Jeremy has an enduring love of wine and good food, which is why he spends half of his time in the graceful Spanish student city of Salamanca. He studied at the Sorbonne, put up by his aunt and French uncle from Bordeaux. This provoked an interest in good wine, stimulated further when Jeremy worked as a stagiaire at Steven Spurrier’s much renowned Academie du Vin in Paris and then worked his way around a few fun wine jobs in the USA one summer, culminating in a magical trip to the legendary Arnold Tudal winery in the Napa Valley. He has hankered after a return to the wine business ever since. More recently he received a distinction in the WSET advanced certificate in Wines and Spirits, achieving the highest score in Northern Ireland in 2005.
Interview with Jeremy
When did you discover your passion for wine?
When I was studying at the Sorbonne in Paris, I lived with my aunt and uncle. My uncle is from Bordeaux and kindly introduced me to his wine cellar during my studies, giving me an early taste of fine reds and local En Primeur buying. Subsequently, I got a job as the stagiaire at Steven Spurrier’s Academie de Vin in the Cite Berryer and was inspired by the Academie and Les Caves de la Madeleine in so many ways. Above all I drank better and more interesting wines after that. The passion for wine travel grew through many years of visiting bodegas across Spain after I met my wife Marisa in Salamanca.
What are your key highlights of the Galicia wine region?
The Albariños of the Rias Baixas have to be a Spanish highlight, especially when you get the chance to taste them with the local seafood. The wines and wine terraces of Ribeira Sacra are hidden treasures that are worth seeing before the secret gets out. Finally, going to the local pulperia (‘octopus house’) in any village in Galicia and ordering a bottle of the best local white with the best local seafood dishes is a simple but wonderful pleasure.
When are the best times to visit Galicia?
Galicia has a haunting beauty at any time of year if you don’t mind a drop of rain. Mid May to July or September and October are the best times – the coast is better closer to the summer (but August is too busy for my liking), the inland regions are best in spring and autumn.
Do you have a personal favourite winery in the region and if so why?
Adega Algueira is my favourite winery in Galicia. It has a wonderful array of red and white wines of very high quality and individuality, a terrific restaurant with some fabulous regional dishes and is very close to the dramatic terraces of the River Sil. Above all, Fernando, the winemaker is a classic example of a passionate Gallego winemaker.
Which wine region in the world would you like to visit next?
I’d love to visit Oregon, Washington and the Okanagan. I heard a lot about them at a recent wine tourism conference in Napa and believe there to be some fascinating wines and wine country between northern California and Vancouver.
Finally, what would be your top 3 tips for the keen wine traveller?
Always do your homework before you travel. It can be incredibly disappointing to arrive at a stunning location and discover that they only take pre booked appointments and there’s nobody home. It’s also good to get a feel for distances and practicalities (do you have to drive or is there a bus or route you can join)
Don’t always stick to the official route. The best visits are often improvised – ask for a visit at a winery you love even if they don’t do official visits. The key is to show them that you are passionate about what they do.
At some point on your travels, eat where the locals do. The winemakers usually know where to eat best (and not always expensively), so don’t be afraid to ask where they like to have lunch and then book yourself a table.