The 3 Albarino’s

This is my first article in the new year 2013. For me the beginning of this year was a little bit challenging to say the least however I’m really excited to write about a very nice dinner invitation I got from 2 very special incredible people and shared with another two incredible friends and all revolving around wine.

I recently wrote an article about a wine producer from Galicia. My friend Hugo  who’s father is  JOSÉ ANTONIO LÓPEZ DOMÍNGUEZ a very special wine producer I wrote about just before christmas last year (see article link below). Hugo and his father was so kind to organize three wines from his wine estate so that we could make a little tasting together here in London.

I arrived at Hugo’s flat in Hackney which is in the beautiful old church that has been converted into flats. I then was introduced to an incredible person for the first time which was Christopher Kelly  of Theatre dela Mode (http://www.notjustalabel.com/editorial/theatre_de_la_mode).  His is a british unique designer who also loves many other art forms, he paints and is involved in many other projects to. His fashion is particularly popular in Japan.

He is such an extraordinary menswear designer. I love fashion and find mens ware fashion sometimes more exiting then womans purely because it speaks to me more in the sense that is is so wearable in a city like London.

I have always liked man’s fashion because of the different structures  layers and combinations, attitude ….almost being like kind of urbon city amor but at the same time being really cool and edgy.  I like to switch things up combining obviously something feminine with the masculine and Christopher Kelly’s work is a beautiful example of this, I really  appreciate craftsmanship and simplicity but within this simplicity I find complexity that is really satisfying to me.

Being a Japanese specialist chef we see simplicity as something that we aspire to and  in order to do this you have to develop great craftsmanship over many years of practice. The journey of  getting to this level is definitely not a simple one it is layered with so many different emotions, feelings understanding, insight, revelations, aspirations, struggles and many many many experiences and this is what really fascinates me.

I guess I see my own view when looking at Christophers work and I hope it resonates correctly to some degree.

Christopher had a collaboration project (see picture above) which was a exhibition of monster sculpture, embodying the spirit of the jacket. Andrew uses specialist techniques to construct imposing sculptures that express the very makeup of each jacket, its form, colour, style and even how it feels to wear it.”

THis is exactly the kind of thing that I like to do with my food concepts.  In japan the idea of something having a spirit or something else that goes beyond the physical- that is the spirit or essence of something, a kind of extended experience of what you normally see, is not unusual in Japan. That is the magic of something that resonates beyond the physical touching emotion and stimulating the way we can experience things.  That is completely important and interesting for me otherwise my dishes are just technical. To develop sensitivity for that and the skill to make this more experiential to people- is an art.

It can be a bit intimidating for me to try to speak about these things when you meet another very sophisticated artist or trying to write about this on my blog.

I would say in general that working with these concepts is definitely more unusual in gastronomy then fashion and it can be difficult to apply in a comercial business. However restaurants like El bulli and mugaritz etc do have a greater understanding and freedom to work with these elements and have influenced the gastronomic industry world wide with many avantgarde ideas that usually are more accustomed to art and music etc.

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“Celebrating a collection of re-invigorated classics, Theatre de la Mode has collaborated with paper sculptor Andrew MacGregor to create an elaborate exhibition of monster sculpture, embodying the spirit of the jacket. Andrew uses specialist techniques to construct imposing sculptures that express the very makeup of each jacket, its form, colour, style and even how it feels to wear it.”

My evening in the company of Hugo, Christopher, Ana and Theresa was an evening that was a truly rich experience for me  and subject matters were as abstract and fee without prejudice. It is very rarely that I actually meet other creative thinkers on everyday basis so when I do, I really get extremely creatively stimulated.

I would describe it as being overwhelmed and I love being overwhelmed.  It is almost like the richness of everything is overwhelming your being with new information and perceptions which is like being fed with new energy’s.

I am not a Christian however there is a saying which I don’t know exactly who said it -I presume it was Jesus but it said “that man should not live from bread alone” and there are definitely so many different ways to nurture and nourishing your self.

As a chef I definitely don’t just concentrate on the actual physical side of food preparation.

