News from the Spanish Table

I keep thinking about that summer afternoon in Ciutadella, Menorca.  We ate a fantastic seafood paella and paired it with a delicious crisp rose.  On the island of Menorca, paella is served with mayonnaise which was invented in Mahon, Menorca.  Here’s to good times and delicious memories!!

If you love paella, treat yourself to Taberna del Alabardero’s paella fest from March 16-22. Master paella chef David Montero is flying in from Marbella to prepare 12 different paellas. For details, contact Taberna del Alabardero Phone: 206.448.8884

We met Steve Metzler and Almudena de Llaguno of Classical Wines in 1995 when we opened The Spanish Table. One of the first importers to recognize the enormous potential of Spanish wine, Steve and Almudena have been pivotal in introducing quality Spanish wines to American palates. Classical seeks out and nurtures family producers whose wines are made from local grape varieties and are pure expressions of the terroir. I was delighted to have lunch at Taberna del Alabardero recently to meet winemaker Isidro Fernandez Bello of Casar de Burbia, Classical Wine’s newest producer from the Bierzo region.

2006 Casar de Burbia Mencia, Bierzo ($26.99) In 1989, the Fernandez Bello family began acquiring and rehabilitating dozens of small parcels in Bierzo. They have created a contiguous property, traversed by the Camino de Santiago at altitudes up to 2300 feet. The vineyards’ perfect exposure and excellent drainage are enhanced by the region’s most mineral soils. Casar de Burbia is an outstanding expression of Mencia’s thick dark fruit. Aged in oak for 6 months, it is balanced, structured and elegant with a fresh minerality. 90 points International Wine Cellar

2006 Casar de Burbia Tebaida, Bierzo ($55.00) Grapes for Tebaida are selected bunches from old stock between 60 and 102 years old, grown at higher elevations of the estate. Concentrated, with beautiful clean aromas and flavors of black fruit, Tebaida is a pure expression of the terroir. Structured and clean, balanced with acidity and with notes of black pepper and mineral, the persistent finish is rich with sweet tannins. 92 points International Wine Cellar

To learn more about wines from Bierzo, here’s a link to a recent San Francisco Chronicle article:

The February 25, 2009 edition of Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate features “Spain’s Top 100 Wine Values.” What could be more timely than a list of great wines for less than $25.00?

2006 Alto Moncayo Veraton, Campo de Borja ($23.99) is the top pick at 93 points. Made of 100% garnacha, Veraton is very spicy on the nose with “earth notes, wild black cherry and black raspberry. Dense, layered and full flavored on the palate, this hedonistic effort is balanced enough to evolve for several years…”

Parker’s second choice is 2007 Casal Novo Godello, Valdeorras ($24.99) Elegant and intense, it is full bodied and savory. Casal Novo is unoaked, fresh and clean with notes of dried pear, chalk and crushed rock. Spectacular with grilled shellfish, “it is loaded with succulent white fruits, has vibrant acidity and a lengthy, pure finish.” 92 points

More favorite Robert Parker Top 100 Spanish Wine Values in stock:

2006 Agusti Torello Mata Rosat Cava Brut Reserva, Penedes ($24.99) 92 points

2007 Lagar do Castelo Albarino, Rias Baixas ($14.99) 91 points

2004 Casa de Illana 3De5 (Ribera del Jucar) $14.99 90 points


2004 Vega Ibor, Tierra de Castilla ($8.99) With intense aromas of black currants and notes of licorice on the nose, Vega Ibor has an earthy mineral character. Aged 6 months in oak, and made of 100% Tempranillo, it has rich black cherry and boysenberry flavors. Well balanced with acidity, the presence of young wood combines seamlessly with the ripe fruit. Vega Ibor has a round, full body, sweet tannins, and a persistent aftertaste. Now on sale!

Our highly recommended 2006 Andeluna Malbec Winemaker’s Selection, Mendoza ($9.99) was the hands-down favorite at a wine tasting last weekend. Its balance of ripe fruit and acidity paired wonderfully with cassoulet.

Young Mahon: “What a Gouda wished it could be” (Steven Jenkins). Creamy and buttery with a lingering tangy finish. This semi-soft cow’s milk cheese from Menorca is perfect for melting–think grilled cheese bocadillos. A phenomenal cheese for a fabulous price. $15.99/lb. $3.99/quarter lb.

MitiBlue: A new blue made with sheep’s milk and Roquefort Penicillium. This soft velvety textured cheese reminds me of a cross between Buttermilk blue and French Roquefort. Definitely a new staff favorite! $23.99/lb. $5.99/quarter lb.

Cured Duck Salami: Rich and delicious, with perfectly balanced flavors and a juicy texture. Blended with fresh garlic, sea salt, and spices, the duck meat is then cured and hand tied. Slice some up and introduce a new flavor into your tapas!!

Duck Breast Cured & Dried: This duck breast is buttery, sweet, salty, and delicate. Thinly sliced and ready to eat, it is seasoned with sea salt, mixed peppercorns, brown sugar, and fresh garlic. Enjoy it the same way as Jamón Serrano. Try it in salads, sandwiches or on pizza.

Jose Andres made in Spain DVD, seasons 1 and 2: Spanish chef Jose Andres’ cooking show was originally shown on PBS as a series. Each season has 14 individual shows, focused on a region of Spain and its specialty foods. Travel with Jose to meet producers and then back to his demonstration kitchen to prepare recipes. $31.49 each season, 2 DVDs

Pintxos by Gerald Hirigoyen ($24.95), is the Basque chef’s long awaited tapas cookbook. Author of The Basque Kitchen, and owner of Piperade Restaurant in San Francisco, Hirigoyen introduced Piment d’Esplette to American cooks. In Pintxos, he adapts 75 authentic recipes for the home kitchen.

Blanched marcona almonds are back in stock!


1 Comment

Filed under Cheese, Food, Red Wine

One response to “News from the Spanish Table

  1. The basque kitchen is on my wish list!

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