Spains Great Match

Victoria Attends Spain’s Great Match in San Francisco


It was an ordinary Tuesday and I found that reason enough to wine taste my way through Spain’s Great Match. More than 200 wineries from Spain met in San Francisco’s Metreon to celebrate its 23rd annual event. Regional wines were showcased alongside their latest vintages.  Unique and enigmatic wines were paired with culinary treats, including delectable olives and cheese from Spain.

Spains Great Match

Pictured from left to right Victoria from Cookfor2ish and Melody Fuller of Oakland Wine Festival

Reading the Labels

Before I really started to learn about wine, I would stray away from regions I didn’t know anything about. In the new world, wine labels are explicit and clearly name the varietal, in the old world you rarely find the varietal on the label. I found it to be a little overwhelming so I came up with a cheat sheet to break down the details.

Spain Great Match


Winery Brand

Producer – Name of Vineyard

Label Name

Year or Vintage (year of harvest)

DO : Designation of Origin – Geographical Area where Grapes were Grown (it could be a small village)

At least for Spanish wines, this method seems to remain somewhat consistent, as long as you know the varietal and where it is grown.

The Seven Wine Regions of Spain

Spain’s Great Match, literally covers wine from across the entire country. The areas are broken down into seven regions and further down into designation of origin.

Spains Great Match

The Seven Regions

Green Spain/ Duero River Valley/ The Mediterranean Coast/ The Meseta/ Ebro River Valley/ Andalucia/ The Islands

Spains Great Match

My Favorites

From a large array and extensive tasting booth by booth, I choose my 3 favorite varietals.

Technically, my technique of comparing Spanish varietals to American might not bode well with wine makers, but it’s only for the sake of understanding and learning. When I was new to these regions, I would ask if what I was tasting might be similar to say, a chardonnay. It helped me better grasp a general idea of these new, complex and infinite varietals.

Sorry in advance wine makers, I’m truly trying to bridge the gap between the two worlds for the young wine enthusiast out there!

If I could guess, there were probably around 20 different varietals at this event and only 3 really spoke to me.


Albarino: Similar to Chardonnay, fresh, alive, light, with solid acidity that could even be somewhat tropical.

Verdejo: It reminded me of a crisp, non-acidic Sauvignon Blanc. Apricot and peaches on the nose, followed by a weightless taste.


Tempranillo: From simple and modest to complex and rich, it immediately made me think of Pinot Noir.

Spains Great Match

Some of my favorite spanish wines at the match 

I won’t say I managed to try all 200 bottles, but I did make it to each table and these were my top picks for this lovely event.

Gran Resalte 2009, DO Ribera del Duero – Tempranillo $79.00 (red)

Dark, intense deep red, perfume, violets, flowers, balanced acidity, electric feeling in your mouth, solid grape flavors and extremely elegant. Superb finish dressed with mild tannins (dry).

Ideal for that special moment or proposal (even meeting the parents).

Spains Great Match

Resalte Crianza 2011, DO Ribera del Duero – Tempranillo $35.00 (red)

Cherry red color and aromas of stone. Wine is intense, vivid, expressive, light, clean, bright and leaves your empty glass filled with powerful black licorice aromas.

Best for hanging with friends and/or enjoying tapas alongside great conversation.

El Coto Imaz Reserva 2010, DO Rioja – Tempranillo $ 19.99 (red)

Oak and pepper blend in the nose. Light, but warm feeling on the tongue that vanishes immediately, leaving you with a “I want another glass sensation”

Spains Great Match

Best for movie day, chilling and/or cool Sunday fun-day afternoons.

Condes de Albarei 2015, DO Rias Baixas – Albarino $ 15.00 (white)

Attractive citric notes on the nose were followed by the saltiness of a oyster fresh out of the sea. Wine was bright yellow in color and finishes with a sense of satisfaction one can only get through experiencing themselves.

Spains Great Match

Obviously wine would be paired well with a fresh salad, ceviche or any fresh fish for that matter.

Fun Fact: More than half of the wine makers in this region (Rias Baixas) are women.

