The ultimate food pairing wine – is Spanish!

It seems every wine has a ‘perfect’ food pairing match in today’s gastronomic-fuelled wine world, but few can challenge Sherry’s crown as the ultimate wine choice for foodies.

2019 Copa Jerez Judges and Contestants

At this year’s Copa Jerez Forum & Competition, two GOCV members – Sarah Jane Evans MW and Beltrán Domecq – put this to the test as part of the judging panel for the the hotly-contested Copa Jerez food and wine pairing competition.

Left to right: José Carlos Capel; Sarah Jane Evans MW; Beltrán Domecq; Josep Roca

No fewer than eight Michelin stars competed in this spectacular live cooking event, in which seven teams from different countries reached the 2019 international final, held in Jerez de la Frontera in May, after winning their respective national finals held throughout 2018.

Each team, comprising a sommelier and chef from the same restaurant, presented the judges with a three-course menu created to showcase Sherry’s versatility as a food pairing wine choice. Contestants had to use Sherry as an ingredient in at least one of their dishes.

As you’d expect, the chefs and sommeliers created some amazing dishes, using the finest ingredients and serving some of the very best Sherries, but there could only be one team to take home the top prize, and this year it was Danish restaurant Clou*, represented by sommelier Jonathan K Bernsten and chef Martin G Sørensen.

2019 Copa Jerez winners (l-r): sommelier Jonathan K Bernsten and chef Martin G Sørensen

The winning menu from Clou*

First course: Scallop and Danish rye bread with green aromas
Wine match: FINO (Fino Classic – Bodegas Rey Fernando de Castilla)

Main course: Matured pigeon with a confit of citrus fruit, walnut and liver
Wine match: OLOROSO (Oloroso Soluqua – Bodegas Barón)

Dessert: Banana, golden butter, liquorice and olive oil
Wine match: PEDRO XIMĖNEZ (Pedro Ximénez Tradición VOS – Bodegas Tradición

“This was a really remarkable event and a privilege to take part. The food was of a very high standard, with some very creative dishes. It was also important to see how carefully the matches had been created, and how well the sommeliers served and talked about the Sherries.

Copa Jerez is an exceptional international showcase for Sherry. The star pairing was from the ultimate winners Clou, matching the intense, mature 20 year old PC from Tradición with the flavours of liquorice, banana and olive oil. A terrific match. Usually PX is just matched with raisins and vanilla ice cream, but this dish showed how creative you can be.”

Sarah Jane Evans MW, GOCV vice-chair and judge at Cope Jerez 2019

The other prizes awarded during the competition were:

  • Best somellier: Enrique García Albelda of Spain.
  • Best chef: Martin G Sørensen of Denmark.
  • Best pairing with the starter: Tartare of scallop with wasabi, cucumber and flavours of the sea paired with Fino (Fino Tio Pepe en rama 2019 – Bodegas González Byass) designed by Texture restaurant from the United Kingdom team.
  • Best pairing with the main dish: Twinning of Amontillado and Fondillón paired with Amontillado (Amontillado 54-1ª VORS – Bodegas Osborne) from the Spanish team.
  • Best pairing with the dessert: Banana, golden butter, liquorice and olive oil paired with Pedro Ximénez (Pedro Ximénez Tradición VOS – Bodegas Tradición) from the Danish team.
  • Most creative pairing: the team from the Nomad, United States.
  • The judging panel also thought it necessary to make a ‘Special Mention’ to Kim Reisig, the sommelier Dutch restaurant Cheval Blanc*, as ‘Sommelier of the Future’.

The judges for Copa Jerez 2019

  • Josep Roca: sommelier, maitre d´and co-proprietor of the world famous Celler de Can Roca***.
  • Sarah Jane Evans: Master of Wine, award winning wine author and journalist, co-chaiir of Decanter World Wine Awards, member of Gran Orden de Caballeros del Vino and president of the 2018 IMW Symposium.
  • Franҫois Chartier: internationally considered as one of the greatest experts on gastronomic harmonies and World’s Best Sommelier 1994 (Grand Prix Sopexa).
  • José Carlos Capel: journalist and gastronomic critic.
  • Beltrán Domecq; President of the Consejo Regulador of the DOs Jerez-Xéres-Sherry and Manzanilla-Sanlúcar de Barrameda and Vinagre de Jerez.

“We must congratulate the team from Denmark for having won first prize in the Copa Jerez. They really have produced a fantastic menu and our thanks also go to all those who participated. Our thanks, as well, goes to the judging panel for their very important efforts; evaluating these seven magnificent teams is a huge, but delightful effort for the senses.”

Beltrán Domecq, GOCV member and Copa Jerez judge 2019

The Forum

Now in it’s second year, the Copa Jerez Forum & Competition also hosts a series a lectures, demonstrations, discussion panels, tastings and interviews with the world’s leading experts on Sherry and gastronomy in front of an audience live on stage at the Villamarta theatre in Jerez.

Copa Jerez Forum 2019: The soils and landscape of the Marco de Jerez
Copa Jerez Forum 2019: audience tasting session

Find out more

Read more about Copa Jerez, the contestants and their menus here:

To learn more about Sherry visit: