Hot Dish

Totally Spanish, Uniquely Naples

The boutique distributor Cerdá, Llanos y Cía focuses on importing wines from the Iberian Peninsula—and its headquarters are closer than you’d think.

BY May 3, 2017

Tempranillo, Garnacha, Albariño—those are the grapes that stick in our minds when it comes to Spanish wine—but there’s a wide net to cast in a country that accounts for one of the top five markets in the world (Sumoll! Monastrell! Xarello!).

Martin and Elsa Cerda have made it their mission to bring those to Florida, and now especially Southwest Florida, with their boutique distribution business Cerdá, Llanos y Cía. The husband-and-wife team founded their company in Miami in 2012 but moved their operations to Naples in 2015. They still service all of their Miami accounts (prestigious spots like the modernist Alter from chef Brad Kilgore and the ultra-classico Casa Juancho)—as well as have a growing reach throughout the state and beyond (they’re currently expanding into Georgia). But in town, they’ve spread their passion for the vineyards they represent increasingly to restaurants and wine shops here, such as IM Tapas, Bleu Provence, Lamoraga and Tony’s Off Third. (They even are the importer of a rare volcanic-rock Catalonian spring water, Sant Aniol, that's sold across the country at reverential food temples like Alinea, a mainstay on the World’s Best Restaurants list; locally, you can pick it up at Food & Thought.) 

Caroline Ridgway of Tony's Off Third, a wine shop downtown that carries about 10 of the Cerdá, Llanos y Cía wines, says ultimately the appeal is that they're a great value—most rarely spike $35 or $40 because they’re relatively unknown, and they can hold fort in blind taste tests with more common competitors. Tempranillo, probably the most widely recognized Spanish grape, is hardy, more of a steakhouse wine; Txakolina, from Basque country, is light and pairs well with nearly everything; but Ridgway counts Sumoll, a red varietal with a coral tint and distinct earthiness on the palate, as her favorite.

So the next time you find yourself reaching for Grenache, spring for a Garnacha (same grape, but grown in Spain rather than France)—or better yet, something entirely Iberian, like Godello. The Cerdas are making it their business to get those (fermented) juices flowing here and beyond.



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