In the early training of my career I definitely focused on really understanding the physical aspects of cooking, timing, textures, all nutritional aspect, history and so on however- now I seem to focus on making the experience bigger by inviting other elements which you would normally not be concentrate on in a  conventional chef training.

A very good example of this is Mugaritz. Food defiantly has the potential to be as artistic as any other art form.

I do believe that perhaps developing this more holistic idea of different ways that the human can nourish his senses and being is an interesting subject to develop.

Eating in good company in a nice place with people that really care about you definitely has energetically a different effect on your body then if you’re on your own depressed and in the harsh environment.

If you look how we eat and were the food comes from and how it all is handled etc that alone is a very good place to start analysing how that might effect you nourishment ultimately.

I’m not having any particular revolutionary thoughts on this subject however it’s something that really occupies my mind and I do try to focus on this and see how far I can go with it however it is very difficult to find like-minded chefs who are willing to embark on such a journey of developing such ideas and of corse one has to also think realistically in terms of financing such a project.

This is just to share a little bit about what is going on in my mind and how to come closer to these things and creating a tangible operation in the very near future.

So in a nutshell meeting Christopher work was extremely inspiring to me because it is like creatieve parallel thinking. His project with capturing the spirit of the jacket is very much what I am doing with food. Seeing Christophers work assures me that I am not wrong in what I am exploring. It is always good to know you are not the only one thinking certain things and being a hermit you can easily feel you loosing track with others sometimes.

That evening we were to conduct a mini wine tasting together and comparing what each one of us actually got fromt he wine’s,  one was Nicola the other was Tabela and the third one was Trico.

Below this article I will link to a previous article which will explain in detail about where those wines came from and how they’re being cultivated in Galicia.

I have attach the pictures of the evening as it is to hard to write the events of the night in detail.

Hugo is working in the V&A so his home was like a treasure sanctuary of many iconic trinkets and wonders that you just keep discovering throughout the night.

A meal was also prepared for the wine tasting and very charmingly served on vintage collectables creating such a personal experience.

The 3 Albarino’s of Galicia

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Nicolas, Trico, Tabla
Hugo and Christopher
Hugo and Christopher
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Theresa and Ana from “flavours of Spain” they are importing the wine to UK 🙂
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Hugo had prepared this amazing Empanada for us to match with our wine tasting.
The name on the dish is Trico the first wine we tasted.
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First we tried the TRICO which is matured for 2 years. It is a young wine but refined and elegant, mineral and peaches .Details of the wine please see article link below.
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Hugo made this Galician Empanada to go with our wine tasting which was absolutely lovely made with so much care and love the most important ingredient in any dish!

DSCF0319 DSCF0334 DSCF0322 IMG_1179 IMG_1178IMG_1174This is a more traditional ALbarino matured for 1 year, very nice nose- parfume, delicate, floral, fruity, elegant and light. This wine will be fantastic with vegetable dishes, fish and seafood.

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All 3 wines have labels all drawn by Hugo’s great grandmother, this bottle has a little greek soldier on it symbolising the strength and uniqueness of a child that without trying is irrepetible as is this  wine.

This wine is my favourite, very clean fruity nose really fantastic for the kind of dishes I create. Please read the full article about all these 3 wines attached link below. I have not gone in to much detail in this report and it is important to see all the detail and specialist care goes into the production and history of these very unique special Albarino’s.

We only expected to try the wines but the food prepared that evening was so wonderful that I had to include the pictures. Sorry my camera is not good but I hope the spirit of this special meeting will come across.

All dishes were served in vintage vessels which was really a fantastic way to experience togetherness and sharing food. I used to be involved in a cafe called Macaron in Clapham and my idea was that all the crockery was bought from vintage shops nothing was matching I still love this idea.

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I like this wall of mirrors because you can choose what you want to see and how just like life. There used to be a childrens program I used to watch and the lady always used to say what window do you want to go through today? There was always a choice of different shaped windows!
I like this wall of mirrors because you can choose what you want to see and how just like life. There used to be a childrens program I used to watch and the lady always used to say what window do you want to go through today? There was always a choice of different shaped windows!

