Josep Roca, Ángel León, Ricard Camarena, François Chartier & Andoni Luis Aduriz inaugurate the first Copa Jerez Forum

13 June 2017

Jerez de la Frontera, 12 June 2017.- Copa Jerez has closed its first day of the new format featuring an Internacional Gastronomic Forum, with moments of sublime encounters with some of the world´s leading experts in food & wine. In the two sessions (morning-evening), the Consejo Regulador’s Bodega San Ginés was the scenario for emblematic figures such as Josep Roca, Ángel León, Ricard Camarena, François Chartier and Andoni Luis Aduriz, all of whom praised the virtues of Sherry Wines the world of gastronomy, both in innovative and in traditional dishes. In the evening, the Cloisters of Santo Domingo, Josep Roca and Diego del Morao became the masters of wine tasting and music, which taken together, created an artistic and cultural bridge between the two.

Copa Jerez Forum has taken on a new dimension this year, by introducing a new concept with the gastronomic congreso, an original event, aimed at allowing an audience of 160 attendees to have a close-up look at Sherry Wines and see them through the eyes of renowned experts in their fields. Alongside the presentations themselves, the Forum will make Jerez de la Frontera gastronomic capital for two days, in which tastings, showcookings and demonstrations will be backed by a wide array of brands and activities offered by bodegas

The opening presentation of Copa Jerez Forum & Competition was given by Josep ‘Pitu’ Roca, one of the most admired sommeliers in gastronony and considered by many to be the best in the World. He spoke about «Sherry and el Celler: Life deeply rooted in chalky albariza», and revealed the many ways Sherry Wines have placed a vital role in the history of El Celler de Can Roca*** and in his professional career.

Ángel León and his head waiter Aponiente**, Juan Ruiz Henestrosa, addressed the subject from the standpoint of how they have contributed to the more “radical” sea-inspired proposals they offer at their restaurant in El Puerto de Santa María. «The generous host» was the model they chose to explain the common history shared by tose who defend high-quality Andalusian cuisine and Jerez Region wines.


The protagonist that Sherry Wines have in the kitchen, particularly in the leading representatives of Spanish gastronomy like Mugaritz**, is something Andoni Luis Aduriz has put at the forefront in Rentería.  The Basque chef has found many similarities between the sensations that Sherry Wines inspire both in the kitchen and the ones they bring with them from the bodega. Alongside his colleague, sommelier Guillermo Cruz, Aduriz was able to stage an ongoing dialogue that occurs daily at Mugaritz between food and wine, in his presentation entitled “Artisans of time,  la cocina y la sala, a través de la ponencia «Artesanos del tiempo: the domains of singularity».

Ricard Camarena focussed on the “Modern view of Sherry Wines, seen from the kitchen», clearly showing how this occurs on a daily basis at his Michelin-starred restaurant in Valencia, where research and experimentation are constant. The cornerstone of his work is based on flavour, and Camarena not only has a complete register of Sherry Wines on his menu but also is keen on using them as a key ingredient in his signature culinary creations.

In the evening session, François Chartier delved into the subject of «Molecular matching and Sherry Wines», a focal subject in his research work and theories on the sensorial reactions that occur on the palate when exposed to different foods. Named World’s Best Sommelier in 1994, he has written many books and articles as well as collaborating on the R&D teams in the final seasons at El Bulli. His amazing conclusions were revealed at this first edition of Copa Jerez Forum.

It was precisely one of the legacies of El Bulli, Juli Soler to be exact, that was brought to Light with the presences of Ferran Centelles, Sommelier at El Bulli Foundation and co-writer of articles with Jancis Robinson. Centelles was part of the last team of sommeliers at El Bulli and for years, he had the chance to work and forge a friendship with Juli Soler, who was co-owner of the del restaurant with Ferrán Adriá. Juli Soler was the soul of the dining room and the wine cellar at El Bulli, a passionate advocate of Sherry Wines and indeed, a pioneer in paving the way for their protagonism in avant-garde cuisine. His legacy was fondly remembered and valued during this emotional presentation.

Oenologists take to the stage

During an intense and productive day of presentations, Copa Jerez Forum organised a series of Dialogues between oenologists, offering the audience to hear them discuss their knowledge in detail. Well-known professionals such as Eduardo Ojeda (Grupo Estévez) and Ramiro Ibáñez (Cota 45) talked about «Spain’s oldest vineyards stage a comeback», Montserrat Molina (Bodegas Barbadillo) and Willy Pérez (Bodegas Luis Pérez) looked towards the «New horizons in biological ageing», and Paola Medina (Williams & Humbert) and Antonio Flores (González Byass) set out the «Alternatives to solera: vintage Sherries, an option for the future». At each oenology session, attendees were able to taste the wines used as the basis for the discussions.

On another note, under the title «World Cuisines», the finalists of the VII Copa Jerez were invited to tell their story of how they are influenced by Sherry Wines: Ödenturm (Germany), Sortebro Kro and Falsled Kro (Denmark), En Rama (USA), Casa Marcial (Spain), Podium onder de Dom (the Netherlands) and The Ritz London (UK). 

At twilight, the Cloisters of Santo Domingo was the venue of an unprecedented event that, in retrospect, will remain as a historic and once in a lifetime event: the tasting-concert De Tal Palo, Tal Jerez in which Josep Roca and Diego del Morao joined their masterful artistry in showcasing ten unique wines personally selected by por Roca in situ, harmoniously paired with the palos of flamencos played on guitar by Diego de Morao. But it wasn’t just any guitar, but the last instrument made for Paco de Lucía, which he named «La Maestro». It has been on world tour, being placed by numerous musical maestros of different musical styles.

Tomorrow, a new series of presentations and activities will continue in this, the most ambitious edition of Copa Jerez yet, together with the VII International Final and the Bodega Showroom as the grand finale of two very intense days focussed on gastronomy and Sherry Wines. The Jerez Region bodegas are adding even greater attractiveness to the event by offering attendees 200 wine references to taste, with the commentary by winemakers and oenologists.


Tuesday, 13 June

Morning | Bodega San Ginés

 9.30 – José Antonio Pavón y César Saldaña

Food & Wine Pairing Workshop: Jabugo & Jerez

 10.15 – Guillermina Sánchez (El Cultivo cheese factory)

Food & Wine Pairing Workshop:  Artisan Cheese & Sherry

 11.00 – Julio Vázquez (El Campero)

«The Limitless Cuisine of Almadraba Tuna»

 11.30 – Fernando Córdoba (El Faro de El Puerto) & Tsunahachi (Tokyo)

«Tempura vs Fritura:Two versions, two visions»

 12.10 – Tasting of Japanese Tempura and Cádiz-style Fry with Biologically Aged Wines

12.30 – Showroom de bodegas

Twilight Event | Cloisters of Santo Domingo

21.30 – Awards ceremony -  VII Copa Jerez

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of El Consejo Regulador.
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