Flamenco is central in the Spanish culture, and there are many flamenco dancers and musicians who give performances in towns and cities around Spain. Wine tasting is also a common thing in Spain, and last night I was present at an event in Nerja, Cata Flamenco, that combined flamenco, wine tasting and great food. (Photo above: Joaquin Ruiz)
The wines from F. Schatz winery
The first course, different cuts and jamons
The event was organized by the cultural organization Ventana Abierta, together with the Milamores Servicios de Enoturismo, presenting wines from the F. Schatz winery from Ronda, the restaurant Taberna del Volapié and the flamenco dancer Joaquin Ruiz. For each of the three wines we got to taste, we first got the story of the wine, before our glasses was filled. Together with the first wine, a rosé, we got a delicious plate of different hams and salads. Then Joaquin Ruiz with his singer Jose Manuel Fernandez and guitarist el Niño Carmelo danced a flamenco to the wine.
The professional staff at Taberna del Volapié were working hard to serve all the attendants
The wines from the F. Schatz winery are all organic, and all the three we got a taste of have their own distinct character. First we got a rosé, then an Acinipo wine with “Codorniz macerada con hierbas balsámicas de la Axarquía sobre una cama de patatas a lo pobre”, or in English: Quail with a balsamico sauce and herbs, plus potatoes cooked in olive oil. It tasted delicious. Joaquin Ruiz danced a new flamenco to the wine while we were eating and drinking.
The last and also the most interesting wine, a Petit Verdot, was accompanied by grilled Ibérico fillet that was stuffed with pine seeds and blue cheese and a sherry sauce. The wine has a dark red color with a very characteristic taste with hints of minerals, and it was complemented by the delicious food. This third course was my definite favorite.
Joaquin Ruiz is a flamenco dancer, choreographer, musician, composer, and he also a teacher, giving classes in flamenco. His dancing style is very personal and strong. It is about expressing your feelings more than presenting different poses. All the three dances at Taberna del Volapié were improvised. Not knowing much of flamenco, his dancing moved me much more than the tourist versions I have seen so far, and I will definitely try to see Joaquin Ruiz more.
The combination of culture, wine and food in the Cata Flamenca was very successful. The event had a limited number of seats, and it was sold out soon after it was announced. Ventana Abierto is one of the most exciting organizations that I know of in Nerja, and I am quite sure they will try this kind of event more often.
Joaquin Ruiz, his musicians, the people from the winery, Jorge López from Ventana Abierto and the staff at Taberna del Volapié.
All photos are © Per Ole Hagen and must not be used without written permission.