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Jancis Robinson


Wine Critic Espagne

Jancis Robinson
Jancis Robinson holds the prestigious title of ‘Master of Wine’. She is considered as one of the highest authorities of the wine world and is one of the most respected wine critics. She presents her own wine programme on BBC television and writes for the ‘Financial Times’ newspaper. Jancis is a prolific writer and her works are used as reference books in numerous wine faculties and sommelier training schools. .

You take the risk of giving ratings to Spanish wines as a whole within the international panorama.

What place do they hold and are they correctly positioned ?

Each wine should be assessed for its own merits. It’s impossible to generalise all Spanish wines, as it would be impossible to do for French, Italian or Australian wines. There are wines right at the top of the tree, others at the very bottom and an enormous quantity positioned between these two extremes. But in any case, there is now an increasing number of Spanish wines amongst the finest wines in the world.

You have had the opportunity to taste the “new” Spanish wines made by Bierzo, Priorat, Jumilla…?

What do you think of them?

Instinctively, I am particularly drawn to wines which are unusual and stand apart… far more than to wines which are copies of Cabernets or Syrahs matured in oak barrels. A great deal of Spanish wines belong to the first category.

Is the Spanish market sufficiently developed or does it need a different structure in order to be competitive for exports?

Is there enough room for 60 Denominations of Origin?

Do you think that the market should focus itself on brands, appellations or both?

I think that both are necessary. Spain, like the majority of European countries, is not overloaded with brands. Brands are, however, necessary to convey the concept and style of Spanish wines to new consumers. Also, I don’t think that the existence of 60 Denominations of Origin poses a problem, it’s a far smaller number than in France or Italy.

Which markets do you consider to be the most receptive to Spanish wines?

Where do the most efforts need to be concentrated?

Probably in colder countries, where “warmth” is needed in the form of wines that have full-body (especially red wines, although Albariños can be really delicious). I think that Northern Europe is a good target, and also the northern and central areas of the United States of America, since the local wine industry there is not particularly significant. In my opinion, there isn’t much sense in striving to target markets such as California, South Africa or Australia or countries which produce considerable quantities of red wine.

Do you think that the Spanish market could be threatened by “New World” wines ?

It all depends on the way the Spanish market will be handled and how they’ll carry out their promotion. In my opinion, Spain has so many different styles with such a wide range of prices (above all, quite low prices) that I don’t think Spain is a typical market or even a good target for New World wine producers.

In Spain everybody thinks that Spanish wines are fashionable worldwide.
Do you think this is true?

I think that Spanish gastronomy is really fashionable, especially thanks to Ferrán Adriá. The Spanish wine industry wants to believe that the same thing is happening for wine, but in reality this is not the case. International wine critics, journalists and tasters are experiencing a sensation rather like a “rapid love at first at sight” with Spanish wines, but not to the extent of saying that there is a trend or a passion, as there is for the latest Spanish cuisine. Spain makes excellent wines, but it has a long way to go, mainly in terms of image, promotion and international sales projections.

Can you give us a few ideas of how to make wine more attractive to consumers in the under-30 age bracket?

It seems that the same phenomenon also exists in France and Italy, where made-to-measure presentations and tastings are organised for this age bracket. Otherwise, I think that graphic aspects in general need to be made more stylish, more ‘fashionable’, or perhaps they should show Zinedine Zidane drinking wine …

Interview at the 1st International Wine Symposium,
kindly passed on to ‘Sommeliers International’

by The Wine Academy (CIE Marbella).