DSCF0315 DSCF0359 DSCF0360 IMG_1285 IMG_1271 Screen Shot 2013-02-12 at 15.44.46I want to thank everyone for that very special night. I added this picture because seemingly really ordinary things in the right view can become extraordinary. I really like developing my senses and eyes to see the magnificence in everything. The closest thing that feels like god to me.

Alchemy of the moment.

The spirit of Galicia ( Albarino ) in the V&A part 2

I went to the V&A cafe after having walked around the museum to finally speak to Hugo about the story of his ancestors of wine makers,  and the important work his father has been doing for the Albarino since the 1980’s….

Bacchanal by Aimé-Jules Dalou (1897-1902). Signed and dated 1879. Painted plaster. Victoria & Albert Museum, London (no. 434-1896). The V&A chat label reads: “This skilfully composed relief is one of several versions showing the worshipers of Bacchus, the God of wine in classical mythology. Dalou made it in London, but returned to Paris later in the same year and reworked the composition in marble as a decoration for a fountain.”
This is the Mino River in Galicia. On the left is Portugal and on the Right is Galicia Spain.   Joaquin a childhood friend of  JOSÉ ANTONIO LÓPEZ DOMÍNGUEZ the Father of HUGO still practises the traditional way of fishing lamprey in the River .To this day this fish is still used and reinvented by many michelin chefs in Galicia.

The Albariño wine comes from the Albariño variety of white grapes cultivated traditionally in the south of Galicia and  north of Portugal. This variety is characterised by producing small bunches of rather small grapes similar to that of the Riesling.

The legend says that this variety was brought to Galicia  by Cistercians Monks in medieval times from the Rhine valley, that would explain the similarities to the Riesling grape variety. Over time this grape would have evolved differently due to the new Galician climate and soil becoming a variety of its own right. This is part of the folklore surrounding this mysterious variety hidden over the centuries on the remote Galician valleys.

It was presumably brought to Iberia by Cluny monks in the twelfth century.  Its name “Alba-Riño” means “the white [wine] from the Rhine and it has locally been thought to be a Riesling clone originating from the Alsace region of France, although earliest known records of Riesling as a grape variety date from the 15th, rather than the 12th, century. It is also theorized that the grape is a close relative of the French grape Petit Manseng.

Native galician cow grazing in the neighbourhood

The galician land is blessed with natural wonders. Nearby is Cape Finisterre, or “lands end”, the westernmost point in Spain, which was once considered the end of the world. One of the more impressive elements of this lush land is the rías, which are deep, wide inlets of water encroaching many miles inland from the Atlantic Ocean along the coast.

The southern group of these rías are known in Galician as the Rías Biaxas. To the delight of wine lovers, these rías are surrounded by fine vineyard land. Since the rías are such an important element in the wine region, Rías Baixas was also taken as the name for the region’s denomination of origin, which was awarded in 1988.

JOSÉ ANTONIO LÓPEZ DOMÍNGUEZ the Father of HUGO was born by the river of Mino.  Here you see him selecting each vine uniquely only when they are ready instead of harvesting all at once, respecting and acknowledging the way nature works on a more individual schedule.

JOSÉ ANTONIO is one of the pioneers that was campaigning to secure the denomination of the ALBARINO in the 1980’s he worked in 2 wineries in Morgadio and was the soul behind LUSCO.

Lusco is the name of the second wine JOSÉ ANTONIO produced years ago with the Winery Lusco do Mino, Lusco is a Galician word for twilight.

Albariño was produced in the past in various unsure ways producing and inferior Albariño that is often cloudy and the common myth about this wine was that it does not store well.

More so it is important to cultivate a pure product to ensure the correct linage of the wine.

By ensuring the denomination JOSÉ ANTONIO LÓPEZ DOMÍNGUEZ was insuring the future and the quality of this wine

The process of production and the importance of the denomination, the precise preservation of authentic grape cultivation all these elements produce a authentic Alberinio that is clear and can also store longer then one year.