De Alberto Premium 2015, Hijos de Alberto Gutierrez DO Rueda – Verdejo $ 14.50 (white)

Stimulating beginning and highly expressive on the nose. Hints of apricot with soft acidity and finishes smooth.

Spains Great Match

Perfect by the pool on a hot day or a great start to your Sunday brunch.

Spains Great Match

Olives from Spain

I made a few trips to this booth for olives, olives and more olives!

A large portion of olives are used solely for the purpose of oil extraction, while only a select few are deemed suitable enough to be processed and eaten as table olives.

Spains Great Match

While Olives from Spain are strong and robust all on their own, their unique taste and texture can create more than just an impressive solo act. Thanks to the various types of processing methods used, there’s a wide range of table olives available on the market.

Black Olives:

The Ripe Black Olive is both mild and subdued and has a light, flexible flavor. Black olives are lighter than other snacks, yet big on taste. In fact, seven olives top out at 37 calories.

Green Olives:

The Spanish Green Olive is a year-round favorite. It’s beautiful in color and it’s robust flavor is enough to stand alone. They’re adaptable enough to make any dish even more memorable, bold, sharp, spicy flavor.

Stuffed Olives: Just Add Anything

Almost any food can be combined with this Spanish favorite. Garlic, blue cheese, jalapeños, capers, anchovies, artichokes and more.

It took a lot of self control to not consume every last olive at this event! From garlic, artichokes, pepper and spices, I was sold on them all.

Cheese from Spain

The booth was simple and focused on Spain’s best: Manchego.

Manchego cheese is made from the milk of the  Manchega sheep, breed on the center region of Spain, ” La Mancha”.

Spains Great Match

There were 3 types of Manchego; pasteurized (commercial), raw (farm style) and mixed (with cow milk).

The flavors were fruity with a tangy note, with a caramel and nutty after taste. All the cheeses had a distinct acidity and the Manchego sheep’s milk gave a pleasant, unusual aftertaste. The texture is firm and compact.

Spains Great Match

My favorite one was the farm style, when it comes to cheese, pasteurized paranoia doesn’t worry me at all!

Olive Oil From Spain

This event couldn’t be complete without the olive oil! There were several bottles from many producers perfectly lined up; spicy ones, fragrant, and dipping only. Too many to taste them all in one visit (Especially when you have a fresh baguette as the main tasting tool).

Spains Great Match

I’m a fan of strong ones, my favorite from all: Castillo de Canena; 100% from the “Picual” olive variety. The oil had a medium body, soft texture, sweet/buttery taste, at the end a strong peppery kick that gave me an extra savory bonus .

Spains Great Match

Spains Great Match 

Overall, this event was really eye opening to how many beautiful and eclectic types of wine Spain has to offer. The wines were a refreshing taste of something new for me.

Spains Great Match

Spains Great Match

Thank you to the organizers, sponsors, venders and all the individual people who made this great event possible for so many years. I look forward to attending again next year.


I was born in San Luis Obispo, but I definitely call Sacramento home. I grew up since 6th grade on 20 acres with horses. I started showing professionally at age 10 and it stuck with me until I was 30! I’ve always been known as an Urban Cowgirl, but I’m happy to say I feel like I’ve transformed into a “City Fitness Girl Who Can Still Get Down & Dirty” (it’s longer, but a great upgrade). Turning 31 was a pivotal point in my life and really brought me closer to my food dreams, learning new ways to work out and truly loving the skin I’m in. I believe you can eat well to look and feel great. I also believe the way you eat is a huge part of how you work out and the results that follow. I created my blog CookFor2ish late last year with the intention of creating meals in smaller portions with a healthy-ish flair. I love what I do. I’m happy to share my food secrets and how I maintain my body. Getting shock value that I’m 31 when people find out my age, means the world to me. It reminds me that what I’m doing is working and it’s not a fad, it’s a lifestyle. It’s truly living well, eating well and finding a doable life balance. I love trying new things and sharing what I’m up to through my life journey. I’m here for those who want to be inspired and see that food can be good without being bad for you. Oh, and I’ll be writing some reviews of my favorite places along the way! I’m excited to meet you and/or connect. xoxo