s asking a lot of the audience to watch two Brits travel from town to town, tell jokes, eat great food, and by the time the trip is over tackle a serious personal crisis or two. But in Spain, it feels much more lazy, much more self-serving, even strained despite the onslaught of Michael Cain, Mick Jagger, and Sean Connery impressions.
Then there is Spain itself and it’s marvelous food, but director Michael Winterbottom chose to spend the entire film so far off the beaten path it doesn’t feel as authentic, and after multiple shots of sauteing shrimp I knew I was being cheated. “The Trip To Spain” makes the culinary triumphs of this country seem like an after-thought spending no real time in the kitchen. I’m a foodie and Spain is currently the culinary hot spot of the world.
If you sit next to someone laughing through much of the film, it might be me. If the response is silence, that’s probably Hayley. I find these films funny and engaging while at the same time I’m well aware of their faults. It reminds me of a handful of “guys” trips I have taken over the years, including a recent trip to the “Baseball Hall Of Fame” in Cooperstown, New York.
When I got home, Hayley wanted to know what we talked about, she wanted details, and all I could say was, “We talked about baseball,” and it was true. We literally talked about baseball the entire time. It was awesome.
Oh, I forgot, we went out one night and had a great steak dinner at “Black & Blue” in Albany. New York.
The Wine: Beronia
Several years ago I had the opportunity to visit Spain traveling as a guest of Gonzalez Byass. Best known for their Sherry production, like Tio Pepe, the group also owns key wineries throughout the country, like Vinas del Vero, Seacastilla and Blecua in Northern Spain, Beronia in Rioja, and my favorite English Blue Gin, The London No 1. While traveling in Rioja I had an unforgettable meal in the town of Haro, in Alta Rioja, Spain at a village restaurant called Arrope. A simple tapas dinner, with each bite paired with a different wine from Beronia.
Spanish Iberico ham
To this day, it is still one of my favorite meals, (and this was at the end of quite a magical trip that had included a truffle hunt and truffle pairing dinner.) There was just something about the simplicity of ingredients, the celebration of what is local, and honoring of local tradition and flavors, like Iberico ham, roasted mushrooms, local aged cheese, cod brandade…nothing extravagant, but all delicious.
Beronia Reserva with local roasted mushrooms
A little more about the wines.
Beronia was founded in 1973 by a group of businessmen, friends from the Basque country who would come to La Rioja on holiday. The friends had a great love of food and wine and created their own gastronomic society and decided, to produce their own wines to enjoy with the local cuisine, focusing on Reserva and Gran Reserva style wines. The vineyards surrounding the winery include pre-phylloxera vineyards of more than 100 years old, vineyards that were planted when the winery was constructed in 1973, always with a commitment to preserving the environment.
Only a limited number of grape varieties can make Rioja’s wines. More than 85% of Beronia’s vineyards are planted with Tempranillo, the most traditional variety in Rioja, while the balance is made up of Graciano, Mazuelo, Garnacha and Viura white produced in both a classic, entry line as well as a Reserva, Crianza and Gran Reserva.
White asparagus & Beronia Viura