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Spain celebrates new Caballeros del Vino

Published:  05 March, 2019

The Wine Society’s Pierre Mansour and Paul Shinnie of Alliance Wines were the latest UK trade to be honour at a lively Gran Orden de Caballeros del Vino annual dinner in Mayfair last night, where they were officially invested into the red-robed order by Spanish ambassador His Excellency Carlos Bastarreche.

The Gran Orden celebrates those that have “acted over and above the call of duty” with regards to the promotion, communication and elevation of Spanish wine, and now counts 66 Spanish and UK members in its ranks.

Backed by Spanish export body ICEX and regularly fronted by Spanish dignitaries, the Caballeros (or ‘knights’) investiture dinner has grown from modest origins in 1984 to today’s roll call of Hispanophile champions, drawn from both trade and communicators, with the numbers including Harpers columnist Tim Atkin MW and regular Spain contributor Sarah Jane-Evans MW.

Both Mansour and Shinnie were warmly commended by the Spanish ambassador for their ongoing and “outstanding contribution” to the sales of Spanish wines, before joining trade colleagues and fellow Caballeros del Vino for a Spanish-inspired menu, courtesy of The Dorchester’s executive sous chef, Mario Perera.

A selection of wines, running the gamut of Spanish styles styles from zesty Txakoli to unctuous PX, were on hand to oil the celebration at one of the most popular black tie bashes in the wine trade calendar.

The Caballeros have a serious side, though, helping steer Spanish wines to greater commercial success in the UK, to the benefit of both producers and importers. And with some success over the three and a half decades of the Gran Orden’s existence, during which time Spanish wines have grown from cheap and cheery shelf fillers to one of the most exciting and diverse categories on our lists today.