Carles Tarrasó Wins the First Rioja Wine & Tapas International Competition

LATEST NEWS | JANUARY 11, 2017

In November, culinary students from fifteen countries entered our Rioja Wine & Tapas International Competition to see who could best pair tapas with Rioja wines. Carles Tarrasó Oliver, a student from Valencia at the Basque Culinary Center, was victorious, taking home the €4,000 prize.

Carles Tarrasó wowed the judges with his ‘Del Cielo a la Tierra’ (‘From heaven to Earth’) – a bulgur wheat crisp, cream cheese and sloe berry tapa paired with the white barrel-fermented Rioja Conde de Valdemar Finca Alto Cantabria 2015.

The jury panel agonized over the decision. Ultimately, they went with Carles Tarrasó, saying, “A barrel-fermented white was perfect with the cheese and the crisps. The texture was very good, the presentation spectacular… In brief, he achieved absolutely everything. It was a great choice and it is evident that he had the advantage of knowing Rioja well.”

Carles Tarrasó explained to the jury the message he wanted to convey with his creation: “just like the Riojan monk Gonzalo de Berceo took the culture which until then had been concealed in the monasteries and brought it ‘from heaven to earth’ by writing the first verses in Spanish, the DOCa Rioja works every day inside and outside our borders to raise awareness of the culture of our wine, which is as much part of our identity as our language.” Regarding the choice of wine, he said: “With this dairy-vegetarian tapa, I wanted to show that the wine combined with any kind of food.”

The competition was organized by the DOCa Rioja in collaboration with the Basque Culinary Center, which provided its premises for the finals. Finalists had to make their tapa for 25 people plus the jury panel, comprised of food experts.

The call for entries was made last September for students in their final year of culinary school. The five finalists who made it to the finals were:
• Germany’s Daniela Schram, Schram’s Cooking School. Tapa: Shredded beef meat in a banana basket. Wine: Florentino de Lecanda Tinto Reserva 2009.

• Spain’s Carles Tarrasó Oliver, Basque Culinary Center. Tapa: From heaven to Earth, consisting of a bulgur wheat crisp, cream cheese and a sloe berry crisp. Wine: Conde Valdemar Finca Alto Cantabria 2015 Blanco Fermentado en Barrica.

• The United States’ Timothy McLane, Midwest Culinary Institute. Duck breast, smoked apples, pickled fennel and vegetables in mustard. Wine: Señorío de San Vicente Tinto 2011.

• Ireland’s Mary G Finnerty, Galway Mayo Institute of Technology. Tapa: Crispy figs filled with goat cheese with cured ham and caramelized onion jam. Wine: Campo Aldea Tempranillo Tinto 2014.

• Mexico’s Michelle Aline Ogando Bautista, Cessa Universidad Mexico DF. Tapa: Iberian suckling pig airbags. Wine: Marqués de Cáceres Rosado 2014

As a celebration of the finals, the students enjoyed a three-day tour of the one of the world’s top wine regions, the D.O.Ca. Rioja, and one of the cities with the highest number of Michelin stars per square meter, San Sebastian.

Carles Tarrasó Wins the First Rioja Wine & Tapas International Competition

Discover More

Trade Secrets

Contact

Join the Rioja Trade Community

One factor that makes Rioja a world class wine is its ability to be aged for a long time, and the fact that the winery ages the wines before release. In fact, Rioja has long set the standard for extended aging, having defined the requirements.

Bodegas Available for
Export in the US

Bodegas Ontanon
CVNE
Vivanco
European Cellars/ Eric Solomon Selections
Europvin
Evaton
Fine Estates From Spain
Folio Fine Wine Partners
Frederick Wildman & Sons
Grupo Bodegas Faustino
Marques de Riscal
Ole Imports
Opici Wines
Osborne USA
Palm Bay International
Quintessential
Shaw-Ross International Importers
Ste. Michelle Wine Estates
Terlato
The Artisan Collection
The Drink Collective
Vinamericas Selections LLC
Vineyard Brands, Inc.
W.J. Deutsch & Sons, Ltd.
Winebow
Winebow (MundoVino, a member of The Winebow Group)
Zamora Americas
220 Imports
A.I. Selections
ARAEX/Spanish Fine Wines
Arborway Imports
Artevino
Ascent Wines
Assa Imports
Astor Wines
Austral Wine Merchants
Aveniu Brands
Baron Francois
BCG Consulting
Bodega Classica/Vintae
Bodegas Castillo de Mendoza
Bodegas Corral, S.A.
Bodegas Medrano Irazu
Bodega Nivarius
Bodegas Ontanon
Bodegas Pastor Diaz
Bodegas Patrocinio, SCL
Bodegas Riojanas
Bodegas Tobia
Bodegas Valdelana
Bon Vivant Imports
Boutique Wine Collection
Bronco Wine Company
C & P WinesBronco Wine Company
Carolina Wine Brands USA
Casa Ventura Imports, Inc.
Cerda y Llanos
Chartrand Imports
Chateau Armand
Classic Wines
Classical Wines from Spain
Cognac One, LLC
Coleccion International Del Vino USA (CIV USA)
Constellation Wines
Constellation Wines
David Bowler Wine
De Maison Selections
DFV Wines
Dionysos Imports
Divino Imports
Domaine Select
Dreyfus Ashby & Co
Eguren Ugarte
Elite Wines
Emporium Nostrum
ENYE Imports Group
Familia Martinez Bujanda
Felix Solis Avantis
Folio Fine Wine Partners
Folio Wine Partners
Francisco Selections, Inc.
Freixenet USA
Frontier Wine Imports
Garnacha Inc
GECO Global Group USA
Golden State Wine Co.
Gonzalez-Byass
Grapes of Spain
Grupo Bodegas Olarra
Grupo Principe de Viana
H.A.B. North America
HGC Imports Inc.
Hidalgo Imports
HP Selections
International Wine & Spirits
Janet Kafka
Kysela Pere et Fils, Ltd.
La Rioja Alta
Laurel Importers
Lionstone International
Lopez de Haro
Luneau USA, Inc
Maisons Marques & Domaines
Marfa Group
Marques de Murrieta
Michael Skurnik Wines
MJM Imports
Monsieur Touton Selection Ltd.
Murphy Distribution
Natural Wine Co.
New Age Imports
Noble House Wines
North American Organic
Omniwines
P.R.Grisley Co.
Parador Selections
Paternina
Pernod Ricard USA
Pipeline Distribution
Polaner Selections
Protecom Wines Inc.
Regal Wine Imports
RM Distributors
RM Mabor
RMB
Roda
Romero & Miller, LLC
Royal Wine Corp.
Serendipity Wines
Signature Imports
SolStar Wines
Spain Wine Collection
Spanish Vines Imports, Inc.
Specialty Cellars
Steve Miles Selection
T Edward Wines
Tempranillo Inc
Terra Nostra Vinos
Terroir
Testa Wines of the World Ltd.
The House of Burgundy, Inc.
The Marchetti Co./Scoperta Importing Co.
The Spanish Wine Imports
Think Global Wines LLC
Torres
Tradewinds Specialty Imports
Transatlantic
Tri Vin Imports
United Cellars
United Wineries/MHW
USA Wine West
Vin de Terra Imports, Inc.
Vin Divino
Vinaio Imports, Ltd.
Vinole Wines
Vinos and Gourmet Jose Pastor Selections
Vinos Libres
Vintage Wines
VINTUS
Vision Wine & Spirits, LLC
Well Oiled Company
Wine Associates, Inc.
Winebow
WineLite Imports
Winesellers, Ltd.
WineWise