SOME DELICIOUS THINGS WE COOKED THIS WEEK:
Catalan Pork Sausage with Mushrooms: José Andrés cooked this on his television show, Made In Spain: Butifarra with chanterelles, pine nuts, raisins and moscatel wine. The companion Made In Spain cookbook ($35) has this recipe and many more with similar spins on traditional Spanish dishes filtered through the sensibilities of this Asturian born, Washington DC based chef.
Greek Baked Pasta: Using Grace Parisi’s recipe from the March 2009 Food & Wine, we paired our Misko No 3 pasta with ground lamb seasoned with oregano, cinnamon and cloves then topped with ricotta cheese, egg yokes and Zerto (Argentine Parmesan-Reggianito cheese) seasoned with nutmeg. While it baked, we made a chopped salad of cucumber and green pepper enlivened with a handful of big, grey, Egyptian Olives ($5.99) and chunks of Ulker Feta Cheese. We took home a chilled bottle of Boutari Retsina ($9.99) to pair with it.
WINE SPECIALS THIS WEEK
2006 Vin Nico Flor del Montgó (Yecla) $8.99 on sale! Vin Nico searches out underutilized old-vine properties all over Spain to produce affordable, well crafted wines. Flor is a blend of 85% old-vine Monastrell, 10% Merlot and 5% Shiraz. It is dark ruby in color with a nose of blue and black fruits that leap from the glass. The fruit is ripe and sweet, the tannins silky, and there is excellent concentration and length from the old vine fruit. This is a great value on a very expressive wine.
2006 Andeluna Malbec Mendoza ($9.99) One of the best under-$10.00 Malbecs, we thought it was sold out. Luck smiled on us when the distributor found 5 cases of this vintage so get it while you can! Hand crafted 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. Highly recommended!
2006 Altozano Tempranillo Toledo, ($9.99) A smooth and silky Tempranillo with fruity black cherry flavors and rich chocolate notes. Grown at high elevation in Toledo, it is lightly oaked and well balanced with hints of pie cherry on the persistent finish. Versatile, Altozano is great with foods from pizza to tagines.
2007 Nuntius, Cariñena ($12.99) This terrific wine dances over the tongue with the energy of a bulerias. Importer Basilio Grueso of Casa Ventura Imports chose this blend for Nuntius after over 25 tastings with the winemaker. Made of 50% Garnacha, 30% Syrah and 20% Tempranillo, its smoky aromas lead to fruity strawberry and then deep black fruit flavors A hint of rose petals compliment the black pepper on the earthy and dry finish. Serve Nuntius with a spicy Indian curry or grilled kebabs.
NV Valdespino Contrabandista Amontillado, Jerez ($33.00) Bodegas Valdespino has been producing sherry in Jerez de la Frontera since 1430. Made from a solera that originated in 1892, Contrabandista was aged under flor for over 8 years, and further aged for 8 additional years allowing oxidation to take place. With just a touch of Pedro Ximenez for sweetness, it is round and unctuous on the palate with notes of roasted hazelnut and almond paste. Its acidic spine provides balances to the sweetness and the persistent nutty finish seems like it goes on forever. The traditional label with a galloping horse and rider is seen in bars all over Spain.
NV Tio Pepe Palomino Fino Our best selling fino has flavors of yeast and almond with a traditional touch of bitterness. It’s now available in half bottle ($9.99/375ml) and we’re also stocking Kosher Tio Pepe ($25.99/750 ml)
OUR FAVORITE PORTUGUESE CHEESES ARE BACK IN STOCK!
Serpa is one of the most famous traditional cheeses from Portugal. Extremely hard to source, we special ordered it from Portugal. Made in Alentejo from Merino sheep’s milk and aged for at least six months, its rind is rubbed with olive oil throughout curing. Serpa has a buttery interior and tangy flavor of local herbs and grasses. Wrapped in white linen, this artisanal cheese is typically served before a meal and is best with a glass of red wine from Alentejo.
Queijo Amarelo is our new favorite Portuguese cheese. Amarelo is a washed rind cheese, a blend of sheep and goats milk from Beira Baixa region. It has an astounding buttery, slightly piquant flavor with roasted onion, sea salt, notes of sweet lemon and a lingering savory finish with grassy overtones.
Brazilian Jazz Pianist and Dreamy Vocalist Eliane Elias is performing at Jazz Alley on February 24 & 25th. For details, go to http://www.jazzalley.com/calendar.asp. Elias’s newest CD, “Bossa Nova Stories” ($18.99), has classic tunes beautifully reinterpreted and is available here at the store.