The Elusive Pago de Carraovejas
July 30, 2009
Established by Segovian restauranteur and sommelier Jose Maria Ruiz, Bodegas Pago de Carraovejas has become one of the crown jewels of Ribera del Duero wines. Jose Maria’s insistence on excellence has driven these wines onto the “must have” list of all quality restaurants in Spain. Only 10% of production is exported. Every vintage quickly sells out and allocations are becoming more difficult to come by. Our Bay Area stores have been lucky enough to obtain a small amount of the recent vintages, and it knocked my socks off when I tasted it earlier this year. We’ve had countless customer requests for this wine and for months the distributor has repeated “it’s coming..” it’s coming…”
Happenstance rewarded us once again in Spain. Unwittingly, we stumbled into a tapas gold mine at El Descanso de Juan Pacheco in Segovia. Along with fantastic food, Pago de
Carraovejas was being poured like water!
Crianza, Reserva, Gran Reserva… by the glass… by the bottle… no limits.
And now that we’ve returned from Spain, finally, last week we received two cases of the 2006 Crianza. Another case “is coming..”
A single vineyard wine, 2006 Pago de Carraovejas Crianza is a blend of 85% Tempranillo, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Merlot. Aged for 12 months in oak barrels, it is an intense cherry color with purple tones. The nose is filled with ripe fruit aromas of black berries and spices. Flavors of tar and boysenberry slowly spread over the palate with glycerin contributing a rich fruity mouth feel. Well integrated oak, notes of coffee and cacao with supple tannins. Concentrated and intense, it has herbal notes with a smooth and persistent finish. A powerful and effusive wine, here is a rare opportunity to experience this wine outside of Spain! 2006 Pago de Carraovejas Crianza (Ribera del Duero) $40.00. Only 34 bottles available.
NEW WINES THIS WEEK
2007 Torres Sangre de Toro Tempranillo, Penedes ($7.99) The Torres family has been producing wines in Catalunya since the late 1800’s. Their consistent production of quality wines at all price levels has earned them a loyal customer base. Sangre de Toro Tempranillo is a new wine developed by Torres. An absolute bargain, its juicy cherry flavors with hints of smoke have solid complexity for the price. “Impressively supple wine with strong finishing sweetness and focus. Packs a lot of punch and honest fruit for the money.” 87 points Stephen Tanzer
2007 Vina Gormaz, Ribera del Duero ($9.99) A former co-op, this recently-privatized company controls the majority of acreage in Ribera del Duero’s Soria province. Containing the highest remaining percentage of old vine, head-pruned Tempranillo, Vina Gormaz’s focus is upon complexity and elegance without oak aging. The 2007 vintage has deep wild berry aromas, fruit forward juicy blackberry flavors and ample but balanced tannins. This tasty wine is one to enjoy young.
2007 Tres Ojos Old Vines Garnacha, Calatayud $9.99) Exemplifying all of the wild red fruit and spice of pure Garnacha, Tres Ojos is a pleasure to drink. Juicy black cherry flavors have just enough white pepper spiciness to provide zest. Clean, with energizing lift and a persistent finish, Tres Ojos a great all-around food wine and a great value!
2007 Finca Resalso, Ribera del Duero ($13.99) Producedby Bodegas Emilio Moro, Finca Resalso is a wine produced from Moro’s younger vineyards. Four months of aging in oak give structure with fine tannins, vibrant fruit flavors, and well balanced acidity. “Dark ruby-colored, it emits an enticing perfume of mineral, violets, black cherry, and blackberry. On the palate it reveals an elegant personality, savory, spicy flavors, good depth, and a fruit-filled finish. Drink this tasty effort over the next four years.” 90 points Wine Advocate
2006 Luigi Bosca Malbec Reserva, Mendoza ($19.99) Produced from low yielding vines at an altitude of 960 meters, made of 100% Malbec, it is aged 12 months in oak casks. Full bodied with aromas of bing cherry, it has flavors of concentrated kirsch liqueur, notes of coffee, spices and pepper. Elegant, with round and sweet tannins, this has the potential to age for up to 10 years. When we tasted this against a limited release ($120.00) Malbec, Luigi Bosca completely over delivered for a fraction of the price. Highly recommended!