Spain produces Albariño to a significant degree in the Rías Baixas DO, especially in the town of Cambados. It is also common in the Vinho Verde region of Portugal, but it is only authorized to be grown in Monção and Melgaço. In other locations such as Ribeiro (DO), Lima, Braga or Valdeorras (DO) it is often mixed with other grapes such as Loureiro,GodelloCaiñoArinto or Treixadura to produce blended wines. Such blends were common throughout Galicia too until about 1985; when the Rías Baixas DO was established on an experimental basis in 1986, Albariño began to emerge as a varietal, both locally and internationally. Its recent emergence as a varietal led the wines to be “crafted for the palates of Europe, America and beyond and for wine drinkers who wanted clean flavors and rich, ripe fruit” and led to wines completely different from those produced across the river in Portugal.

Albariño is now produced in several California regions including the Santa Ynez Valley, Clarksburg, and Los Carneros AVAs.

In recent years Albariño attracted the attention of Australian winemakers, several of whom are now producing varietal wines. However, it has recently been discovered that grape growers and wine makers in Australia have been supplying and selling wrongly labelled Albarino for over a decade. They thought they were pouring money into the market for the Spanish grape, only to discover they were incorrectly sold cuttings of the French Savagningrape instead.

A French expert visiting Australia raised questions in 2008, and DNA testing confirmed that the grapes are in fact French Savagnin. Almost all wine in Australia labelled as Albarino is Savagnin.

JOSÉ ANTONIO main concern was the intangible heritage of old traditions passed on by Oral transmission from generation to generation throughout the ages.

This is a very important aspect for the future of any culture,  this particular subject needs careful consideration and preservation as it holds crucial natural wisdoms from times were man was much more intuitive living closely with nature attaining deep knowledge of the land and how to grow and cultivate things through generations of direct experience dating back hundreds of years. This is often the key to finding clues about evolution and new ideas.

By understanding the principles of old traditions and knowledge we can firmly develop new concepts based on valuable experiences from the past.

A lot of the cultivation techniques were by direct observation and very close contact to nature as people were more simple not applying science conciously for example.

At present these ancient oral transmitted agricultural aspects are unfortunately not taken care of  or are not valued enough in the process of winemaking in rual Galicia.

Jose Antonio came from a matriarchal family structure following the Galician tradition. His Great grandmother Francisca (the one in the photo), his grandmother Antonia and now his aunty Esther kept working the land as ever resisting the neglection of the land and keeping unaware of their mission to preserve the relation between land and man, and the tradicional forms of agriculture transmitted orally through generation to generations for hunders of years.

It was not just these important family ladies that were transmitting this passion but also his father Salvador who was a Albarino wine maker and he use to sell cuttings of the Albariño vines and other local varieties in most farm markets in the South of Galicia, spreading the goodness of the vines of this area of the Miño to other areas of the county.

JOSÉ ANTONIO grew up with this and he is fully aware of bringing together the ancient knowledge of his elders verbal tradition passing on from generation to generation together with the new knowledge to bring the winemaking of Galicia up to modern requirements without loosing its key characteristics and heritage.

He saw that the quality of the Albariño grape and wanted to explore and develop it to it’s deserved full potential. His experimentations with Albarino by producing the wine to its best quality possible, was due to the use of good raw materials, with the result of a wine that can perfectly challenge other great wines in Europe.

He Commercialises his brands Trico and Nicolas from 2010 in 2012 which was unthinkable to do at the time.

His method is a combination of good product and passion farming, something that only a small winery can have, but we can not forget the main ingredient  working with the grapes in an old traditional way learned from the elders in his family. He does not harvests all grapes at one time, he lets vines to do what they do naturally and organically.

Natural watering by rain and sometimes even letting the roots fight for water almost making the vine suffer slightly to make sure that they become stronger plant and grape.

Combination of a good product and cultivating only a small winery, he looks after grapes in old traditional ways learned by his Grandfather. For example he does not harvests all grapes at one time, he lets vines to do what they do naturally and organically.

He lets little herds of sheep grace around the grape vines who in turn fertilise the vine grounds.

