November 20th, 2008
We love the Spanish tradition of linking celebrations with special foods. And the celebration goes full throttle in Iberia, from harvest festivals to religious holidays. During the saffron festival in Albacete a few Octobers ago, harvest took place in the morning and by night restaurants served an astonishing array of dishes, using saffron in breads to desserts. One spring, we stumbled upon La Calcotada just outside of Barcelona. Thousands of whole calcots (a large green onion similar to a ramp), were being grilled over a wood fire and served with a bib and a side of romesco sauce. During Moors and Christians week, the festival banquets begin with tapas of jamon serrano and queso manchego and follow with plate after plate of roast lamb, chicken, sausages and potatoes, all accompanied by music, singing, and a lot of wine.
Since we love food and wine, our favorite American holiday is Thanksgiving. A celebration of the harvest, it’s also a day to slow down, savor the flavors of the season and give thanks for our tremendous bounty. Remember that cut up left over turkey and some turkey broth, are a great start on a spontaneous paella.
MANTECADOS & POLVORONES:The annual arrival of Mantecados & Polvorones at The Spanish Table always conjures up visions of Christmas with a touch of Spain. We also already have in stock of selected CDs with holiday music from Spain.
CLEMENTINE OLIVE OIL: The Casa Pons family squeezes whole Clementine oranges with their Arbequina olives to make this flavored extra virgin olive oil. The citrus flavor is great on baby Spinach or carrot salad. My carrot salad had the following ingredients:
Diced Feta Cheese
THANKSGIVING WINES We stocked the wine department for the holidays with extra quantities of our best selling wines on hand for those who want to take advantage of our 10% case discount. We’ve got new rare wines for collectors, more cava, ports and Sherries, and table wines to meet any palate or budget.
2007 Terra Antiga Vinho Verde $7.99 Just arrived! Our newest vinho verde is just off the ship. Grassy aromas compliment its delicate granny smith apple flavors and refreshing effervescence. Lively and sassy, Terra Antiga is a perfect wine to serve with afternoon Thanksgiving appetizers.
2006 Legado Muñoz Garnacha, Vino de la Tierra de Castilla $8.99 Driving the route of Don Quixote through arid farmlands, you’ll come across Viñedos y Bodegas Muñoz, about 50 kilometers east of Toledo. The scorching heat of summer fully ripens the grapes of this region, but the cool nights ensure that the wine is well balanced with great acidity. Legado Muñoz is a smooth, juicy wine with flavors of cherry skin and blueberry. Notes of spice and mineral notes are well integrated with light tannins. Muñoz is great with braised pork dishes.
2006 Higueruela, Almansa $9.99 This sturdy wine is made from 88% Garnacha Tintorera and 12% Syrah. Loaded with kirsch and ripe black cherry flavors, notes of toast, licorice, black tea and chocolate, Higueruela is supported by firm tannins. Well knit with hints of mocha on the finish, this wine is great with any savory dish or stuffing.
2006 La Posta Pizzella Malbec, Mendoza $17.99 La Posta is juicy, elegant and complex. Grown at an elevation of 3050 feet and aged 10 months in French oak, it has cherry aromas and a hint of nutmeg. Vibrant red and black berry flavors along with sandalwood are balanced by great acidity. With a lingering finish of licorice, this is a fantastic Malbec for $17.99.
2004 Bodegas Y Vinedos Maurodos San Roman Toro $57.00 One of Wine Spectator’s Top 15 Spanish Wines of 2008 6 bottles available “Alluring plum, blackberry, cola and spice cake flavors are rich and balanced in this expressive red. There’s plenty of structure, but it doesn’t get in the way of the flavors, and the spicy, floral finish is long and fresh.” 94 points Wine Spectator
2005 Cyclo Christina Ribera del Duero ($55.00) 150 cases produced “Cyclo Christina is 100% Tinto Fino from a single 150-year-old vineyard. It was barrel-fermented and aged for 21 months in new French oak. Opaque-purple colored, it reveals a fragrant nose of toasty new oak, pencil lead, floral notes, blueberry and blackberry. This is followed by a plush, ripe, full-flavored wine with excellent depth and breadth…” 94 points Wine Advocate
2004 Clos Mogador Priorat $88.00 “The 2004 is a tour de force. More extracted and backward than the 2003 it demands a decade of cellaring. Saturated… expressive perfume of mocha, coffee & violets in addition to toasty oak, earth, blue and black fruits.” 96 points Robert Parker, 94 points Stephen Tanzer
2005 Clos Mogador Priorat $92.00 “The 2005 Mogador is the first wine in Spain entitled to the new classification “Vi de Finca Qualificada.” The garnacha vines are over 80 years old and the other varieties have been planted since the 1980s… The wine has a superb bouquet of toasty oak, pencil lead, mineral, blackberry and black cherry. This leads to an opulent, dense, packed, structured wine with 6-8 years aging potential. Super concentrated, sweetly fruited and complex, this tour de force wine will drink well from 2012 to 2040.” 98 points Jay Miller
2006 Numanthia-Termes Termanthia Toro ($225.00) One bottle available 530 cases produced. The 2005 Termanthia received 97 points from The Wine Advocate and 95 points from Stephen Tanzer for its superb depth of black fruit, mineral, seductive spices and balance. The 2006 hasn’t been rated yet but don’t wait.
Thinking about a Spanish influenced side dish for Thanksgiving? Here’s a link to The New York Times’ Spanish Potato, Ham and Piquillo Pepper Croquetas recipe as well as one to this weeks Seattle Times recipe for chicken in Spanish Almond sauce: