June 5, 2009
Congratulations to Classical Wines of Spain who celebrated their 25th anniversary this week. One of the pioneer importers of quality Spanish wines, their portfolio is a personal roadmap of what’s happened in Spanish winemaking over the last 25 years. A full day of seminars with winemakers and a tasting showed just how much they continue to push boundaries. Their long relationships with top winemakers such as Alejandro Fernandez of Pesquera continue, while they source exciting new producers that are delivering terrunyo-driven, authentic wines. Here’s to your future success!
June is the month of graduation celebrations, the beginning of summer wedding season and long days meant for picnics in the park. All of these occasions cry out for good food and wine which we’re here to provide! The secret is to keep it simple, like last night’s simple lentil salad tossed with sherry vinegar, olive oil and fresh arugula. With a chilled glass of 2008 Montecastrillo rose, it was the perfect picnic meal.
On a personal celebratory note, we’ll be toasting my birthday in Spain next week. Our itinerary takes us through the wine regions of Rueda, Ribera del Duero and Rioja with a beach weekend in San Sebastian. We’ll try to send updates from the road….
1 ½ lb black cod
4 piquillo peppers, sliced into strips
½ sweet onion, sliced
3 tbsp olive oil (I used Majoub Tunisian)
For the marinade:
1/3 cup Pedro Ximenez Sherry (Don PX 2004)
1/3 cup sherry vinegar (I used Majuelo)
1 tbsp grapefruit marmalade (Majoub Tunisian)
Put the cod on 2 layers of aluminum foil, cover with peppers and onions, and drizzle with olive oil. Whisk together the marinade in a small bowl, adjusting the balance if necessary: it should be slightly more sweet than tangy. Drizzle over the cod, reserving half. If using a barbeque, adjust the grill to highest position, farther away from the coals. Wrap up the cod, and place on the grill, turning after 5 minutes. After 5 minutes on each side, open the foil, and drizzle with the remaining marinade. Close the lid and cook for an additional 5 minutes or until the cod is just falling apart. Serve with 2007 Lagar do Castelo albarino.
2008 Martinsancho, Rueda ($16.99) Grapefruit meets yellow and green apple in this crisp white. The vibrant fruit flavors are complimented by vibrant acidity and a long, smooth finish.
2007 Vina Reboreda, Ribeiro ($11.99) With a steely backbone, Vina Reboreda offers up flavors of Granny Smith apple and watermelon. Lean and savory, it is stupendous with steamed clams or mussels.
2006 Altico “A”, Jumilla ($18.99) From Producer Bodegas Carchelo, Altico is a full bodied 100% Syrah. “Primary blackberry and blueberry aromas are youthfully unevolved, opening slowly to display subtle graphite and baking spice qualities. Midweight black and blue fruit flavors are strikingly pure, with fine-grained tannins lending support. The sweet fruit lingers impressively on the long, sappy finish, which becomes spicier with air. This is delicious.” 90 points Stephen Tanzer
2005 Montecastro, Ribera del Duero ($47.00) Powerful and structured, with velvety layers of black fruit, mineral, structured tannins, all balanced with acidity and an amazing persistent finish. “This rich, expressive red delivers ripe, almost sweet, black currant and blackberry fruit. It has muscular tannins, but there’s enough acidity for balance, as well as a vibrant floral and spice finish.” 93 points Wine Spectator
It’s an exciting day when the new vintage of Muga Rioja rolls in the door! Voted the most popular wine from Rioja, it’s definitely a customer favorite. Even better, lower costs and a better exchange rate have made Muga less expensive this year.
2008 Muga Rioja Blanco Barrel Fermented ($14.99) Made of 90% viura and 10% malvasia, Muga’s double grape checking, both on selection belt and on tasting the musts, means that 50% of the harvest is excluded. Slow fermentation in new French oak and 3 months on fine lees are the secrets of this careful production process. Aromas of citrus fruit and apple stand out against a background of aromatic herbs such as lavender, thyme and even fennel. There are also aromas derived from its cask fermentation, such as coconut and vanilla. In the mouth, intensity and persistence, while at the same time it remains fresh and lively.
2008 Muga Rioja Rosado ($11.99) Made of 60% Garnacha, 30% Viura and 10% Tempranillo, this is one of our all time favorite rosados. Salmon colored, light bodied, dry and fresh with flavors of ripe red berry, it is backed by crisp acidity and a honeyed finish. Great with any seafood, paella, or pork dish.
2005 Muga Reserva Rioja ($25.99) 70% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha, 10% Mazuelo and Graciano, the reserva has been aged six months in traditional Rioja vats, 24 months in small oak barrels and 12 months in bottle. Concentrated black fruit and red berry flavors have nuances of coffee. With notes of cedar and charred oak, it is balanced on the palate with a delicious and persistent finish. Bodegas Muga feels that 2001 and 2005 are their best vintages, as they approach the style of a Bordeaux Pomeral while reflecting the unique terrunyo of the vineyard.2001 Prado Enea Gran Reserva ($57.00) From the stellar 2001 vintage, produced from 50 year old vines, the 2001 Prado Enea is 80% Tempranillo and 20% Mazuelo, Graciano and Garnacha. On the nose, aromas of spice and chocolate, wrapped in fruit liqueur. Balanced and elegant, it is smooth with a long and honest finish. This is one of the best Prado Eneas produced in recent vintages.
Ferrer brand Gazpacho: Arrived today! We now have the familiar red, and the lesser known but no less delicious, white. White gazpacho is made from garlic and almonds.
Fresh (unpasteurized) Luques Olives: These French green olives are meaty and sweet, not soft, salty, or mushy like some olives can be. The green flesh is firm and bright, fruity and crisp.
Dried Black Mission Figs: Soft, ripe and fleshy figs from California.
Dried Cherry: Add a new flavor to your summer salads or try them with broiled pork chops. Plump the cherries with warm bourbon and vermouth and dress the chops. Make a nice sauce by reducing your cherry flavored booze and swirling in some butter.
Three New Fig Spreads: Mittica fig spread with Lemon Flower Honey from Valencia. Mt. Vikos Hazel Nut Fig Spread from Greece. Last but not least, I can’t resist Fig and Cocoa spread. Made with figs, pure cane sugar and cocoa. Warm it and pour over ice cream.
Mittica Homemade Membrillo: Artisanally produced, my favorite way to serve membrillo is by sandwiching it between two triangles of the 1 year raw milk manchego cheese and warming it in the oven for a minute.
Mittica Chestnut Honey in Ceramic Crock: This raw chestnut honey is from the mountains of Asturias and is beautifully packaged in a clay crock. Dark in color with intense aromas and flavor. Try pouring this over a gooey piece of Queso Leonora goat cheese.
Padron Pepper Plants: Our last 14 plants are ready to go in the ground. Plant them now and harvest in July! $4.99 each, 16 plants available.
Have a great week and please stop in soon and see us at the shop!
Sharon Baden & Steve Winston, Owners