Many producers will water  additionally and use modern big production methods inorder to produce quantity but therefor significantly compromising on quality which is also one of the reasons the wine is more sensitive to storing only for shorter periods.

JOSÉ ANTONIO always says “the vines are not in a hurry, so I am not either”

Modern agressive agriculture is definitely not allowing nature to cultivate in its natural time therefor lacking in flavour, nutrients and most importantly the seeds or cuttings will get also weaker leaving a weak heritage for to the future generations.

He explained that several plots, at different hight’s  the grapes evolves in different ways and times he looks at this individually and harvests them specifically taking only the grapes that are ready and ripe at that very right moment.

JOSÉ ANTONIO produces 3 Albariños:
Trico is the main wine were he uses the more selected grapes and is kept for one year in the tank with temperature control, and another year in bottle before its commersilised, so the wine has time to develope all its potential and grow. The label is a drawing of his mother when she was a child in 1938, where she painted the village where they are from and were the vinyards are.
Nicolas follows a similar procedure of production but he does not produce it every year, the first Nicolas is from the grape of a particular vineyard where  the grape was of a particular excellent quality. Jose Antonio keeps the grapes from the different vineyards in different tanks to study carefully its development, In 2010 he decided to keep one of those tanks exclusively for a special wine becoming Nicolas as it had a special quality. And its called Nicolas because coincided with the birth of his first male grandson called Nicolas! The label is another drawing by his mother as a child, depicting a greek soldier , symbolising the strength and uniqueness of a child that without trying is irrepetible as its this  wine.
JOSÉ ANTONIO mother  Adelaida passed away when he was 10 years old so this is a small homage to her.
Tabla de Sumar (adding table in English) is the wine he produces with the rest of the harvest and the wine is not left to mature in tank  or bottle and is commercialised straight away resulting on a young and fresh Albarino of more traditional character. The label is an adding table card that Jose Antonio used as a child  at school; symbolises the wine as a result of the addition of the good grapes and the vineyard terraces by the Mino which equals to the wine.

 

This was the adding up table in the schools from Jose when he was a child and has used it as one of his labels for the wine.

Compañía de Vinos Tricó was created with the aim of displaying the vast experience José Antonio López had gained since 1985 in winemaking as well as in viticulture. Formerly with Bodegas Morgadio and later with Lusco, José Antonio came to several conclusions:

  • The total and absolute conviction that the Rías Baixas subzone, Condado do Tea, is the most suitable for the kind of viticulture they need.
  • Albariño, despite much being said to the contray, is a variety with vast aging potential, comparable to any great European wine.
  • In order to reach the above-mentioned goal, they have a wide range of plots, which are located at different altitudes on the slopes of the river Miño. This allows them to stagger the various harvests (with differences among them up to 15-20 days of ripening), thus getting a perfect balance in the grape juices and avoiding any correction on the wines, essential for their longevity.
  • Their grapes come from vines, some of them more than 25 years old, which are planted in decomposed granite, sandy and poor plots. They grow in a very sunny and dry land, without watering, and that is why their yields are low. They respect nature and work the land using organic fertilizers, allowing the plants their own rhythm.
  • They are not in a hurry, as neither is the wine. They believe in what they do, and have enough experience to make as few mistakes as possible.

With all these convictions and a great dose of hope, they started their journey in 2007, without any partnership, in order to keep focused on their goals, accompanied by a team that is fully integrated in this modest project that nevertheless has a great future.

Winery, vineyards and process:

The soil of Tricó’s grape production is primarily poor, sandy and decomposed granite, which in Galicia is known as “Xabre”. The sub-area is called Condado do Tea, a traditional area of viticulture located on the southern side of Miño River, in its international tranche in front of the area of “Green Wines” and its tributary Tea River, that gives its name to the sub-area. Their grapes come from 5 hectares of their own vines, 5 rented hectares of old vines, and 3.5 hectares of grapes purchased from old vines of very high quality.

The viticulture is very simple: based on the principle of non-intervention in the winery, the wines are gestated in the vineyard. In the perfect moment of harvest, respecting the characteristic climate of each vintage, allows them to develop of wines that are very raw in its concept but with enormous potential.

The preparation is very simple. Based on the high quality of the grapes, they try to process the grapes as quickly as possible after the harvest using pneumatic press, racking in cold and controlled fermentation in steel tanks. They then let the wine rest for a minimum of one year and bottle. As far as lees are concerned, they understand that they are not adequate for their wines, which have great aromatic potential and body. Their experience tells them that lees should only be used in wines with little structure.

Except for the grapes that they buy (which they control) the rest are from their own organically cultivated vines. We use organic fertilisers and cultivate the land to eliminate weeds and incorporate fertilisers. They do not use irrigation, despite the fact that their vineyards are in upland and extremely dry areas.

The TRICÓ 2009 production was 27,000 bottles.

About the name:

Trico is the name that is known to last child arrives without being expected, by far the brothers in years preceding it. This Trico is the last son of Jose Antonio Lopez , formerly Lusco and much earlier in Morgadio. Jose Antonio Lopez is one of those responsible for the resurgence of Albariño wine and quality wine (the other big name of the Rias Baixas is held by Gerardo Méndez).

The beginning of Trico can not be more encouraging standing, since the first vintage, head of quality Albariño wines. Over time, this Trico, will be talking, as now does the Do Ferreiro Cepas Vellas.

The Trico is a wine that is kept for a year at its lees, with the intention of, on the one hand to preserve the floral and fruity character of the Albariño variety, and on the other to give more structure, more voluptuous in the mouth and a more extensive and long. Ultimately, preserve freshness and acidity and gain presence and intensity . was wearing the Trico a nice golden yellow with green iridescence, clean and bright and intense, insinuating tear.

In nose shown in a frank and intense freshness of green apple leads to no less fresh citrus notes accompanying the stone fruits, peach and apricot and tropical pineapple and passion fruit. Interesting floral hues adorn the persistent fruit. Delicate herbaceous notes and closed a circle aromatic balsamic crisp and extensive.

In mouth is tasty, untusoso with good input. A pleasant acidity prolongs the presence and intensity of the wine in the mouth, which ends with a successful and fruity finish. 

During this interviewe many parallels of the visions between the V&A, the wine making of JOSÉ ANTONIO LÓPEZ DOMÍNGUEZ, and my work of developing a Keiseki that is based in the west seemed to be synchronising in essence perfectly.

For me the moral of the sorry is that nature does hold more answers to our life on earth for the future more then we can imagine.

For example:

Biomimicry or biomimetics is the examination of Nature, its models, systems, processes, and elements to emulate or take inspiration from in order to solve human problems. The term biomimicry andbiomimetics come from the Greek words bios, meaning life, and mimesis, meaning to imitate. Similar terms include bionics.

Over the last 3.6 billion years, nature has gone through a process of trial and error to refine the living organisms, processes, and materials on planet Earth. The emerging field of biomimetics has given rise to new technologies created from biologically inspired engineering at both the macro scale and nanoscale levels. Biomimetics is not a new idea. Humans have been looking at nature for answers to both complex and simple problems throughout our existence. Nature has solved many of today’s engineering problems such as hydrophobicity, wind resistance, self-assembly, and harnessing solar energy through the evolutionary mechanics of selective advantages.

This is a fascinating and important subject that I feel lies very deep in mans evolution till this day however now it is harder to realize being surrounded by many man made environments and the fact that we buy food rather then grow it and make it ourselves.

Looking into the past and what ancestors have done, aswel as learning here and now are all important factores.

In terms of creating a cuisine  that has heritage and culture as in Kyoto Keiseki this is also fundamentally important to relate to nature and man from past and current investigations.

If we take it out of its historic environment and geographical location completely and place it into a city without looking at any of the important references we will end up with a very week “Vine cutting”. A weakened concept, a weakened gene etc.

Inorder to have authenticity and linage as well as a natural internal development with keiseki, we need to work with many things in mind, that are not very apparent to people here in the west due to real cultural and climatic differences.

