“When I think back on my childhood in New Orleans, I now realize that I didn’t comprehend the significance of the Spanish occupation in the latter half of the 18th century. I used to believe that the French Quarter was, ‘French!’ It was platted by the French, but was destroyed by fire in 1794 because the buildings were all made of wood.
Following the fire, the Quarter was re-built. But the ‘French Quarter’ is actually Spanish architecture, brick buildings with intricate wrought iron balconies, floor to ceiling windows, and lush courtyard gardens. Jackson Square, at the heart of the Vieux Carrie, is flanked by the most impressive structures of New Orleans, the St. Louis Cathedral, the Cabildo and the Presbytere, reminders of the Spanish era’s imprint on the Big Easy.
I believe we’re greatly a product of our past, and clearly, the Quarter left an indelible mark with its spiritual persona. There was the aroma of exotic foods drifting into the streets, the laughter of debauchery and loud music, mysterious corridors leading to gas-lit rooms, the heavy perfume of night-blooming flowers in the courtyards, the sound of horse-hoofs clopping along on the brick streets, and even occasionally, an unexpected encounter with a spirit from times long ago. I remember it like it was only yesterday.
What does this have to do with making wines from Spanish grape varietals? I believe, in a sense, life is a continuum. I can’t say I was literally aware of the Spanish influence while living there. But so many years later, why was I compelled to make a bee-line for a tiny acre of Grenache in 1989? Why am I intrigued with the unique aromas and flavors of Grenache, Mourvèdre, Counoise or Tempranillo? Why did I have Tempranillo essentially ‘dropped in my lap’ in 2006? Was all of this random? Possibly not!
I admit that this isn’t the ‘typical’ website treatise on ‘The Winemaker!’ In the McCrea Cellars website, I expressed my belief that great wines are conceived and developed in the vineyard and that the role of the winemaker is to capture the essence of these grapes without interference, yet with a deft hand, an ultimate mark on the final outcome.
For me, success is a phone call from a customer who says, ‘I opened a bottle of the Salida Tempranillo, poured a generous glass of the ruby nectar, took a deep sniff, then sat before the fireplace, slowly sipping the rich wine, relishing the moment. Suddenly, in the flames, I saw a vision of Don Quixote on his famous steed, Rocinante, in his shining suit of armor, lance ready, calling out a challenge to do battle with a windmill.’ Now, that’s my idea of success; sketches of Spain dancing in the flames with Tempranillo in hand!”
“Fortune is guiding our affairs better than we ourselves could have wished.”
Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote
“Gracias y disfrutar de nuestra sitio web!” Doug McCrea