A bright sunny Saturday afternoon in April took us by tram to Campello, a little fishing village just up the coast from Alicante.
There we found Javier Espi waiting for us. He’s an experienced and well-known sommelier, and perennial finalist in the legendary Nariz de Oro (golden nose) competition, where participants take part in blind tastings, guided only by their nose and taste buds.
In this wine and cheese pairing gourmet workshop – a complete masterclass thanks to Javier’s talent, experience and good humour – we learned the essentials of any tasting: analysing the senses of appearance and texture, of smell and taste, and finally of how to combine and contrast food pairing.
While tradition tells us that red wine and mature cheese is a classic, thanks to Javier and our newly trained senses, we learned that this isn’t always the best combination, with heavy tanins blocking the sensitive tastebuds needed to appreciate those fine cheeses. And as for a fine champagne or cava toast at the end of a heavy meal, well, what a waste of a great wine! So special thanks to Javier – education, entertainment, and a delight for our senses, I’ll never look at a mild cheddar in quite the same way again!