Starting a New Year

STARTING A NEW YEAR: We always wait until after the holidays to throw our annual Spanish Table staff party.   We’ve taken to celebrating on January 6th, 3 Kings Day but this year it started on a sad note.  Our 15 year old cocker spaniel, Sparky, had been in declining health and when he finally quit eating, we faced  the fact that it was time to say goodbye.  Without him, our house felt crazily empty, and we welcomed the arrival of friends ready to drink great wine paired with recipes from The Spanish Table Cookbook.   We made turkey brushed with piri piri pepper sauce and amontillado sherry served with Catalan stuffing (spinach, pine nuts, raisins and the turkey juices).  We filled an enormous cazuela with jumbo prawns cooked in Miguel & Valentino Purple Spanish garlic and Carmencita dried guindilla peppers.  A giant Cataplana steamed tiny clams and mushrooms in Madeira.  It was in every sense, the best sort of wake and a relaxing, let-your-hair-down party all in one.
If you are like us and cooking more at home, we’ve got inspiration and new flavors to enhance your culinary repertoire.
OLIVES & ORANGES ($35.00): Our favorite new cookbook!  Cleverly annotated as “Quick-Cook” or “Slow-Cook”, it is easy to figure out which recipes you can tackle on a weeknight and which you should save for a weekend.  Exotic ingredients are brought together with an Italian-American sensibility that lets you use everything from Aleppo pepper to pomegranate molasses for “wow!” results.
Bulgarian Feta: Full flavored, rustic feta cheese.  Great in salads or just drenched with olive oil and sprinkled with oregano or Za’atar.
Behmale: A rich, luxurious cow and goat cheese from a bucolic village high on the French side of the Pyrénées.  Soft and tangy with herbal notes.  Mouth-watering and addictive.
Jamon Iberico: The snow storms left us oversupplied with jamon Iberico so we have reduced the price of each pack, taking 20% off.  Savor some now!
Spices from Urban Accents: Spice blends based on flavors from around the world plus seasoned sea salts.  Special year-end promotionally priced at $1.00 off.
WINES 4 TOUGH TIMES:  When the going gets tough, the tough turn to affordable wines from Spain, Portugal and Argentina.
2008 Viu Manent Malbec (Colchagua Valley, Chile) $5.99 Viu Manent consistently produces tasty, pocket-friendly wines and the Malbec is truly one of their greatest bargains!   Viu Manent Malbec has aromas of blueberry with sweet herbal scents.   Not as fruit-forward or full-bodied as most Malbecs, its lighter acidity matches the body nicely.    With flavors of black fruit, soft tannins and a hint of tea on the finish, pair it with grilled spicy sausages for an inexpensive week-night dinner.
2006 Tapena (Tierra de Castilla) $8.99 A blend of 95 percent garnacha and 5 percent tempranillo, it is not only a great value for its price, but also for its versatility with food.  It is spicy, juicy and seductive, full of wild strawberry and black cherry flavors.  Both light and lush at the same time, it is earthy with a gentle smoothness in the finish. 
2007 Ucenda Monastrell, (Bullas) $7.99    An hour’s drive southwest of Jumilla lies the tiny appellation of Bullas, in the province of Murcia.   An area of agricultural valleys with unspeakably hot summers interspersed with small mountain ranges, it has the climactic extremes to produce ripe grapes with great acidity.   Exactly eight bodegas exist in Bullas which produce wines mainly from the Tempranillo and Monastrell grapes.  Ucenda is a young, intense monastrell with a purple-black color.  Full bodied, spicy and fruity with a pleasing dry finish, it’s a great match for spicy foods and cold weather fare.
2006 Andeluna Winemaker’s Selection Malbec (Mendoza) $9.99 Hand crated in collaboration with Michel Rolland, this lush Malbec is ripe and juicy.   Full-bodied, it has complex flavors of black currant, Morello cherry and chocolate with notes of dried fig and cassis liquor.  Sweet tannins compliment the spice notes and exceptional balance.   A wine we really enjoyed the night we took a bottle home and one we highly recommend!
2004 Rioja Vega Reserva (Rioja) $20.99: Every year at the 3 Kings party we feature six wines and vote on the favorite.  Rioja Vega was this years’ winner.  The nose is long and complex with fragrances of leather, tobacco and balsamic spices.  Well structured with red fruit flavors, this wine paired well with everything from turkey to prawns.   Wines from the 2004 vintage in Spain are shaping up as the best of the new millennium.
2004 Sierra Cantabria Crianza (Rioja) $19.99 “A deep, gamey red with dark berry aromas complimented by smoked meat, tobacco and baking spices. Fleshy and sweet, with vibrant raspberry,
cherry flavors and dusty tannins. The meaty note gains strength with air and carries through the long, chewy finish. This is complex enough to drink now.” 90 points Stephen Tanzer, 90 points Wine Spectator – One of Wine Spectator’s top 100 wines of 2008.
2004 Alvear Fino en Rama, (Montilla) $12.99/500 ml  We served this on New Years Eve and its incredibly fresh flavors made us feel like we were sipping copas in the south of Spain.  Fino en Rama has yeasty aromas, a creamy texture and a tangy nuttiness which paired wonderfully with our Jamon Iberico, Marcona almonds and smoked trout.   “En Rama” means that it is unblended and unfiltered and is the first ever single vintage Fino in modern history.   Made in Montilla from the Pedro Ximenez grape, this is our new favorite fino – and it’s a great price.
Dry Sack Sherry We’ve had many requests for this sherry and it is now in stock!              
Dry Sack Medium, (Jerez) $14.99    Dry Sack Medium is the classic, distinctive blend of Palomino and Pedro Ximenez grapes that has been produced for more than one hundred years.  Aged in oak casks for six years by the traditional Solera method, it is full-bodied and lightly sweet, yet crisp. 
Dry Sack Sweet Old Oloroso (Jerez) $26.99 Dry Sack 15-Year-Old is a rare Oloroso sherry with a rich, smooth taste and dark, intense color. Aged for a minimum 15 years under the solera system, it is best served with or after dessert.  A complex flavor profile of raisins, vanilla, roasted walnuts and oak wrap up on a long, hedonistic dried fruit note.
Box Wine ($14.99/3 liter box): The ultimate inexpensive wine!   3 liters of young, fruity wine from Vino de la Tierra de Extremadura. 
Now, we are off to Santa Fe to visit our store there and then on to San Francisco and the West Coast Fancy Food Show!


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Filed under Argentina, Books, Cheese, Meat, Sherry

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