Last week’s New York Times article about wines from D.O. Ribera Sacra generated a ton of inquiries. We’ve located another wine mentioned in the article: 2007 Guimaro, (Ribera Sacra) $17.99 “Light bodied, juicy, inexpensive wines with a welcome earthy touch.”
HOT WEATHER BEVERAGES
When the thermometer tops 90 degrees and your house has no air conditioning, what do you do? My favorite heat-beating activities: Go swimming in Lake Washington, have a picnic at Lincoln Park, and sip a cold, cold, beverage.
Some our our favorite cold drinks:
Estrella Damm Beer from Spain: $9.99 per six pack
Cusquena Lager Beer from Peru: $9.99 per six pack
Sagres Lager Beer from Portugal: $8.99 per six pack
Casa Beer from Morrocco: $1.99 per 11 oz bottle
Estrella Damm Inedit Beer: Developed by Ferran Adria of El Bulli, this beer was specifically developed to serve with food. $9.99/750 ml bottle
2007 Senorio de Sarria rose, (Navarra) Seafair Special — Was $9.99, now $5.99! Navarra is the traditional home of Spanish rosados. Senorio de Sarria’s bright aromas and flavors of fresh strawberries are front and center in this tasty rose. 100% Garnacha, it is crisp, dry and the ultimate refreshment on a hot day.
2009 Casal Garcia rose vino verde ($8.99) took Seattle by storm during our first heat wave. We couldn’t keep it in stock and neither could the distributor. But thankfully it’s back, just in time for the hot weather! Light berry and pie cherry flavors with a thirst quenching effervesence and 10.5% alcohol make this a perfect wine to sip at an afternoon get-together.
2008 Protos Verdejo, Rueda ($10.99) The grapes for this wine are hand picked and kept at low temperature to preserve freshness. Protos Verdejo has clean aromas of grapefruit with lush citrus flavors, vibrant acidity and a persistent green apple finish. Pair this with ceviche for a light and cooling dinner.
Gardunha: A washed rind goat cheese from Portugal made with a milk thistle rennet. The semi-soft creamy texture is complimented by aromatic citrus zest. It’s lighly piquant flavor is grassy, slightly tangy & floral with white pepper and onion tones. $7.99/quarter lb.
Abrigo: 5 month-aged goat cheese in the format of Tronchón from the town of Catí in the region of Valencia. Abrigo is wonderfully herbaceous,sweet, grassy, slightly piquant and full-flavored with a lingering tangy finish. $5.99/quarter lb.
Serra de Estrella: Queijo Serra da Estrela comes from one of the coldest and highest regions of Portugal. These savory wheels of raw sheep’s milk cheese are made with cardoon thistle, raw sheep’s milk, and salt and can boast Portugal’s DOP name protection. Traditionally scooped out of its leathery cloth-bound rind with pieces of hearty peasant bread, Serra is a a soft, gooey, mildly herbaceous delight. As the wheels age, the paste becomes harder and chewier, but no less delicious. Pair Serra da Estrela with spicier reds like Pinot Noir or Syrah. $10.75/quarter lb.
NEW PRODUCTS JUST ARRIVED!
Roland brand Duck and Pork Pates
La Espanola brand Piquillo Stuffed Olives
Dried Red Guindilla Peppers
Despana brand Chorizo and Morcilla
Costa Peruana Aji Amarillo chili paste from Peru. No preservatives!
Grey Mullet Bottarga Powder
Stay cool, enjoy the Blue Angels and the Hydroplane races this weekend, and stop in to pick up your picnic supplies!
Sharon Baden and Steve Winston, Owners