The appreciation of Japanese historic aesthetics, art and culture is very different and unique and it needs to be experienced at a very intimate and educational  level otherwise it could never be truly understood.

A true appreciation needs to be cultivated and developed and best through experience.

At the hart of all the above mentioned story is Vision, passion and therefor is an art and worthy of maintaining preserving and cultivating for the future generations to also appreciate.

Here is a pictures of the beauty of oral passing from generation to the next in the midst of nature:

The spirit of Galicia in the V&A part 1

Everything starts with a great Vision:

V&A = VISION & ART

This article is about the story of the Albarino wine from Galicia, however not just any Albarino but made by JOSÉ ANTONIO LÓPEZ DOMÍNGUEZ the father of Victor Hugo Lopez Borges.

I first met Hugo in London at the Galician Business connection 2012. He was there to represent his father JOSÉ ANTONIO LÓPEZ DOMÍNGUEZ wine here in London. The wines have 3 different names are: Trico, Nicolas and Talba de Sumar.

At this conference we spoke briefly about his fathers story and I was immediately taken by this authentic and unique  history, concept and story. I am the kind of person that loves great wines but  I also am always also looking for a story and passion about the wine.

The history of this family definitely did not fail to deliver exactly this on any counts.

I suggested that I would write about his incredible family heritage and story of the Galician Albarino “Rías Baixas” .

Before I can tell the story of the wine I could not do so without also writing about Hugo and a little bit about the V&A first as not only is his father an important pioneer of Alberino, Hugo is in his own right also of incredible acclaim.

Victor Hugo Lopez Borges infront of the reproduction of the Pórtico da Gloria in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.The Pórtico da Gloria of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is a Romanesque portico by Master Mateo and his workshop at the request of King Ferdinand II of León, who donated for this purpose one hundred maravedís annually between 1168 and 1188, when the latter consisting inscribed in stone in the cathedral as its completion. On April 1, 1188 placed the lintels of the portico and the conclusion of the set was delayed until 1211, at which time the temple was consecrated by the presence of King Alfonso IX of León.

The portico has three arches that correspond to each of the three naves of the church, supported by thick piers with pilasters. The central arch is the largest (twice than each side), is the only one who has tympanum and is divided by a central column, the mullion, with the figure of Saint James. Vertically, the lower band is formed by the bases of the columns, decorated with fantastic animals, the middle strip consists of columns supporting the statues of the Apostles and attached the upper arches crowning the three doors. The sculpture is intended as an iconographic representation of different symbols taken from the Apocalypse of St. John and other texts of the Old Testament.

http://www.lavozdegalicia.es/lavozdelaemigracion/2008/06/18/00031213802385522567981.htm

Hugo is the  Senior Sculpture Conservator, at the V&A.

His work involves looking after the sculpture collections at the V&A, that include sculpture of different procedences from European to Indian and Chinese, we work all materials from stone to terracotta, plaster ivory etc..

He physically works on the objects in order to make them stable and recover, as much as posible, their original look preserving all the characteristics and history.

He researches new conservation technicques as well as the original materlas and techniques of the objects.

He coordinates the sculpture loans that go from the V&A to different Institutions around the world, wich involves sometimes travelling with them to supervise their transit and installation.

Hugo is a conservation coordinator for some of the new projected in the Museum that involve sculptures, where he is part of a work team from the earlier stages of the design of the new galleries.

I would like to take this opportunity to also talk a bit about the V&A and how I found the spirit of Galicia here in london together with Hugo that day.

The V&A LONDON
Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela GALICIA
Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela
(Galician: Catedral de Santiago de Compostela) is a Roman Catholic cathedral of the archdiocese of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain. The cathedral is the reputed burial-place of Saint James the Greater, one of the apostles of Jesus Christ. It is the destination of the Way of St. James, a major historical pilgrimage route since the Early Middle Ages. The building is a Romanesque structure with later Gothic and Baroque additions.
This is truly a magical pilgrim point for many people each year.
The tradition is that after a long pilgrim walk they all gather here to lay down infront of the cathedral to view it in reverse perspective. I did not pilgrim as such but I did try doing so and this is a picture of me laying on the ground viewing the cathedral and it seemed as if it was the gate of heaven. Very enigmatic. I am not a catholic however I can really appreciate this experience.
This is the replication of the Pórtico da Gloria in the V&A LONDON life size
ALl pilgrims used to as there first point of contact to the cathedral after the strenuous walk place there hand on the central piller which has the indentation of many years of pilgrim hands reshaping the stone.

