New day, new city! We enjoyed an extra hour of sleep before our last breakfast in Montilla. We are so grateful for the hospitality at the Don Ramiro Hotel and all of the locations we filmed in the area. As it is Holy Week here in Spain, the subjects of our film (cooperages, wine cellars, restaurants) opened their doors just for us to show us the cooper and cask aging tradition in action and we are so glad they did!

But we are not done yet! Today we headed to the city of Córdoba to experience more Spanish culture and history. I actually did research on this area for this documentary in my class last semester so it was really cool that I finally got to see it all in person. After a bus ride that included laptops at the ready for transcribing our interviews (we told you the work never stops!) we ran through the rain to a local tavern to shoot some B-roll for our doc. El Churrasco, temple of locals, was the perfect backdrop for some creative shots we needed. The staff of both the “bodeguita” (wine cellar) and the restaurant were extremely attentive to us and they even postponed their lunch break to help us.

While B-roll was being filmed by two teams, the other half of the group went over to Taberna No. 10 to get some action shots of wine being poured from a barrel and we ended up having an interview with Miguel Cabezas, the owner of the iconic restaurant in Córdoba. This was an incredible find as they were listed in the Michelin Guide iin 2023. He provided valuable insight into how they pick the wines to serve at their establishment and how they describe the unique aspects of the wine from Montilla-Moriles. And with that, our filming has come to an end! Now the post-production work begins and we start shaping the story tomorrow.

Next came a tour of the Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba which is a striking reminder that religions and cultures can co-exist and find appreciation of each other through its architectural time stamps of transformation  It houses more than 1000 columns made of marble, granite, and jasper that support endless horseshoe arches. Originally built as the biggest mosque in Europe, you can see the prayer hall that was kept intact even as the Christians moving in started to transform the building. The Mihrab (the holy prayer niche) marks the direction of Mecca and is surrounded by stunning mosaic tiles. Behind those is a secret passageway that now houses archived books spanning the history of the Mosque Cathedral itself. The mosque was converted to a cathedral in 1523 by emperor Charles V. The Main Chapel, Transept, and Choir are housed in the middle of the original mosque and was constructed carefully to keep the Islamic architecture’s basic framework. The layout is configured so that the rows of pews are facing horizontally while those praying towards Mecca face vertically when standing at the back of the building, forming a cross. That symbolizes the general idea of this Mosque-Cathedral which is the only one of its kind in the world: The ideas of different cultures and religions can respect and embrace each other. If you ever find yourself in Córdoba, this is a must-see! 

After a pit stop to get some pizza that made us feel right at home, we all ventured out into the streets of Córdoba to do some shopping. Leather bags, local artwork, and souvenirs will be added to our luggage on the flight back and we are happy to make the room. Then it was back on the bus to head to Hotel Finca Los Abetos which got vocal excitement from the team in “ooooo”s and “no way”s. An afternoon of downtime is just what we needed after four hectic days of filming.

At dinner, we were treated to an olive oil and wine tasting hosted by Isa Calvache a homologated trainer of wine, vinegar, and olive oil and the representative agent of Montilla-Moriles Wine Route. She has been essential in the success of our filming time in Spain. She was with us every day and worked tirelessly before we even arrived to line up the interviews we were able to conduct. She has been a joy to work with and we can’t thank her enough for the passion she infused into us about the area and the things that make it unique. Her providing this selection of local wines, kindly supplied by Montilla-Moriles PDO and olive oils on her last day with us was the perfect way to end the evening. Fun fact that we were unaware of: Córdoba, together with Jaen, are the largest producers of olive oil in the world! We learned the proper steps of tasting the olive oil and worked on identifying the herb, vegetable, fruit, and aromatic notes in the Fuente Ribera Aceite de Oliva Virgen Extra under Priego de Cordoba PDO. First, you warm up the olive oil with your hands on the bottom of the tasting cup. Then you hold it right under chin level to involve smell as that is the first glimpse into quality. Finally, you taste slowly, holding it in your mouth as it mixes with your saliva to experience the bitter notes, then swallowing to experience how pungent it is. Tasting such high-quality olive oil was not something I expected coming into this week, but I’m so glad I got the experience. This was followed by a wine tasting of all the different kinds of wines we heard about in our Montilla-Moriles filming that are made from the Pedro Ximenez grapes. Joven (my favorite), Vino de Tinaja, Fino, Amontillado, Oloroso, and Pedro Ximenez (with dessert!) were the gauntlet and it was so wonderful to have someone like Isa explaining everything about each kind. It made us pay attention to the subtle components that the cask aging process infuses in these wines. If you can try any of these, go for it, and then tell us what you think on our socials!

And that does it for us in Còrdoba! Tomorrow we head to Malaga to start shaping the story and experiencing Semana Santa. Be sure to follow us on all our socials to stay up to date on our progress!