FINCA & Bodegas las Orcas (Rioja) Special Tasting Menu & Wine Pairings
Available Thurs, Sept. 3rd – Sat, Sept. 5th (Dinner 5pm – Close)
A la cart items or $45 full tasting menu, $45 wine pairings.
**Spanish Winemaker Raimundo Abando of Bodegas las Orcas will be at FINCA on Friday, September 4th**
At FINCA, 327 West 200 South
Walking the streets of Laguardia in Rioja Alavesa, Spain with Raimundo Abando is what I would imagine it would be like to walk through the Vatican with the Pope. Fine. Maybe a slight exaggeration, but take away the religious zeal and the robe, and we are getting close. But it’s immediately apparent that so many people we pass along the streets have the utmost respect and admiration for this man. His uncle was a founder of the renowned CVNE Winery in La Rioja Alta and other family members were major industrial players in Bilbao. And not surprisingly, Raimundo’s Bodegas las Orcas winery has four generations alone in its lineage, beginning in 1900.
From hoteliers to professional footballers to local government officials to shop clerks, they all stopped to “pay their respects” to Raimundo as we strolled the town. It didn't come off simply like fame, but rather the way you would greet the mother of your closest family friend. That's the way I feel each time I encounter him. His 6’3”ish frame can initially feel imposing, but his generous smile and sincere greeting makes me feel like we have always been friends and have just re-united after years of absence. For me, Rai is just “one of those people.” I am proud to call him a friend. I learn from him each time we meet. He is unbelievably generous. He is ridiculously humble. (It took 4 years of friendship to learn the Cune story!). What can I say -- I emoticon Rai.
Over the years of visiting winemakers I can’t help but make parallels between the winemaker and their wines. Rai’s wines offer that same sense of presence he has. Some of his wines are imposing, like the Pagos de ValdeOrca with a ripe and rich core. It has never been flat or boring, but each year in bottle it softens and expresses more of itself, showing complexion at each step of its maturity. His younger wines, like the Rosado and the Blanco, are instantly approachable, and show Rai’s personal balance and steadfastness. Both wines are precise varietal examples. The Blanco offers a bit of floral and apple aromas, but no single profile takes over -- balance between the mouth feel, acidity and the fruit profiles. I could go on and on, as his wines really do reflect him as the winemaker. Nothing is too flashy, too big or too bold. All the wines strive for balance and even a sense of humility. He knows that when you drink his wines, they will speak for themselves. With multiple generations of winemaking experience along with incredible 60-90 year old vineyards, there is no need for aggressive short-lived wines. His wines and his presence will likely be around another four generations.
This ode to Rai is not just a personal expression of admiration; Rai is coming back for his third wine dinner with Finca. I am honored to have Rai back to Finca. And I would love to have you join us for an evening with this charming and personable winemaker Raimundo Abando, of the Bodegas las Orcas winery, as well as the super-knowledgeable wine importer Brad Jensen of Bon Vivant to enjoy an evening of great food, great wine, and great company. Each time I visit Bodegas las Orcas in Spain, I learn a bit more about Raimundo and his wines, and I take those lessons and aim to incorporate that knowledge into the wine dinner. Some of the pairings we put together this year are inspired by meals Raimundo actually cooked for us while visiting his winery. Chef Phelix and his team have developed a fantastic tasting menu which pairs with the wines perfectly, from the Gambas Escabeche (farm arugula with pickled shrimp, tomato, cucumber, pickled melon) to the Cordero (grilled lamb ribs, blackberry, piquillo tater tots, bravas sauce).
The tasting menu and wine pairings are available a la cart or as a fixed price of $45 food and $45 wine + tax/gratuity, Thurs. Sept 3rd to Sat. Sept 5th during dinner (5pm-Close) at FINCA 327 W. 200 S. in downtown Salt Lake City. And Spanish winemaker Raimundo Abando of Bodegas las Orcas will be at FINCA in person on Friday, Sept 4th to mingle with diners and talk more about the story of each of his wines. Recommendations recommended but not required.
We look forward to sharing this with you!
Scott Evans, Owner & Operator
Pago Restaurant Group