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What to expect at the Food&Wine Autumn Wine Tasting at Whelehans

Kate O’Callaghan chats to Pablo de Simón of Bodegas de la Marquesa Valserrano about this very special evening


Family-owned wineries Château Beauchêne and Bodegas de la Marquesa Valserrano provide world-class wines and have been doing since the nineteenth century.

Amandine Bernard and Pablo De Simón of each winery respectively will join Food&Wine for an exclusive Autumn Wine Tasting at Whelehans this Thursday September 22, with Food&Wine editor Gillian Nelis chairing a question and answer session with our visiting experts. Here, Kate O’Callaghan catches up with Pablo de Simon of Valserrano ahead of his Dublin trip. 

Pablo de Simon of Valserrano
Pablo de Simon of Valserrano

What can guests of the Food&Wine Autumn Wine Tasting at Whelehans expect to taste from Valserrano at this event? 

Guests will have the opportunity to taste the heritage of our wine region, Rioja, in the central northern part of Spain. Rioja is probably Spain’s most celebrated wine region, with more history in its vines and more balance and elegance in its bottles than any other region. This is thanks to our climate, our chalky clay soil in small hilly vineyards in a fresh northern area, and thanks to our main grape, Tempranillo.

Which wines are you most excited about, and why? 

That is always a tricky question for me, as it is not easy to say which are your favourite wines. However, despite being famous for our red wines and the Tempranillo grape, I have a passion for the white wines of Rioja. The white wines are made with Viura grapes and are aged for less time in oak barrels (we have a barrel-fermented white that ages just 4-5 months and a Gran Reserva that ages for approximately 2 years), and have a balance, complexity and potential of ageing that I love. People always know about the red riojas with Tempranillo or even Garnacha, but not that much about the whites of our region. I love to showcase the white Riojas. 

Whelehans Wines
Whelehans Wines

Do you have a favourite wine and food pairing you can share with us? 

I love something very typical of Rioja and the Basque Country in the north of Spain. A good Reserva is great to share. Our Valserrano Reserva, for example, goes perfectly with a good beef steak or some good lamb chops made on the grill: the acidity and tannins of the wine match perfectly with the taste and fat of the meat, and both will make each other softer and easier to enjoy. I also think our Crianza is a perfect wine to pair not only with tapas, as we do in Spain, but with a burger or pizza. Another excellent food pairing while we are in Ireland, is to combine some oysters with a white Rioja, especially our Gran Reserva, that will combine the salty sea flavours of the oyster and the acidity and complexity of the wine.

Pablo de Simón and Amandine Bernard will share their wine wisdom this Thursday evening at Whelehans Wines. This event is sold out but you can register your interest for the next Food&Wine Experience at foodwineexperiences.ie.