June 13th, 2015 – Spain, Chablis, Priorat and Provence

Tasting Room Radio B_BANNER2

The Wine Diva returns with tales of Spain and Chablis..

Xavier Penas – From Gran Clos in Priorat

Valerie LeLong – brings the Rose of Provence.

And our replay of a visit to  Benziger in Sonoma… with Chris Benziger.





Daenna van Mulligen/The Wine Diva has been on the road from most of May and June.

Two of the wine regions she visited were Spain and Chablis.

Daenna headed for the South of Spain and an association of wineries called The Grandes Pagos de Espana.

Its goal, to preserve the rich culture of estate-made wine in Spain and in many instances, unique Spanish grape varieties.

This group has dedicated itself to discovering and replanting many of the old original vineyards of Spain.  These vines are dry farmed..no water..which will serve them well given the changing environment.. Daenna came back very excited about the possibilities of this group..their biggest hurdle is to let the World their story.

Grandes Pagos

Grandes Pagos

One story  that stood out for Daenna was Valdespino.

“The origins of the Bodega Valdespino date back to 1264 A.D. The first member of the Valdespino family to cultivate and age Sherry wines was Don Alfonso Valdespino, one of 24 Christian Knights who fought for King Alonso to re-conquer the City of Jerez from the Moors.

As a reward for a successful battle, the King rewarded the Knights, by giving them land in the City of Jerez.

Valdespino also produces Fino Inocente, the only Sherry wine whose grapes are harvested from only one vineyard, the Macharnudo Estate. It is also unique in that it is the only Sherry wine fermented in oak barrels, being now the norm to ferment in stainless steel tanks.

Chablis vineyards

Chablis vineyards

And then to France and Chablis.  Chablis the region –part of Burgundy – and a star in its own right.

It’s their version of chardonnay..whether its Petite Chablis, premier cru etc.

Daenna is working on an  in-depth look into Chablis – the wines, vineyards, soils, expositions and, of course, foods.


Find it all at www.winediva.ca


Xavier Penas – Gran Clos (Priorat)

 Priorat is a small but dynamic region in the North East of Spain.

Priorat is famed for its startling views, pure air and azure skies. It has an ancient history stretching back to the Phonecians.
Vines, like people, often reach their peak in the face of adversity. This highly limited cuvée is hand made from 100-year-old vines that suffer daily to survive in dense slate soils on steep hillsides. Their fruit offers a unique mineral complexity that could come from no other place on earth and has done so since Carthusian monks first planted vines in Priorat in the 12th century (Priorat is the Catalan word for ‘priory’).


Old Spanish vines

Old Spanish vines



Xavier Penas  is the General Manager of this esteemed winery.

Currently we can only buy Finca el Puig..great blend.

BUT soon we’ll finally get to try the big two

Gran Clos and the mighty CARTUS.








Valerie LeLong  The wines of Provence…

Valerie Lelong has one of the best jobs in wine..she’s the face and voice for the Rose’ winemakers of Provence.   all 600 of them.

Provence Rose is being featured in selected BC  Govt. Liquor stores for the month of June.

As weird as it seems Valerie,  in her job as the export marketing and communications manager is here to remind us HOW GREAT ROSE IS…


Valerie Lelong  Wines of Provence

Valerie Lelong Wines of Provence

How could anyone forget that?

I know some guys have a problem being seen with “The pink” but truly that’s their problem.

It’s great year round..but right now it’s the answer to a lot of questions.

Such as “What shall I bring?”



wines in Provence

wines in Provence



Chris Benziger/ Benziger Wines  Sonoma

 Chris Benziger

Chris Benziger

Benziger Family Winery, founded more than 30 years ago by a pioneering Sonoma Valley wine family who helped bring green farming practices into the mainstream, is being sold to one of the world’s largest producers of low-priced wines.

The Wine Group, the world’s third-largest wine company with such budget brands as Franzia, Almaden and Corbett Canyon, announced Monday it has purchased the winery in Glen Ellen and its nearby sister winery, Imagery.

Financial terms were not disclosed, though industry estimates ranged from less than $90 million to slightly more than $100 million.

It is the second blockbuster deal in two decades for the Benziger family, which built its first wine brand, Glen Ellen, into the largest wine label in Sonoma County before selling it in 1993 to Heublein for an estimated $80 million.

Mike Benziger, founder and chief executive officer of his family winery, said The Wine Group will continue the green farming tradition that has been the calling card of the winery he founded with his late father in 1980.

Here’s an on site interview with Mike’s brother Chris, who is responsible for the farming of this iconic property.

Great guy..He’ll be VP of trade relations.

PS… the entire family moved to Sonoma from that great wine region-  NEW JERSEY –  many years ago.



The Wine Diva – Fonseca and New Wine Reviews

Sileni Wines  – NZ

Domingos Suares Franco  – Portugal

The 5th Annual Fishing, Foods, Fluids and Friends.. At 7 ½ Diamond Ranch North of Princeton.

2 days in a small boat with a Chef, a master of Wine, A Winemaker and your host.