Hugo showed me around the V&A and I had learned so much that day. I really start appreciating the V&A from a very different and more personal experience.

The person to create the V&A was an extraordinary person with a very great Vision.

Vision needs commemoration so here is a little about the story of how the V&A was created:

Sir Henry Cole (15 July 1808 – 18 April 1882) was an English civil servant and inventor who facilitated many innovations in commerce and education in 19th century Britain.

As one of the Commissioners, Cole was instrumental in the decision that the £186,000 surplus from the Great Exhibition would be used for improving science and art education in the United Kingdom. Land was purchased in the South Kensington area and developed as the centre for a number of educational and cultural institutions, known half-jokingly as “Albertopolis“.

Henry Cole was appointed the first General Superintendent of the Department of Practical Art, set up by the government to improve standards of art and design education in Britain with reference to their applicability to industry. In this capacity he was instrumental in the development of the Victoria and Albert Museum which had begun as the Museum of Ornamental Art in Marlborough House. Cole oversaw its move to its current site, and became first director of what was initially called South Kensington Museum from 1857 to 1873. In 1974 a part of the museum that was once known as the Huxley Building was renamed the Henry Cole Building; today it forms the Henry Cole Wing of the V&A. The official opening by Queen Victoria was on 22 June 1857. This was to enable in the words of Cole “to ascertain practically what hours are most convenient to the working classes” — this was linked to the use of the collections of both applied art and science as educational resources to help boost productive industry. In these early years the practical use of the collection was very much emphasised as opposed to that of “High Art” at the National Gallery and scholarship at the British Museum. George Wallis(1811–1891), the first Keeper of Fine Art Collection, passionately promoted the idea of wide art education through the museum collections.

The idea was to inspite modern manufactures with good examples of Art and design from all over the world and different hystorical periods.

The purpose was to offer a resource for designers, Artists, architects and general public with good examples of design and Art inorder to create something new.

What I appreciate most about the V&A is that it serves as a creative inspiration tank with many artefacts that have been carefully selected none discriminative of time, particular form or culture.

Unlike a normal museum were everything is filed in sections, here at the V&A you are taken by surprise as you walk through the building, constantly discovering something in a childlike curiosity.

You will find fashion,  many world wide cultural treasures past, present and future, art, jewellery  architecture many elements of wonders of the world. If you are a photographer or textile designer, painter a creative or just someone who appreciates beautiful things you are definitely going to be inspired here at the V&A.

The V&A exhibits  old design inspiring modern design. Old and new co exist together in beautiful and ever current harmony. Were ever you look it all works together.

Everyone who comes here will see it differently. Many designers like Vivian Westwood, Paul Smith all love the V&A for the very same reason as so many do….the exquisit source of inspiration.

One of the most important contribution the V&A inspires first and foremost it the importance of good craftsmanship no matter what kind of artist or designer you may be!

Everywhere you go in you will find people drawing, sketching, writing and taking pictures.

This article is actually going to be about the iconic Albarino and a pioneer wine maker from Galicia.

His son Victor Hugo Lopez Borges works here in London in the V&A for the last 12 years restoring and taking care of art.

I was so inspired during our interview, I had an deep insight of the connection of the vision of the V&A, the vision and spirit of galician traditional winemaking that also has exact parallels to my vision of Japanese kyoto culture amongst other things.

I will write more about this in part 2.

The V&A is such an important Gallery and it is for this reason I decided to give a homage in part 1 of the article before I go on to tell the story of the meeting between a pioneering galician winemaker, the son who  preserves fine art in the V&A and a japanese specialist chef.

Part 2 following shortly……..